Finding a Balance

Learning to live a healthy, balanced life.


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Preparing.

If you’re currently pregnant or feel like you might be upset by reading something about very serious pregnancy complications, please don’t read any further.

The morning after we had been admitted to the hospital for fetal monitoring, we had our next regularly scheduled prenatal appointment (which are now taking place at the specialty perinatal facility). The appointment started with an ultrasound where the technician went through the usual formalities of telling us what position baby is in, showing us baby’s arms, legs, etc. I was happy to get to see our baby again, but at the same time, it was a little sad. And when she got to the chest area, I knew what she was looking at and measuring, and even my untrained eye could tell that the mass had grown in the past two weeks.

The technician left and one of the maternal fetal specialists we’ve been seeing came in and let us know that things indeed did seem to be worsening. We talked about the fact that I had gone to the hospital the previous day and that I hadn’t been feeling as much movement in the past week or so. He asked if we had any questions and although I was already choking up just thinking about my words, I managed to ask if he had any idea about how much time our baby has left. He replied that the rarity of the condition makes it hard to predict, but that I should plan to be seen on a weekly basis now to check for “viability” — I could feel the pit in my stomach worsen just reading his body language. The original plan was to be seen every four weeks as you would at this stage in a typical pregnancy. He also mentioned before he left the room, that I need to be on the lookout for any symptoms of preeclampsia, since what’s going on with baby can sometimes have an effect on the mama’s health.

Since part of the purpose of that day’s appointment was to officially transfer our care from the family practice doctor I was previously seeing, the appointment wasn’t over. We moved to a traditional-looking exam room where I was weighed, peed in yet another cup and answered a million health background screening questions. And based on the nurse’s cheery disposition, she either didn’t know our situation (and the news we were just given) or she was trying her best to take our minds off of things. Once that part of the appointment was done, our care coordinator (AKA the most wonderful woman in the world) came in with another nurse care coordinator who went over a birth plan template with us. And that’s when things really started to get real/extra awful. While I always knew I wanted a birth plan written before going into labor (knowing that things typically change), I never imagined the kinds of things we’d need to make decisions about to include in a birth plan unique to our situation. And while I can’t imagine going into labor and not being prepared for your child be to stillborn, it’s still extremely difficult to be making decisions about funeral/burial/cremation and while your baby is still alive and kicking inside of you. A few boxes of tissues later, and after meeting with a social worker from our health care system’s perinatal hospice program, we headed home with our heads spinning. We hadn’t expected such a long appointment and certainly hadn’t expected the news we received, so J and I both took the rest of the day off and started to prepare to give our friends and family an update.

In the whirlwind 24 hours that followed our appointment and as we started to process everything, I’ve been doing a ton of research (topics include: “what to do when my milk comes in after a stillbirth” and “complications surrounding delivering the placenta after an early induction”). I also started a new list of what to pack in my hospital bag, tearfully crossing out the items I had originally included on it for baby. We also met with our wonderful doulas last night who walked through the birth plan template from their perspective and helped us think of more questions to ask our doctor and care coordinators.

So that’s where things currently stand. I’m probably going to take a break from posting here for the near future. If you’d like to stay updated on our journey, I’m working on setting up a Caring Bridge page for updates instead and will post the link or share with anyone who would like to stay updated.

Thank you again for all of the support ❤


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Life lately + a scare

Life has felt weird lately. We have our good and bad days and we alternate between just trying to maintain our normal routines and filling our day with activities that let us escape reality for even just a little while.

Ever since we felt ready to see people, we’ve had a few really lovely dinners and lunches with friends. We leave each one of those get togethers feeling so lucky that we have such great people in our lives.

This past weekend, the morning after a great dinner with some friends at the Rabbit Hole, J ran a 5K in beautiful spring weather and came in second place overall!

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Getting his medal

After the race, Andrea and I walked around Lake Nokomis and then got some lunch at Sandcastle, all while enjoying the sunshine.

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Mmm, fry bread.

Then, J and I spent the rest of the day with family at his uncle’s 50th birthday party. It was a great day full of love.

