Hard Decisions. 

Why can we so clearly remember the negatives people have told us in our lives, but find it so hard to remember when people tell us positives? 

Is it because we when seonw doubts our abilities, or the way in which we see ourselves, we find it that much more important to prove them wrong? Or could it be that we fear their negative view may be be the truth? 

For me, I can remember many of the negative things I’ve been told compared to the positive. I recall before I got my license being told I’d never be a defensive driver and so I strived to be a driver that held confidence in an activity I once held so much fear for. I recall being told I was ugly and fat even when I thought myself pretty, and I strived to destroy the body they had told me was unworthy. Lastly, I recall with such clarity when someone told me my son would ruin my life, or that I’d never accomplish the goals I had set forth for myself before he was conceived.  I’ve spent every waking moment since trying to prove them wrong. 

I thought that my son would be just like any other baby. I believed he’d want to either sleep or eat for the majority of his first few weeks. He did not. He wanted to scream in agony for hours, feed until his mommy cried in pain, and sleep when his small body became so exhausted from the entire ordeal. My son was not like the babies I had been exposed to, the ones who had been praised for their sleeping skills, and well temperament. 

Weeks passed by, and though doctors tried to find the underlying cause of my little boys grief, they could not find a long lasting solution. During this time I was also going through trials within my mind of needing to return to school to get to vet school on time, to graduate college on time, to prove that having my miracle did not deter me from reaching my end goal. I worked myself to the bone to be able to be there for my sleep deprived infant while still maintaining my status as a student who had goals to achieve in a timely fashion. I would prove everyone who ever doubted me wrong, and I would come out victorious with my degree and a one year old at my hip on graduation letting the world knew I did it. 

But it wasn’t until I was rocking my little sleep fighter for the fourth time that evening, crying with him in frustration because he wouldn’t sleep from his painful gas, that I realized I was not thinking of him entirely. I was so focused on the negative perspective someone had placed upon me that I was not giving someone I had fought so hard for what he needed. It dawned on me that me stretching myself so thin was not good for neither myself or for my son. So I decided to change. 

I was currently taking my second class since my theee month old baby had been born- the first starting when he was only a mere six weeks old. I had gotten an exam back from a day after a night where I slept for maybe three hours. But wait- I am forgetting a very crucial part of this story. Bear with me. 

When Luca came home from the hospital he had gas that brought him to screams of agony. This of course made it very difficult for him and I to get any sleep. I also was new to breastfeeding, and because of the lack of educating I had done on the actual process (I had done PLENTY of research on milk supply though) it was a very rough start. I had been told he was starving, then he gained rapidly because he wanted to eat: All. The. Time. However we finally fell into a groove. We were then diagnosed with reflux and given Zantac. This worked for roughly a week or two. During this introduction of this medication Luca was also hospitalized for a cold with a fever of 101.7….but that’s a story for another day. When the Zantac became ineffective his dose was raised due to how weight sensitive the medication was. We thought we were on the mend once again, and soon we’d have a happy baby once again. 

We were wrong 

When he turned two months his body took a nose dive into giving my sweet boy constant pain. Either through the gas that threw him around all night long or through his favorite hobby: eating. He’d latch on to the breast, whimper to and scream, latch off while screaming, and finally scream& frantically search for the breast on repeat. We learned finally if we rocked while he ate it aided in the feedings, but did not aid in the spit up. 

We went through two straight weeks of screaming. Two straight weeks of agony, continuous calls to the doctor, and finally plenty and plenty of tears. I was growing increasingly anxious of bed time. Increasingly frustrated with my infant and those around me. I felt so lost. I began to question whether I was making this up in my mind or if he was truly as miserable as he seemed.  On top of it all we found out he had a severe lip & tongue tie. I just wanted my son to feel better. He was such a happy baby, but when it was bad….it was BAD. 

