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Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Week 16: Turns out we're all just a sponge.

This week I had started on a really low note. Things aren't going very well at work, not personally but just the feel of the ICU. It really is so different from last year. Young people are dying for no good reason other than the C-19 (and unvaccinated) and it's heart breaking. 

Let me say that again, it's really fucking heart breaking. 

We coded a 20 year old. 20. Years. Old. There was nothing we could do to save him. Nothing. 

Do you know how that makes me feel? 

Worthless. Defeated. These adjectives are to name a few. 

This is my reality. 

Every week. 

Every shift.

This is what is asked of a critical care nurse. 

I've advocated many, many times for therapy. It's really a part of my daily life. I see my therapist 2x a month, which has really served me well. I feel like every time i've gone to therapy I always leave feeling much better than when I started my session. This week we touched on how the grieving process of my mother, but then we switched gears and talked about my experiences at work. For the most part, being a pregnant ICU nurse, I feel ok. I have really, really sad days, but mostly i'm able to leave those experiences at work and not think about them at home. I am fortunate. However, I would be lying to you if I didn't also grieve the loss of some of my patients at home. I guess that's the empathy part of being a nurse and what makes me human. If you think things don't affect nurses and docs the same way you're affected in the real world you'd be wrong. 

I think most health care workers right now feel like a sponge that is over-saturated. There is too much water and the water needs to be wrung out. The water represents feelings, emotions, over-stimulation of grief. Something really important my therapist told me is that we need to rid the water when we can. We need to get rid of things that don't serve us in the moment. It's absolutely true. For me it's blocking out the noise of social media and picking up a book. Or playing with my children and getting rid of the outside world for just a bit. This doesn't mean i'm sticking my head in the sand, it means i'm able to be mindful and stay in the moment. 

I don't write this post for sympathy. I write this as a perspective of my on-going therapy/life and hope that someone else is able to relate or feel less alone. 

Something I get a lot these days:"Well you don't have to do this, you can just quit". 

It's true. I can.

Some people feel called to ministering to the poor. You don't do it because you have to, you do it because you're hoping in some small way, you can make a difference. I guess i'm not ready to hang my hat up because I feel like in the wake of something horrible, I want to make a small bit of difference. Even if it means that the outcome won't be favorable. Or maybe years from now, the experiences that I've had over the last year will serve me better as a health care professional. I guess I won't know until I know. 

Lots of big feels this week, but in a good way. Our thoughts are much better out in the open than the ones we ever keep in our head... it's a-lot less heavier that way.  

On to much lighter topics like my hair. 

Shout out to my friend, Ashley, who singlehandedly helped me track (stalk) down my stylist who left the studio I normally go to. Anywho I found her and she worked her magic!! If you're in the ABQ area and need a great stylist, I have one and am happy to message her contact!! 

Ok we need to touch on my hair. In 33 years, I've never dyed my hair. never had a weird phase in high school or College with pink hair. I've pretty much maintained the same thing until now. At first, I didn't know if I was going to like it. I have to say I woke up this morning and feel like i'm new again. 

My mood was lighter. I did something for me. Something different. In times like these, it's so easy to give up all of yourself to something without saving a piece of your soul for yourself. I feel like i'm able to hold on to a little bit more every week without expending all my energy into something that doesn't always serve me back. 

Baby stats for Week 16. 

This is the week, I began feeling pregnant. My hips felt a little less pliable this week. Much of my time is spent on my feet, my children have no remorse for my condition. They expect us to go, go, go as much as possible. I also am able to see my bump. A sweet little bump i've been longing to see for 16 weeks. Honestly to the whole world it really still looks like a food baby or a beer belly at best. 

I have another anatomy scan this next week, which I'm very excited for. This pregnancy gives me so much to look forward to. 

Cravings: I am all about savory foods this week. I'm back on avocado and eggs.  I can eat pork because it's salty to match my attitude these days. 

Aversions: Meat. I still only find veggie options. 

This is the week that I felt this little bebe move. I thought it was gas. Turns out it was a baby. He's already a mover and a shaker and he brightens my mood every single day. 

Anywho friends, here's to all the brighter days ahead and all the good times that will be here again. 

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Week 15- Baby Coates is a.....

 BOY OH BOY OH BOY. I'm shocked. I seriously thought this was a girl. 

Really we had an array of emotions in our house. Allie was a little devastated this is not a girl.  


We are thrilled. This baby is healthy and growing and seriously that's all we could ask for. Shout out to my friend Catherine. She made this beautiful cake for me. I'm so thankful for her and her friendship. This cake was amazing.  


