Having a NICU Baby Is It’s Own Trauma

Elizabeth Wieland is a stay-at-home mom and part-time preschool teacher in Phoenix, Arizona. Seven years ago, Elizabeth and her husband Jon endured one of life’s most unexpected and painful journeys: a pregnancy loss of one of their twins and a nearly four month stay in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) with their surviving son Jacob. Even though Jacob’s birth was a bright spot, memories of their time in the NICU still haunt them. This is their story, as told to Rachel Wells.

When my husband and I found out we were pregnant with twins, we were thrilled. We had been through two healthy pregnancies already—we knew the drill. But one day, while standing at the kitchen table working on a project with one of my boys, I felt something strange, almost like a pop, or a tiny gush, in my abdomen. Something was wrong.

My husband and I went to the hospital but they sent us home telling us not to worry—everything looked fine for my 16-week pregnancy. We had no idea until the 20-week ultrasound a few weeks later that the pop I’d felt was my water breaking for one of the twins. I was immediately put on bed rest and given a list of homework: check my temperature a few times a day, check for infection, drink a ton of fluids. With two kids already at home, it was a big ask but we were managing. But after four weeks of being on bedrest, the unthinkable happened: I started bleeding.

After initially rushing to the hospital only to be sent home with another non-diagnosis, we ultimately learned that Twin A had “demised.” I was shattered, the clinical terminology further splintering my heart.

Baby A hadn’t demised—my son had died.

Still in shock, we were sent home from the hospital but that evening, the bleeding returned, so we rushed back, terrified about the safety of the second fetus in my womb. I was admitted me to the hospital for closer monitoring, unsure how many of the remaining 24 weeks of my pregnancy I’d spend in a hospital bed. Every night when the nurses came to check on me, they would say, “Okay, stay pregnant.” Yeah, I’m trying here, I thought.

Still in the hospital, still on bedrest and now 23-weeks pregnant, I was feeling sick all the time. There were no signs of contractions, so my nurses believed my pain was just indigestion. But one night, after hobbling to the bathroom, I realized something much more serious was happening. After frantically buzzing my nurse, I learned my body was beginning to deliver the fetus of the demised twin. My son, the baby we’d already named Joel, was being born.

Throughout the night, the next day, and the following evening, I experienced contractions until baby Joel was delivered stillborn. I chose not to hold his body. It’s one of the biggest regrets of my life but at the time, it felt like the only way to hold onto my quickly eroding sanity. I needed every ounce of strength I could muster for Twin B, our son Jacob, who was still growing inside me.

For a few precious days, everything was calm. Then, Jacob’s water broke and at 23-weeks—just past the point of viability—my husband and I decided with our doctor it was time to have a C-section. I thought we were past the worst part, but as soon as our son Jacob was born, he was taken to the NICU—it would be his home for the next 115 days and entirely new type of trauma for me.

The NICU never leaves you. As soon as you walk through the automatic doors, the smell of disinfectant and loss works its way into your skin, imprinting itself in your memory.

A Tabloid Called the Hadids’ Books ‘Hot Accessories’ and People Have Thoughts

Every mundane happenstance in the lives of Gigi and Bella Hadid has become tabloid fodder at some point. Whether they’re leaving the house or wearing a thing, commentary on their movements and whereabouts is guaranteed. Recently, a tweet from a large publication about yet another average Hadid activity—carrying books, to be specific—is drawing eyes for the wrong reason.

Back at Fashion Week, both Hadid sisters were photographed carrying the books they’re currently reading. For Gigi, it’s Albert Camus’ French classic The Stranger. For Bella, it’s Stephen King’s thriller The Outsider. As a former English major and present-day book hoarder, I was excited to get a peek of what the Hadids are reading in their spare time, in case I could add them to my own reading list—and then I moved on.

