Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Second Installation: All the updates at once - Part 5 (TOKEN!!!!)

Editing to add: Part 4 here, Part 6 on it's way!!

Happy belated 4th of July! Here's some patriotic jello from our BBQ yesterday to get you through your July 5th:
Made by my cousin Jennie, the Presidentress. For a tutorial click here!
And now, let's ring in July (albeit a tad late) with the next installment of the crazy journey that has been this year so far. Wow. One half of the year gone...and so much happened. Sheesh!! But here goes!

The Friday before close (March 17th) as I was getting ready for work, I was checking through my emails and noticed one from Purina's Adopt-A-Pet. If you're thinking about adopting a pet and don't know about this tool, you should. Anthony and I had been talking about getting a dog for our house for a long time, and at some point in December-ish I set up a search alert on this site.

Adopt-A-Pet 101:
You enter the type of pet your looking for - everything from species to breed to sex and/or age, and then enter a mile radius from your zip code, and the search brings up a list of all adoptable animals at shelters and fosters within that radius. You can set an alert to tell you when animals like what you're looking for come up for adoption...and that's how one morning at 4:30 I opened my email and saw this face staring up at me:

I clicked in to the little profile and read the description...he was absolutely everything Anthony and I were looking for. The color, the breed, the age...and that face.

I texted Anthony a screenshot of his picture and profile and asked what he thought. We were so close to closing on the house...did we take a chance and apply, or did we just wait?

I'll tell you what, people: I take chances on houses, not puppies.

By the time I got to work and plopped myself down, all I was thinking about was that pooch, and the first thing I did was go to the shelter's webpage, fill out an application, and send it over. I wasn't about to take chances at losing that face.

We waited all day to hear something, but no dice. That evening when I left work I made the mistake (or perhaps it wasn't?) of creeping the adoption event Facebook page and saw that someone else was asking about this puppy. I quickly Facebook messaged the shelter, and then waited hours until Anthony got home with no response.

Oh no. Oh no no no no no no. I was panicking. I couldn't let someone else get him. Someone who wouldn't love him as much! I wasn't about to lose this little guy too.

Anthony agreed, wholeheartedly. We discussed where we would keep him, and agreed my mom's house. Best to ask for forgiveness, rather than permission, right? ;) Then we decided that we'd be up early the next morning, and drive the 35 minutes from his sister's to the adoption event at the Geneva Petco.

And that's just what we did. All of our Saturday morning gym plans went out the window. We got up, threw on some semi decent clothes (they really weren't decent, you'll see in a minute), and got ourselves to the store 30 minutes before the event started. They were still setting up and there were no puppies in sight. We hovered awkwardly for a few moments before someone asked if she could help us. She turned out to be Tammi, the director of the shelter. I told her we'd gotten an email for Blu, we were VERY interested and wanted to meet him, and that if we were all a fit and got approved we wanted to adopt him. I let her know that I'd sent an application the day before as well.

And that was when we found out that they had THIRTY EIGHT adoptions scheduled for that day. Between 10 and 1. She said that she could pull up our application, but she still had to run credit and background checks on us and we would have to wait around and see if things worked out in our favor...which meant we might not get to adopt him.

We said okay, and decided we'd just have to "wait and see" (a common theme in life, right?). We walked around Petco, I purchased some hamster things I needed and then we went back in and planted ourselves at the front of the adoption event. We said hi to the puppies that were trickling in, ready to fight off anyone who so much as thought the name "Blu".

At one point, another shelter volunteer came over and asked us if she could help. I made what must have been a very desperate plea for this dog, finishing with, "We will literally do anything to adopt him! Anything we can do, we'll do it!" She said she'd see what she could do, walked over to Tammi who glanced up at us and then said something to the volunteer, and then pulled out her phone (as it turns out, she was pulling up our application).

It gave me hope, even though I didn't know what she was doing (Anthony was still wary that we'd walk away without our pup).

Finally, about half an hour after the event started, we spotted "Blu" walking in with his foster mom. He was just as adorable in real life as in the pictures. We were already in love. Tammi came over and introduced us to Karen, Blu's foster mom, and told her to grill us hard. To ask us anything and everything, and we said, "Fire away!". We knew going into the adoption, because of the "pitbull" breed this puppy had been assigned, that we would be scrutinized harder than if we were looking at another breed. No shelter wants their dog to end up as a fighter, or a bait dog, and unfortunately people look for "bully" breeds for that reason.

So we sat down and started talking to Karen and playing with "Blu". We were already so in love that we couldn't help but take pictures too:

Saying 'hi' to another foster pup, Fred. FYI, Fred was adopted a few weeks ago, and then his sister Ginger's foster family ended up adopting her!

The first picture of my boys together. All "Blu" wanted to do was sit in our laps and cuddle!

And now some a series of extra cute still-an-orphan pictures, to photo brag:

So handsome and relaxed around everyone!

That. Face. It STILL gets me and now I see him every day!!! Do rescue pups ever loose the "don't abandon me" look???


Karen told us all about "Blu".

He was one of a group of puppies that was rescued from animal control in a random county in Alabama. He was the only puppy in his litter that was found, as a stray...cue heartbreak for whatever happened to the rest of his litter :'(. The county he was in does not adopt about pitbulls, or pit mixes. "Blu" had two ways out - either a shelter had to transport him out, or he would be euthanized. I looked at his little face and wanted to cry when she said that. He was sitting on my lap and I hugged him even tighter.

Safe Haven selected "Blu" for transport (along with nearly 40 other pups, almost all of whom were adopted that day), and he made his way to Illinois where Karen was waiting to foster him. He wasn't available for adoption right away because he needed to be dewormed and checked out, and that Saturday was the first day he was available to adopt.

Quiet, cuddly, and supremely chill, we knew from sitting there with him that "Blu" was meant to be ours.

And then Karen mentioned something neither of us had noticed. Hidden under his collar on the back of his neck was a small, white mark. An "Angel Kiss".

Anthony and I looked at each other, and I almost started crying (again). We were thinking the exact same thing...we knew this puppy was picked for us. I don't care what anyone else thinks or believes, Anthony and I looked at each other thinking that this dog was meant to be ours, and the baby we lost chose him for us.

After a few hours getting to know him and talking to Karen, she told us we could take him for a wander around the store and outside. She clearly trusted that we were in this for all the right reasons, and that we'd bring him back and not steal him! We took a nice long wander around the store, took him out in the fresh air to relieve himself, and then wandered back in.

The one downside about the adoption event was that "Blu" was much bigger than all of the other puppies, which meant he couldn't play with them even though he really wanted to! We finally had the chance to take him in the gated off training area and found some toys to play with and balls to roll around for him to chase, but you could tell he wanted to scrap with some other pups! Instead he had to contend with us :P

After what felt like forever (it was almost 1:00pm!) Tammi came over to Anthony and Karen and me and said, "Well I'm sorry to say..."

...my face fell, the pit dropped out of my stomach, and I held my breath for what came next. I mean...what? Did I not pass the credit check? How do you pass a credit check to buy a house but not adopt a dog???

"...you're approved to adopt!"

My brain took a few seconds to register what she said, then all I could think was, 'WHY IS SHE SORRY???!!! That's great news!!' She and Karen had a little giggle at me, and Tammi said that we had passed everything with flying colors and, moreover, we were beyond patient. Hanging around all day sitting on the floor at Petco apparently shows you like animals!

We had to wait a bit longer for our turn to fill out paperwork, during which we walked around gathering supplies - food, a collar and leash, a few toys, and most importantly a dog tag that officially christened our new pup with the name Token. Then we sat down, went through all the signing and payments, and around 2:00pm (nearly five hours after arriving), we walked left the Geneva Petco with the newest member of our family.

We even got our first family picture and everything. We look terrible and tired in it, but we were SO happy!
We legit look like we just rolled out of bed, and Token looked ready to crawl into one!
We took our tiny, adorable, no-longer-an-orphan pup out to the car, where he fell asleep for the ride "home".