Then we had a boy that was not sure why we were eating cake but nevertheless was here for all of it. 


This week has been pretty full. Lots of stuff going on. 

Allie had a tonsilectomy. I could write a saga on how that's been going... Really trying to reason with a 5 year old is has its ebbs and flows. 




First of all, tantrums are still in full swing. I thought we were over that stage. 

We're definitely not. 

Trying to get a 5 year old to drink water or even soup at this point is so hard. It really has to be her idea. This infuriates the RN in me. I'm used to working with adults, even the poutiest ones. Kids have their own language and perceptions, Matt has been really great with her, while i'm on Team JUST TAKE THE WATER/TYLENOL/MOTRIN BECAUSE I SAID. These hormones have not helped. We wake up diligently every 3 hours at night to make sure she take the motrin and tylenol alternatively to stay ahead of the pain. It makes me feel like im not ready for a newborn stage again at 33. 

We also celebrated this boy's 3rd birthday. 

THREE. HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE? It was a Spiderman/Batman themed day. He had everything he wanted. Our Eli Andrew is too big. When they tell you babies don't keep. They mean it. I literally remember everything about this day three years ago, it was labor day weekend and I was 41 weeks preggo. I wanted nothing more than this child to exit my body. It was hot. I didn't have central A/C in my california house and my two year old child at the time did not know the meaning of a rest day. I did stairs at the park that morning while trying to will myself to have contractions strong enough to go to the hospital. At 11:47pm on September 4, he was here. I love this sweet boy so much. He is going to be the best big brother I could ask for. 


As if my plate isn't overflowing enough, to distract myself from the outside world, I've been baking bread. I finally kept a sourdough starter alive long enough to use it. I'm super proud of these. The first is a traditional sourdough. 


I'm super proud of this one. It's a green chile cheese sourdough and I'm so happy with how beautiful she turned out. Matt has approved of this new venture in this pregnancy. Now I pray I don't gain a million pounds. 


Last but never least my preggo stats for the week! 

Obligatory 15 week picture. It literally looks like I have a food baby. When I tell people I'm actually pregnant no one believes me. I had one co-worker that said he thought I was kidding. Wut? Why would I kid about being 15 weeks pregnant. I'm not this moody on a regular basis. Or maybe I am? Oh well!



Cravings: Still craving all the pickles, cooked sushi, V8 (it's been like 4 cans a day, I don't know what's going on here), SALTY carbs. Salty meats. Edamame. Veggies. Celery and cottage cheese. 

Aversions: I'm getting over the meats, but largely won't due beef unless its jerky. 

Still able to work 3 days a week at work. Physically I feel strong and can do most things. I've felt like getting back on the bike after my unfortunate dog bite, which is almost 85% better. 

Here's to the next week and starting to compile a list of baby names!! 

Monday, August 30, 2021

Week 14: I probably should just wrap myself in a bubble for the rest of this pregnancy.

 Why would I expect this pregnancy wouldn't be as eventful as everything else in my life?


Turns out. 

I'm one of those accident prone people that stuff just happens to. 

Yes. I was bit by another dog. This time I was walking up to the bus stop waiting for Allie girl to get home and a white dog that I have seen a dozen times, lunged while on a leash and bit my thigh. 

Of course, Matt is in Colorado and I am a MESS. Eli was having a meltdown on the sidewalk about something else and I am wounded. I'm just glad it was me and not Eli. I probably would have lost my mind if Eli was bit. Lucky for me, I had an amazing neighbor and she took in my kiddos immediately without question while I went to urgent care. 

I was super lucky, I got to urgent care and they got me in without an appointment and I was in and out in 20 minutes. Was I a blubbering mess when I got there? Yes. Did that probably help expedite the process. Absolutely. 

Right after

Day 1



Result: 10 days of antibiotics and one day off of work. I'm fine. Leg is a bit sore, but otherwise i'm ok. No stitches for puncture wounds and dog was fully vaccinated this time. 

Why is it terrible things always happen when my husband is TDY? Remember the stolen purse incident? Where I had no money for a week? Or when my kids decide to get really sick with RSV and ear infections for days? 

Military life. And now i'm insane for adding a third baby to the mix. Just madness, people. Madness.

Any who. Let's change gears and talk about all the weird shit i'm eating these days. Probably the weirdest cravings yet. 

Obligatory Bump pic: 



Cravings: 

Sunchips and cottage cheese. Matt thinks i'm a monster. No idea why this combination is amazing. 

Green olives stuffed with garlic. Black olives. Give me all the fats right now. 

