Tuesday, November 26, 2013

James Franco and Other Awesome Pregnancy Items.

I can't remember the last time I've seen a movie starring (or even including) James Franco.  I'm certain I probably have seen one in my lifetime, but I typically fall asleep during movies so whatever movie it was, I can assure you that it was not overly memorable.

Fast forward to last week when I woke up to find half of a banana on my nightstand.  I was confused at first before I remembered getting up in the middle of the night, wandering to the kitchen, and eating the other half of that banana.  Why you ask?  Because in my vivid dream, James Franco was breaking into our house to steal all of our food.  Being the good mother-to-be that I am, I decided that I needed to get Baby W nutrients before the inevitable James Franco attack.

In short, I had no idea what I was getting myself into while determined to get pregnant!  No idea what pregnancy would do to me.

And, similarly, I had no idea what I was getting into in sharing my last post.  Thank you all for visiting the blog, commenting on Facebook, sending text messages, sending private messages, calling, writing, thinking of us or leaving the post without a second thought.  I am a marketing director so I understand, to some extent, the power of social media.  But, it's easy to get caught up in the annoyances of these new mediums of connection.  It was such a great reminder that these tools are here so we can share and document our stories.

Baby's first 5K - 13 Weeks.
I ran the post by Andy before I hit the fear-inducing "publish" button as he is the logic to my emotional tendencies.  At some point he asked why I was posting, and I explained that I truly felt the desire to help someone who was feeling the same confusion that I often felt.  And, words help me so I hoped that they would do the same for someone else.

I've previously explained that I never felt becoming a mother was a an absolute must for me.  Did I hope to start a family?  Yes.  But, I knew I would find my way if that was not an option.  This is in contrast to many other people who are struggling to start their family, I know.  But, I also know that each person's unique feelings during the process are just that, unique.  And, we all deserve to feel that we're not alone.  So, thank you for reading and make this a community for just that - even for just a day or two!

And, here are a few additional photos of the past 17+ weeks.  Excuse the background messes and occasional weird faces.  I have been exhausted and pukey!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Positive

I've struggled for months to figure out the right way to make this announcement on my blog.  Something super cute didn't seem to encompass all that I wanted to say.  I've thought a lot about sneaking it into another post (ie my recent Instagram announcement), but in the end I decided that the truth always resonates with people best.

So, here is a little bit about a chapter of our story that I have, until now, not shared on this blog.

We tried for 22 months. Enough time to have had ~2.44 babies.  But, who’s counting? 

Ok, we were.  We were counting the days, the tears and the stress.  We were counting friends’ babies, baby showers attended and thrown, and a whole lot of tests – blood tests, hormone tests, ovulation tests and tested patience along the way.  What we weren’t counting on was, after a long drive and fun weekend, finally seeing a positive test!
 

We had gone to St. Louis for the weekend to catch up with family and friends, and to otherwise getaway!  We were no longer carrying around anxiety toward my expected period because we had a plan.  We would be starting an IVF cycle as soon as I got my period (this post was actually in anticipation of that!) and we had already purchased the prescriptions necessary to get going.  We were filled with nervous excitement. 

I grabbed a pregnancy test at the grocery store on our way home.  I had never bought a box with only one test in it before, but I was certain that I was not pregnant, and one test is all I would need to report that back to the clinic.  I was craving fajitas and forced Andy into helping me prepare them for dinner.  And, because I needed to use the restroom, I thought I’d go ahead and give the test a try.  It quickly became clear that the faint positive sign may be indicating that our life was changing.

But, I didn’t believe that little plus sign, and decided to head back to the store to grab a fool-proof digital test (and a 20 oz. bottle of water!).  There, in our dining room, we sat with the test between the two of us as it thought through our future.  A few turns of an hourglass icon later, the word PREGNANT appeared.  There were no tears or wild signs of excitement.  We simply stared and smiled at our luck – once again learning that you can plan all you want, but life could care less about those plans.

The weekend after we found out.  Mom feels anxious.  Dad feels weird.
In short, Baby Wendling will be making his / her debut in the Spring of 2014! 