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
A few months on:
It's now been just over 3 months since we adopted Token, and I cannot express how happy we are that we have him. He has been such an amazing addition to our family - sweet and gentle and cuddly and adorable. He's still growing (duh), and we're fairly positive at this point that he was mixed with something lanky and lean (in addition to the pitbull part) and that he'll end up being just that: Lanky, lean, and muscular, rather than thick and short like many pits. He still has a good deal of puppy fat to lose, and he still looks soft, but at times his muscle comes out and it's amazing to see how he's changing. It will be great to see him grow into an adult!

I don't have many pictures that show how much he's grown...but in the picture on the left he's about half the size of Nala (his cousin) and on the right...well you can see he's much bigger now :P
Token is also so well behaved that we were even able to take him to a wedding (that's a story for another day), and person after person came up and commented on how good he was, and no one could believe he was only 5 months old.

He's well behaved...and he's smart. Wise beyond his little puppy years, and he has excelled at training. He's so smart that he knows when he's ignoring you or being disobedient, and he gets salty as hell when he gets in trouble...but he always walks over, ears tucked back in apology a few minutes later, hoping you'll still cuddle with him.

Though he has boundless energy at times, he's also incredibly lazy, and will take a nap with you just as willingly as he'll play. He enjoys fetch and tug of war, and his favorite toys are ropes or socks.

Even though we promised we wouldn't let him, Token sleeps in bed with us. Normally the night starts off with him on the floor, and around 1 or 2 am he takes it upon himself to jump into bed, and wedge himself right smack dab between us, however hard he has to try. He's been known to climb on top of us if there's no room for him, and wait for us to roll to the side to grant him the space he's seeking.

He loves other dogs just as much as he loves people, and has even made his way into Uncle Stewart's wary heart!
This was the only picture I got of them together. Dogs being dogs, I guess!
Stewart, who is generally afraid or on guard around all other dogs, has been opening up to Token and finally realized he's just a puppy who wants to play! I'll talk about it more later, but the week at my mom's while we packed to move was made difficult by always having to keep the dogs in different rooms!

Token also has the advantage of being able to play with his cousin Nala (picture up top), and since we finally got Token fixed they can have unsupervised play dates now!

Phew...that's a lot, but that's the fun braggy stuff I can say! I was going to post another 10 or so pictures, but I thought that might be overkill :P. I post plenty of him on Instagram, so make sure you're following me there if you want to see more!

Safe Haven
Finally, I could not put this post up in good conscience without mentioning Safe Haven Dog Rescue (website and Facebook links - Facebook is more updated with currently adoptable dogs). They were absolutely amazing to us (as you can probably tell from the post). Everyone we met and talked to the day we adopted Token was so nice and welcoming, and I'm Facebook friends with Karen and send her pictures of him every so often.

Safe Haven has adoption events regularly (I believe every other week) from the Geneva, IL Petco. Token's adoption fee was $300, which included all vaccinations to date (puppies are vaccinated on an age-appropriate schedule, and you pay for any vaccinations after adoption), as well as basic neutering from a partner clinic (blood panel and heart worm tests were extra). They also provide you with a micro chip that the vet can insert (Token was chipped when he was neutered). FYI - in the state of Illinois, if you rescue a dog it is mandatory that you have the dog fixed, which is something I didn't know before all of this!

Anyways...I would 100% adopt from them again. Anthony and I were so happy that Tammi and Karen took the extra time with us that day and made Token's adoption possible - he has been a better addition to our family that we ever would have dreamed, and we're so happy he's ours.


x

Friday, June 30, 2017

Second Installation: All the updates at once - Part 4

Edited to add: Part 3 here, Part 5 here :)

So much for telling you everything at once!

I am sorry for the crazy delay with getting this post up! The last few weekends were chock-full of goodness for our little family, and between the busy and tired and running and baking there has not been much time to write.

First...I want to say thank you to everyone who has said something to me about the last few posts. From Facebook comments to messages and texts, and even those of you who have stopped me at work...I am grateful for you and for the support you've shown. Every loss is different, and while I know no one had the same experience as Anthony and I did, hearing from other people made me feel better about everything that happened.

To move the story along...

We slid into February and eventually got back on the wagon looking at houses. When we started looking again it was kind of demoralizing...we had already found somewhere we wanted, and now we had to start from scratch. Barb (our agent), continued to be fantastic and optimistic, and after some back and forth we finally decided to increase our price point. It was a good (although nerve wracking!) decision.

And I have to say, the great thing about life is that sometimes things happen because there's another better something around the corner.

Once we increased our purchase point, things really opened up for us. Within a week we found a house that we wanted to put an offer on.

That we didn't get.

It turns out we were in a bidding war with SEVEN other people, and our offer wasn't good enough. Looking back (and having checked out the sale price on Redfin), no, our offer wasn't high enough...but that ended up being totally fine too! What we loved about that house was the layout and the decorating - and it turns out that every second house in this town has that layout. And you can do your own decorating. We just had to wait and see what else would come to the table!

And within another week we found another house (same layout, better carpet, cabinets, painting, deck, and location - WAY better location!) and we dropped an offer on it by the end of the night.

Ignore the funeral parlor drapes please :P
My agent learned that one other couple had also put an offer out, but we were able to promise a quick close (within 25 days), and our offer was accepted the next day!

At this point, we had learned not to celebrate at all until the papers were signed. We barely told anyone about this offer and the process (story of our lives, now), and we just waited it out.

Waited and waited.

For a couple of weeks we thought maybe we'd be able to close even sooner - within 15 or 20 days, but that didn't happen like we hoped it would. Instead, we were given a close date of March 23rd (I can't remember now, but I think that was just a few days earlier than our contracted close).

I didn't even think about packing, because I didn't want to let my hopes get that high. So we just kept waiting.

And then...

Token happened.



Oh yeah, I'm leaving you with that cliffhanger after not posting for so long! I know, I'm mean and I suck! But you'll appreciate what's coming next! ;)


x

Sunday, May 28, 2017

All the updates at once - Part 3

Part 1 here
Part 2 recap:
- Dr Pesavento is pretty amazing
- 'In My Life' is my theme song through hardship
- The physical reality and humility of miscarrying
- We decide I should have a D&C

Continuing...

I was relieved to finally be laying in a hospital bed, in throw-away underwear, waiting for the D&C. I was relieved knowing that at least the physical discomfort and humiliation would be over soon.

It was surreal as the hospital staff came in and went over everything with me. As they took my vitals and went through my medical history and described the anesthesia and procedure to me.

As they asked me what to do with the 'remains' they would remove from me.

When everyone left and my mom and Anthony and I were just waiting for them to take me in to surgery, Anthony came and laid in the bed with me.

Anthony.

Anthony was there absolutely every step of the way. He was in the bathroom with me at my house when I couldn't move from the toilet. He was in the exam room, and there for the ultrasounds. He helped me clean up the blood and handed me wipes and pads and underwear and didn't even blink when I bled all over his shoes. He wiped away my tears and kissed my forehead and...well you get it. Talk about seeing someone at their lowest. But he never left my side.

And then they came in to get me, and not even thirty minutes later I was waking up in the recovery area, wishing he was with me. It was the first thing I asked...."Where's Anthony?"

A nice nurse told me he and my mom would be in my room, but I had to stay in recovery first.

Laying in the recovery area, feeling so alone and wanting nothing more than to have Anthony walk in, I did the only thing I could think of - I pulled the sheet up to cover my eyes from the light and the world, and I talked to my dad. Because that's what I do when I feel alone...and I really felt alone.

As much as I didn't want to tell him, as unfair as I thought it was, I told him he would be the first one to meet his first grandchild. That he would have to take care of him for us.

It hurt for me to tell him those things...but it was also some of the only comfort I felt that day. If I had to lose our baby, at least he wouldn't be alone. My dad would be there too.

I was taken back to my room, and my mom and Anthony came in a few minutes later. Not long after that I was discharged, and we were home by 2:00pm.