Tuna. Who am I? I'm not a huge tuna person unless it's raw in a sushi roll. But somehow these tuna kits are where it's at. 

Pickled Okra. I am from the south, so i'll just blame this one on genetics. The only thing I won't eat that's pickled is pig feet and eggs. Ok, who actually eats pig feet anyway?

V8. I've been drinking it like crazy. Just pour all the salt into my body and watch me bloat. 

Cantaloupe/watermelon/strawberries/oranges

COLD cereal. I don't discriminate, i've found myself eating this right after I eat dinner. 

Aversions: 

Meat. I can't do it. I can do chicken and shrimp. No beef by any means. I'm really hoping this changes. 

Movement: Still able to work 36 hours a week on my feet, and able to go on mile long walks and Peloton bike rides. My goal is for this baby to slip right on out. 

So I have a goal to have at least 75 rides this year on the bike (currently at 35 rides) and to continue walking for my run the year goal. Although I won't reach my goal, I'm still motivated to move more in this pregnancy than I did in the other two, because something tells me my appetite will only grow from here. 

I think I've had enough excitement for one week, one month and even for the rest of this year. 

Until next week! 

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Week 13: A Diary of hormones.

 Well. Turns out this pregnancy has already been hormonal. I really feel for everyone that I work with that has to ride this roller coaster with me. 




I started out this week crying for 2 hours after getting my air filter changed. It was just your typical Wednesday and I was just a mess. 

Could it be the fact that my oldest child just started Kinder? Yes. 

Could it be because I'm exhausted from my day job? Also, A resounding Yes. Also, if you're wondering if my face always looks like this at work, it does and so does my hair. 

Could it be because I was having a low blood sugar moment and have cut back my caffeine consumption by a landslide. Yes. I probably laughed for 10 minutes after finding this, so I figured it had a place on this page. 


I also ready for it to be Fall like any good basic white girl. I'm ready for the leaves to change, and to wear my cardigans again, is that so much to ask? If you don't like Fall then get the hell out. I guess i'm also a bit ragey these days as well. 



Obligatory Week 13 bump pic 

Does anyone feel like after their second child that they show MUCH SOONER? I mean I guess my uterus knows the deal by now. 



We had our first MFM doctor appointment, these are some of my favorite visits. We get to see such clear pictures of this little bebe. This truly made my week. It makes all the other issues out there seem so small in comparison. It's amazing how little babes can change your perspective. I'll tell you the distraction is so needed right now. 

As far as we know all the arms and legs are there, just waiting on our genetic results! Praying for a healthy baby. 







Food aversions: MEAT. I don't want any meats. The thought of chicken/beef makes me gag right now. 

Cravings: SUSHI. RICE. PICKLES! Every week we get fresh sushi delivered at work, of course I only eat the cooked versions, but my goodness if I don't spend $25 on lunch almost every time. Oh well. It's well worth the investment and small victories for a lunch well enjoyed! 

I have much more energy with this pregnancy. I still enjoy going on walks and riding the peloton! My bladder struggles with running. I've tried a few different times, and each time has gotten better, but going to work I get quite the workout in at least 3 days a week, so I'm ok with taking a few days to rest here and there. 

All the wives tales. 

I have no idea what i'm having but here are some baby stats. which are all over the place. 

  • Heart rate is 142. (Girl)
  • Craving all the salty things. (Boy)
  • Favor laying on my right side. (Girl)
  • I have gained more weight this pregnancy already than my last two. oh well i'm old. lol 
  • No heart burn. yet. all my babies have been so hairy, i'm sure this is coming. (boy)
  • Emotions: moody and unpredictable. (Girl)
  • Chinese calendar says Girl. 

We should know our gender next week with our DNA results. My fabulous friend, Catherine, is making my gender cake so she's the keeper of all the secrets right now!  

Until next week friends!! 

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Well that escalated quickly... Coming Februrary 2022

No, we aren't just pregnant with emotion. 

Here we are with you guessed it.. Coates Baby #3. Don't worry Matt was pretty dumbfounded too. I actually found out after we got back from our mini vacation to Ruidoso, Yes, Tirah and Troy you were here and yes, it was the day after I drank wine all day with Tirah. You know babies just sneak up on you! 

For everyone that might have their panties in a twist from the last sentence, Yes I abstain from all alcohol every pregnancy, every time. I was dealing with the potential loss of my 14 year old cat that just snuck away for 8 days to sleep in someone else's garage and was not paying attention to my menstrual cycle, or lack thereof. 





Week 10 was a bit of an emotional roller coaster with my mom passing. 





The kids are feeling some feelings too. 

