Family

Family is everything and an introduction to mine

I was 17 and my parents made a phone call…to Planned Parenthood. And it wasn’t for me. Let me fill you in. Obviously when I was that age they weren’t dishing out all their juicy secrets to me, but years later I got the details. Here’s how the story goes. My parents had just called Planned Parenthood to get an appointment for my dad to get snipped. They went in on a Wednesday to finalize the details of the procedure, and the doctor kept asking my parents things like, “Are you sure you don’t want anymore kids?“ “If your wife died, is there any chance you might want more children if you were to get married again?” The questions were all super hilarious but my mom and dad adamantly said NO to all of them. They already had five kids and at this point their youngest, my sister Emily, who may or may not have been a surprise, was six.

That same Wednesday my mom went to visit my sister Kelli up in Logan, Utah, where she and her husband, Loren, were living while they were in school at Utah State. They were newlyweds and had just bought a house so my mom drove there from Park City to help Kelly paint the house. After she arrived, Kelli surprised my mom with the news that she was pregnant! It was so exciting and my mom was crying and Kelli was so happy. I mean, hello, best news ever, right? Well, on the drive home from Logan to Park City, which takes about two hours, my mom kept thinking, “That’s so weird…she’s pregnant! I’m going to be a grandma.” Probably normal things to be thinking when anyone is about to become a grandma, right?  But there was more to it for my mom. She was late, and I don’t mean late getting home from Kelli’s. Her period was late and she was nervous. She decided to drive over to the grocery store by our house and get a pregnancy test on  her way home. Like, could this be happening? She started psyching herself out thinking things like, “Could I be pregnant? I’ve missed my period…is there a chance??” At this point she was 45 years old so the thought of being pregnant just seemed crazy, let alone pregnant at the same time as her daughter. Father of the Bride Part II, anyone?? That kind of stuff doesn’t happen in real life, does it? 

She ran home from the store in a panic, ready to take the test. I was a senior in high school when this all went down and I was up in my room, right above the garage when she pulled in. I heard the garage door close and then I heard my mom walk to her bedroom. I had no idea, but at this point she had run in to the bathroom to take the pregnancy test. A few minutes later I heard someone screaming bloody murder. I literally jumped out of my bed and was like, “Oh my gosh, what is happening? Is someone dying?!” I ran to my parents room and I saw my mom’s shocked face. She yelled, “Go get in your bed!” and my dad had this weird look on his face and I turned around to go back to my room, totally weirded out. What was even going on? I went back and slipped into bed and was almost falling asleep when I heard my dad screaming like a freak. I mean, he was screaming and yelling even worse than my mom had been. Something was obviously up. How was I supposed to sleep when my parents were losing their minds like this? So again, I jumped out of bed and ran into their room and asked, “Like seriously, who died? What is going on? Are you guys okay?” They were both crying and again, asked me to leave them alone. So, I turned around and went back to bed with a million possibilities racing through my head. 

A few days later, my mom sat us down and gave us the news that indeed, she was pregnant! At this point my oldest sibling, Spencer, was 24. My mom would have children ranging from infancy to 24 years old! Kelli, who was also pregnant, was 22. My mom was 45 and my dad was 52 and they both felt so beyond crazy. My dad was going to get snipped that month. This wasn’t supposed to happen. Their family was complete. Obviously, God had other plans and I’m so glad He did. Since the minute we found out Sophie was going to be part of our family I loved her. From the minute she arrived until now she’s kept our family so young and so sweet and it has definitely brought a different dynamic to our family. It has truly been such a gift for all of us.

Kelli and my mom, both about 6 months pregnant

I think the scariest thing for my mom was actually telling Kelli that she was pregnant because she she didn’t want to steal the show, you know? She didn’t want to take over Kelli’s amazing spotlight of having the first grandkid. But Kelli took it like a champ and she was so happy and so excited for my parents. Both Kelli and my mom knew that my sister, Sophie and my niece Lindi were meant to come into this world together and they were meant to have this really special bond and relationship. And that’s exactly how it’s been from day one with them and it’s just been really, really special.