When we got home, I made a cup of tea - because good English breakfast tea cures all ills and sadness - and my mom filled me in on her conversation with Barb. It's obvious that the deal with that first house fell through - and of course it had to happen the same weekend as the miscarriage because why not? Well...in retrospect it's a good thing it fell through, and the timing gave me somewhere to direct all of my anger.

It turns out that somewhere along the line, the seller's attorney dropped the ball, which is why we hadn't heard anything for so long. However, by Friday when they finally came at us with their "final" offer, the sellers DEMANDED a response by 5pm that day. Hah. HAHAHAHA. I had responded to absolutely everything within 12 hours, and that time they weren't getting shit.

My mom had told Barb what was going on, and she relayed that I had a medical emergency and the sellers graciously extended their deadline to 5pm Monday (/somuchsarcasmtheyprobablyfeltit). But at that point I didn't need until 5pm Monday, We were out. They had offered way too little and were trying to string us along to get more for the house than it was worth, given the things that needed to be fixed. It was a hard NO for us at that point, and we were ready to be done with them.

When I spoke to my attorney Monday he agreed immediately and said he would send over the contract termination for me to sign, and a letter to get my earnest money back. The house thing isn't so exciting from here on out, except that when they receive the termination letter they "magically" found an extra $500 to offer us...because it turns out their agent was so desperate to get rid of them that he was willing to put up a portion of his commission to tempt me, and even asked Barb to do the same. She didn't bite, and we still rejected the offer because even with that $500 their credits barely scraped enough to fix one issue with the house.

And that's how that ended too.

*********************************

I really am just spilling my guts here. And honestly, none of it has been easy to write, because it confirms the death of the future Anthony and I thought we had coming towards us at that time. What we envisioned and could see and feel so clearly...so many happy and excited feelings ended when January did.

That's not to say that some things didn't work out for the better - we found a better house, we got a wonderful dog that we KNOW was born into this world solely to join our family, and things are moving along again. But even now, the hurt is still present. (More on that later.)

The fear that it could happen again is still there. Hannah told me at one point that, though she wished she could tell me otherwise, even once you pass the first trimester in another pregnancy, even when everyone tells you things are going fine with your pregnancy, the pain and fear will never truly go away until we have a healthy baby in our arms. I know she's right. First of all because she's Hannah, and she's wise FAR beyond her years. Second, because the thought of having to go through any of that again is...well it's terrifying.

There was obviously anger that went along with everything that happened. And the sadness that our first baby died is still with us. There is no way to describe it other than unfair. And no, life is not fair.

Seriously, spare me.

Fairness is not something you care about when faced with the loss of a child. You do not care that life is not always easy and fun and full of good moments. You only care that something you loved and wanted so deeply is taken away from you for absolutely no reason. There is no logic to it, there is no blame to be placed, there is only sadness and anger that you lost something so close to your heart.

For me, the anger has been drawn out with every billing statement I get as well. I just got one a few weeks ago for almost $800...and I was shocked because I was sure I was done paying. I know I have to pay for the procedure and everything, but talk about adding insult to injury. For three years since I started at my company I have saved the majority of my HSA money for "when I have a baby" (minus some ortho appointments and MRIs). Well. The miscarriage has almost drained it. The entire experience cost me almost $4000, which is almost my entire out of pocket balance for my plan, and it feels like a personal insult from my insurance company.

If anything in my life has made me hate the state of healthcare in America more than I already did, it was going through this. I cannot even fathom how I would feel if I had carried to term and then found out my child was sick.

Couple that with the recent fiasco that is the AHCA ("Trumpcare") and it doesn't take much to make me go from zero to SHUT YOUR FUCKING MOUTH IF YOU SUPPORT OR VOTED FOR ANY ASSHOLE WHO VOTED FOR THAT BILL.

Truly, the state of healthcare in this country is shameful and so sickening.

Seriously. Don't talk healthcare around me if you support this bullshit, or I'm likely to end you because it feels so.personal.

It's hard not to take it personally when you spend weeks after a miscarriage feeling physically and emotionally empty. Knowing the little creature that had attached itself to you to grow and live is gone. When you spend months wondering if you will feel "normal" again after such a loss.

We have obviously established a new normal. We have our house and our dog and work, and on the weekends there have been trips and races and all sorts to keep us busy.

Speaking of...all of this made racing very hard to return to. In part because my body wasn't feeling great for a while, and also because I cared very little about training. I'll delve into this later, but I wanted to mention it quickly because it shows how this one thing that happened truly affected everything.

But anyways...

I'm still not done with all of these updates. There will be at least one more detailing things with the new house and Token's adoption, and I promise that the sad stuff has now been written. Things get happier from here on out ;)

And as a thank you for following along...here's a happy picture to make you smile ;)


x

PS...these three Parts were already pretty much written. The next few may take a little longer for me to type out, so hold tight. I do promise they're coming.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

All the updates at once - Part 2

...continuing...Part 1 ended with:
- We attended a funeral for Anthony's childhood friend
- The sellers for the house we were trying to buy hadn't said anything to us in almost a week
- At about 8 weeks pregnant I started spotting, the doctor and medical assistant told me not to worry as I had no cramping
- I started feeling very sick two days after I started bleeding

Here goes:

Thursday right before I left work I went to the bathroom...and there was bright red blood. My lower back also hurt, which worried me because that's where I tend to cramp during my period. So I called my doctor's office in a panic and asked them what to do, and they told me to come in right then for a blood draw to check my levels, so I did. It took less than 5 minutes, and I was told I would have my results the next morning.

It turns out I didn't need them.

I went home, Anthony and I went about our night time routine, feeling helpless and knowing we could only "wait and see". Like everything else going on in our lives up to that point.

Through all of this, the most frustrating thing was that we had to just keep waiting. We couldn't know, there wasn't anything we could do...we just had to wait and see. With the house we couldn't control the sellers, with the baby we couldn't control...well. Anything.

At 1:30am on Friday I woke up to go to the bathroom, and there was a clot. I knew it was over and in my overwhelming feeling of sadness, failure, and hopelessness, I felt there was nothing to do but accept it. To "keep calm and carry on", as it were. I went back to bed and told Anthony the news, and we cried ourselves back to sleep, while the dream and excitement of our first child washed away from us, leaving two sad, empty shells in the wake.

As I fell back asleep I thought that was it...that we would have to go to work that day (Friday) with the knowledge that we'd lost our baby.

I didn't have a clue.

In the next few hours I learned that I didn't ever truly understand what it would physically be like to miscarry a baby.

I mean...I'd had a few close friends and family miscarry, I've now read more than one or two articles about it wondering how "literature" describes it, because I could not believe my own naivete about what happens during the process. And though I do not fault any of my friends or family in the slightest for not giving me some kind of warning about what would happen, I was a little upset that I didn't have some kind of...I don't know...knowledge or preparedness...of what it would be like.

But I'm not that person who learns something and keeps her mouth shut. I'm just not. I never have been. And this is my blog, so I get to talk about it.

I won't say I ever trivialized my friend's losses because I didn't...at least not emotionally. In my head, knowing someone has lost a child has always seemed like a big deal to me...emotionally. (And it IS.) But I never realized what a woman can go through physically when they miscarry, and if I can't do anything else I want people to understand how it all piles up, physically and emotionally.

I will spare you the worst of the details, but I want to talk about some of it because of my lack of understanding. Because until I went through it any phrase about miscarrying made it sound like your body just goes through some cramps and a little discharge and that's it.

Well. That's not it. At all.

There's some gross girl talk coming up. If you have lost a pregnancy you might not want to read it, and that's okay. If your reason for not wanting to read is that you can't handle someone talking about having a period this next bit is going to be difficult for you, but you should strap on your big kid pants and muscle through a few uncomfortable paragraphs to read the rest of it because it's not all blood and gross.

That said...if you don't want to read it or know anything about it, for whatever reason, skip the rest of this post and pick up with me in Part 3.

