nourishing & unapologetic
Baby-making and infertility have their own alphabet.
Raise your hand if you agree?!
All of these abbreviations become your every day vocabulary during this process. Whether you just started trying or it’s been a long road, these combinations of letters are familiar. And, for once I wish I didn’t have a mastery of words, that I didn’t know these definitions.
Or, that I was clueless and still thought you just got married, decided to have kids, did the deed, and then 9 months later brought home a newborn.
This process, this hurdle, this hiccup, this mountain we've been assigned -- what a doozy.
Nicholas and I are 1 in 8. ONE in EIGHT couples who have struggled with conceiving a babe, carrying to term, and becoming parents.
I’ve never been one for math, (and if you are, that’s a 12.5% chance) but that means more than likely you know someone else struggling with unfulfilled dreams of being mommas and daddies. We're also 1 in 4 to have endured a miscarriage.
This week, during National Infertility Awareness Week, we’re helping #FlipTheScript. We’re turning those acronyms into meaning. We’re telling our story.
We've been not preventing, trying, not trying, and trying for the bulk of three years.
We’ve had one BFP on an HPT — that's a big fat positive on an at home pregnancy test.
But we’ve also had a D&C because of a missed miscarriage.
We would have been 8 months along this very week.
We haven't done IUI or IVF and are uncertain if we will.
We made a miracle that was too good for Earth and we pray we’re lucky enough for a second chance.
Long ago now, we learned our ABCs. And as much as we didn’t ask for it, we’ve got this alphabet down too.
For now, these letters are the only ones I’m going to focus on, and encourage you to, too:
Y-O-U and M-E
That's right we've got a fan club and prayer squad like no other.
We've got genuine, soul-smiling hope.
And until it’s our turn, we will talk about trying.
We will still celebrate baby joy for others.
We will still love life. Every ounce of it. The good and the bummers.
Because we were made for this.
We can do hard things.
And so can you.
Until next time,
This Thanksgiving was supposed to be different. In fact, it was supposed to be one for the books.
A holiday we would claim as a favorite for years to come.
It was ordinary. It was good. We had our families in a joint Thanksgiving. (Yes, joint, because our families are that awesome. We can have both immediate sides together to feast and no one bats an eye. #theluckiest)
What it wasn't... it was no longer the signal of our second trimester beginning.
Ooooopppphhhfffff. Yep, there it is.
Our beautiful baby announcement wrapped up into a single sad sentence instead of glowing photos and letterboards.
Thanksgiving would have made us 14 weeks pregnant. We were supposed to get to tell the world of our joy and that a sweet Baby B would soon be here. We were supposed to get to wear funny tees like this.
We were supposed to get to post on Facebook and Instagram photos showing how clueless Shaggy and Garth (and us) were of what was to come and thank each of you for sharing in our excitement.
Instead you're getting this blog post to announce we had a miscarriage.
Our babe grew for at least seven to eight weeks. He or she was loved for every single second of those days and is still being loved every single second.
And our babe was a miracle.
You see, you all have no context. Because I haven't shared a very private part of our story. This babe was 2.5 years in the making. 2.5 years down our road of growing our family. But, unexplained infertility has been an uninvited, unwelcome, and wretched guest on this journey. You see, all those times when well-meaning family and friends have asked us about having kids, letting us know it was time to begin to start our family, or that we should get to work filling up all the rooms in our new house, what you didn't know was that we were trying. And, trying. And, trying/not-trying with no luck. So, when I kindly smiled, or laughed it off saying we have pups, or joked it away saying we're too busy just managing each other... I was deflecting. I was saying it is none of your business. I was saying, please, just don't assume that we're not having kids because we're selfish, or ill-prepared, or something else negative. I was saying if only you knew how much we want that too.
When you've been a planner your entire life, you don't plan for things like this. You don't ever think you'll be one of the women who has trouble (except it is TOTALLY more common than you imagine!). You never dream that the four kids you knew you'd have may not actually ever become a reality. You never even consider that things won't fall closely to the imaginary timeline you've set forth. EXCEPT THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENS.
