Sunday, March 20, 2016

It's Spring!

It usually starts around February here in Minnesota when we get the first few sunny days above 30 degrees and all start to emerge from our winter hibernation.  I'm so happy to be coming out of the winter fog, especially given how depressing our winter has been this year.  Aside from Ruby having a cold this weekend while Pete is in bed with the flu, the last few weeks have been really nice.  I've been busy with friends but also pulling back a bit to take care of myself by working on projects around the house and taking time for me.  

In January I had a work trip to San Francisco - so my best friend Brittney came with and we got to explore a bit and spend a couple nights in Sonoma!

We visited the painted ladies, the full house house, and muir woods although it ended up being a cloudy, rainy weekend.

Kunde is our favorite winery - and it was so fun to go back after our first trip almost 5 years ago - and with Britt being pregnant she got to drive me around for wine tastings all day ;) ;)

I've been brunching a bit more - because that's what you do in your 30s!  No longer are the days where I go out to the bars most weekends - I much prefer going to bed early and getting up early to enjoy the weekend rather than spending it napping because let's face it - I just can't handle the bar scene like I used to!

Over Valentine's day I had another 'Galentines' weekend with Britt.  We spent 6 days in Tucson and it was glorious. We initially were planning to vacation with her family in Costa Rica but had to abandon that plan due to the zika virus.  So we found the hottest & sunniest place in the US that Sun Country would take us and it was the most relaxing trip ever.
We spent each day by the pool reading, drinking, eating and sleeping.  It was just what I needed.

We've done a few minor projects at home.  Since we bought our house I have really wanted to white wash this outdated pink brick.  Instead of a light white wash we ended up just doing a solid white.  We lived with it for a few days and decided we needed to change the walls too - so then we painted the living room from the dingy green it was to a lighter, fresher, pale blue - "limelight" by Behr.  This room connects to the kitchen which used to be a dark tan color.  We connected the two rooms with one paint color and it made the space feel so much airier!  Now we're deciding what to do with the mantels, built ins, and kitchen cabinets.

I've also been collecting plates for my dining room - many of them are on the hutch on the opposite of this wall, but I have a plan to fill this wall with old plates.

But for now we did these frames -  I've been saving the scrap wood frames for a project for a while now.  Pete doubted how cute this would look but it ended up just how I wanted them to. We stapled chicken wire to the frames then hung plates on the wire.  I love how they turned out!

The rest of the house is still a constant work in progress -  Once we do it one way I end up changing it up after a few months which Pete can't stand.
We started transiting "the cat room" for a future baby room and so far we just have this hanging.
We bought this at Lo & Jesse's fundraiser last year specifically for a baby room.  Little did we know that once this was up and we began trying for our family, the meaning behind this piece was something we would be thinking about a lot more.  Pete & I have had many talks about what we hope for our future family after our two losses.  Where we go from here is still up in the air due to testing, but we're so hopeful.  I know that we're so lucky already and that it could be worse, but we're definitely not the same people than we were before the miscarriages, which is weird to say.  I think our marriage grew from this but we're still navigating through some of the muck.  In the meantime we're enjoying the brighter, warmer weather, focusing on our health, and spending time with the fur children - who keep us plenty busy!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

