Sunday, November 23, 2014

Have you ever heard of HELLP syndrome?!

I wasn't sure if I wanted to write a post about this, but I'm filled with so many mixed emotions right now that I thought maybe it was a good time to share these details.  This all started pretty much 2 years ago...

I was almost 35 weeks pregnant and was feeling great!  I really had no trouble throughout the whole pregnancy (barely any morning sickness) and I really wasn't uncomfortable or experiencing anything that was a bit out-of-the-ordinary for being pregnant.  We didn't find out what we were having but everyone swore I was having a boy so I guess I just started believing that, too!  When I woke up on that Friday before Marissa wound up being born, I was really uncomfortable and had this weird feeling underneath my ribs on the right side.  I tried doing things to lessen the feeling but it wouldn't go away.  Even my husband commented to me that morning, "Are you feeling OK?  You look really tired." I said, "Yeah, I'm just really uncomfortable today.  Not sure why."  I went to work and was telling everyone how I was feeling and they all chalked it up to me being towards the end of my pregnancy.  All throughout the day I just couldn't get comfortable and the feeling on my right side was beginning to get worse.  When I had a chance to, I had googled my symptoms just to see what would come up.  Nothing was coming up that matched how I was feeling.  I think I remember seeing something about it possibly being where the baby was positioned so maybe it was his/her foot sitting under there.  I just figured it was that.  I had no idea since I had nothing to compare it to!  So, I went about the school day still being pretty uncomfortable and by then, I had lost my appetite and really didn't want to eat or drink anything.  I wound up leaving school a little early so that I could go home and just lay down.  Little did I know that that would be my last day at school for 5 months...

I went home, changed into some more comfy clothes and tried to just sleep as much as I could.  The feeling would go away here or there but never completely.  The weekend came and went and still the same thing...just this nagging feeling under my ribs.  I was also completely exhausted and had ZERO appetite but I tried to eat since I knew the baby needed that.  Then, Monday came and I was so thankful that I had off from work since it was Veteran's Day and I work on a military base.  I didn't think I would have been able to make it through the day if we had school.  Again, I had the same feeling that I had since Friday but I kept telling myself that I had my next doctor's appointment on Tuesday and that I could just wait until then to get checked out...

Now, throughout my pregnancy, I guess the one nagging thing that I did have was nose bleeds.  I brought it up each time at my appointments and was told they were common and to just use saline spray to try and help.  Well, on Monday, I had gotten a nose bleed but it was NOTHING at all like they were in the past.  This time, blood was almost pouring out of my nose and I had these huge clots that were just coming out one after another.  This went on for about 20 minutes and all the while kept thinking, "Hmmm this isn't normal" but I somehow didn't panic.  The feeling under my ribs was now quite painful and I was getting more and more uncomfortable.  Actually, the feeling under my ribs was starting to burn and I knew that something wasn't right and nothing I did could make the pain go away.  As soon as my husband walked in the door, I immediately started crying (something I don't do often) and told him something wasn't right.  We called his mom (who is a nurse) and told her what was going on. She said to call the office (it was now 8:30PM) and speak to whomever was on call that night.  A brand new midwife wound up being on call and I didn't even know her since she had just started.  I told her my symptoms but she kind of brushed them off because I didn't have more of the symptoms that she was looking for.  We wound up telling her we were going to the hospital anyway just to make sure the baby was OK.  She told us to go to the ER and not the maternity ward because they would need to triage me and check me out there first.  Well, as soon as we got to the ER and they saw I was pregnant, they sent us right to maternity.