I've been relatively healthy. I've never had any of these types of women's health issues. Nick was in the 99-th percentile on his health exam for life insurance. I mean c'mon on. How can it be that we can't produce a healthy babe? HOOOOOOWWWWWW is this freaking possible?
Well, frankly, I don't know. And pretty much, neither does KU. Yes, we've been to see a specialist. Yes, we've had tests and conversations and more tests and conversations. What we know is we were told we would probably never have children without intervention of some sort.
Well, we must have had intervention from the universe and Heaven, because Baby B made his or her unexpected presence known in mid-September on the heels of celebrating the union of one of our favorite couples. The thought of being pregnant never dawned on me until a wave of nausea knocked me to my knees, and it did. Four positive tests later, and blood work the following week, confirmed it. A miracle upon miracles had occurred.
And we were OVER THE MOON.
Literally, shocked and surprised in the very best of ways.
All my tests and blood work showed we were in good shape. Progressing just right. But we didn't tell a single soul because I wanted sight and sound confirmation.
We went for our nine-week ultrasound with eager anticipation. We'd planned a surprise get together so we could tell our closest family about the secret we'd been keeping. We began brainstorming how to pivot on the room that would become the nursery. And then at the appointment we saw in grainy black and white, our miracle. What a relief! BUT... then the doctor questioned how far along we thought we were and then said he couldn't find a heartbeat. And the air left my lungs and the room. And Nick just squeezed my hand a little tighter.
And there it was. And wasn't. All in the same moment.
The long and short of it, we were told we needed more blood work to confirm that a miscarriage was pending. But that blood work came back not indicative of what was expected. So, we had to wait two more excruciating weeks to see if maybe we were behind on the dating or if in fact my body just hadn't gotten the memo that our babe had stopped growing. At eleven weeks, we got the news we already knew, our miracle wasn't growing and there still wasn't a heartbeat. It was a missed miscarriage. And, with that we scheduled a D&C because my body wasn't going to miscarry on its own.
The picture I led this post with was from the morning of our surgery. Unfiltered, raw, and emotionally charged. But we consciously, unconsciously smiled. We smiled because it's who we are. We smiled because we had each other. We smiled because we had created a life. We smiled because we were part of a miracle. We smiled because sadness can't sneak in when you're filled with love and positivity. I, also, smiled because I've had Nick by my side through all of this without pause and with great resolve.
And now we're three weeks post procedure. And, for all intents and purposes, we're in a good place. We have had time to process. And we've had a lot of distractions (thank you home building!). And, we've got our sights fixed on the bright spot in all of this: WE GOT PREGNANT ON OUR OWN.
We've tried to keep this whole trying time really positive. Don't get me wrong, it sucks. It is enormously sucky, and sad, and heartbreaking. And unfair. For us. And for our families. We've taken solace in knowing we got pregnant once so hopefully we'll be blessed enough for it to happen again. We painted what will one day be the nursery "Dusty Olive." It's fitting that the color we previously picked and purchased pre-pregnancy, apparently, symbolizes hope, understanding, a meeting of will and heart, and a new life. The universe always provides what we need and I am never one to overlook symbolism and providence.
I've also taken comfort in knowing that infertility and miscarriages are more prevalent than many know. Our society makes this part of parenthood hard, kind of taboo, and quiet. Sharing isn't something that we readily do because this part of life is messy and private. Infertility and miscarriage aren't easy to experience, talk about, or reconcile. They are gut-wrenching. They are tear-filled. They are terrible.
Throughout our healing process, I've learned about many more women and couples who have struggled with infertility and/or loss than I ever knew. Which is why after much tumult and heartburn, I decided to blog about this part of our lives. Words are my therapy and this is my space. Often times blogs and social media posts are our highlight reels. It's where we go to share our good stuff. But we don't put the hard stuff, the real stuff, and the ugly sad stuff out there because we don't want to be judged or to be thought of as seeking attention. If we talk more, and share more of the real, we might also realize no one has the perfect life. No one has it all together. At the end of the day, we are all human beings, sharing the same planet, trying to navigate life the best we can and reach the end of each day relatively unscathed.