You can read a little more about our journey on a few posts that I have migrated over from a previously private blog.  These posts are extremely personal and include details about a uterus, ovaries and sperm... so, reader beware!  If want a starting place, you can read a letter to our lil peanut about our journey toward parenthood here.

Finally, this last note is to anyone out there who is struggling to start their family.  First of all, I apologize for not sharing our story earlier.  So many times I thought hard about it, but ultimately felt that it was too personal to share while I was in it.  Please know that while your journey is 100% unique to you, I understand that the choices are scary and expensive, and it all can feel overwhelming.  For me, it helped to focus on all that I was blessed to have in my life rather than focusing on something that seemed out of reach.  And, it was extremely important to me to continue to welcome my family and friends' news with a joyous heart.  Ultimately, you have to follow your own heart to know what's right for you and your family.  But, should you need a listening ear, I promise to not tell you that you all need to do is relax!!  

Cheers!

Friday, October 11, 2013

To Our Lil Peanut...

You’re only a few weeks old and barely making your existence known but I want you to know right now, and every day in the future, that you were loved and wanted long before you were here.

A few years ago (October 2011 to be exact), your dad and I were visiting your grandparents in Iowa.  We were living in Florida at the time, and training for a marathon was consuming much of our time.  We decided to get up early before a full day with family for a 10 mile run.  It was a perfect fall day in Iowa, and we ran on the trails in Cedar Falls.  Your dad and I were in great moods following the run, and it was then that your dad admitted that he was ready for you.

The following summer was when I first had a strange feeling that it may be harder for us than it is for some couples to conceive.  I went to a doctor for the first time and began a long process of figuring out exactly why it was seemingly more difficult.  The experience was scary, and involved many uncomfortable tests - even an MRI to rule out any “mass” in my abdomen.  I remember crying at the mere thought of never meeting you, and your dad’s eyes appeared so sad when thinking those same thoughts.  These tests concluded with no concrete answers.  So, we grabbed my file and moved back to Iowa no further along in our process.

I wasted no time in getting recommendations to the best doctor in Cedar Rapids as we continued our journey toward parenthood.  We met with Dr. Zhang in the fall of 2012 shortly after moving back.  She reviewed our file and offered us the option to endure even more tests.  I’ll never forget the moment when I was handed a brown paper bag to give your dad for his “test” and losing my composure.  This wasn’t the person I thought I was – the infertile one - and this wasn’t the journey I expected.

But, we continued on.  We underwent more uncomfortable tests including one on a dreary day in November.  On this day we underwent a Saline-Infused Sonography.  I have to admit that this was more than uncomfortable.  It was downright painful as my uterus contracted to expand and then contracted to go back to its original size.  And, to make matters worse, your grandpa Mort was in the hospital in Waterloo.  So, your dad drove down for my appointment, and upon its conclusion, we drove back to Waterloo to spend the weekend with family.  It was a tough weekend.  I was in pain and uncomfortable, but we remained relatively quiet about what was going on. We were still leery of sharing our experiences.

With no clear answers, our patience was wearing thin. Tired and frustrated, I decided to take a more holistic approach and began seeing an acupuncturist. I’ve written about this experience separately. In short, it was a nightmare. I hate needles and spent a decent amount of time (and money) on what amounted to nothing.

After a few months of needles and acupuncture, we made the decision to set-up a relaxed visit with our doctor.  Our only objective with this appointment was to ask questions – as many questions as we could.  I have to say this was the most refreshing appointment we had.  Dr. Zhang was in no hurry to get our inquisitive minds out of her office and after exhausting our list of questions – me as the question-asker and your dad as the note-taker – we decided to proceed with Laparoscopy surgery for Endometriosis.

Lil’ Peanut, I hope that one day you find a partner with whom you truly love and who loves you back, unconditionally.  In my life, my marriage has been one of my most fulfilling endeavors.  And, I have to admit that this process made my love for your father grow as I realized how devoted he was to me and our family – whatever it would end up being.  Never was that more true than the day I underwent surgery and the days following.