Finally we were referred to a GI specialist and we began trailing allergies. I had stppped dairy in thought that that was what was causing my child’s pain, but this was not the case. On our first try we switched to Nexium, a new probiotic, and kept the same diet. Two weeks later and my child was a miserable, much more pained baby. We went back to Zantac, eliminated beef, soy and dairy, and also were scheduled for an ultrasound. This momma hadn’t slept in a month and her baby was in agony. So when the ultrasound tech said to not feed for four hours she wanted to cry. He also had been running a low grade fever for over a week that the doctors kept saying was viral. But at some point a mother has to trust her intuition, right? 

So on to this afternoon, the day after the last GI appointment. I kissed my sweet boy goodbye after checking him to have a low grade fever AGAIN. The entire ride to school I cried. I cried for leaving my sweet angel again, I cried knowing the road his father and grandmother had this evening in putting him to sleep, I cried because I was trying so hard to prove I was strong enough to handle being a mother and continuing my education on time that I was not with my child. I was not there through this period because I was trying to be someone I needed to kiss goodbye. 

I was no longer just Bianca the college student. I was now Bianca the mother who was still attending college. I decided in that moment that I needed to put my son first. I needed to be there 100% and I needed to be the mother this baby needed. I needed to stop putting such unnecessary stress on myself for needing to finish something in a timely manner when I still had so much time left. I needed to stop adhering to the negative perspective someone had placed upon me. I needed to stop giving this negative notion that having this baby ruined my chances of being a vet power. 

So vet school is now planned for the fall of 2019. I walked out of my second summer class because I could not mentally handle not being there for my baby through this troubling time. I chose to be his mommy before an identity I had been for so long. I chose to embrace my new identity instead of hide behind my old in fear I’d fail the new. He needs me and nonnegative perspective will change this. I went back once and I will be the girl I dream to be. 

I will be going back in August to finish my degree, but as for grad school? That will wait one more year. One more year to better prepare for myself for the exam I must take for entry. One more year to get myself back on track mentally. One more year to enjoy my little human and make sure he isn’t suffering as he is now. I know I’ll never be okay with leaving him, but I know that when he isn’t having such a hard time it won’t absolutely kill me everyday to say goodbye. 

I’ve realized life doesn’t always pan out the way you think it will. Maybe that should have clicked long before with everything I went through, but at least it finally settled into my mind. For now I will make sure to do the best work at this job as his mother. He will always come first, no matter who I think I need to prove wrong. In the end, being called a mother is the best positive perspective I will ever want to remember being called. 

I always wanted to be called Mommy. 

I cannot remember a period in my life where I didn’t want to be a mom. I remember being a child and always wanting to play house. I remember wanting to babysit constantly. I always wanted to be around children, and I swore for a very long time I’d end up in a career that would allow me to work with them. When I realized that my true passion was working with animals I began to timeline how long becoming a vet would be. I began thinking about how I could start a family and have enough energy and time to be the mother they would need me to be while still attaining the goals I set forth for myself. I wanted to be a young mother, much like my own mother was, so that I’d have a long life to be the mother I had had in my life.

My relationship with my mother was so unlike those of my friends in childhood. I could talk to my mother, confide in my mother, and feel a sense of kinship that made me feel like she would keep me safe forever. Many of my friends lacked a relationship with their mother, or if one was present it was strictly just a regular structured parent type. My mother and I grew together, and though we had many rough patches, I glowed in the envy of my friends for our relationship. She was understanding, kind, and made me the strong mother I know I will be. I vow to be much like my mother in raising my son and his future siblings. 