With specific regard to infertility, few talk about the ugliness of ovulation predictor kits, diet changes, charting, medicines, and the process of baby-making. Few talk about how freaking hard it is to see baby announcements, newborns, and adorable toddler or family pics flood our newsfeeds and pinspiration boards. Few talk about how you have to quell jealousy like a boss when even your closest friends share they are expecting or talk about their #momlife/#dadlife. Fewer talk about how you have to resist the urge to scream "quit complaining about your kids' behavior, your stretch marks, or your exhaustion because I'd trade you in a heartbeat."
BUT, they are very much reality.
One of the best comments I received during this whole rollercoaster ride came from a longtime family friend, who experienced both a struggle to get pregnant and miscarriage, she said in effect, 'this is going to be hard but remember throughout all of it, no one is going to know exactly how you feel or even understand. They will try. Just know the feelings you feel are yours, and whatever they are, they are right.' Talk about a load off of my shoulders. That is the truest of trues. The emotions are like a Six Flags mega coaster, one you didn't willing get on even though you may have stood in line for it.
If we, those of us in this camp, share more we may realize we're not alone in irrational shame and guilt, palpable frustration, and utter sadness we feel. We might start to take comfort in that we actually did everything right including our vitamins, our nutrition, our scaling back on activities, our quest for more rest. We may realize the range of emotions from high to low is absolutely acceptable. And, maybe we'll realize this was so out of our actual control that we understand we couldn't have predicted this outcome and surely couldn't have done anything to prevent it. And, finally, hopefully, we'll reconcile that after a loss, it's okay to get back to routine, to laugh, and to try find "normal" again, sooner rather than later.
Sometimes you run life like a baller. Sometimes life owns you. And, the latter has been my case in this brief season. I've earnestly worked to squelch and squash the ugh-ness of everything, on most days better than the other few. I've tried to find routine in my 8-5er. I've stepped away from one of my side hustles only to be more immersed in the other. For a few weeks, I've quietly, quasi-intentionally taken a social media posting break for the most part as I recognized I didn't have the energy or desire to cultivate my content or wholly participate in communications. I also still fulfilled a commitment to a committee I was serving on that reminded me of who I've been (and who I am still), what has helped shaped me, where I want to be, and what kind of world I am dedicated to helping create for our future babes. Our actions, as well as our reactions, matter. And, it's these moments that make us.
My wish for myself, and those who've experienced this, and those who are yet to: know this does NOT define you. You have so many things that can't be taken away -- strength, intelligence, ambition, friendships, true love, quirks, funny talents, and potential. You have mercy and honor. You were a whole person before, and though it might feel like something was ripped away without permission, you are still whole. Now, you might not be exactly the same, but you are still Y-O-U. You have grit and a fire in your belly. And, above all, you can still have hope. You are enough now, as you were before, and your life is still being blissfully and wonderfully written. So, find your therapy -- cooking, running, crafting, shopping, organizing, reading, praying, or serving. Or mesh them all together. Find what brings you back to you.
Even though I know very little about any of this, save for my own experience, and what I've learned from the experiences of others, I know enough to ask you all -- those in our same boat, the parents of the world, the ones who had it easier than some of us, and the ones who have opted not to take part in this part of life (yet or forever)--, let's all give each other some grace.
Y'all, let's not put our perceptions, assumptions, and expectations on others. Let's let everyone take their own path. Let's agree there is no one right way people should move through marriage, parenthood, infertility, or loss. Let's not shove alternatives, whether it be adoption or otherwise, in their faces. Let's let each other honor his or her own pace. Let's accept that "starting a family" doesn't have to mean adding children; it's selecting who you surround yourself with. (which BTW, I already have a family, one I adore in its current status and the one I'll have in the future.)