**********************

I woke up again around 3am and went to the bathroom, and came back and told Anthony we had to go to CVS because I needed pads. Badly. We barely made it there and back (~15 minutes) before I bled through my tampon and pants. And I mean barely. (FYI...you shouldn't use tampons during a miscarriage, but they're all I had to keep my in the "safe zone" while I went to buy pads.)

Every time I moved I could feel discharge. My low back was also cramping badly, and it didn't take me too long to realize that the cramps were actually contractions, coming every few minutes, like clockwork. It got bad enough that by 5:30, between the back pain and the bleeding, I had planted myself on the toilet in the downstairs bathroom, practically unable to move without making a mess.

Anthony had woken my mom up when we got back from CVS, and then sat himself on the bathroom floor next to me, handing me wipes, both of us clueless as to what to do or how to handle any of it.

Another interlude to say: A lot of what I describe in this post is what physically happened to me...what I felt, and all the things that made me cry...but the truth is this happened to two of us. Physically, this happened to me. But emotionally Anthony and I were both left destroyed and raw. That day and the few months that followed weren't the prettiest. There was sadness and anger and we have gone through every emotion together. We are in a good place now, but we have held each other and cried together and fought and loved one another like never before. This tried us but it never broke us.

He has been my rock.

While I sat in the bathroom Hannah was texting me, telling me to go to the ER, that my bleeding sounded way too heavy. I did not want to go to the ER and sit there with what was happening. My mom was also unsure of what we should do, and finally suggested I call the doctor's office, saying "he's an OB. There will be an answering service."

So I called, and she was (of course) right. While I waited on hold for the woman from the answering service to get a hold of the doctor, I listened to the hold music. And because everything has to line up in life and make you cry harder when you're already crying, I listened to an instrumental version of The Beatles 'In My Life' play through the line.


It felt like the universe and powers that be were cocooning me. This was a song I listened to countless times after my dad died. A song that has pulled me through every hard or sad time I have ever faced. A song whose lyrics I posted as my parting words on the white board of my freshman college dorm the week before classes ended. I know every word of this song (and the interlude) by heart. Note for note. And I sang along to that instrumental music while I cried and waited for the doctor to come on the phone, understanding that even though I hated this and felt it was the most unfair thing to ever happen to me, it was happening and there was probably a 'reason' (or whatever). We just had to get through it.

But of all these friends and lovers,
There is no one compares with you.
And these memories lose their meaning,
When I think of love as something new.
Though I know I'll never lose affection,
For people and things that went before
I know I'll often stop and think about them,
In My Life, I love you more...

The doctor finally came on the phone and I burst into a fresh round of tears as I told him I just didn't know what to do, and I felt like I was bleeding a lot, and I didn't want to go to the ER and I just needed him to tell me what to do.

This is where I stop and tell you that Dr Daniel Pesavento (affiliated with Advocate Good Shepard in Barrington, IL) is hands down the most amazing doctor I have ever met. You read that right. The best. Even better than my beloved Dr Gent. From the start of our phone call to the moment I left the hospital there was never a question in my mind that I was Dr Pesavento's most important patient that day (and even if I wasn't, that's how a doctor should make you feel). He answered every question. He explained everything that was going on and what he was looking for. As I went from his office to the hospital, from ultrasound to day surgery, literally every woman I encountered told me he is their doctor too, and he is amazing, and that I was in good hands.

Every one of those women was right.

Dr Pesavento said the ER was an option, but if I could wait until 8:30 I could meet him at the office and he would do the examination himself, and then we could determine a course of action. That sounded much better than going to the ER and waiting around a bunch of people that wouldn't care about me that much.

While I was on the phone, my mom talked to my cousin Jennie (who was already doubling as my doula at this point, so we'll call her that here too), and she came over to sit with us. We spent those few hours at the kitchen table talking (well...I alternated between there and the bathroom). I did some coloring - because what else do you do in a time of crisis? - to calm myself down. Just before 8:00, my grandma came over too, which helped me because I knew she understood what I was feeling - even if the feeling was 50 years removed for her.

And at 8:00 my mom and Anthony and I made our way to the doctor's office.

When he did the exam he told me my cervix was still closed, so he said I'd have to go to the hospital for an ultrasound, because we shouldn't do anything without knowing for sure whether or not there was a heartbeat. If there wasn't, or if the baby wasn't there, he strongly advised a D&C because of how heavily I was bleeding, and he seemed very concerned that I'd been bleeding as heavily as I had for over 5 hours at that point.

When he left the room I called my manager, Steve...and as soon as he answered the phone I burst into more tears and couldn't talk. I had texted him earlier that I wouldn't be at work but I would call to explain, and I'm sure he didn't expect me to call with the news I had. He asked if I was okay, and it was moments before I could sob out, "No." I told him where I was, and what was happening, and that Anthony and I wouldn't be in that day. I said I probably wouldn't be in on Monday either. He told me not to worry about work at all, and that I didn't have to come back until I was ready. That made me feel a little better, considering.

Dr Pesavento came back in with my ultrasound script, and from that point on I felt like he ran Good Shepard Hospital, simply because of the speed with which everything progressed. At one point at the hospital they told me I would have to wait an hour for my ultrasound, and said something about drinking water...well I didn't think that was right, given the possibility of surgery. I didn't think they knew what was going on. So I called the doctor's office and explained to them, and only had enough time to clean up and go sit in the waiting room for thirty seconds before they called me back.

I was in and out of the ultrasound incredibly quickly, on the phone with the doctor a minute later as he explained that the ultrasound showed there was no longer a sac, and that my bleeding still concerned him so he would call and book an OR room by the time I'd be able to walk over to Day Surgery.

So the decision was to do a D&C, mostly because of how much I was bleeding.

As we made the walk to Day Surgery, I had a few house issues crop up. (Because why not.)

I had an email from my attorney with the "final" offer from the sellers of the house. I read it, scoffed, rolled my eyes, and said "fuck these assholes" out loud, and closed the email. To say it was insulting is an understatement. These people clearly thought I was an idiot.

I saw I'd missed a call from my agent, Barb, and she had sent me a text saying she needed to talk to me ASAP. I texted her back and said, "Today is not a good day" - and I'm sure she got the point because she told me it was fine and things could wait. Through the whole process I had literally been so on top of it with the house and the mortgage and everything, so NOT getting a response from me within twenty minutes, let alone one without an answer, was very out of character. I asked my mom if she could call her for me, and she said she would.

Once we knew what was going to happen and I was in the pre-op room...well honestly, I was relieved. Up until that point, absolutely everything had been uncomfortable and humiliating, and to say I felt like I had no control is a trivialization.

Aside: A few weeks ago (ironically at a baby shower) I told someone that the experience was humiliating, and she gave me this completely horrified look and said I shouldn't be embarrassed about losing my baby. The thing was...it's not losing the baby that was so embarrassing. It was the physical process.

I left this out above, but at one point I'd managed to get blood all over the floor in the bathroom at the doctor's office. Managed. It wasn't exactly like I could stop the flow. I also tried to clean it up, because I couldn't just leave it there, could I?

Twenty minutes (and a very uncomfortable pelvic exam later) another gush landed on both mine and Anthony's shoes as he helped me get dressed again. The same happened when I had the ultrasound. I had to sit on chuck pads everywhere I went during that very long morning, and I was very glad I'd chosen black pants when I left the house. I went through multiple pairs of underwear in the short trips between the doctor's and the hospital and it took me no time at all to go through the packs of baby wipes I'd taken from the doctor's office.

I want to be clear that I'm not ashamed I lost our baby. But everything was so humiliating because I had absolutely no control over what my body was doing. I spent 5 hours feeling like I was wetting my pants because there was no way to stop the flow. I felt like, as a potty trained adult, I should be able to control my body's expulsions - even though logically, as a woman, I know there is no way to control the flow out of my uterus.

But we live in a society where we're constantly told to keep our emotions in, stay level headed, control the situation and not let feelings go awry. Sometimes that's incredibly impractical and insensitive...but the conditioning of it doesn't stop us from feeling the extreme lack of control when we no longer hold the reins.