Then on Monday, crappy weather returned in the form of pouring rain. That afternoon, after a really nice lunch with a great friend, I could feel my anxiety building — it had now officially been about 24 hours since I had felt baby N make even the slightest movement. So I called our care coordinator and asked if she thought we should come in. We had our next appointment the following morning at 10 a.m., but since I hadn’t slept the night before (because of my anxiety over the decrease in movement) she called our doctor and we decided that at the very least we should come in to have some peace of mind.

As soon as J got home from work, we drove to the hospital and got all checked in. I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of envy when I saw the excited-looking families in the waiting room who were probably going to find out at any moment that they have a new addition to their families. The nurse took us back to a triage area, got my weight, had me pee in a cup (of course) and then hooked me up to the fetal monitoring machine. J and I let out a sigh of relief when she was able to find the heartbeat right away. She then explained that it’s routine to continue to monitor me for 45 minutes to an hour unless I feel at least three distinct instances of movement before that time, so she turned on our TV and J and I settled in with some snacks. About a half an hour later, she came back looking really sad. She explained that she had the chance to look at our chart and after realizing our situation, she had tracked down the on call doctor who happened to be one of the specialists we had seen at our last appointment. Being the sweet woman she was, she asked the doctor to come in and see us if we wanted to see him. The doc came in and said that considering the circumstances, he was pleased with how the heartbeat sounded but that the ultrasound we were having the next morning would really be key to seeing how things were progressing. We were discharged shortly after that and I was able to sleep that night, thankful that our baby was still holding on.


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Happy National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day!

Taking a break from all of the heavy life posts to check in with a quick, but delicious, giveaway. If you didn’t already know, today is National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day. I do hope you have a real chocolate chip cookie today, but in case you’re looking for a healthier option, Balance Bar has a delicious Cookie Dough flavor that I’m currently obsessed with.

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The Balance Bar folks sent me my very own BOX of Cookie Dough bars and I get to give a box away to one lucky reader!

To enter, leave a comment below. It can be about anything, but here are a couple of ideas:

What’s your favorite type of cookie?

Do you enjoy your cookies with or without milk?

I’ll choose a winner on Monday. Good luck!


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Getting away

Thanks, everyone, for your kind words — it was overwhelming (in a good way!) to see everyone’s messages offering support. This past weekend, we were supposed to go on our babymoon, but after finding out the news, I canceled our appointments and reservations. But then at the last minute, we decided to get away and spend some time together in a place where we could relax and find comfort in nature.

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We stayed at the Thimbleberry Inn in Bayfield, WI with a lovely room that had an incredible view of Lake Superior. The innkeeper, Sharon, was so friendly and chatty which was a nice distraction. But she also gave us the right amount of space and privacy, which was much appreciated. It was my first B&B experience and I really enjoyed it.

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We got in late Friday afternoon and went out for a Bayfield local favorite — a whitefish dinner. When we got back to our room, Sharon delivered made-from-scratch Texas Sheet Cake (made with three sticks of butter total — yikes! But so worth it) with vanilla bean ice cream and glasses of milk. Amazing.

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Saturday morning, we awoke to a gorgeous, sunny day and freshly baked muffins and decaf coffee delivered to our door at 8 a.m. Then, we headed upstairs to the dining area for the most incredible breakfast — panakuken with a complete spread of topping options! Sharon had strawberries and maple syrup, lemon wedges and powdered sugar, whipped cream and apples from their apple tree.

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After breakfast, we took the ferry over to Madeline Island and did a little exploring in the nice weather.

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Ice that’s left on Lake Superior. It was no match for the ferry.

After we got back to Bayfield, we headed to Enso for a couples massage, which was fantastic. I may have fallen asleep 🙂

Dinner on Saturday was at the cutest place called Ethel’s at 250 where we were greeted by one of the owners, Sally. I had spaghetti and meatballs which totally hit the spot. We took a little walk after dinner and then headed back to the Inn. Sharon had homemade lemon cookies waiting for us. We enjoyed our cookies while we played some cribbage and then headed to bed.

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A collection of some of the amazing food from the weekend.

After one more delicious breakfast, Sharon packed up some muffins and decaf coffee to go for us. We said our goodbyes and then hit the road and headed back to reality.

Have you ever stayed in a bed and breakfast?


Heartbroken.

If you’re currently pregnant or feel like you might be upset by reading something about very serious pregnancy complications, please don’t read any further.