Lindi on the left, and Sophie on the right

My mom with her daughter, Sophie, on the left, and her granddaughter, Lindi, on the right

Lindi and Sophie today

The year Sophie was born was the same year I went to college. She arrived in April and I graduated from high school in June, and I started college that fall, so Sophie has never actually lived with her three older siblings. It’s kind of like my parents raised three different groups of people. They raised the older four, then they raised Emily who was already the caboose by seven years, and then there is Sophie who is another seven years behind Emily. It’s like three different families! But as Sophie and Emily have gotten older we have just bonded so much as a family, which is weird because there is such a huge age difference. However, my parents really fostered this atmosphere in our family that age doesn’t matter, that circumstances don’t matter and that we are a family and love each other no matter what.

Currently, Spencer is 41, Kelli is 39, I am 35, Sam is 31, Emily is 24, and Sophie is 17. My sisters and brothers are my very best friends. It makes me emotional to think about it, but we truly root for each other and we love each other. We celebrate each other’s wins, we mourn one another’s losses and I’m just so incredibly grateful for my family. They truly mean so much to me and that’s why they’re on my Instagram all the time because they’re such a big part of my life. 

My parents were really great at cultivating strong sibling relationships. I mean hello, we definitely fought. Don’t get me wrong, my family is not perfect. We’ve all made mistakes and had some major fights, but I think at the end of the day we are each other’s cheerleaders. I don’t know if it’s brainwashing or not, but my mom always told us, “You guys are best friends. No matter what, you’re blood and you’re family and you’re best friends and we love each other and that’s it.” That’s something that I want to carry over to my children and a feeling I want to have in my own little family. I want to make sure they know they are besties and that they love each other no matter what and that we are here for each other.

Something I really love about my family is that we are a dang good time. Truly. We’re always down to have fun and be rowdy and playful and play games and just enjoy our time together. We love having fun together and celebrating together. It’s really interesting because Ammon and I have lived with or next door to both of our parents at one point in our marriage and we’ve loved it. I was initially nervous, but we’ve set boundaries and created rules from the beginning with them and it’s been really nice. It’s been all the good things I hoped it would be, and honestly nothing negative and I’m going to be sad when I move away from my parents so I’m just trying to enjoy the time by them now.

I am really grateful to my parents for normalizing the fact that making mistakes is a part of life. They made us feel like mistakes were actually a good thing, a positive thing even, and you can learn and grow and become more of who you’re meant to be through them. It was obvious to us that perfection was unrealistic and that really helped all of us to just love ourselves and be confident and know that when we made a mistake, we were still loved, we were still valued, and we were still worthy. Mistakes are a part of the human experience and it’s okay. What a gift it was to have that feeling in our home and in my life. It’s something I’ve carried with me and feel in my core to be true for all of us. Life isn’t perfect. We are not perfect. We never will be, and that’s part of what makes life so beautiful and what I love to celebrate. I want to make that obvious to my own children, but also to anyone who follows me. Confidence comes not from being perfect, but in realizing that you can love yourself just as you are.

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Double Date Interview with Dr. Chiddy, the plastic surgeon!

Dr. Chiddy interview

Ammon and I had the funnest double date with Dr. Chiddy, https://jerrychidestermd.com/, and his adorable wife, Mindee! He answered questions, and we got personal with the real deal about his profession, talked about procedures, and even the emotional impacts surgery has brought to his clients. I feel like there are so many stereotypes and weird JUJU associated with plastic surgery, so I’d been wanting to talk with a plastic surgeon. While Ammon and I bounced implants in our hands and I shared TMI, Dr. Chiddy shared some serious wisdom! 

When I was 22, I got a boob job! I had tubular breasts and my mom asked me if it was something I would consider surgery for, and even offered to help. It wasn’t a negative thing at all, and my mom is one of the best people in the world, but I had kind of an internal battle about it, and I honestly had to dig deep for the reasons why I would do it. I came to the decision that my self worth was not tied to my inherent worth. I realized that it was like someone wanting braces to fix their teeth more than wanting to be a sex object for the world. I also believe it’s important to share these stories, so we can eliminate some stigma around plastic surgery. I had prejudged a lot of women who chose to get work done and here I was doing it. The bottom line is you just never know someone’s reason and there is zero reason to judge. 