In short...I was ready for the physical part of miscarrying to be done.

(Part 3 will come soon, just wait it out.)

x

Friday, May 26, 2017

All the updates at once - Part 1

(It turns out this post was WAY too long to put up all at once, so I'm splitting it up. I still don't know how long it will be...because I'm still not done with it. But on May 1st I promised an update, and it's time for me to get better about posting, so here we go.)

If you follow along here you've probably noticed the chronic absence of posts for the last few months. And I'll admit, life has moved very, very quickly during those months, and part of the lack of posting is because I've been too busy. It has also been up and down and lately (read: since December) and when I sit down to post I have had intense writer's block and can't put what's going on now into words.

And I think it's because I haven't written about all the other stuff that happened.

If you read my Mother's Day post, I let a large part of what happened this winter slip out. In this post, I'm going to talk about all of that. Just put it all out there and then see if maybe the writer's block abates.

This is going to be a very, very long post. I'm like 5 sentences in and I can't even tell you how long it will be. It will probably be a lot of words, and not a lot of pictures. It's going to be all over the place, because it's going to be about personal stuff, training, races, houses, puppies...everything.

This really is all the updates, all at once. As of starting this post, I don't even know if I'll put it all up at once because it might be that long. Who knows.

The truth is, I've been trying to avoid writing a lot of what I'll put in this post. Trying to move on and not let "outsiders" know about everything that happened. Because the truth is, at least for me, blogging tends to show all those people on the outside of your life all the great things that are going on, and it lets you soldier on through the difficult things in peace. At least that's how I do it, because I'm not good at showing people that I'm weak or lack control. That I have weaknesses in my life and character (who'da thought?). Obviously I do, but in this space I can pretend I have it all together (lol).

I'm not saying that hard things aren't ever talked about or shouldn't be, I just feel like I normally reference it all after the fact as "HOW I PREVAILED!" And this time around, some of it just feels too hard, and too private. Like a long, hard, ugly cry...it's not something you want people to see, especially when you're not "over" it (whatever the hell that means).

And there was a lot of difficult and ugly crying at the beginning of the year.

Obviously, there is a lot to be said for keeping things private. I've gone back and forth about this a lot trying to decide if it's something I want to write about here. I recognize that I don't have to, and that it's no one's business but my own. Not only because it means sharing this shadow over my heart, but because once it's out on the internet, it's out there for good. All of my friends will know. Any coworker who stumbles on this will know. Anthony's friends and coworkers will know...

...and that's a lot to process.

But all of it gives frame of reference for all the other things that happened since then. My struggles with getting back to training, the complete apathy I felt for a long time about everything that wasn't part of my relationship. And sometimes, in the blogosphere, I feel like the mirage needs to be cleared away to show the desert that's actually there. To show that it's not all good and happy and "hard work allows you to succeed".

Sometimes bad things just happen, and you have no control, and you let that lack of control take you over until you feel ready to grasp the reins again.

So here's that story.

*********************************************

Back at the beginning of December I had just completed my first official half marathon and was relishing in not having a training plan (maybe a little too much). I did a lot of not running and not going to the gym, and I was enjoying being able to be "lazy" and spend extra time with Anthony as we geared up for the holidays.

One such weekend, as I crafted my year's reflection on racing, I found myself dog sitting for my friend's parents...and I also realized my period was a few days late (not unusual though). So I did what any normal girl does, and took a pregnancy test, 100% expecting it to be negative.

Except it wasn't.



In complete disbelief and shock (because remember I was 100% sure I wasn't pregnant), I did the next possible thing and googled how to figure out how pregnant I was. I put in the first day of my last period, and the little Baby Center calculator thing estimated me at almost six weeks.

Wow.

After the longest hour of my life, Anthony made it to the house and I showed him the test, waited the appropriate number of seconds for him to realize what it actually said, and then there was lots of hugging and smiling and happiness.

Right now you're probably sitting there scratching your head and wondering where my pregnancy announcement has been this whole time...

*lets the wheels spin*

...and now it's probably dawned on you that I am not pregnant. Anymore. ...yeah.

I want to say, before anything else, that though it was unexpected, we wanted this baby. From the first day we were excited and terrified for all of the changes coming our way, but overwhelmingly happy about all of it.

I told my mom two days after getting a positive test result (she was happy and there were some tears), and the following night while we were at the hospital waiting for Anthony's niece to be born his mom made a comment about not believing she'd be a grandma to 4 before 50, and Anthony unceremoniously said, "Well Christina's pregnant too," and that's how they found out. (More tears, all happy). I also scheduled my 10 week appointment with the OB for January 11th...and let the waiting commence.

On December 23rd I had my first experience with pregnancy fatigue after a decent bike workout at the gym (hill intervals!). Also, never fear - practically right away after getting that positive test I did as much research as possible on how to safely stay fit while pregnant and I knew a moderate hill workout would be okay, as long as my heart rate didn't stay too high, for too long.

But that workout left me totally spent, and I wound up in bed by 6:30 because I literally couldn't lift myself to sitting.

The next day, Christmas Eve, I had my first bout of nausea which lasted all day. I nibbled at some food, knowing I "had" to eat, but nausea with Christmas dinner in the books isn't the most enjoyable thing to face. At this point almost none of my family knew (my mom, brother, Jennie and Steve), so when I had some mac and cheese with dinner and realized OMG I WANT TO EAT THIS, I went back for seconds. One of my cousins made a rude (perhaps he was joking) comment about me "carbo loading" for something, and I almost punched him square in the face for being an ass. I still kind of wish I had *side eye*

And that was how I learned that finding that one thing you want to eat outside of being nauseous is probably the sole reason for that whole "don't touch a pregnant woman's food" saying.

There's also SO much out there on the internet about pregnancy, and for pretty much everything you'll read says that pregnancy is different for everyone. You literally cannot get a straight answer for anything. So for me, I spent mornings at work varying between nauseous and ravenous, and it would only lift slightly if I had something like Sprite or green tea, or ate citrus fruit or dry carbs (like crackers or cereal). By the time 2pm hit I'd be starving, and a lot of days the lunch I'd packed was not what I wanted and Anthony would be forced to take me for food I would eat (hello Jimmy John's BLTs).

I was also extremely tired all.the.time. I don't think I can adequately describe pregnancy fatigue. It isn't just being tired like I thought it would be. It was the complete inability to do anything that wasn't 100% crucial to survival, and even then there were things I seriously questioned needing to do (like get up to pee). I'm normally an early-to-bed, early-to-rise kind of person...but falling asleep at 6:30 is beyond ridiculous, even for me.

But that's how it went through most of January (hence the inability to properly train for a half marathon!).

At this point I'm going to start to intermingle the pregnancy talk with everything else that happened the first few weeks of January, because it was a lot. It was so much that I wrote it all down as it was happening. Yeah, I kept notes on life.

On January 1st we started looking at houses. We saw 8 (some single family, some townhomes) and ended the day disheartened because nothing was anywhere near what we wanted. The good news was that the following Saturday (the 7th) we found a house that we really liked, and we put an offer in (while standing in the kitchen of the house).

And thus, the nail biting that comprises house buying commenced.

On the 11th Anthony and I traipsed to the doctor's office after work for our first ultrasound. What we thought would be our 10 week scan. Only as the tech moved the probe around she got quiet and went from genial and talkative to very quiet, and not nervous but not cheerful. She said that the baby was measuring much smaller than 10 weeks, more like 5 or 6, which sent me into panic mode. The tech ended by saying the doctor would go over everything with us and as I got dressed I started word vomiting scenarios at Anthony based on everything I'd read. Then we went and waited in the doctor's office, nervous and certainly not as happy as when we'd walked in the door.

But he came in and said everything looked normal for week 6 of a pregnancy. He gave me a new due date (September 4th, not August 8th) and said we should come back in a week to make sure things were on track.