We never got to celebrate

We're in a place I never thought we'd be.  Sure, it was always in the back of my mind the possibility of having trouble conceiving, but both of my sisters got pregnant without even 'trying' and had easy, successful pregnancies.
Since our first miscarriage in December, we have now experienced a second pregnancy loss.  My OB said it was perfectly safe to attempt pregnancy right after a miscarriage, and after reading the research and literature, I felt very comfortable with that.  So we gave it a shot and got pregnant 3 weeks after our miscarriage.  We found out later than the first time, but that was because I thought I had my period and then maybe a week later I felt weird and pms'y.  I told myself I was being crazy by taking a pregnancy test (or two four), but I did and they were positive.
I told Pete that night and we were both shocked and excited.  The odds of having a second miscarriage were so low that we had hope.  I knew something was off because of my "period" bleeding, but tried to rationalize it as implantation bleeding.
And that's when the panic set in.  Pete was more hopeful I think, and I was terrified.  Terrified to experience another loss.  Terrified that something was already wrong because by the dating I should have been at - nearly 6 weeks, I didn't feel "pregnant" like I did the first time.  Later in the week I got started on checking b-hcg levels again and we entered the most anxiety producing week ever.  Our first level was low - 70, but the OB nurse wasn't concerned and said "Congratulations! you're definitely pregnant!"  I was still so scared.  2 days later, recheck was only 95.  But with a rise, the OB said it looked fine and we could check an ultrasound in a couple of weeks.  I was nervous and anxious and asked for a re-check the following week.   I tried to quell my anxiety over that weekend and tried to tell myself that the odds were in our favor and to try to enjoy a new pregnancy.  I told just a couple of my friends so they knew why I was so preoccupied that week, but told them to be cautiously excited. 
On Monday we got another lab draw - hcg dropped to 33 over the weekend.  I physically miscarried on valentine's day for a couple of days, while I was away on vacation, with my pregnant best friend.  She was now 13 weeks pregnant and spent most of the trip excitedly discussing her pregnancy symptoms with strangers we met on the plane, at restaurants, etc. 

Both times we never got to be excited with anybody about being pregnant.  The first pregnancy Pete and I were so blindly happy but were waiting to share the news until Christmas.  The second pregnancy was wrought with so much dread and anxiety that even when I told a couple people, I didn't allow myself to get excited. And now I'm jaded.  If I ever get pregnant again, I'm not sure how to let myself enjoy it without being so scared of something happening.

During the first pregnancy I wrote how I was feeling week to week, and we even started taking bump photos.  I wanted to share some of it just to remember how excited we were at first..before all of this.

week 4 - November 23, 2015
We had been discussing trying to get pregnant this year and because my cycle had been so irregular since coming off the pill (hellooo, I took it for 11 years), I used ovulation kits to try to figure out what the heck my body was doing month to month.  Interestingly enough, this month my ovulation tests all came out  negative and I was convinced that I didn't ovulate this month.  I had been also keeping track of these tests and my cycle on an app and on this day there was an alert saying "It's too early to take a pregnancy test so try to hold off!"  So of course that's all I could think about.  Even though I thought it was a long shot since "I didn't ovulate," of course it was a possibility.  So I took a test and thought I saw the faintest pink line right away, but then I thought it was just the control line.  Just as I was throwing the test in the garbage, there was definitely the faintest of pink lines.  My heart started pounding and I said to the dog (she's always with me.  aaaallwwaaaays following me), 'this is NOT real.'  I ran downstairs and chugged some water and forced myself to take a second pregnancy test.  And it was also very faintly positive.  I did not say a word to Pete because I couldn't even believe it and it was still at least 4 days before my expected period, but I barely slept that night.
The next day I had to get up early for my advanced practice oncology certification exam so of course before I left I took 2 more pregnancy tests.  The lines were darker than the night before and definitely positive.  As I'm sitting outside of the test center I call my clinic and basically said " I uhhh..took some tests.  I took tests that were positive.  Pregnancy type ones. what do I do now?"  The lady was like, we'll see you when you're 8-10 weeks, don't smoke, try not to drink, byeeeee.
8-10 weeks?!?!  What if this isn't real??  Don't they want to check blood tests?? nope.
So I went home and took 6 more pregnancy tests throughout the day.  6.  Because at that point I was losing it.  Oh, and I passed my exam that day.  It was a very exciting week.

I set up this for Pete to find when he got home.  And of course it was many hours before he found it even after a lot of prompting from me telling him to go find our elf on a shelf, Gilly.  And he comes back yelling from the stairs "are you serious?!" and apparently I was.