Once we got settled in there, they hooked me up on monitors to make sure the baby was OK.  I was having contractions but I didn't even know, but thankfully the baby was OK.  They took blood work and found that I was really dehydrated so they hooked me to an IV for fluids.  They tried giving me heartburn medicine to see if that would help the feeling that I kept describing as being really uncomfortable.  That didn't help at all.  So after waiting for what seemed like awhile, my blood work came back so they knew what they were dealing with.  Since we had gotten to the hospital, I had started to feel better but I think it was just because I knew I was in the best place that I needed to be in. The OB on call (that I didn't know) came in, sat down and said to me, "So Michelle you aren't feeling so hot huh?" I replied, "No, not really.  I just have this nagging feeling under my ribs here." He said, "Well, you are one really sick girl." I said, "OK..."  He said, "Yeah, that nagging feeling that you have under your ribs is your liver shutting down."  I said, "Hmmm..." and he said, "yeah and when you breathe in now do you catch your breath because it hurts?" I said, "yeah actually I do."  He said, "Yeah that's because it's spreading to all of your other organs and your body is basically shutting down." I'm still not really nervous because I was in the hospital and I knew they would help me.  What he said next was something that didn't even cross my mind - "The only way that I can help you is to deliver your baby."  At this time, I flipped out, started crying and kept saying, "But he/she isn't done cooking!  It's too early!!" My husband jumps to my side and is trying to calm me down.  Apparently the doctor had told me that I needed to remain calm because I was at a high risk of also having seizures and they didn't want that to happen.  I don't remember him telling me that at all.  After I calmed down a bit, he told that he was going to have to do a c-section because I would be in great pain if he induced me instead.  I flipped out about that, too, because I didn't want a c-section.  Once I calmed down again, he was explaining more to me about just how bad of shape my body was in at that point.  My platelet count, which in a normal, healthy person is usually at 200 or so, was at 50 or less. This was dangerously low and I couldn't have the c-section until I had a platelet transfusion in order to up my count.  The doctor told me I needed to have the transfusion before he would be able to do the surgery.  I don't remember much after that before I was moved into the OR waiting room...

While waiting for the platelets to get to the hospital (they had to request it from another hospital due to my blood type), I had to just lay in bed and not really do much.  It felt like FOREVER and by now I was feeling the contractions and was pretty uncomfortable.  They wouldn't let me drink anything and I was so thirsty.  Finally, the blood transfusion came and got started.  I'm not sure how long the transfusion was going on for, but the next thing I know, I felt like I was leaking.  I told the nurse just that and she says, "Um...don't tell me your water broke."  She lifts up the sheet and sees that my water broke and I'm hemorrhaging every where.  My husband was standing there and saw every thing and I remember hearing him say to the nurse, "Um, that's not normal, is it?" She says, "Nope!" The next thing I know, all the doctors that were going to be involved in my c-section were walking in and I was signing papers left and right.  The OB that was on call checked to see what my platelet count was since he wanted it to be at 100 before doing the surgery. I don't think it even made it to 70 but at this point, he knew that he couldn't wait anymore...

I barely remember the surgery as this whole situation was so, so surreal (and still feels that way while I'm typing this...) but I do remember them telling us, "It's a girl!" and I said, "What?! It is?!" because I expected it to be a boy.  We had a first name picked out for a girl but not a middle name and that's all I could focus on!  My hubby said to me, "You can pick out any middle name you want.  It can be Christmas Tree for all I care.  Just thankfully you are both OK!"  I really had no idea for a middle name, so while the nurses were cleaning me up, I went through the alphabet trying to come up with a name.  We wound up naming her Marissa Lynn =)

After all of that, Marissa needed to be in the NICU for the week, while I was in the hospital with her to get my body back to where it needed to be.  With all things considering, she was perfectly fine in the NICU, was eating on her own and doing all the things newborns needed to do.  I, on the otherhand, still wasn't quite right but eventually, my body calmed down and I was able to be released with her almost a week after she was born.  I was so happy we were released together because I do know of so many people who have to visit their babies at the hospital every day, and I just couldn't imagine doing that.  

I had many follow up appointments after she was born with the OB that delivered her due to everything that had gone on.  At one appointment, he asked me, "So, how is that beautiful little girl of yours?"  I said, "Oh, she's great!"  He replied, "She better be considering she almost killed you!"  Wow, talk about putting things bluntly!!

So, there you have it.  A crazy story that still brings tears to my eyes whenever I tell people.  Everyone seems to have their own story to tell and I'm forever grateful that my story had a happy ending!  Marissa came into the world in a crazy way, but calmed down soon after and is now the love of my life.  I couldn't imagine my life without her!