The New York Post, however, had other ideas about their handheld literature. In a tweet to a story about their outfits, the newspaper called out their paperbacks as the “hot new accessory of 2019.” The accompanying story went on to imply that the models coordinated their outfits to their books, because a model would prefer to carry her book instead of reading it.

Calling books a “hot new accessory” is wrong for, well, many reasons. Number one, books have been in circulation for literal centuries (look it up); “hot new” trends usually have an expiration date. Number two, calling their books out as accessories—ornamental and for show—somewhat implies that the Hadid sisters are more interested in the appearance of reading and less in the substance of reading itself. Even if you can appreciate how a nice book cover looks propped up next to a latte on Instagram, you have to admit that this language is a little absurd.

It might have been meant as a joke or a way to bring their reading choices into the conversation, but the tweet didn’t go over well. I wasn’t the only one who took notice and had questions—the reactions on Twitter were swift. Publishers like Scholastic Books and Little Brown Co, and social media users shared the same opinion on the matter: Books aren’t anything “new,” and designating them as an “accessory” because Gigi and Bella Hadid carried them is low-key condescending to both.

Trivializing women who happen to be successful and beautiful, and also enjoy immersing themselves in literature, also isn’t anything new. Take last winter for example, when Amber Heard shared a shocking story from her experience on the set of Aquaman. She enjoyed reading between takes while they were filming, until costar Jason Momoa would tear pages out of her books to get her attention. “He adopted this method of ripping out the pages of my book so I would pay attention to him,” Heard told ABC NEWs last year. “It would drive me crazy because I’d have 30 pages left and it would be gone.”

The Post has a history of designating normal and otherwise unremarkable things as “trends” just because they’re associated with women. (Remember when it tried to call cleavage a “movement” in 2017?) Whether Gigi and Bella Hadid had “stepped out” with their books or not, books are doing just fine without them. Print book sales actually rose 1.9 percent in 2018, according to Publisher’s Weekly. An endorsement from a celebrity from what to buy to how to vote never hurts—but in this case, that wasn’t the point.

So when a model leaves the house with a book in her hand, it’s not a “fashion moment.” It’s something they’re entitled to do like everyone else. Gigi and Bella, keep on keeping on with your books. Also, hit me up if you need a recommendation.

Halie LeSavage is the fashion associate at Glamour. Follow her @halielesavage and @haliereads.

The Best Products From Charlotte Tilbury Worth Your Money

No one does glamour like Charlotte Tilbury, the legendary makeup artist responsible for the looks of countless celebrities (she even did Amal Clooney’s wedding-day makeup. She’s famous in the beauty world for sleeping in a full-on smoky eye (legend has it her husband has never seen her without makeup on), and in 2013, she launched her namesake beauty line in order to share some of her signature bombshell glam with the world. Like Charlotte’s makeup style, the line focuses on gorgeous, glowing skin, rock-inspired smoky eyes, and plush lips. And it’s all really good.

Chances are if you ask any makeup lover what to buy from the line they’ll point you in the direction of one of Charlotte’s cult products, such as the universally flattering Pillow Talk Lipstick or Filmstar Bronze & Glow for a natural contour, but the rest of the collection is just as strong. However, with products this luxe, you want to be sure you’re getting the right fit for you, so the line can be a little intimidating. Fear not, as we’ve been testing the collection since it’s inception, and know what’s worth the investment. Read on for the products our editors can’t live without.

Lady Gaga Has Reportedly Been Spending ‘a Lot of Time’ With Jeremy Renner

I have some sad news for the people problematically shipping Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper: she might—and this is a big might—be seeing someone else. According to Us Weekly, Mother Monster has recently been hanging out with actor Jeremy Renner

But not so fast: Sources tell the magazine Gaga and Renner’s relationship isn’t romantic yet. All we know, at this point, is the two are allegedly “spending a lot of time” together.