We were two balls of nervous energy as we drove to the hospital that morning.  Our hope was that Dr. Zhang would find a small amount of Endometriosis.  This would increase our fertility temporarily.  However, if she found a large amount, we may have further complications due to scar tissue.  So, we hoped to find “just a little bit.”  And, as I awoke from anesthesia that’s what I thought had occurred.  It wasn’t until your dad was allowed into the recovery room that I learned what the doctor had shared with him.  And, before he explained a thing, I learned it through his eyes!

What we learned is that I have what they call a unicornuate uterus.  Essentially, this means that while I was developing in my mother’s belly only one half of my uterus formed.  And, that half is not connected to one of my ovaries.  At the time we really didn’t know what this meant for our desire to have a family.  I was scared, and while your dad was so supportive, I could see the fear in his eyes too.  We left the hospital with an awkward drawing of what my insides look like, and a lot of questions.  The biggest one being – would we be able to have a family?

After a follow-up appointment, we better understood the risks involved with our fertility future, and my future in carrying a child.  While it wouldn’t be impossible for us to conceive, it would be more difficult.  And, our fertility options were limited due to the risks of caring multiples.  So, we left and decided to take another break.  We would give it six months.  Six months to let it all sink in and to decide if we wanted to proceed with what we saw as our best option – IVF. 

So, six months came and six months passed with still no positive results.  We finally decided to head to the University of Iowa to learn more about the IVF process and whether we felt it was right for us.  We were so impressed with everyone at the University of Iowa’s Advanced Reproductive Clinic.  They were all so knowledgeable, and prepared to see us.  Never once did we have to bring anyone up-to-date on our situation.  Each nurse, doctor and financial counselor came to our room prepared to talk with us about our options in-depth.

After about five hours of appointments, we decided that we’d start an IVF cycle as soon as we could. This meant that as soon as I got my next period we would both start antibiotics, and I would start one month of birth control pills to regulate my cycle for the hormones.  We were nervous, but hopeful for the first time in almost two years!

What we didn’t know then was that you had other plans. On the exact day we thought we’d be starting our initial round of medication for IVF, I took a positive pregnancy test. It seems obvious to us already that you are strong-willed with determination, and we can’t wait to welcome more of that into our home. We love you already and look forward to meeting you. 

Thank you for finding your way to us and being ours!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Priorities

“Sometimes all it takes is a subtle shift in perspective, an opening of the mind, an intentional pause and reset, or a new route to start to see new options and new possibilities.” – Kristin Armstrong

It’s no secret that I have been slightly obsessed with Kristin Armstrong since one of my good friends turned me on to her book, Mile Markers:  The 26.2 Most Important Reasons Why Women Run.  I subsequently found her blog and have been hooked ever since.  I typically find myself wandering over to her blog when I’m tired – either physically or emotionally – and seeking inspiration.  Today, I was tired.  I have found myself peeling my limbs off my cool sheets a few minutes late more mornings than I care to admit.  For someone who at one point this spring was working out at 5:20 am every day, it’s embarrassing to think how far the pendulum has swung.  But, nonetheless, my tired body needed some words of inspiration and Kristin Armstrong delivered.

I’ve been stuck in a pile of priorities.  My workload increases as the summer months heat up and it can be hard to find the true priority in a pile of everything-was-due-yesterday!  But, I see this exhausting syndrome in my personal life too.  When everything is important – career, marriage, friendships, family, home, fun, health, etc. – nothing gets the time and energy it deserves.  When everything’s a priority, nothing is a priority!


As Kirstin so wisely pointed out - sometimes all it takes is a subtle shift in perspective.  Or, as I like to think, a new path to run down.  My workload seems to remain the same, but elsewhere in my personal life I'm excited about this subtle shift.  As summer months give way to the cool breeze of fall, as school years start and new possibilities present themselves, I have a funny feeling that the air is full of anticipation for more than just yours truly! 

Cheers!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Running Tired

I saw a post the other day from a friend commenting about how much easier it is to run in the spring and fall.  The lack of humidity enables all of us runners to enjoy the journey a little more as we breathe, easier, move easier and think easier.  But, in running – and elsewhere – it’s important to learn to run with the humidity.  