Until next time!

Sunday, November 9, 2014


I will say having the last 4 days off has been SO nice!  It's been great to be able to spend a lot of time with Marissa and to have time to get ready for her birthday party next weekend!  I really can't believe she's going to be 2 this coming Thursday.  To think back to the things that were going on this time 2 years ago still makes me tear up.  I'm thinking that I'll share the events that happened leading up to Marissa being born sometime this week.  I don't have the energy or the time right now to share the emotional details =)

For now, I need to finish up some things for #TechShare14 in my district tomorrow.  I will be presenting how to use Twitter with a teammate for those who want to begin using it in their classrooms.  Wish me luck!!

Until next time!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

November currently!

I totally missed the boat on the October currently so I'm linking up for the November Currently on Farley's blog!  I really love this idea and I always enjoy reading everyone's posts =)  So, here is my Currently:

To explain it all a bit further...

Listening - it's a chilly day here in NJ and our daughter is just getting over having croup =(  We are basically stuck inside today and getting caught up on things that we weren't able to get done this week.  The hubby has on one of his favorite Pandora stations.  It has some great music on this station - artists such as Patrick Park, Jose Gonzalez, Mumford and Sons and Bryan Adams.  It's some nice music to listen to in the background while cleaning and cooking!

Loving - we have a 2.5 day week this week!  Well, actually the students have a 2.5 day week since we have an early release day on Wednesday since we have conferences afterwards until 3.  Teachers technically have a 3-day week but that's OK!  In NJ, we also have our Annual Teacher's Convention that is held in Atlantic City this coming Thursday and Friday so we have off for that as well!  This will be a great week to get caught up on some things.  Plus, I have to finish planning my daughter's 2nd birthday party.  I still can't believe she's going to be 2!!!

Thinking - I really need to start preparing for conferences!  While I do feel that I can sit down and discuss my students' progress, I still like to have things written down and ready to go.  I also jot things down throughout the week before conferences so that I don't forget anything!  Is it just me or do you remember random things throughout the week at the strangest times?!  Maybe it's just me...but I tend to remember things while I'm in the shower or while I'm exercising...not sure what that's about!

Wanting - the weather to hold out for Marissa's 2nd birthday pictures next Saturday!  I love how her 1st year pictures came out and the weather was PERFECT!  I'm hoping it's the same way this year.  Fingers crossed!

Needing- some winter clothes!  I think this is self-explanatory but now that the weather is getting cooler, I definitely need to start shopping for a few outfits to help my wardrobe out a little.

Reading - blogs on literacy ideas.  While I have felt that I do a pretty good job teaching guided reading, I am trying to find ways to incorporate word work, sight words and phonics in most of my activities during the day.  I'm trying to find ways to work smarter, not harder!  I feel like there are never enough hours in the day to teach the students all that I want to, so I'm looking for ways to do this where we can get more bang for our buck =)

Well, that's all for now.  I think I need to start preparing for conferences now - I'm getting a bit nervous!  I would love to gain a few more followers - maybe I'll try and do a giveaway of one of my Younique products if I reach 30 followers soon!!

Until next time!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Younique makeup!

I have mentioned before that I started selling Younique makeup over the summer.  I absolutely LOVE doing it and really love all their products!  I'm not just saying that because I sell it either! There hasn't been a product that I have ordered that I haven't fallen in love with right away!  I just thought I'd share some of the products that we sell in case you were interested in ordering something.  You could always begin your holiday shopping a little early as well =)

Our BEST selling product is our 3D Fiber Lash Mascara.  They look like false eyelashes but it goes on just like regular mascara.  I get a TON of compliments whenever I wear this mascara - I LOVE it!!

We also sell some gorgeous eye pigments!  They aren't pressed like eye shadows, but they are loose powder that stays on all day and lasts for a really long time!!  Check out these amazing colors:

Another big seller is our lip gloss.  What girl doesn't love lip gloss?!  They even have a little mirror attached so that you can use that to help you apply it!  My favorite colors are loveable and luxe =)

The last product I'll talk about tonight is our eye liners.  They go on very easily, last all day and don't smudge or run off.  The colors are really pretty as well!!