When I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in June of 2016 I felt that my envision of being the mother I wanted to be had burned. One day I was feeling tingles in my legs and arms, weakness taking over my fingertips, and the next day I was being told I had a progressive disease that I knew so little about. I sat on the couch of a friends and listened to the message over and over. “Hi this is Dr., I just wanted to review the results of _⁠_⁠_ CSS studies um if you’ll be kind enough to come to the office uh at some point during this week will make room for you um just call my office & inform whoever picks up that I have asked them to make room for you OK so _⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_ see you _⁠_⁠_ follow up whatever my schedule _⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_ certainly when you’re able to come in thank you bye-bye…” An hour later I walked into his office to be told my diagnosis. I cried. I cried because I was being told that my immune system was attacking my nerves, that my own body in all sense was attaching itself. I thought of what MS had be portrayed as: wheelchair bound. I cried even more. The picture of being the a parent, being a vet were all crumbling before me. I didn’t know how I would go on living with the pain I’d already been feeling, knowing that eventually it would get worse. 

About a month later after I’d began my shots I didn’t feel right. I was nauseous all the time, I was exceptionally tired, and I felt very off. I had already decided at this point that I would fight as hard as I could to continue to become not only a vet, but eventually the parent i set forth to be. I had arranged to finish college a year ahead of schedule, and my fiancé and I were set to marry in July of 2017. But when you mix alcohol, a bit of self-pity, and some other fixings you get my little miracle baby. My life changed the moment I got two lines on the at home pregnancy test, and even more when I found out my little peanut would be a little boy. 

My dream of becoming a mommy had come true, and when I held my little boy in my arms for the first time I felt nothing but shock and amazement that something of his size had been living inside me only moments before. I was elated by my little miracle, and I thought that feeling would last forever. But you know what they don’t tell you when you have a baby? Yes, when you’re pregnant you get pamphlet after pamphlet about postpartum depression. They say if the blues lasts for longer than two weeks call. But does anyone talk about how hard it is to be a new parent to a baby that screams for six hours straight, to a baby whose gas makes them screech like they’re being ripped from the inside out at times, to a baby who fights when eating, can’t be consoled, and who looks at you like you’re their entire world but you can’t fix what’s going on. 

I never thought I’d question why I wanted to become a mother. 
I love my son. I cry because I love my son. Because it breaks my heart when he cries in such obvious pain from his reflux, and whatever other issue he seems to have going on currently. I cry because I don’t know how to fix it. I cry because I never thought I’d question why I wanted this, why I wanted to be responsible for someone when I’m such a mess myself. But I cry most of all because I know I’m strong and I’m angry with myself for not believing so. I made it through bullying, self-harming, medical conditions, hospitalizations, extreme weight loss, confidence loss, and giving birth to my gorgeous child. Why can’t I believe in myself? I made it through people doubting my ability to be a parent, staying in school while pregnant and mainting a 4.0 GPA, and yet still I feel like such a failure at times. 

No one talks about this. No one talks about the self-doubt you’ll have as a mother. No one will tell you to believe in yourself. Everyone has an opinion on parenting, and when you’re young you get attacked even more. The baby is cold. The baby is hungry. The baby only cries when he’s hungry. Burp him. Rock him. You’re not producing enough milk. Maybe he’s starving. 

Give a mom a break. 

We are all doing the best we can and we need to acknowledge this. We also need to acknowledge that this isn’t always easy. This isn’t always an easy adventure. It’s beautiful and magical, but it is also painful and heartbreaking at times. I look at my son and cry from how lucky I am to be his mother, but when he’s in pain and I can’t fix it I look at him and cry because i don’t know what to do and I am shamed to be his mother. 

We need to give ourselves a break. 

We need to start talking about how hard this can be. 

We need to be reminded that we are only human. 

And we need to be reminded we are doing the best that we can. 

My son will get better and will hopefully grow out of this painful phase, but I need to grow out of this self doubt phase and remember that I’m doing the best I can. 

I never thought I’d question why I wanted to become a mother. I just wanted someone to call me mommy. 

My Story

Well hello there and welcome to my story….

My name is Bianca and I am currently on my 21st….22nd…rotation around the sun. As of August 2016 I am engaged to my best friend Anthony, and together we welcomed a beautiful baby boy named Luca Jeremiah in April of 2017. I am an Animal Science student at the University of Connecticut with the hopes of applying to vet school within the next few months, and then if all works out well I want to pursue a career in wildlife medicine with the intent of opening up a wildlife conservation/rehabilitation.