Allie thinks the baby will be here in 20 minutes and Eli is still unsure he wants anyone else in this house. However, it's exciting to think we are already at 12 weeks. We have alot to work with these next 28 weeks. 

I think we are more than certain this will be our last biological Coates baby. Two kids are really, really hard. Well at least mine are. I don't know why I thought adding a third wouldn't apply to the struggle but here we are. Add my hormones and anxiety and we've got an interesting cocktail there. 

Do I think i'll be blogging through this pregnancy? Probably. Will it be like the last two documentations? Who knows. I mean at this point I've blogged for the last two kids, so it would be pretty shitty to not document this one. I also have been on an emotional roller coaster at which i'm not exactly sure what my feelings are. One minute, I was watching the gymnastics olympics with Allie and just burst into tears watching Simone Biles. No clue. Just tears. Next minute, i'm rage hungry wondering who ate all my hidden snacks. It was Matt. It's always Matt. 

Let's get into food aversions thus far: 

-Salmon. I literally can't. My brother made a fabulous salmon dinner and it was delicious, only I couldn't eat more than a few bites.

-Scrambled eggs. It smells like wet dog, and I can't. 

-I've also been getting sick every afternoon, not dry heaving but nauseous from either not eating or drinking enough water. 

-I'm a huge coffee drinker, but I can only stomach one cup a day. I used to work night shift where I easily drank a pot of coffee everyday, so needless to say it's been an adjustment. 

Cravingggggs: 

Pickles, anything sour/salty, Blueberry muffins, Garlic (same through all of them), Watermelon, oranges, olives. 

Really just give me all the carbs. 

Well y'all with any luck this will be the pregnancy that is quick because I won't be sweating my ass off in the summer with the biggest belly you've ever seen, but now because of New Mexico winters I can't pawn off not wearing pants. It's going to be interesting, but I'm all aboard ready for the ride. 

Here's to the next 28 weeks of rants!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

An Ode to Mom


Mom and I, Obligatory bluebonnet picture, 1988 probably. 



My heart hurts. 

To say the least the last week of my life has proven to be hard. I sit here with my dog as he tries to console me because somehow animals know exactly what you're feeling. 

I come back to this blog because I need to get these thoughts out of my head. 

My mom is gone. Forever 62. She passed away suddenly last Monday. Wrapping your head around your mother never being here again is a hard concept. It's even harder when you realize you didn't have a good relationship. She didn't have a good relationship with many people, her mental illness wouldn't allow it. 

I take that really hard. 

Mom had multiple mental illnesses that alienated her from her kids and her family. The same mental illnesses that deterred her from taking care of herself. The same mental issues that would dictate how she truly lived her life. 

Alone. 

I've never been quiet about the fact I have anxiety and depression. I take one little green pill everyday and that helps me be the very best version of myself. I'm mourning the fact that my mother couldn't find the same peace I did. I mourning the fact that she couldn't find therapy helpful, the way it's saved my life. 

She grew up in the 70's. She was a flower child. She took the 70's to heart. She loved Austin, Tx. I never knew why she did, I think it's because she loved who she was when she lived there. 


My mom wasn't always this mentally ill. In her early life, she loved her kids. She loved being able to play with us. I found my love of reading books due to her reading to me most nights before bed. She loved to cook. She took her creativity to the kitchen and made some of my favorite recipes. I'll forever make her cheesecake. It's one of my favorite things to make. She really loved to feed people. She loved big. She always had a big hug ready for anyone who needed it. 

San Antonio, TX 1984

Mom and Heather (sister) and Tina, my mom's fave dog.

Mom and Dad in 1980's. 


Growing up she always smelled like Clinique Aromatics. 

Holidays were always a big deal. Halloween was one of our favorites. We dressed up and Mom always fostered my love of having a big imagination. She loved the fall. She loved wearing sweaters. If you ever came over to my house growing up, it was a balmy 68-69 degrees all year round. 

My mom had a funny personality. She was very quick witted and had a really great sense of humor. She truly had the best smile. I'm proud that I get this from her. 

There are many great memories that i'll always hold on to, and I pray that over time they will outshine all the bad ones.  

I'll forever be sad that my children were unable to know the mom I once knew. I'll forever be heartbroken that many people in Mom's life won't know her how I did. The hole in my heart will always be there from years to come. 

My relationship with my mother or lack thereof, will be my great life puzzle. I'll probably always need therapy. I'll probably always need a small green pill, but I'm ok with that. I'll never stop advocating for mental health. The best way I know to honor my mother and her memory is to live the best way I know how, mentally sound. I'll always try to incorporate the good my mother put in my life, into my children.