I admit that I’ve been running tired lately.  Not just in my sports bra and tennis shoes but elsewhere in my life too.  It’s during this time that I’m always reminded of my high school track career.   In high school I ran the 800.  I wasn't the best but I was consistently okay.  And by consistently, I mean I ran the 800 in two minutes and forty-four seconds five (or more) races in a row. 


I trained hard.  And, I was determined to experience a breakthrough in how fast I was running.  When spring break rolled around, I even headed to Florida with my girlfriends and packed a list of workouts from my coach in my suitcase.  I’d get up and run while my friends were all still asleep.

When I returned from spring break, I was sure that I would start knocking the time off but instead I ran the 800 in two minutes and forty-four seconds, again!  I was frustrated but instead of giving up, I kept running and kept training.

I hit the start line for my last race of the season with more butterflies in my stomach than ever and I crossed the finish line feeling like I left everything I had on the track.  As I walked toward my coach, I could hear him yelling “two forty-four” which stopped me in my tracks.   To my surprise, what he was yelling at me was not two minutes and forty-four seconds but rather two minutes and forty POINT four seconds. 

I think around every corner that we run tired is a triumph – a breakthrough.  I believe the humid days enable us to enjoy the cool morning runs when breathing is easy.  And, I'm looking forward to that triumph soon after many days of running tired!

**AN UPDATE**
Triumph did follow disguised as the coldest Bix7 in history.  A picture-perfect running day!


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Happy Third Anniversary!

Almost ten years ago, I walked up to a guy at a tailgate and asked for a brat.  Or, I walked up to his friend and asked him for a brat.  Or, I met said guy at a previous tailgate that I don’t quite recall because I had way too much fun in college.  Regardless, there was a brat, and a tailgate, and a guy, and now there is a life that I’m in awe of.  And, I mean that last statement (I also mean everything I said in regard to brats).  There is awe – an overwhelming mix of emotion of reverence, respect, dread and absolute wonder.


What that girl in the little skirt didn’t know when she was seeking a brat was that she’d find a partner.  And, that’s what has been revealed in our third year of marriage.  A partnership unlike any other that I have ever experienced.  Because, with awe and partnership comes the fear of all that is planned and the monsoon of things that are unplanned.  


We planned for much of the past year – to buy our firsthome, to move back to Iowa and to continue seeking adventure.  But, some of the last year has been consumed with things that we hadn’t planned as well.  And, through it all we’ve done what true partners do in the simplest terms – we’ve shared.  We haven’t been perfect, but we’ve shared.  We’ve shared enough respect to give each other space, and we’ve shared the courage it takes to look at the other person and say, “shit just got real!”  Because that statement both gives credit to serious situations, and keeps enough humor in them as well!

But, even when “shit is getting real,” I have to admit that our life is beautiful.  And that beauty has shown through even in the shittiest of times – throughout the past year and beyond.

Our life isn’t perfect.  We haven’t checked every box on our to-do list and some may remain unchecked when the deadline hits.  But, we are blessed because we are continuing to choose to share this awesome journey as partners.

Happy Anniversary!

Monday, April 22, 2013

A Reflection on Running and Boston

To me, running is a metaphor for life.  The road is long and it’s often full of terrain that you’re not sure how to tackle.  Injury flares up at the most inopportune times, and just when you think you’re making no progress on the route that lies ahead, a break-through occurs.  I believe that when we work on ourselves – we train, get stronger, run more hills and do more intervals – we put ourselves in the best place to be there for others.  I more than believe this – I know this to be true.  I see it in myself and I see it in my family – my running family.

I know that after 26.2 miles, I had to concentrate on climbing the stairs to get on the bus that would take me back to my hotel.  I had to trick my legs into lifting because they didn’t want to do it on their own.  I literally stared those stairs down and determined my best strategy.  I didn’t run an additional two miles to give blood.  But, I would have.  Because, I am a runner.  I train to be stronger than I think I am. 