So of course now I was nervous going in to Thanksgiving in Two Harbors that week.  I faked a glass of wine at dinner that Pete drank and I walked around with and eventually dumped in the bathroom (I know- I can't believe I did that either!) and when asked by my sister in law if we would ever have kids I responded with, "maybe, eventually..we've been talking about it more."

The only symptoms I had this week was mild cramping and feeling a bit more tired.  And lots of diarrhea, but likely due to the anxiety of the whole week!

Week 5 - November 30, 2015
I've taken another couple pregnancy tests just to make sure.  I've been really hungry in the mornings which is unusual for me and sleeping a lot.  So anxious to tell someone and trying to cover it up because I feel like it's too early to share.  This gets verrrry tricky with holiday events coming up with friends where we usually drink -- this week is our annual pub crawl for the 12 bars of Christmas.  There's no way I can fake drinking all night long and be outside in the cold so I plan on making up an excuse to be suddenly sick with strep throat - meaning I have to stay home from work and miss our work holiday party that same evening.  I'm pretty disappointed, but know that that is what I need to do right now. 
The timing of sharing our news is especially important to us.  Our very good friends recently suffered a loss (just days prior to me finding out I was pregnant), and I need to be able to tell her first, privately, before others knew or could share what was going on, and I really wanted to be sensitive to her healing.

Week 6- December 7, 2015
I told one person this week - a coworker, because I needed to avoid some alcohol-heavy events and needed some advice.  I had to stay home "sick" to miss our pub crawl because there was no other way I could pretend to get through that night!  I fake drinked my way through a holiday party at a friend's, but came SO close to saying something.  ultimately, it still didn't quite feel right to share the news.  I at least wanted to have a clinic appointment first and a solid plan for telling the most important people in our lives so that we can avoid any social media leakages that might happen on accident from excited friends.  I had one day of the most intense heartburn ever plus so.much.fatigue, but other than that I feel pretty normal, which of course worries this first time mommy.

Week 7- December 14, 2015
I had my first clinic appointment this week - it seemed like I had to wait absolutely forever to be seen, but apparently it's normal to not go in until 8-10 weeks (or even later), which is hard for your first pregnancy when you find out at under 4 weeks along!  I made appointments with two different providers/clinics so I could decide which one I prefer to continue my care with, but my other appointments don't happen until January.
On Dec 17th I found out one of my best friends is pregnant too!  We were so ecstatic to share the news with eachother - and talked about how awesome it's going to be to be pregnant together and on maternity leave together.  I went to sleep that night so happy and my heart so full.

On Friday the 18th I started lightly spotting at work.  I was scared immediately and called the midwife.  I got a beta hcg checked - 2800.  Low for 7 weeks but the midwife wouldn't confirm that it was not a good sign and wanted me to wait it out for the weekend.  The spotting turned in to bright red bleeding followed by cramps, and continued to worsen.  I knew it was over.  After work Pete and I went straight to the ER where I continued to bleed and cramp.  beta hcg was down to 2200.  Ultrasound showed a small embryo measuring 6 weeks, 6 days, and an even smaller gestational sac at 5 weeks, 4 days.  There was no heart beat.  We were so sad.  Pete cried most of the time at the hospital and all the way home.  I went home and cried in the shower.  Hubby went to the store and got me pads, Christmas socks, and macaroni and cheese.  The rest of the weekend was low key.  I tried to take care of myself - got a pedicure and did a little shopping when the cramping eased up a bit.  We were dreading the following week - we planned to share the news of our pregnancy with family and friends.  I even got onesies to give to our parents - something I was SO excited for.  At this point I didn't even want to deal with Christmas.  I didn't want to talk to anybody, I didn't want to go to work, I just wanted to hide at home in my pajamas and be sad.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

our loss

It's been two weeks since we miscarried our first pregnancy.  It happened on December 18th. 
One day before, I found out my best friend was also pregnant and we were due within weeks of each other next August.  We hugged and giggled and squealed at the thought of going through pregnancy together, maternity leave at the same time, and having babies who could grow up together.  It seemed so perfect.  I couldn't sleep that night because I was so excited.  We also planned for the following week to share our news with our families and close friends on Christmas, so we had a lot to look forward to.  I got these onesies to give to our parents when we were opening Christmas presents to announce the news-
Christmas Pregnancy announcement idea for grandma and grandpa ONESIE ® brand bodysuit or shirt  pregnancy reveal for grandparents or family