The next day more stuff happened with the house. After a few days of back and forth on a price (which included some laughable counteroffers by the sellers, should have seen the red flag it was), our offer on the house was accepted and the inspection was scheduled, which was great news.

Unfortunately, it was followed by some pretty terrible news...right as I was leaving work on the 12th, Anthony told me that he was getting texts from his friend that another childhood friend had been killed in a triple homicide. My heart shattered for Anthony. I thought about Kayla. I thought about finding out she had died two years earlier, while I was surrounded by people at work and feeling like I couldn't escape it and wanting nothing more than to do so. And I knew there wasn't anything I could do to take those feelings away.

It was a hard week, because there were so many mixed emotions. The terrible news about Darrell, the great news about the house, and then on the 18th we had our second ultrasound showing that the baby was growing on schedule for 7 weeks, and even though there wasn't a heartbeat yet, it gave us an incomprehensible feeling of relief (even though what we really wanted was to see that heartbeat).

On Saturday the 21st we drove to the city for Darrell's funeral,..and I can't explain any of the emotions associated with that either. It was my first time meeting any of Anthony's friends (and I met almost all of them), and my heart proceeded to break further as I saw them mourn their childhood friend. As I saw this young man's family (including his three year old daughter with curls like Shirley Temple) speak and sing about and honor the memory of their brother, cousin, father, son, and friend.

And as all of this happened, things with the house progressed. We had the inspection and determined what we wanted fixed in the house (or credited)...and the sellers came back the following week with a completely unreasonable response. And I mean completely. Realistically, we figured we were due at least $5000 in credits, and they offered us a fraction of that. They were offering us almost nothing, and there certainly should have been something.

That Sunday morning (the 22nd), I also noticed some spotting. That was when the internet taught me that something like one third of pregnancies have some sort of spotting, and there's really no way to tell if it's good or bad. You just have to wait and see. Not to give TMI here, but the spotting was brown and the internet assured me this was most likely implantation bleeding, and Anthony and I simply decided we'd have to be patient and relax about it until our next ultrasound the following Monday. I.e. freaking FOREVER away.

Obviously I spent the next few days worrying and updating Anthony about literally every bathroom visit, but I also called my doctor's office and spoke to the medical assistant who assured me some spotting is normal and if it's brown and I had no cramping there was nothing to worry about.

I was horribly sick that Tuesday night. The most nauseous I had been and tired beyond belief. I went to Anthony's house after work (about 4pm), crawled into bed, and fought the urge to throw up until I finally fell asleep for twelve hours.

All the while, the sellers for our house were being more and more ridiculous, and taking longer and longer to respond to any communication. As a matter of fact, there was no more word from them...until Friday.

(This is kind of long...I think I'll leave it there for now so everyone can give their eyes a break. Part 2 is already written so I'll post that tomorrow...I promise this time you don't have to wait a month!)


x

Part 2 is now available here.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

This Mother's Day is different.

Happy Mother's Day.

To my own mother and grandmothers, to my Auntie. To the women in my life who have helped and encouraged and loved me the way only mothers can.

And Happy Mother's Day to all of us who have merely glimpsed motherhood, and who will mourn but never forget the children we have lost.



x

Monday, May 1, 2017

An update is coming...

Let's not beat around the bush...I've been bad about posting lately.

I never even posted house pictures like I said I would a month ago.

Well. The truth is...there is something coming. I started writing it on April 14th. It's currently 11 pages in MS Word and let's just say there's a lot more to go.

So you'll eventually get this mondo update about what's been going on, but I really need the time to put it all in order and figure out how I'm going to deliver it.

I just wanted to stop in and say that.

Here's a dog picture to make up for not posting anything of substance for so long!


PS - he's even cuter in person.


x

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

What a week it's been...

I mean that. It has been quite the week.

Quite the month.

Quite the year so far, actually.

January was a total slump, full of heart break and disappointment.

February was all about waiting, waiting, waiting.

March was also about waiting, but things really looked up...

And now we have a house. And a dog. And all that waiting really was worth it (just like everyone said it would be!).

This past week (last Sunday through today...and counting) was all about packing, moving, unpacking, playing with the puppy...etc!

Pictures and more coming soon!


x

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

I don't have a whole lot to say about things right now...everything in life seems to be waiting waiting waiting!

I will say this though...my training plan starts next week and I'm just not feeling it. I mean, I'll get out there, I'll do my workouts (especially now that I have a coach and a plan from said coach and whatnot), but I'm not as prepared as I could be.

Mostly, I have spent the last month or so wanting to enjoy not training, so I've allowed myself the opportunity to skip workouts in lieu of other things...like working out my cuddling skills with Anthony or my dogs, my "sleeping in" skills (woo I don't wake up until 6am on weekends!) and the like.

Truth is, life is about to get hectic. I don't want to jinx anything so I'm leaving it there...but next week I might just implode, haha.

And let's agree to not talk about the half in sixteen days. Let's just not. Ill-prepared doesn't even describe it. Longest run so far: 9 miles. I should be at least at 11 by now.

Yikes.

Time to pick up all the slack I've been dragging...

...ahhhhhhhhhh.

So there's the update, lol.

#endpost


x

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Throwback Thursday

It's really not that much of a throw back, but I have a funny story from Sunday that I really want to share, so I'm throwing back!

So I mentioned in my last post that Anthony and I had a wedding to go to on Sunday - one of his friends was getting married. It was kind of weird getting all dressed up on a Sunday (it definitely made it feel a whole lot like Saturday...), but that's what we did!

For reference, my dress:


So you see in that second picture, how it's hugging my hips like that? It's a pretty form fitting dress, and here's the story behind (har har) how it started to not fit.

First up, this is only the second time I've worn this dress. I wore it to my cousin Sarah's wedding in December 2015, and I haven't worn it since. I really don't have much reason to wear a dress like that, and to be honest it always rides up my hips so there's lots of downward-tugging that happens when I do wear it!

Anyways, we got to the venue right on time and headed in to our seats. Shortly after the ceremony, during the post-ceremony, pre-reception mingling I went to the bathroom. Right before exiting I ran my hands down my dress, checked myself out (hey, don't judge), and during the hand-running I came to a very startling and embarrassing realization: The dress had a hole in it. Right.over.my.butt.

Not near my butt, not low towards the bottom seam...right smack dab in the middle of my butt, where you could poke a hole through my underwear to my you-know-what.

I couldn't believe it. I just stood there in drunken disbelief for a few moments (legitimately drunken because I was drunk), trying to turn my head enough to get the best look possible in the mirror. It was bad. The more I tried to make it less obvious, the more the hole grew. It was actually getting bigger. What started as a dime-sized hole was quarter size in no time. And then bigger.

I exited the bathroom and walked to Anthony as quickly as possible and told him of the problem.

He laughed. >:o

I'm just kidding about the angry face, I laughed while I was telling him. I finally snagged one of the bridesmaids and asked if there was a sewing kit for the bride's dress in the event of last minute repairs.

There wasn't.

Of course there wasn't. Also, not one person had a safety pin...well, at least not anyone we asked (and the mother of the bride helped with the asking). I was thinking Anthony and I would have to drive back to his house so I could get one...when I realized there was a JoAnn Fabrics across the street from the venue we were at.

Hallelujah!

I sent begged Anthony to go buy me a travel sewing kit so I could sneak into the bathroom and repair things, and he finally did. Fifteen minutes later he returned with black thread and needles and a few later I was sitting in a bathroom stall, dress in my lap, sewing up the offending hole while I squinted with one drunken eye to make sure my stitches were straight so the fabric wouldn't pull or gather and give some kind of winky bum-hole look to the dress. I sewed and sewed, and then used my teeth to cut the thread.

It is officially the most clutch thing I have ever done in my life :P

It wasn't too long before I was pulling it back on and asking the first person I encountered in the Ladies room to zip me up while I checked to make sure the dress looked okay (read: hole-less).

The result was perfection. You couldn't tell anything had happened. There was no hole, and I slid back into my seat before any part of dinner was served.