SLXLM

I chose to begin blogging because I felt that I had a story, and my hope is that with this story I could touch at least one person in a positive way. My hope is that with this journey I am choosing to document, along with the journey I’ve already endured, I will be able to show someone that no matter the conflicts they face, the negative comments they may hear, or the lack of support they may have, they can still conquer their dreams and become the person they want to be. My hope is that if there is anyone out there who feels, or has felt, even the slightest way I did for at least two-thirds of my life, that my story might help them see that somehow, some way, there is light at the end of the dark tunnel, and you will make it through.

So, here we go…

I was always a big girl and no one, and I mean no one, was ever afraid to remind me of that fact. Currently I stand at 5’11/6’0 tall and my highest recorded weight was 406lbs. A lot of my childhood consisted of people being my friends one day and then doing 180’s and siding with those who chose to bully me for my weight. It got so bad that I remember at twelve years old I thought cutting my own skin would ease the pain that I couldn’t see, but felt every minute of every day. By the time I was sixteen my anxiety and depression had gotten so bad that the only thoughts I had were to just end it. I hated being in my own skin, I hated my reflection in the mirror, but most of all I hated the voices that reiterated every single negative, hurtful thing I had ever been told in my life. “You’re not good enough.” “You’re so fat.” “Please don’t eat me.” “You’re so fat you must smell.” “You’ll never be anything more than a fat blob.” And the worst one: “What’s the point, just kill yourself.” I believe I thought the last line more times than I care to remember.

LXLMS

My smallest vs. largest

In 2012 I had to be admitted to a psychiatric ward for the fear that I would not wake up the next morning. At this point I had stopped attending school, my junior year of high school was down the toilet, and my parents were at a loss on how to help their only child. I was admitted with suspected bipolar NOS, panic anxiety disorder, and cognitive OCD. I stayed at this facility for a week before I was able to go back home. My only saving grace that week was the daily, sometimes twice daily, phone call from my grandmother that I received. When I came home I thought I could do anything. I’d been “cured” of my psychiatric distress, but I still didn’t grasp that my mental illness was not something to be ignored, but something to accept and work with in any way I could. I didn’t realize it still lingered until the summer of 2012 when my grandmother passed away very unexpectedly. My world crashed once again and skin was the harvesting ground of the feelings I could not express. I didn’t know what to do.

Later that year my great-grandfather had a stroke that led him to being diagnosed with the on set of dementia, meaning he could no longer live by himself. My great-grandfather was my favorite person. He took care of me when I was younger, watched me while my parents worked, picked me up from school at least twice a week, and made me chicken soup when I was sick. I could talk to him for hours on varying topics such as religion, and our families troubles. He was more than a grandfather, it was like having another father. When he got sick I vowed to take care of him and moved in with him by myself to make sure he took his medication, to pick him up when he fell in the shower, and to give him some company he long needed since his wife passed in 2000. At sixteen I took it upon myself to make sure the man that had long taken care of myself and my family was well taken care of.  A few weeks after I graduated high school in 2014 my grandfather passed away from stomach cancer. All I can remember is being mad at him the few weeks prior to finding out because of how mean he’d become from his dementia, how angry I was at my mother the day before he passed because he wouldn’t wake up from his pain medication and she would let him sleep, and the night before he died crying and telling him I’d be okay if he went. Strange how the negative memories take such prevalence over the positive, even if they don’t come nearly close in number.

So I went to college, my boyfriend now fiancé, and I eight hours away in Buffalo. We went through the ringer in the first few months. Me, letting my emotions get the best of me, became very lax with my birth control and a few weeks after I began my freshman year of college we found out we were having a baby. A few days later that baby was no longer with us. By this point I’d reached my highest weight and even in college I could not escape the looks, the comments, and the pain looking in the mirror brought me. In December of 2015 I was approved for weight loss surgery and in total I lost 211 lbs by my 1 year post op mark.