And, I wish I could finish this post by just saying that focusing on the heroes has helped me.  It has.  But, I have to be honest and say that the events of the past week have evoked fear in me.  And, frankly, they have left me angry.  Running is this stable force throughout everything else in life.  It’s the period at the end of a lot of exclamation points.  Those final .2 miles are important.  It pains me to think they were tarnished with hate.

So, I ran on Saturday.  And, I smiled and waved at every single person I saw while I was running.  I’m not sure why, but I swear people were excited to see my smile and wave.  I felt the running family growing with each kind gesture.  There is still a long road ahead full of healing for so many people within this family, and I wish I could do more.  But, I will continue to do what I can - put one foot in front of the other and gain strength in miles.


I always think of these words from Martin Luther King Jr. in times like this: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Snowy Roads.

I have a reoccurring dream that I’m standing at a starting line of a race and my legs won’t move.  And, another one where I’m driving a car and the brakes won’t work.  These dreams can only leave me to surmise that I’m typically somewhere between not being able to move and unable to stop. 
I’ve written a lot about traveling as a way of life.  Traveling through emotions.  Traveling to new destinations.  Traveling through experiences.  Seeing the good, understanding the negative, and keeping perspective toward the mundane.  But, when patience is tested, when the road is less exciting, and it’s an icy up-hill, it’s easier said than done.  Actually, it’s hard to even say it.  It’s easier to just maintain silence. 

It’s been a journey full of snowy roads lately.  And, they are pretty.  In retrospect, of course.  When we’re on them, they are scary.  The slipping, the sliding and the wheels turning with no apparent forward motion.  And, we’ve all been there.  Even those of us who have lived in sunnier climates, we too have had those slippery days.  Those scary moments.

But, oh, the retrospection.  It’s through this we realize that our seemingly futile attempts to gain traction actually work.  The spinning tires are a good thing, despite the frustration.  And, somewhere between unable to move or stop, you find a route you didn’t know you would take.  It too is pretty.  In retrospect.

Cheers to snowy roads {and analogies!}.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

#28

"No one longs for what he or she already has, and yet the accumulated insight of those wise about the spiritual life suggests that the reason so many of us cannot see the red X that marks the spot is because we are standing on it.  The treasure we seek requires no lengthy expedition, no expensive equipment, no superior aptitude or special company. All we lack is the willingness to imagine that we already have everything we need. The only thing missing is our consent to be where we are.” - Barbara Brown Taylor

I saw this quote on a popular blog recently (maybe you did too?).  And, it about perfectly summed up a few things I’ve been mulling over lately.

The last year
I’ve been thinking a lot about the turning of the page on a new year.  2012 was weird.  Great, yes, but weird.  I never grew up with some idea of who I’d be by when.  I didn’t think I’d get married at a specific age, or have children by a different precise time.  I never gave myself a deadline on a thriving career nor have I ever limited goals I have to a timeline.  But, I think I got stuck in the in-between in 2012.  I was somewhere between enjoying what I have and emptily going after more.  I rode the waves so to speak.   I spent too much time looking ahead and asking myself “what if?” 


 So, I have spent the last week doing some exploring.  The type of exploring that has nothing to do with seeing landmarks.  I’ve shared coffee and emails with people who inspire me.  I’ve sat and picked the brains of those I admire and I’ve set my sights on some lofty aspirations.  And, many of these aspirations continue to have no deadline.  I’m getting back to a style that has worked for me and doing away with all of this second-guessing. 


In short, here’s what I’m trying to say.  I know I’m exactly where I should be on my 28th birthday because I had no idea where I wanted to be on this day to begin with.  I’ve out-kicked my coverage in so many areas of my life that it’s easy to sit back and – gulp – get complacent.  So, I resolve in 2013 to own the red “x” that I stand on in a way that gives consent to where I’m at and helps catapult me to where I need to go. 


I wrote this elsewhere recently…

“There is a huge part of me that believes “having it all” means appreciating all that you have been given.  I know that I have an amazing husband, a career that I enjoy and family and friends who are second to none.  Therefore, I can’t help but think that this is my ‘all’ and that my future lies in enjoying all that these things offer me.”



Cheers to #28, friends!
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