Gaga’s legion of Little Monsters claim to have receipts that at least prove she and Renner are friendly. According to one fan, the two stars hung out at the Black Rabbit Rose in Los Angeles last week, where Gaga gave an impromptu jazz performance. A Jeremy Renner Twitter fan account posted a video of Gaga’s performance and claims you can hear his voice in the background. Of course, take both of these tidbits with grains of salt. We won’t know anything definitive about Renner and Gaga’s relationship until either of them says something.

Fans on Twitter are more confused about this rumored coupling than anything else:

This is the second romance rumor involving Lady Gaga to pop up this year. As I mentioned earlier, some people are convinced she and her A Star Is Born co-star Bradley Cooper are an item, even though he has a girlfriend and child. Their intimate performance of “Shallow” at the 2019 Oscars gave this rumor new life—but Gaga shut it down during an interview with Jimmy Kimmel.

“Yes, people saw love and guess what? That’s what we wanted you to see,” Gaga said, chocking up her and Cooper’s chemistry to just good acting. “[Shallow] is a love song; A Star Is Born is a love story. It was so important to both of us that we were connected the entire time…. When you’re singing love songs, that’s what you want people to feel.”

7 Causes of Pain During Sex—And What to Do About Them

Pain during sex isn’t totally uncommon—we’ve all felt the cringe that follows not using enough lube. Around 12 to 16 percent of women report consistently painful sex, says Deborah Coady, M.D., a New York City ob-gyn and author of Healing Painful Sex, and many more that that experience periodic pain.

If you do have any pain during the action, it’s important to pay attention. First things first: determine if the pain is transient (an occasional occurrence) or consistent (a regular problem you’ve had more than two or three times in a row), says Dr. Coady. Next, analyze the situation when the pain occurs: What’s going on in your body when you’re experiencing that pain? Are you in an uncomfortable position? What is your emotional comfort like? Do you have any infections? Where are you in your cycle? That will help your ob-gyn figure out for sure what’s going on.

Here are the most common reasons you might feel pain during sex—and when to talk to your doctor.

Having sex when you’re not fully lubed up can be seriously uncomfortable. “The tissues are not engorged and lubricated and ready,” says Dr. Coady. Luckily, there’s a pretty easy fix. If you’re not getting naturally aroused, spend more time on foreplay. But even with foreplay, some women need a little extra help (and that’s totally okay). Look for a lube that’s water-based (aka formulated without oil) if you’re using condoms.

Another major culprit of transient pain is certain personal care products, says Dr. Coady. These include “creams and douches and contact irritants such as soaps,” she says. These products are often full of chemicals that can be irritating to the super sensitive skin on your vulva and inside your vagina. If you have any sort of issue, ask for a recommendation from your gyno and if you have any sort of irritation—or worse, an allergic reaction—after trying a new product—stop using it immediately and call your doctor.

Yeast infections and urinary tract infections can make sex really uncomfortable. While these things are generally easy to treat on their own, Dr. Coady says they can be exacerbated (or first be made evident) by sex. Your doctor will likely advise you to forgo sex while you’re being treated for the infection. If the pain doesn’t resolve, don’t be afraid to head back to your doctor for a follow-up. “If there’s pain in the bladder and it’s consistent and antibiotics don’t work, that should really be evaluated,” Dr. Coady says.

Both of these issues—especially bloat—can cause pelvic pain during sex. But, as Dr. Coady points out, they should be short-lived. If it’s a consistent problem, let your doctor know.

In some cases, the pain is more constant than situational, which could be a sign of a chronic issue like vestibulodynia—”an inflammatory disorder or process that occurs in the tissue at the vaginal opening,” says Dr. Coady. Eighty percent of consistent sexual pain in women (pre-menopause) is caused by vestibulodynia, she adds. The condition causes pain when the sensitive area is provoked in any way, sexual or not—even by a tampon. If you’re having pain at the opening of your vagina on a regular basis, get it checked out to know for sure if this is the case, and to get treatment.