Let's love a little more, pray a little more, laugh a little more, share a little more and just let each other be.
In hope, with positivity, and with unstoppable determination, until next time,
ps for those of you who we consider our nearest and dearest, who are reading this and finding this out along with the world, we didn't tell many folks. We didn't intentionally not tell you, or mean to leave you out. We didn't keep it from you on purpose. We hope you'll understand that this isn't something you just want to drop on anyone in casual conversation or at a holiday or birthday event, especially to those we don't see as often as we'd like. So, please give us a pass on not notifying you in person or via phone. It doesn't mean we don't value you or consider you trustworthy of an event of this magnitude. It just means we've been in a fog. We've bumbled a lot of stuff in the last few weeks.
pps thank you to those of you who have lent support, kindness, and space during this time. We so appreciate your presence in our lives. And, a special thank you to our families for your love and quiet patience and undeniable positivity.
Google home. Go on, do it. (But don't leave this page, just open a new tab...and come back soon, we've got catching up to do!)
Did you see the multitude of definitions, images, maps trying to direct you to it, advertisements promising to improve it, witty quotes about it?
Yep. Broad concept, little word.
And in the true juxtaposition only our world can offer, a home is one of the largest investments an individual or family ever makes.
396 days, that's how long Nick and I owned our first home. Long enough to try our hand at a little renovation action and brief enough to not get settled.
No, you didn't blink and miss a post. I have been horribly remiss in keeping Born Daily, well, daily. Ahem, okay, it's more like not even monthly... I can't even apologize well for the absence because I am not sure why I wasn't staying connected. I can assure you I was still cooking recipes you would have loved and the scale can confirm I've been eating... We had other cool content-worthy things occurring too... Let's call it an unintentional over-extended interruption in programming and move over the hump.
Enough of the side notes, to recap, one year ago Nick and I purchased a house. We didn't necessarily pick this house because it was the perfect option for us or because it was move-in ready (it really wasn't!). While it met our basic criteria, we purchased this house primarily for its potential, its resale ease, and, frankly, because it was available in our price range.
In the first days, weeks, and months, our home was a renovation/construction/DIY zone. (Nick has an aversion to "DIY" but that's a conversation for another time...) This house is a teenager in age and not at all a fixer upper of the Chip and Joanna Gaines realm. It was a nice house with modern amenities, up-to-date code, and a solid structure. It just wasn't fresh or our taste; it needed serious updating and refreshing.
Here's the run down of what the house was treated to:
Our families were tremendously helpful in our initial move and updating process and we couldn't have done it without their willingness and knowledge. I thanked the heavens above daily for allowing my husband the ability to do projects on a whim and follow-through with them with no outside expertise.
Okay, now the part you all really want to see: the BEFORE and AFTER pics. I can tell you when I look at these pictures I don't see the dramatic transformation that it seemed like it was as we were completing the work. The house has a different feel now largely because we we are in a different stage in our lives than the previous owners. (The before pictures are from the Zillow For Sale By Owner listing, the afters are our listing pictures taken by me this May.)
Not too shabby, right? We got it just how we mostly wanted it. Then, we promptly put a For Sale sign in the front lawn. Sure, we bought it for the resale opportunity but didn't really plan to take advantage of the location and market quite so soon.
But, the universe works in mysterious ways. Nick was doing well professionally in his main role as a school psych with the local special education cooperative and with his rental maintenance man work by choice. So when the opportunity for him to work in his profession back to where we grew up presented itself, we, surprisingly, and with only about a millisecond of hesitation, jumped on it. Within 48 hours we went from "fine where we were" to inserting a bit of unbelieveable-ness into our lives. As fate would have it, I got my real estate license in late 2015 and was building my business in early 2016 so I was able to sell our house. And once it was on the market, less than 48 hours later we had two full-price offers. And 30 days later, it's a done deal. We're are no longer homeowners. I guess 48 hours is all we need for major life events.
