Do you know what that tiny pebble is and why I look so excited?

All those who have ever experienced kidney stones do.

First, a little real history: It’s been 17 years since my last stone. The first time I discovered the “joy” of kidney stones was the day before I went into labor with my third child. The pain is severe on the left side of the back. Think about a jagged stone trying to work its way through a straw that is too narrow (your ureter). I had delivered my first two children naturally and realized the pain I was experiencing was not “back labor.”

A trip to the ER and a few shots of pain killers later I gave birth to a bouncing 6 millimeter kidney stone. Yep, it’s true what they say: kidney stone pain is worse than natural childbirth.

I’ll never forget my gynecologist coming into the ER the next morning after that terrible night saying: “The good news is you passed the stone, we caught it and can analyze it. The bad news is you have 2 other stones in your kidney, that could pass at any time, tomorrow or a few years from now. But, since you are 4 centimeters dilated, we could induce you and you can have the baby now.”

Yeah, no thanks. I headed home to rest, knowing that Liam would come when he was ready. Turns out he was ready 24 hours later 😊

What about those other two stones you ask? The second one came 3 months later on Thanksgiving Day, The third came a few months after that. Two more trips to the ER that year.

Research on why stones form is a bit of mystery, but all the research says the #1 way to prevent them from forming is staying hydrated. As someone who exercises regularly and who is prone to stones, I  need to hydrate more than the average person.

I’ll admit, there have been times over the last 17 years when I’ve been great about my hydration and times when I’ve really fallen down on the job.

But I digress…the purpose of this blog was not to educate you on how and why kidney stones appear and how to prevent them from forming. After all, I’m not a doctor and if you suffer from them, I suggest you see a nephrologist.

The entire time I was in the ER and suffering over the last few days I couldn’t help thinking about who I was letting down. I felt guilty about being away from my challenge group. I felt guilty about letting down colleagues at work who depended on me.  I felt badly about cancelling volunteer work I had promised to do. I felt badly looking at my husband, when there was really nothing he could do, knowing he had pressing things going on at work.

Maybe it’s the good ol’ Catholic girl in me, but in between trying to meditate and breath through the pain, all the other things I should have been doing weighed on my mind.

Ladies, we are masters at this aren’t we? Especially if you are a working mom. I’ll bet you have the same worries and sense of guilt on a regular basis. We put everything else ahead of our own needs. I think this is one of the biggest reasons why we don’t  make time for exercise, meditation and sleep – three things that are key to living a healthy life.

In the end, I had amazing colleagues who jumped in to help me out, my challengers pressed on without me (as I knew they probably would) and I was grateful to have my husband with me. Had this happened over the last month when I was travelling a ton for work, I would not have had him by my side, supporting me.

In summary:

  • Be kind to yourself.
  • Honor your own needs once in a while.
  • Learn how to say no and be okay with the decision.
  • Don’t always feel obligated to serve as chief problem-solver.

In the long run, it’s better for you and for those who depend on you to slow down, detach and just chill once in a while.

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