Now what about the pain and mental illness I spoke about before that could never go away? Well, it didn’t. I had gotten so good at masking the emotions with food that when it was taken away I no longer had a scapegoat. I could no longer sit in front of the television with a bag of chips and dip and just eat, or down an entire tub of ice cream in one sitting. Drive-thru’s were no longer a thrilling ride, and food no longer controlled my “what is there to do in____ city?” searches. I had no where to go when my thoughts acted up, when my anxiety left me bed ridden for the day like it did in high school on so many mornings. I was also still mulling over the fact that I had lost a baby, and trying to fill so many voids I had forgotten still existed in my mind and heart. I needed to seek help again.

And I did. I went back to therapy and  a psychiatrist and began the tumultuous journey of finding my correct cocktail of medications to make me the person I needed to be. Through this medication journey I moved home from Buffalo to make sure I was close to doctors, I transferred schools to find one with the animal program I needed to continue to pursue my career goal of becoming a vet. Then came 2016.

January 2016 seemed like a promising year: I had finally gotten into the University of Connecticut Animal Science program, I had settled back home, my fiancé and I were in such a good place, and life just seemed so great. However in February of 2016 my gallbladder decided to act up and after two weeks of back and forth trips to the emergency room and missing classes they realized that it needed to come out. It took me weeks to fully recover, and by then the semester was almost over. All I could think was that I failed again. I wouldn’t graduate on time; I wasn’t going to vet school. I ended the semester with a 3.0 GPA.

During this time I had began to feel tingles in my arms and legs, pain whenever I sat for too long, headaches I could not explain, and my nerves always felt like they were on edge. I went to go see a neurologist who genuinely believed I just had a care of pseudotumor and I would just need a bit of medication, but when he did his spinal tap he found a bit more than his simple diagnosis. There were bands in my spinal fluid and after further MRI’s I was given the diagnosis of the on set of Multiple Sclerosis. My world shattered again. I began profusely googling my new diagnosis, crying when I saw the world wheelchair, and begging God to stop punishing me for whatever I had done. I lost all view of my future. Vet school wouldn’t be possible, having a family would not be possible, I was going to lose everything. I had to stop, I had to breathe, and I had to be strong, but I could not. A few weeks later I began my shots to help ease the Multiple Sclerosis. A few more weeks later I found out I was pregnant.

SLXLM

And a few more weeks later I heard my son’s heartbeat. A few more weeks later I found out I was having a boy. A few more weeks I felt him kick for the first time. A few more weeks later I watched as my stomach moved from one side to the other.

SLXLM

 

Everything seemed to stop. The panic, the worry, the fear.

I can’t count the amount of times I have been told in life that I can’t do this, or I can’t do that. When I became pregnant the negative comments did not stop, in fact they increased, but the only difference was I had someone to fight for, someone worth fighting for. I was told on countless occasions that I had ruined my life, my fiancés life, and I would now accomplish nothing because of this baby. This fueled my fire more to continue to overcome every obstacle I was faced. You see, I fought my entire life to be seen as much more than the fat girl. I fought to be able to love myself in a way that I sought so long and hard to find from someone else. It’s okay to be bruised and scarred, and to sometimes feel like you’re not worth the risk, but it’s not okay to believe it. I believed it for so long that I almost threw away my entire future; my son. Believe me when I say that no matter what someone throws at you, the negative hurtful comments they make, there is a fire inside of you that burns bright and is so much stronger than their hate.

MXLLS

So, here I am on my 21st….22nd…rotation around the sun. As of August 2016 I am engaged to my best friend Anthony, and together we welcomed a beautiful baby boy named Luca Jeremiah in April of 2017. I am an Animal Science student at the University of Connecticut with the hopes of applying to vet school within the next few months, and then if all works out well I want to pursue a career in wildlife medicine with the intent of opening up a wildlife conservation/rehabilitation. And I won’t give up.

 

 

I hope you enjoy following the journey!