It's been a good house. Within it's walls we've had a proposal (for Nick's sister and our favorite Brazilian), my 30th birthday party, our 2nd anniversary, Garth's 2nd birthday and Shaggy's 10th, the beginning of a new side career, and more. Homes are built with love and even in our single year with this house, we've made built some memories.
Recently, we loaded up our life in a 26' U-haul truck and over the course of three days, seven trips and 1,022 miles, we found our way back to the openness and comfort of a more rural life. Yes, for those who know the homeland, we're now home.
I haven't the foggiest what I'll be doing in a full-time capacity yet though I have had a few interviews and have some applications out, but I'll still be doing real estate and maybe trying to ramp up this blog a bit. I have a few other ideas rattling around in my brain too, but we'll see if I'm brave enough (errr, crazy enough) to pursue them. We are now on the hunt for a solid shack/dump that can be loved back to a happy home that can then be a rental property when we're ready to build. At least that's the plan anyway...
We are glad to have had just shy of three years of new experiences, new connections and friends, and lots of personal and professional growth away from home. We're excited to be back near our families and friends, we're happy to be within minutes of special events and milestones, and, we're grateful not to make that dull, annoying trek to and from on the weekends.
We are thankful for the basement at my in-laws they have graciously allowed us to crash in, with pups in tow, until we find our fixer-upper. We are thankful for my parents who have listened to all the qualms this process has brought and have opened their home to us too. We are appreciative for our friends, new and old, who have accepted this transition with support and smiles.
I guess the world is right, there is no place like home.
This is the part where I need to give the shout out of all shout outs to my husband. I often say he is such a handy man. And, he is. But I need to clarify, he's got skills. Major, legit skills. Nick never ceases to amaze me with his aptitude of practical, applicable knowledge and his ability to innovate, rig, and create. He can fix anything and isn't afraid to use ingenuity and research to address projects. He isn't this way by accident though. It likely natural talent enhanced by a great teacher and loads of experience. Until his early 20s, Nick spent nearly every day working alongside with his Pa, Dave. I can unequivocally say this has infinitely impacted his life and his talents. His Pa helped him develop the greatest treasure one could ever want- the ability to use one's hands coupled with an equal work ethic. I am so grateful to the man I never truly met, but imagine I must see glimpses of daily in his grandson, my husband. This house couldn't have come as far as it did without Nick's patience and sweat. Thank you, lovebird! I can't wait to get started on the next one...
Until next time-
Did you survive? It's the first working Monday of 2016...(insert the expletive or exclamation here based on your day). Mine, well it was fairly decent. After all, I had two full weeks, uh huh 14 glorious days, away from the office. The time off was awesome. We basically celebrated the holidays and then hibernated. After being routine-less for an extended time, we can only expect so much from a single day.
But that's neither here nor there. I'd like to include an new segment on the ol' blog. It may be more spontaneous than weekly but we're going to give it a go.
So on this very first Make It Happen Monday, I'd like to revisit the challenge I issued myself nearly a year ago: cutting the cable cord. I love TV. Like really, I do. I have a TV above my fridge so I can watch and cook, for goodness sakes. Plus, I was a lucky kid, for multiple various reasons, but for one, I had cable! Like probably since birth...I don't remember a time when we didn't have more than the Big 3 channels. Seriously! I didn't realize it was a rarity but my husband assures me that not all kids grew up with variety. For the record, I didn't squander that blessing, I watched all the shows any kid would have loved like Dragnet, I Love Lucy, and Bewitched on Nick at Nite, Get Smart, Charlie's Angels, Designing Women, and the A-Team. Oh, and, plenty of Food Network. Ahem, isn't that what every precocious child watched? No, well, I've never claimed to be normal.
When I moved out on my own I budgeted for cable, albeit basic, but this meant I'd have more than the primetime networks. But sheesh, that privilege gets expensive even without a lot of options.