When I went in for a consultation, I loved the doctor’s approach. He asked me if I was getting it done for myself or for somebody else. Of course, it was for me! But he wanted me to know that the surgery wasn’t going to change who I was as a person – that it was not going to change my attitude about myself or my confidence. I thought that was good advice, and so true!

Anyway, 2 years ago, my left boob POPPED! After 10 years of these implants, one morning I get out of the shower, and looked in the mirror, and was like, “Oh crap!” – it was just gone. Deflated. Popped! And yeah, I haven’t fixed it yet either…it’s still popped! To fix it, I would have to do both boobs all over again, and instead of forking out over 5k – I live with one breast larger than the other! I shared even more TMI on the actual interview, so if you’re into the details about my nipple stitching, go watch the video!

You guys, Dr. Chiddy is amazing and so easy to be around – I completely understand why so many of you recommended getting him to answer your questions.

After the interview, I thought a lot about it, and about my IG poll: Do you connect your self-worth with what you look like on the outside? And it truly broke my heart that so many people associate the two. 

And what’s up with all the shame in our society?! You’re shamed if you have plastic surgery and shamed if you don’t. Shamed for looking a certain way, and shamed if you don’t. Guess how much shame you should feel on a daily basis? 0 Percent! It does NOTHING for you. Think about that. Even when you make a mistake, do you think feeling shame is going to help you? And that’s with anything! It just digs you into a really deep hole. That’s it. It’s never the answer. Shame can’t do for you what love and forgiveness or even sorrow can. So I guess that’s my message. And I hope more people get on the No Shame Train! 

If you didn’t see the interview, click here: https://www.instagram.com/p/CLfvFGCnfDr/

I do want to include some of the highlights and Q & A here in the blog. I learned a lot! Dr. Chiddy also does his own Instagram lives, which you can find at https://www.instagram.com/drchiddy/?hl=en

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Interview Q & A

Q: For Mindee:” Ok, what did you think when you found out your husband was going to be a plastic surgeon?!”

A: My first thought – none of my thoughts were concerns about him – the scariest thoughts were about the patients – hitting on him! Like, he’s going to be around women all day and they’re going to be naked. And a little bit was about him being around these beautiful bodies that he reconstructs and then comes home, and I’m like, “hmm…here’s my baby flab” 

Here, Dr. Chiddy gave her the biggest hug and Mindee just smiled like, ‘ya, I know you love me!’ It’s awesome – that honest to goodness real love for each other they show

Q: OK, Do you get turned on by some of your patients? (of course, I had to ask 😉

A: No, I get turned on by my wife (he gives her another hug). You know, honestly, it’s my work, I don’t think of it that way – a lot of people ask me that. Especially when I’m doing surgery, I’m so focused on what I’m doing and the technical aspects of it and making it look right, there’s no time for me to be like, ‘this looks great.’ I look at my work and I’m asking, ‘OK’ how can I improve?’ To me, I’m always critiquing myself, and not the patient themselves – just trying to give them the results they’re looking for. So I don’t see it that way, and honestly, for me,  the one thing I’ve always done, is I always have a medical assistant with me at all times. I’m never alone with a patient. A lot of times in Pre-Op someone else is there with them as well: their husband, their mom, their boyfriend. So that’s a safety that protects them, and it protects me. 

Q: What made you want to do plastic surgery? Like in medical school, what made you choose that?

A: I always wanted to be a heart surgeon, actually, a cardiothoracic surgeon. Mindee knew me in high school, we dated, and that’s what I always wanted to be, but when I went to medical school, I was like, “Wait, their lives are terrible, what a horrible lifestyle! It felt like these guys were trying to improve other people’s quality of life, so why is their life so bad?” So I had an awakening moment, and I went to talk to the anesthesiologists, the ENT doctors, the ER, and I’m like, “what’s the true thing for me?” Then I went to the plastic surgery table and was thinking, “Ah man, all these guys do are boobs jobs and rhinoplasty.” That’s what I thought as a med student, and then the first thing they said when I sat down was, “We’re not all about boob jobs and rhinoplasty!” I started learning, “Oh my gosh, they do cleft lip, cleft pallet, they do hand surgery, reconstructive surgery, resculpt heads, bodies, transgender surgery, transplant surgery. It blew my mind!” The whole reconstructive aspect I LOVE, and I use those principles in my cosmetic practice, but that’s what drew me to it. It’s never boring.”