The muscles in your vagina might tense up due to vestibulodynia, but it can also be a sign of more serious conditions like interstitial cystitis or painful bladder syndrome. These conditions can cause the muscles to become shortened or overactive, Dr. Coady says, because they’re reacting to another issue in your body. Your doctor may refer you to a pelvic floor physical therapist.

Whether there’s an ongoing issue or not, it’s important to “know your anatomy,” Dr. Coady says. “Know how you look and know your baseline of feeling fine,” she says. If you feel something outside of that baseline, always get it checked out. “Never ignore pain,” Dr. Coady says.

More importantly, don’t let anyone tell you it’s just in your head. “The most important thing is self-advocacy,” Dr. Coady says. “If your doctor says they don’t see anything and it must be in your head, the mistake would be to not change doctors. Anyone who says they can’t help you, or that there’s nothing there, is not the right doctor.”

Beto O’Rourke Is Running for President, and Progressive Women Have Mixed Feelings

When I first heard two years ago that Beto O’Rourke, a relatively unknown Texas congressman from El Paso without any flashy national legislative wins, was running against swamp monster Ted Cruz for the latter’s Texas Senate seat, I had a similar reaction to a lot of people: Go for it, dude. Why not?

And like a lot of people, when I saw the lavish magazine profiles and never-ending Facebook Live videos and sweat-soaked blue button-downs, I got excited. Texas needed this win. Democratic organizers in states put for decades in the “Lean Red” and “Solid Red” columns needed this win. And with so much on the line in the 2018 midterms, progressives nationwide needed this win. I believed Beto O’Rourke’s message could inspire action from generation of activists and voters for years to come. And even after he lost, I hoped we’d see him again in the future.

So when news broke that O’Rourke was gearing up for a presidential run, you’d think I’d jump for joy. But I didn’t.

As a candidate in the Texas Senate race, O’Rourke radiated promise and optimism, an avatar for Democrats who’d had little to cheer for in such a historically conservative state. As a candidate on the national stage, however, he looks a lot less like the future we’d hope for. Even against just the other white men in this race (or about to get in it) like former Vice President Joe Biden, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Mayor Pete Buttigieg, it’s hard to say what Beto O’Rourke brings to the table other than potentially a Best Personality™ superlative.

It’s hard not to be skeptical, too, about O’Rourke’s personality-driven bid when former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams and former Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum are putting their post-election efforts towards initiatives like rebuilding Georgia’s entire election system and creating a voter registration group in Florida, respectively. (Abrams may yet announce a run for higher office, but if and when she does, it’ll be backed up with clear policy objectives that she’s detailing now.) If O’Rourke truly wants to do the “greatest good” for America as he claims, why not focus on uprooting structural inequality on the ground and making it easier for the most vulnerable Americans to have their voices heard and their needs met? What does running an ambiguous presidential campaign achieve?

There’s a big difference between O’Rourke running unopposed against Ted Cruz, one of the more unpopular members of Congress, and O’Rourke running against a slate of candidates in one of the most diverse primary fields—both in terms of identities and ideology—in presidential campaign history. Against Cruz, the common criticism that O’Rourke was low in ideological direction, policy proposals, and legislative accomplishments faded into the background. Now it’s unmissable. To his credit, O’Rourke has tried to better define where he stands—but his platform seems mostly to draw on the ideas that more liberal-leaning peers have put forward, with few signature ideas of his own. He’s supported a few more progressive efforts like the Green New Deal and ending narcotics prohibition and legalizing marijuana, though he’s also rescinded his support of single-payer healthcare for a more moderate option called Medicare for America.

Some see this mix-and-match politics as a positive. “Him being so focused on talking to people, listening to people, and inspiring people at the start of this campaign in combination with sharing those policies is an important balance for me,” says New York-based editor Olivia, who asked not to use her last name. “I can see how it is energizing young people in the party and even people beyond the party and that excites me—I feel like that should be something we’re all cheering on, whether he’s our number-one choice or not.”