As Nick and I prepared to buy our house we spent a good amount of time crunching numbers. One moderate but unnecessary expense kept leaping out -- the satellite subscription with DVR and HD channels of nearly $80/month (for TV alone with a heck of a 2-year frozen price deal). When we took the plunge and bought our home, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to not transfer service or get a new contract at a higher price.
Yep, this cable kid cut the cord.
There were some upfront expenses as we purchased an AppleTV and a Roku Streaming Stick (Nick already had a PS3 that could stream too so that took care of all our TVs). We now just have two payments for Netflix ($8.99/month) and Hulu ($7.99/month). We also considered Amazon Prime but just haven't swallowed the $99/year fee though it carries lots of benefits and is only about $8.25/month. (There are other options aside from Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, but I don't have any firsthand knowledge of them so you'll have to investigate those on your own.)
While it took some adjustment to not just turn on the tube and flip to a fave channel, it's been a pretty easy transition. I really only miss NCIS marathons and a few other exclusive shows that run on USA Network and CBS prime time tv shows. To my surprise, I'd actually recommend joining the 43.2 million other Netflix subscribers and break up with your cable provider. It's been an easy way to save some cash and break my addiction to tv. I actually watch less now because it's not such a mindless activity.
I've compiled a few pros and cons for Cutting the Cord. There are plenty, and of course, these are a matter of opinion.
In summary, if you're looking for a way to trim your budget in the New Year or just sick of shelling out money for channels you don't really take advantage of, weigh your television needs and pick the best alternative for you. And, if you can't break away quite yet you're in good company because there are about 100 million cable subscribers. But if I can do it, anyone can...
Alright, gotta run. I've got some Scandal binge watching to do. ;)
Until next time--
On a scale of the Grinch to Buddy, I'm here. ------>
People, we're 10 days away from Christmas.
I'm not ready. Let's tally shall we.
Decorated tree: yes.
Lights on house: yes. (thanks, Husband!)
Christmas music on blast: mostly not.
Presents bought: five.
Holiday treats made: 1 batch of cookies.
Christmas card designed: almost.
Christmas cards sent: zero.
Looks like I have my work cut out for me.
There's something about this time of year that makes us all feel obligated to do, to give, to see, to enjoy. We cover our houses with tchotchkes, trees, and more. We jam pack our schedules with get-togethers, dinners, and outings. We jot self-allocated tasks on to our seemingly endless to-do lists. We indulge in extra sweets and drinks we might normally skip. We force our families to carve time out to snap perfect card-worthy, smiling photos. We search high and low for just the perfect gift for someone, who, in reality, probably doesn't need a single thing.
Whew, that doesn't actually sound joyful at all.
But, really even in the hustle and bustle and verge of panic, I think this season is fab. All of the things, obligations, tasks, and treats...they exist because, all in all, life is usually pretty good. Good, of course, is relative. It's in the eye of the beholder. This isn't the most wonderful time of the year for everyone. Though, from my vantage point, albeit a cocoa-fueled, elf-inspired, Christmas light glow haze, December is pretty grand.
Let's reframe. We fill our homes with lights, glitter, and ribbon and trim our trees with sentimental ornaments. We see our nearest and dearest, and the far-flung friends too, at the get-togethers, dinners, and outings. We run around our communities checking things off our to-do lists. We help someone in need or donate items to a local drive. We indulge in delightful sweets and drinks without worrying about the calorie count. We make time to capture a memory or two that graces our annual Christmas card which we can share with people who matter to us. We search high and low for just the gift that will make someone else's eyes light up on Christmas morning.
Ah, perspective. It's a beautiful thing.
Let's all take a moment to remember that our too much means there's not too little. This time of year is our annual reminder to pause, to enjoy, to celebrate, to take stock of our abundance, and to give thanks. I'm challenging myself to take advantage of this season. All of it.
Let's relish the love, the goodies, the time, and otherwise.
Spread cheer or tidings (or whatever) however you please.
Join me, won't you?
Until next time--
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