My viewers had some awesome questions, too, and I wanted to ask him a lot of these myself: 

Q: Can I get a mommy makeover if my BMI is over 35?

Mommy Makeover

A: So, I simply recommend a BMI under 30 for your safest and best results. We do work with patients to get them to that goal because you’re paying for this and I want you to enjoy it, and enjoy it alive.

Q: How big is too big?” (for breast implants)

A: The biggest silicone implant on the market right now is 800ccs. Some women – that might fit their chest pretty well. Whatever is too big and going to stretch your skin and ruin it, that’s gonna be too big. So it depends on your size chest to begin with – even smaller implants are too big for some women.

Q: Is 15 too young for Gynecomastia? Also, what is gynecomastia?

A: For guys, this is men that develop male breast tissue that enlarges almost as if they have breasts. So 15, I’ve done it on 15-year-olds. As long as we’ve talked to their primary doctor and we’ve been watching them, we can actually remove that tissue for them.”

Q: Thoughts on implant illness?

A: I get this question a lot. I do talk about this a lot on my own lives because it is kind of a longer topic. I do think that some women may have some sort of allergies. We don’t know enough yet. I think it’s actually rarer than we think, but definitely, if you get it, we should treat it.”

Q: Are tummy tucks dangerous?

A: So for any elective surgery, we talk about risks/dangers and benefits. In my mind, if the risks for that person are way more, or not worth taking for the benefit, I’m not even going to offer you surgery. There are risks for every surgery: you can bleed, you can have an infection. But they’re a really low-risk procedure. One risk we always talk about is blood clots and I do everything to inform my patients and prevent risks where I can. But the benefits to a tummy tuck are amazing, functionally, for a lot of women! Especially after having children, the muscles get separated and we put them back together again.

Q: Is there a certain age that you recommend people get certain work done? Is it post- or pre-kids… I mean, is it worth it if you’re 20 and getting surgery and getting kids, and then it’s like, ‘I guess I’ll just have to get it again’?

A: I think age definitely makes a difference and then if you want to have kids or not. It depends on what exactly you want to do at that point.

Q: Tell us your most embarrassing story

A: From Mindee! “OK, I have one. So, the OR staff was told to tell me sorry, that she felt really bad because the patient, as she was waking up, totally still out of it, said she had Rated R dreams about Dr. Chidister!

(Bah hahahaha! OK, isn’t that way more embarrassing for the patient?

Q: So what is the conversation you have with a patient before surgery to discuss the reasons they want a procedure?

A: That’s definitely a part of my conversation with every patient, is figuring out, not motive per se, but figuring out, ‘what is it they want?’ Because if it doesn’t make sense to me, cause I do this a lot, or just looking at what they’re telling me, and I don’t see it, then I really want to tease out why they want to do that, but honestly, it’s pretty rare. Most people are very reasonable. It’s rare for us to see someone who’s wanting to do something because their boyfriend is paying for it or something. I’ve had that before, and I tell the boyfriend to leave the room. They have nothing to do with the decision, so we’re not doing it! It’s rare, but that can happen. And at the end of the day, I don’t want to do something that they don’t want themselves, necessarily, to do, but for somebody else. It’s not going to fulfill the missing pieces in a relationship. It’s not gonna fix anything. Getting plastic surgery isn’t gonna fix that. 

In contrast to this, I want to end the article with a story that Mindee shared toward the end of our date:

“A husband came in, and he took my husband aside and said, ‘I want to thank you. My wife doesn’t get out of the shower and run and hide – wrap in a towel! She’ll stand there for a second, and she feels good.’ You know, because it’s about her. It’s not that she’s trying to show off to him or anything, but she didn’t feel like she needed to hurry and hide because she felt good about herself… It gets very emotional. You wouldn’t think that that plastic surgery would get emotional; you’d think it’s very vain, but it does – it gets very emotional. Patients cry.”kj