Emilia Clarke Almost Had to Leave *Game of Thrones* Because of Two Brain Aneurysms

In a new essay for The New Yorker, actress Emilia Clarke reveals she suffered from two brain aneurysms that almost caused her to leave Game of Thrones.

The first happened when she was 24 years old, shortly after filming season one of the series. She was working out at the gym, when she had a severe headache that brought her to her knees. In the bathroom, feeling nauseous and in pain, she knew something was very wrong, and was rushed to the ER. The aneurysm and surgery brought on some temporary aphasia—a language impairment condition—and it was so terrifying she thought she’d never act again.

“My job—my entire dream of what my life would be—centered on language, around communication. Without that, I was lost,” Clarke writes in The New Yorker.

At her darkest moments in the hospital, Clarke thought she was going to die—and she wanted to. “Even as I was muttering nonsense, my mum did me the great kindness of ignoring it and trying to convince me that I was perfectly lucid,” Clarke writes. “But I knew I was faltering. In my worst moments, I wanted to pull the plug. I asked the medical staff to let me die.”

During the first procedure, they saw that she had a second aneurysm and monitored it closely. A follow-up brain scan revealed it had doubled in size, and she’d need a second operation. This was after season three of Thrones, and this surgery was the worst for Clarke. She recalls waking up from the procedure in “screaming pain.” “The procedure had failed. I had a massive bleed and the doctors made it plain that my chances of surviving were precarious if they didn’t operate again,” she writes, later adding, “I do remember being convinced that I wasn’t going to live.” At one point, doctors even told her mother that she wouldn’t make it, and if she did, she’d be severely brain damaged.

Clarke also worried that news of her condition would leak, and a National Enquirer article mentioned it, but when a reporter asked about it, she denied it. She endured much of the early Game of Thrones press days in pain. In her New Yorker Radio Hour interview, Clarke recalls sipping morphine in between the interviews.

Now, however, Clarke says she’s 100 percent recovered. “In the years since my second surgery I have healed beyond my most unreasonable hopes,” Clarke writes. She’s since started a charity called SameYou that aims to “provide treatment for people recovering from brain injuries and stroke.”

As she approaches the end of Game of Thrones—season 8 debuts April 14—she feels tremendous gratitude “to my mum and brother, to my doctors and nurses, to my friends,” Clarke writes. “Every day, I miss my father, who died of cancer in 2016, and I can never thank him enough for holding my hand to the very end.”

Read more of Emilia Clarke‘s New Yorker interview here.

The 18 Best Spring Dresses Under $200

Spring is (finally) here, and if the warmer weather has you scrolling through Fashion Week street style or your Instagram feed for outfit inspiration, you’ve already seen that there’s one dress style that’ll rule supreme this year: the short-sleeve button-down. Designers continue to embrace vintage-inspired silhouettes like this one and are trying it in a mix of playful patterns and bold colors (and short and long lengths). And brands like Reformation, Gal Meets Glam, and Mango have versions that are easy on the wallet, coming in under $200.

What better way to jump headfirst into the season than with a new spring dress (or two)? Consider it a quick fix for that postwinter wardrobe rut. Check out 18 of our favorite under-$200 dresses right now.

Courteney Cox Visited the *Friends* Apartment and Had Some Thoughts

Courteney Cox is pretty new to the Instagram game, but she’s crushing it. One of the things that makes her a great follow is how game she is to give us all the Friends content we desire. Her very first post featured Lisa Kudrow, Ellen Degeneres, and a perfect recreation of the Central Perk. Jennifer Aniston has made an appearance. And all her throwbacks are stellar.

In her latest post, Cox shared a short video of herself walking up to the Friends building in New York City, a.k.a. the exterior used as the home of Monica, Rachel, Chandler, and Joey during the show’s 10-year run. The actress joked to friends off-camera that she was “going home” to the now-iconic West Village site.