We had our fun and our drinks and our dinner, I actually met the bride and groom, and the rest of the night passed without any more holes to mend!


It's the best I could do without asking someone to take a picture of my butt. You can't see my underwear, which you'd be able to if it hadn't been fixed :P

But my absolutely favorite part of this wedding was knowing there's a very good reason for girls everyone to learn how to sew!


x

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Catching Up

Soooooooooo, it's been a bit! A little while! I'm not doing a great job of posting, but I swear I'm thinking about it all the time...like with every run and trainer ride I'm thinking about a blog post I could be writing! I feel like my life is boring with the normal, daily in-and-out kind of things, but in reality we do have some very exciting things happening, and now that spring is on it's way life is really picking up. No more depressing winter moods affecting every facet of life!

There is just so much going on. Work is crazy busy...like busier than our department has ever seen I feel like I've been saying that for the last six months, but for real it's true. Our ticket-intake metrics were higher in 2016 than ever. And that's resulted in some changes (both good and mehhhh), and a lot of overtime for yours truly. I always tell my manager I'm working "accidental" overtime because it's almost never planned. I'll just be sitting at my desk at 3:30 thinking 'I'll wrap up this one last thing before I leave at 3:45...' and half an hour later I realize I'm still at my desk because someone has interrupted me with a problem or question, and my manager will walk by and ask why I'm still at work and I'll say, 'I'm working accidental overtime!'

It's also the reason for all the coffee I drink in the morning (okay not really...honestly it's mostly decaf, I just love coffee). But it makes for a funny story, Friday when I got to work I was in the elevator, and there are these three hilarious women who I run into on my way in every so often, and one of them said, "Only one cup for Friday?!" I looked at her like she was straight up crazy and said, "Oh no...I have a second..." and pulled my leak proof 20 oz coffee mug holding 'cup' number two out of my purse. The entire elevator burst into laughter.

As if I'd be so ill-prepared on any day of the week ;)

Anyways, outside of work I feel like I go a million miles an hour, and I'll be honest, I just don't want to sit down at a desk to blog at the end of a work day! I also don't want blogging to be a chore...it's something I like to do when I have time, and if that makes me a bad blogger, so be it! :P

Since there's so much going on, I'll use this as a dumping ground for all the stuff I keep wanting to talk about!

To bring y'all up to speed...
Anthony and I started looking at houses again three weeks ago. I want to put a note here that my agent, Barb, is amazing. I absolutely love her, and she's made this whole process so much easier, even given what's happened (post on that once a house is bought). She knows real estate and she knows the mortgage process, and as a first time buyer she has taken any and all guesswork out of home buying. She's amazing. If anyone in the Northern IL area needs and agent for buying or selling, I recommend her and am more than happy to talk about what it's been like working with her! You can click the link above for her contact info.

Anyways, it's been nice to get back out there and see what's being offered, and it helped that we had some good weather. We made the decision to up our price point as well, which is fine, if dauntingWe can afford slightly more than the first house we put an offer on, but it's still a mental hurdle. We talk a lot about taxes now...probably even more than listing prices!

So the house-looking thing scooting along!

Plans, plans, plans...
Outside of working, pre-training, house hunting, pouring over adorable, adoptable dogs, and watching lots of documentaries on Netflix: We're making plans for the year. Races aside, I have three friends (so far) getting married this year, and there will be travelling for each. From quaint, picturesque Illinois to the North Woods of Wisconsin to Buffalo, NY, there's a lot of planning and saving to be done to see some of my best friends in this world get married! In addition, Anthony's friend is getting married today, so we'll start off with that!

Anthony and I are also trying to plan some kind of "vacation" in the midst of all this (whatever it ends up being), so I'm obviously sitting here wishing I made about $50k more a year, and had about twice as many PTO days... ;)

Fitness Wise...
The same week we started looking at houses again I got back in the gym, on my trainer, and in the pool. It felt good. It has definitely been a challenge, and I've been struggling with some things both mentally and physically, but I'm feeling more myself.

Though I've been running sporadically the last few months, it's been hard to know what my body can handle so it hasn't been happening as often as it should. I also went on Garmin Connect and looked at the last time I swam before February 15th....it was December 2nd. I swam one mile that day and hadn't been in a pool since, and admittedly my pool time is still lacking. Yikes. That obviously has to change! I'm considering doing a masters class, but I need things to slow down just a bit before I fit a structured (time constrained) workout in each week.

Also, because I was so "bad" about "training" for the Lincoln Presidential Half due to personal health stuff in January and February I decided to scrap my original half marathon training plan and picked up a "gentler" plan to follow for the last 6 weeks of training. **Sidenote: mad props to Steffi for killing it...she's having some great runs!!**

A Note About Running
My notes about running are these: I have had a seriously hard time controlling my heart rate since the beginning of January. I felt like I was going slower and slower and slower with every run, never improving. Bike and swim, totally fine...but running has been killing me. Until the last 10 or so days. Last week I did some intervals that put me at about 4 miles, my run last Saturday (6 miles) was intervals, and yesterday I did another 4 miles of intervals...and NOW I'm seeing a difference in how my heart is reacting when I run. My "easy" runs are becoming a bit easier, and I'm seeing some improvement overall, thank goodness!

That said, I did 9 miles today - my longest run since the half, and it's still a struggle in a lot of ways. Maybe it's because I've done so much winter running on the treadmill so I'm losing some of the outdoor conditioning, maybe it's that I haven't done a ton of distance running the last few months...it's probably a combination of a few things. But running isn't going away. With the Ragnar only three months away I'll be continuing forward from this half marathon with a marathon training plan to get me to the Ragnar...so I have to be serious about running. I have to be serious about interval and hill training. And if that means coming up with more creative ways to stay motivated and disciplined, then that's what I'll do!

Anyways...
In all this, and realizing I needed to step up my game, I signed up for my training plan for the Oly in July so I'd know what I'm in for. The plan starts on March 20th, averages 7-11 hours of training a week with a few 3 hour weeks rolled in, and now I'm sitting here thinking pleeeeease let us be closing on a house by then so I don't have to juggle weekend workouts and house hunting...

House hunting has been a weekend thing for us because our work hours conflict and only allow us to view either on Saturday/Sunday or very late on weekdays (which means we haven't even done weekday viewings). We're really hoping that will all be over soon and we can just get settled somewhere. I personally am pulling for sometime before my tri season starts, because it will make my life easier and so much less stressful to have my life in one place. So fingers crossed on all that!

Which reminds me...I'll be changing gyms soon. It's about time. I've been going to LA Fitness for almost two and a half years, but it's never really been convenient. I can't afford somewhere like Lifetime, but there's an XSport Fitness right near my office, and Anthony goes there and likes it well enough. Since none of my swim workouts are on the weekends for my Oly plan I don't have to worry about trekking out there from my house, so...yeah. As soon as we have a contract locked in for a house, that's gonna happen. Perhaps I'm being optimistic that I'll be changing gyms "soon"...but for real I hope I will be!!

Soooooooooo....
There you go. All the busy and crazy with work and life and training and everything.

And now it's time to go eat whatever Anthony's making for breakfast (that smells super good), and head off to the gym before another busy Sunday.

Catch ya later!


x

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Looking Up

I'm sitting here, my desk (at home) a complete mess of papers and pamphlets with everything from a Dick's credit card application (no thank you), to a list of houses we're viewing tomorrow (yes, please), a Ragnar "Race Bible" (eeeeek!) and a lovely card from my aunt in England (I miss you!!)...and I can actually tell you that I'm excited.

It is odd and weird and hard to say that. I have mixed emotions about being happy like this, kind of like I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop (again...), but I'm feeling more like myself. I'm happy and nervous and excited for these next few months.

This week started out as a total struggle for me, and as dorky as it sounds to say it, Valentine's day turned that right around. I took the day off due to a cold, but it was also a much-needed mental health day.