Well we certainly can’t predict the future and there’s no way we could have seen what was coming for us. And I don’t think I would have wanted to know, either. Our life has changed dramatically in the past two weeks: we have gone from debating over whether or not to find out the gender of our baby and starting to register for baby shower gifts to meeting with specialist after specialist and having ultrasound after ultrasound. And making decisions that we never thought we would have to make.

I’m not ready, and perhaps never will be, to go into too much detail here on the blog, but here’s the short story: after the concern with the 20-week anatomy scan, the doctors found an extremely rare tumor in baby’s chest cavity. Because of the stress it’s putting on the heart and because it’s causing some blood flow blockage it’s very likely to be fatal for baby. Early in conversations, surgery was presented as a possible option, but it’s since been taken off the table because of the risks associated with it. So now we wait — if baby can somehow make it another ten weeks, there’s the possibility he could be delivered early and go through an operation at that time — but either way, the outlook isn’t good. In fact, no matter what happens, we (and our baby boy) have a long, long road ahead. And while we’re trying process everything and to prepare ourselves for whatever happens, sometimes it doesn’t seem like this can really be happening.

Right now, all we can do is what we have control over. I’m continuing to exercise (at the encouragement of my doctors), eat well and hope for the best. We’re under the care of an amazing team of specialists and I’m so thankful for them. We also have the best support system we could ever hope for in our friends and family. And we have each other.


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Halfway there (20 week pregnancy update)

Holy s*** I’ve officially reached the halfway mark of my pregnancy. Time passed by SO slowly at the beginning, but the weeks are flying by lately. This is a little late — I’m now well into my 21st week, but  I wasn’t sure how to approach this update. Without going into too much detail, at our big anatomy scan this past week, the ultrasound technician found something that we have some concerns about. We’re seeing a specialist for more scans/tests this week and we’ll know more then. It’s very scary right now since we don’t really know what’s wrong (or if nothing is wrong!). It’s been hard to wait in between these appointments, wishing for more answers, but the hubs and I had a really great weekend, keeping busy and spending time together to keep us from worrying too much. So that’s all I’m going to say about that right now — onto some updates!

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Kicking me. Check out those strong runner’s legs!

Since my last update, the biggest difference is that for the most part, I have my energy back. I’m definitely more wiped out than usual by the end of the day, but throughout the day I’m feeling pretty good. And I’ve definitely been feeling movement for about the past week and a half now. No kicks — still just flutters, but I’m noticing it more often and the doctor thinks in a week or two, J might even be able to feel them from the outside!

Some other random things:

  • Total Weight Gain: 14 pounds, up eight from my 16-week appointment. Even though the doctor isn’t worried about how much weight I’ve gained in the past month, it worries me a bit! The funny thing is, when I wasn’t pregnant and would gain even a couple of pounds, I could definitely tell. But gain eight pounds in one month? I had NO idea!

  • Sleep: a little better now that I’m using a body pillow but I have a pinched nerve that makes my left hip tingle (which I’m getting used to) and I’m still getting up a ridiculous number of times at night to pee.
  • Workouts: a lot of walking. Need to do more yoga! I had my first DNF at a 5K race this past weekend — the RLP was too much. I’m going to give a belly brace a shot (thanks, Beth!), but if it’s still painful, I won’t be running again until post-baby!

  • Current to-dos: We started on the nursery this past weekend! Up next: more daycare research and finalizing the registry.
Before and after.

Before and after.

  • Baby Items Purchased: None, but we’ve gotten some realllllly cute baby things from friends and family lately.

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I’ve also purchased a few more maternity clothing items. Also, Jen dropped off a giant bag of goodies including a body pillow and two Bella Bands!

  • Cravings: No majorly weird random cravings but still enjoying Mexican food, potato chips (the extra salty kind), fruit (although that craving isn’t quite as intense anymore) and ice cream is finally starting to sound appealing. Pizza = not so much. I’m thinking that summer might bring out new cravings!

  • Stretch Marks? Nope, none so far.
  • Looking forward to: Babymoon, making more progress on the nursery and starting our Hypnobirthing class in mid-May!
  • Stressed out about: Money. The only daycares that we really like so far are way out of our price range.
  • Gender: TBD!

Anyone ever use (and have success with) a belly brace for running while pregnant?

What are your summertime food and beverage cravings? I’m going to miss drinking beer on patios this summer.

What are you looking forward to right now?