The nostalgia is fun for us all, but Courteney Cox’s caption also summed up what it’s like trying to afford rent in major American cities: “The One Where My Rent Went Up $12,000.”

Check it out for yourself, below:

She’s joking, but there’s definitely some truth here. According to a recent Quinnipiac poll, 41 percent of New York City residents say they can’t cope with the high cost of living, and a separate 41 percent fear they’ll be forced to move somewhere else for economic reasons.

Rising rent isn’t just a New York problem, either. A new study in the journal Urban Studies shows rent burden and economic inequality is on the rise in many American towns and cities. According to the study, the most rent-burdened county in the U.S. is actually Orange County, Florida where 53 percent of low-income households spend more than half of their income on rent.

Income inequality is already shaping up to be a major issue for 2020 presidential candidates. It will be interesting to see how each plans to address the situation affecting so many Americans.

Veja Sneakers Review: I Bought Vejas After Meghan Markle Wore Them

I didn’t appreciate the value of comfortable shoes until I turned 26. Before then, I had walked around New York City exclusively in a pair of high-heeled Chelsea boots—and before long, I ended up with fractured several bones in my foot, and my doctor blamed my shoes. Turns out you should change-up your footwear more often. Lesson learned: I needed to find a pair of comfortable, yet chic sneakers to wear 24/7 instead.

On my search for the perfect pair, I tried out several popular styles like the Adidas Shelltoe and the Nike Cortez. They had the elevated part down with their minimal color block designs, but they never really withstood the test of time. (I walk a lot.) I needed to buy a new pair every three or four months, which was an inconvenience for my wallet (not to mention terrible for the environment). So, I started to do research on brands that might be more sustainable. That’s when I came across Veja, an ethical footwear brand that has developed a cult following.

I’d scrolled by actors (like Emma Watson and Emily Ratajkowski) and influencers (like Jacey Duprie from Damsel in Dior) alike sporting the same minimal sneakers on Instagram without hitting ‘purchase.’ What finally convinced to buy my own? A royal Veja spotting. After I saw Meghan Markle break out her Veja sneakers during her Australian tour with Prince Harry last year, I decided I must have them in my life.

I’ve always been a fan of Markle’s laid-back style and admire how she uses her spotlight to promote smaller, eco-friendly brands. She wore her Vejas with a casual black top and jeans, somehow looking much more stylish than I do when I roll down the street to get my coffee on the weekends. If these sneakers are good enough for a duchess, I thought, then they’re certainly good enough for me. Unfortunately, the rest of the world felt that way too. The shoes were sold out in nearly every where I looked—both in store and online.

Fast forward a few weeks later. After searching and searching, I hit the jackpot when I found them restocked in my size at Nordstrom. I chose Veja’s Espalar style for its minimal black and white design and ordered them immediately. Because they’re so simple, they go with everything from long flowy dresses to a jeans and a blazer. I never think twice about wearing them to work, even at a fashion-forward office like Glamour.

It’s not just that Veja sneakers are comfortable and versatile. I can feel good wearing them knowing that they were ethically made, which can’t be said for all sneakers. Veja sources cotton directly from fair trade-certified farming associations in Brazil and Peru, while the leather is upcycled from leftover tilapia on fish farms.

My Vejas only have one minor downside: It took a couple of wears to break them in. (Tip: Don’t wear them barefoot right out of the box.) The effort paid off, though. These days, it feels like I’m walking on clouds. My feet never get tired, even after wandering around the city for 20K steps or more. All that walking hasn’t dulled their shine, either. With the help of a magic eraser, my Vejas stay spotless—perfect for a clean sneaker snob like me.

Thanks to Duchess Meghan Markle, I’ve been united with the perfect pair of sneakers. It’s only been 6 weeks and I’m already screaming about my love for Veja from the rooftops. (And from my Instagram, of course.)