There is one thing I'll tell you is for certain, I'll be ok. I'll always be ok. I have the tools and know all the ways to cope with my sadness. I've endured many traumas in my life and they have yet to make me bitter. I will never allow bitterness take away the joys that life can bring. I hope that anyone reading this that has depression and anxiety, please give yourself permission to find therapy. Therapy can open the door for so many aspects in your life. It sheds light on a different perspective and helps repair years of trauma and pain. The biggest thing therapy can do is help break the chain of addiction in families. 

The healing process isn't always linear. It's a dance, take one step forward, take 10 steps back. Whatever the process looks like, i'll always be dancing.  

I'll always love you, Mom. Always.

Until next time friends. 

Saturday, July 3, 2021

Hello, is this thing on?



Hi. 

Hello. 

Well in true ashley style. it's been one year since i've posted in here. 

So naturally i've come back. 

Does anyone even read blogs anymore? I mean everyone is so glued to stories from IG, I wonder if people actually read anymore. Anywho, this blog has been more for me than for anyone else, so pressing on! 

The last year has probably changed me more than I ever thought possible, for the better, and for the worse. 

Ive been Type A my whole life. I've had much of my days structured and somehow the last year all that got changed. As many of you know i'm a nurse, I switch from Progressive care to the ICU mid-pandemic. If you literally want to see what you're made of, I highly suggest finding a different way of doing this, but if you must, this is also a way to do it. 


I won't go into too many details, but I will tell you no one decides to find themselves in the position most nurses are. I've endured some things that will forever separates me from my normal non-nurse friends that will never be able to relate. Some times carrying that around with you is quite heavy. This really is beyond politics, so don't come at me. 

So when I see much older people without a mask these days, sometimes I do have PTSD. It's going to take a really long time for me to get over this. Vaccines are great and I highly recommend them to everyone. I would love to tell you this pandemic made me a better nurse, but this pandemic has definitely made me a cynical one. I'm getting better about my outlook for non-covids, but my pessimism is really still the same. I've always considered myself to be an emotional person. I will tell you turning off my emotions has been a different side of me. I don't really even know when it happened, but going into the room, doing my job and leaving, has been my coping mechanism. It has helped that family members aren't around for these patients. Phone conversations are still hard, alot of the same questions that you already know the answer to, but can't answer truthfully because you don't want to take away hope, but deep down you just count the days until comfort care is initiated and comfort the family the best way you know how, and then get the room ready to start all over again for the next patient. Yes, it's a revolving door, I guess I just didn't know how quickly the revolving door really works until now.

Needless to say, myself and many of my colleagues will be in therapy for a long time. If you're a nurse reading this, I just want to say you're not alone. We carry this burden together. Many people still think this pandemic is over, and I'm here to tell you it's not. This is also not a way to tell you to live in fear or not live your life, I'm here to say, check on your nurse friends they may appear to be ok on the outside, but that might not always be the case. Also, if you have a doctor friend in your life, check on them too, they carry a heavy burden, they make some major decisions and hope/pray it's the right one. 

That felt really good to get off of my chest. This blog is a real one. It covers all the happy, sad and trying times of my life. 

Switching gears. 


Allie is fully potty trained. There are many struggles we have in this house. Bodily functions have been a struggle since day 1. Eli will be a struggle in the potty training department. He is 2.5 years old and has no desire to use the potty. NONE. Again I'm asking for help, everyone in the interwebs, let me know your potty training magic for BOYS! These pictures are really to help everyone know my kids are actually still growing humans. 



Taking another turn. 


Also. My cat, Louie, who is 14 years old, went missing for 8 days. 8 days. He is old and lost all his fat reserves. I seriously thought he was coyote food. I mean 8 days living next to the mesa in Albuquerque, NM, you make your own conclusions. 

LOW AND BEHOLD. He was holed up in someone's garage. Didn't eat or drink anything for 8 days. Took him to the vet when we retrieved him, he's perfectly fine. Kidneys didn't take a hit due to dehydrations. ALL 8 LIVES HAVE BEEN USED, HE IS LITERALLY LIVING ON HIS ONE LIFE LEFT. 

I don't have another fancy way of making another transition in this post. 

During the last year, I've started knitting. Am I relatively descent at it, NO. Did I need to find something to do with my hands other than scrolling through social media, YES. I've made two blankets, all of which my kids have ignored. It's really just a new obsession for now that I'm hoping will take me to my old age. 


So that's what I got for now. Until next week or next year or whenever I decide to get on another soap box. This is what I got. 

I hope all of you are well and that you go out there and do good things!