But Friday, exactly 1 week before Christmas, I started spotting at work.  My heart sank.  Even though it started really light there was a part of me that just knew it was over.  Working at the hospital I called the midwife line (several times that day) and got my beta hcg checked - 2832.  Pretty low for a pregnancy that roughly dated about 7 1/2 weeks.  The midwife wouldn't let me get an ultrasound and wanted me to go home and wait it out for the weekend.  The spotting turned in to bleeding heavier than any other period I typically get, and soon after it was accompanied by strong cramping.  By the time I got home from work that afternoon Pete and I discussed waiting it out, ignoring it for a few hours and going out (we had plans with friends to rent a limo to go look at Christmas lights that night), or head the ER and definitively confirm an impending miscarriage.  The drive to the ER was quiet.  Pete still had hope while I tried to prepare him for what was happening.

The experience at the ER was also a first for me, and definitely weird to be the patient instead of the provider.  We rechecked a beta hcg - now down to 2290.  The bleeding was getting heavier and heavier and we checked a pelvic ultrasound - incredibly uncomfortable when you're bleeding and cramping.  This was our first look at our little baby.  But there was no heart beat.  And it only measured 6 weeks, 6 days.  The gestational sac was low in the uterus.  The ER doctor said maybe my dates were off and it was too early to see a heart beat but with the heavy bleeding and the rapidly dropping hcg levels, it wasn't looking good..or "likely fetal demise" as it was worded on the ultrasound report.

I held it together pretty well like I always do while Pete was upset much of our time at the hospital and the whole car ride home.  I headed straight for the shower and some ibuprofen when we got home.  I took a hot shower and cried.  Pete went to several different stores to find me some fuzzy Christmas socks, macaroni and cheese, and pads-A target run that few husbands hopefully ever have to make.  We spent the weekend on the couch with an electric blanket and the hallmark channel.  Pete coped by talking to family while I wanted to avoid everybody.  I was going through a lot of physical symptoms through much of that weekend and in to early the following week.  By the 21st my hcg level was down to 258.  A week later, 14.

Now a couple weeks later Pete has found peace and acceptance and I have been in and out of feeling more depressed.  I feel like I should be able to explain why I feel so sad still but I can't find words to describe it.  Christmas was hard but we were still able to enjoy parts of it with family.  I have been feeling so conflicted over my best friend - she got to share the news of her pregnancy with her family on Christmas and I feel like such a jerk for thinking that that was supposed to be us.  And I get really sad just talking to her about her baby stuff - something that I should be over the moon for.  I have no reason to believe we can't try again right away and I am so aware that the heartache we are feeling is nowhere compared to others who have struggled much more than us to start a family. I feel like a such selfish jerk for being so sad.  I only hope that with this new year starting we can heal and move on.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Synfully what?! Syndal who??

Do you remember back in the day when we blogged probably almost every weekday??  And we had topics for certain days of the week, weekend recaps, blogger meetups, poser-artsy photos, link ups?? Well maybe some of that is still going on without me, but I've definitely not taken the time to keep this page up.  I have several posts partially drafted but I really just lost a lot of interest.  I used to love this space.  I've made some great friendships through this space.  But it takes time to read blogs and thoughtfully comment and write posts you are proud of.  And honestly I've just been too in to my head, my work, my life, that the last thing I wanted to do at the end of the day was sit in front of the computer some more.
So what have I been up to?
Well, mainly, managing a zoo.  Ruby is a big puppy now.  And she has officially entered hunting season.  She's doing pretty good lately, but there have been many tears in the puppy training process.

this photo cracks me up!! this is the face she makes when you tell her to stay.