I lounged around, did laundry, had lunch with my cousin and this adorable dude (in his awesome narwhal-as-unicorn shirt!):

...and then Anthony surprised me with flowers and a picnic-in-bed-with-Netflix-and-cuddles. The cuddles were extra needed. I am more than lucky to have him, and I don't know what I'd ever do without his support!
That smile!!!!!!!!!! 😍
The week is ending nicely as well. Tomorrow, Anthony and my mom and I go to look at some houses that actually have me excited. Not just one, but SIX. Six of these places actually look good, which is a breath of fresh air.

On top of that, tonight I get to meet most of my teammates for Ragnar Chicago 2017. Team 38, (The Team That Must Not Be Named!) is getting together for a potluck and discussion about all things Ragnar, hence the mess of papers on my desk!

There are a lot of moving parts with Ragnar, and though I'm "captain" of mine, I've had the help of two amazing women along the way. Tonight we make the bulk of the decisions that will affect each runner (mainly what legs we'll each be running), so there's a lot to do and go over! After that I'll sit down and see what kind of training I might have to supplement in addition to my training plan for the Lake Zurich tri, and I'll make sure all of that will work.

But really, I'm just excited that things seem to be looking up after how stressful and bleak and heartbreaking January turned out to be. Maybe it's just the break in weather we go here in the midwest (it's sixty three degress out right now!!!), but seeing the sun is uplifting and has put me in a can-do mindset!

Anyways. That meetup tonight. I have brownies made, meatballs prepped, my mom cleaned the kitchen floors and bathroom (thanks, mom!), and now it's time for me to hit the pavement for the six miles on this half plan. So off I scoot!

And if you've stuck around for all that, check out this picture that my aunt sent me with her card. When I was in England in September I got to help close the door on a lock, and she took a picture of me doing so. Totally dressed for the occasion! (It's pretty obvious that guy was not thrilled about the photo op!)

Have a good one, and here's to things looking up ;)


x

Monday, January 30, 2017

What does 2017 have in store?

I don't even know where to start. I think I'll just let January go down as the worst month of my life (if you would like to pretend this is hyperbole, go ahead. It's not.) and leave it at that. Yes. Worse than the month my dad died, as awful as it is to compare. But true.

I don't know if I'll ever post all of the things that happened, but I know there are a few people sitting out there who know and you're probably nodding along, and you understand why I'm saying that.

That's part of why I haven't posted almost all month. Because of all this stuff going on.

But anyways.

To that post. Something slightly more positive. The post I've been saying I'll post about races and goals for the year, because what better to distract me than preparing for race season? Here you go.

2017 'Goals'
I use the word 'goals' loosely, because really I'm not trying to break any records. Not even my own - although it will be awesome if that happens by accident.

I can tell you the races I've signed up for, and I'll be honest, there aren't a ton of them. Because of the whole house-buying thing I have to be really careful about money right now, and I can't go tossing it all at races.

I'm looking at you, Half-Ironman.

I won't lie - that was going to be my A goal this year. Steelhead 70.3. But nearly $300 to register, not including any lodging, travel, or time-off expenses? Well, that's probably not going to happen. I have a while to make up my mind, but let's be realistic. Planning for a half IM would cost just as much as having a house inspected and appraised, and I can't be throwing money like that around right now.

Does it suck to realize that? Yes. But I'd rather get a mortgage with a good rate than have someone asking me what I'm dropping that money on when I'm trying to buy a house!

I also want a new bike before attempting a half, so there's that to factor in.

The good news? Races will always be there, so I'll come back to this one at some point.

2017 Races
All that said, I have registered for a few races. Here goes;

The Lincoln Presidential Half (April 1)
Again, no real goal. I'm running this with my friend Steffi (from 2016's Shamrock Shuffle and the Hot Chocolate 15k). It will be her first half, and she'll probably school me at it since I've spent the last few weeks sucking at training.

BUT...the fun things about this race??

  1. We get to stay with Mama and Papa Bender since they live near Springfield.
  2. Race with a friend, and my stalwart Sherpa (that'd be Anthony!) accompanying us.
  3. UMM, IT'S A RACE DEDICATED TO ALL THINGS ABRAHAM LINCOLN.
    1. We run through all the hot Lincoln spots in Springfield!
    2. 13.1 miles of fun, educational sites
    3. You can wear top hats.
    4. Either Jennie will come to spectate or I get to guest blog! So for the first time ever I promise course pictures!
    5. The medal is a giant penny. If that doesn't sell you on it I don't know what will.
    6. Oh yeah, it's affordable. I registered today and it was $50.
I can't wait. I am quite excited. Here's to my second half!

Ragnar Chicago! (June 9-10)
This is a big one. I'm preparing for this to be the most fun race of the season because people who do Ragnars always say it is.

If you don't know (and I don't expect you to if you're not a race-nut like yours truly), a Ragnar relay is a 200 mile, 12 person relay race from point A to point B. Ragnar Chicago starts in Madison, WI and we will run in relay fashion to Chicago over two days. Each person runs three legs during that time, and each leg is between three and twelve miles long, totaling 11 to 22 miles per runner for the two days.

You run during the day. You run at night. You run in whatever weather you're blessed or cursed with, through hills and bluffs and flats. You just run your leg, and pass off the snap bracelet at exchange points. When you're not running, you're driving/riding between exchange points, supporting your team and other runners.

For me and my team, we initially came together through the Hogwarts Running Club Midwest chapter. About half of us are die hard Potter fans, and we recruited the other half of our runners elsewhere (though we still love them just as much). #TheTeamThatShallNotBeNamed is getting ready to crush Ragnar, and we're all stoked.

That said...organizing a Ragnar is another beast to tackle. I'm technically Captain of my team, but I have to say I have some amazing ladies who have helped me while my life got flip-turned-upside-down last month. I owe them everything, and I wouldn't trade them for the world.

So...that's all happening.


Lake Zurich Triathlon, Olympic distance (July 9)
I registered to LZT shortly after it opened, and I'll start training soon-ish.

To whine for a second: For the first time in months I actually want to swim and I can't. Why? Because swimming is solitary. You can disappear in the water and be alone and no one is going to bother you. But as soon as I want to do it I can't. Yay.

Anyways...I don't know if I'll change my training plan from last year (last year's had so.much.swimming). I'll probably switch it up, tbh. That's a decision for a later date though.

I do have a goal with this (even though I'm not in a goal setting mood) and I'm going to put it here: I'd like to beat my Chicago Triathlon time. My official time for Chicago was 3:21:21. How will I do that?

  1. Admittedly transition was HUGE for Chicago, but I spent 17:26 in transition. That's so.long. Transition for LZ is way smaller (and doesn't include a half mile run to it), so I'm hoping I can bring all that down and firm up my transition times to scrape a good 10 minutes off that time.
  2. Run more. I feel like the run for Chicago was such a weak spot for me because of the heat and GI issues. It will still be super hot for LZ in the middle of July, but I'm hoping all of the running I'll be doing for the half and Ragnar will even the playing field for it a bit more.
  3. Steady bike. Just like last year for Chicago I'll do my bike workouts and aim to excel like I did last year.
A three pronged approach. What could go wrong? (I'm saying that super sarcastically. Everything could go wrong. I have learned from January that life likes to suck like that.)

The Chicago Marathon (October 8)
The list is short and this is the last thing on it but... The Chicago Marathon is happening again this year. For me, I mean. It'd be happening with or without me.

The 40th anniversary is on it's way, and I'm running for #TeamRMHC again. I'm not-so-secretly hoping that there's a giant medal and huge crowd. I can't wait.

Also, though not all about goals, it'd be cool to cut 20 minutes from my time and come in under 5 hours. Just throwing it out there. Guess it's time to up the speed work I do.

Stay tuned to this space for more on that, because I hope to make a bigger deal out of fundraising this year than I did last year. So yeah. Watch out.


So there you go.
2017 races and goals, out there for all of you.

I'm not on my game today so I'm sorry if all of this seems lackluster. The lust will come back, I promise...I just need some time. Thanks for understanding