 If you are interested in checking out these products and all the other ones we sell, visit my website:

Until next time!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars=delicious!

Tonight is not a school post, but it is to share a recipe for something delicious that I easily made gluten free!  I tend to look for recipes that don't require too many different kinds of flours when making something GF because that tends to get expensive and I don't keep all sorts of flours in my house!  I have regular flour for recipes that I won't be eating (it's SO MUCH cheaper!) and then I keep an all-purpose GF flour in the house for when I'm making something that I will be eating.  Today I made these pumpkin chocolate chip bars that were delicious!!  Here is the recipe from Averie Cooks that I followed:
YIELD: one 8x8 pan, 9 to 12 generous squares
PREP TIME: 5 minutes
COOK TIME: about 32 to 33 minutes
TOTAL TIME: about 70 minutes, for cooling
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
1 large egg
3/4 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (I used gluten free flour here)
1 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips + 2 tablespoons, for sprinkling


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. In a large, microwave-safe bowl melt the butter, about 1 minute on high power.
  3. Wait momentarily before adding the egg so you don't scramble it. Add the egg, pumpkin, brown sugar, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and whisk until smooth.
  4. Add the flour and stir until just combined, don't over mix.
  5. Stir in 1 1/4 cups chocolate chips.
  6. Turn batter out into prepared pan, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula.
  7. Evenly sprinkle with 2 tablespoons chocolate chips, smoothly the top lightly with a spatula.
  8. Bake for about 32 to 33 minutes, or until done. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean, or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter. The moisture content in pumpkin varies, as do climates and ovens; bake until yours are done. Allow bars to cool in pan for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving. I find the bars taste better on the second and third day after the flavors have married. Bars continue to get softer and moister for about 3 days after baking. Bars will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
I meant to take a picture of what they looked like coming out of the oven, but I forgot, so here is what's left after bringing them to Ed's parents' house for dinner:
So good!  If you try and make them, please let me know what you think!  My post tomorrow (or Tuesday) will be about the Relaxation Station that we have in our classoom =)

Until next time!

Friday, October 24, 2014


This picture just sums it up so I had to share!!

In the mornings, I always think about the few errands that I will run after school before heading home.  It usually winds up that I run one errand, or none, and as soon as I get home, I immediately change into some comfy clothes and try and relax for a little bit before cooking dinner!  Well, by relax, I mean chasing an almost 2-year-old around the house =)  I would definitely love to be able to take a nap once home but that doesn't happen anymore!  Does this picture above remind you of you!?

Until next time!

Monday, October 20, 2014's been a long time since I've posted.  I'm sorry!  There's been a lot going on and some nights I just don't have the energy to post.  I also really need to start taking pictures of what we do in my classroom so that I have things to blog about!  That will be my goal from here on out! =)  Promise!

One thing we have been working on in math is making 10.  It is so important for students in the early grades to know the combinations to make 10. This helps them add larger numbers and teaches them various strategies on how to do so.  I did not realize just how important it is before I began teaching it more in-depth.  I grew up learning just how to add numbers, not really knowing what it meant or really looked liked.  This is something I try to really stress to my students and try to use as many visuals as I can when teaching all sorts of concepts.  One thing I came across last year was this cute idea from Jessica at The Littlest Scholars. Here is what we did during our Math With the Teacher station =)

Most of the students understood the concept of using the rainbow to help them figure out the number combinations.  It will be work in progress for those students who struggled with it!  I was using colored bears for this concept as well so that seemed to help my neediest learners.  

Well, I will definitely take pictures of things that are going on tomorrow, although we do have MAP testing going on.  Does your district take part in MAP testing in the younger grades?  It starts in 1st grade in my district and continues on up.  Anyway, that will take up a chunk of the day so we will see what is picture-worthy tomorrow!

Until next time!