It's definitely Fall here in Minnesota - cooler temps, open windows, and extra kitty snugs.  I've spent time taking care of house projects and some furniture projects but the fall is always really busy.

My friend Katy and her hubby bought their first home - like 2 miles from us!!  And they had their first annual backyard beer olympics a few weeks after they moved in.  Had scoring been consistent, the Ortmans (or 'Ortmanistan') would have taken a trophy.  Just saying.

Our Summer was pretty fantastic - our FIRST year in the last several without one single wedding. We finally had our weekends back and it was glorious.  I'll do a summer recap post because it was just so much fun :)

I'm hoping to get back in to this space because I miss it - more to come, friends!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Mexico with my Galentines

Over Valentine's weekend I went with 3 of my favorite girls to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for what was dubbed 'Galentine's Weekend.'  There's only really certain people you can travel with - and I fully believe you have to have a special kind of friendship to go on vacation with somebody.  Britt, Blaire, & Becca are like my sisters and we can bicker and still have fun and it was a trip for the books!
We left on a Wednesday morning, and we took shots and had bloodys at the airport before heading on the plane - and that was the beginning of a few really fun days.


We  headed to Riu Vallarta - all inclusive and it was amazing.  We spent most of our time at the beach or pool/swim up bar.

In the evenings we stuffed our faces at the buffet, laughed at the bar, and danced at the discotecha.

On the first morning we all had "couples" massages on the beach - it was heavenly, and a perfect way to start the day.  We spent the day at the beach or the pool and went on a boat ride to a show that evening - "Rhythms of the Night"

The bummer about this evening was that it was an outdoor show and it poured.

It was also super fun hanging out with our vacation friends!  We met two couples from Nebraska and when we found out 2 of them were nurses we knew it was meant to be.  We met up with that group every night for the rest of the trip and had a blast with them!

The following day we spent near down town Puerto Vallarta. Britt has always dreamed of swimming with dolphins, so although I have done it before, we all did it again.  We all got kisses and rode on the fins - I was terrified to get pulled around the pool with a dolphin in really deep water, but I pushed myself to do it and then there were no pictures of me riding the dolphin on our picture CD!

This was by far my favorite day of the trip - we had lunch on the beach with margaritas, a bucket of beer, and the freshest fish tacos I have ever had.  And there is nothing better than enjoying it all with your best friends laughing around you and your toes in the sand. 

we tried really hard to get a good jumping picture!

That's me & Blaire going for a sunset dip - and this is when a big wave took me under for a moment and I came out of the water with my bathing suit top down and sunglasses gone forever!  We all had that happen a few times but I miss those sunglasses!!

This photo cracks me up - this was one of the resort's waiters.  One night him and another waiter hung out with us when they were done working.  We all talked and had tequila and tried to learn Spanish.  It was dark so when we got a picture with all of our eyes closed from the bright flash we died laughing.  Pajarito hooked us up with reservations the next night.

On our final day we did another boat tour where you could swim out to a hidden beach, do snorkeling and do some paddle boarding.  
Unfortunately, I had the worse case of sea sickness.  The waves and the current was really strong so I didn't feel completely comfortable getting in the water anyways, but I was really bummed to come all that way and not be able to enjoy my time out there.  It was a gorgeous day.  I layed on the boat while the girls were out on the water until there was a man in front of me saying "senorita! come with me and take nothing with you!"  For some reason I didn't even question this man and I went with him, got in a little dingy boat with 10 other strangers, and we got dropped off on a deserted beach.  It was immediate relief of my sea sickness, the beach and the view was absolutely stunning, there were crabs running around everywhere, and I had nothing to take any pictures with.

By the end of the trip we found some creative ways to shield our fried skin from the sun!

and of course we had to document the best tequila chaser we discovered - saladitas saltine crackers!  Seriously - try it ;)

sunshine, tequila, beach, friends, and adventures.  It was the best.