my word of the year

I seriously cannot believe it’s almost March.

Over the last few months I’ve been feeling overwhelmed, drained, anxious – and it’s not because we have a little babe in the house and sleep is not what it used to be. I have spent the better part of the last decade building up my career and figuring out who I am and where I want to be in life and last year, I kind of stopped dead in my tracks and for the first time in a long time I was content. I wasn’t waiting for the next thing to happen, I wasn’t looking at my next career move. I was happy being still and soaking in everything that was happening. And then we had Cora. All of a sudden, this peace I had found was gone. Part of it was adjusting to the new normal – Irwin and I had been together for over nine years when we brought Cora home and we’d been living together for over half of that time – but the majority of it was falling right back into my old ways.

Spending too much time on social media.

Becoming lazy about my job as soon as my “back from maternity leave” to do list was done.

Spending money that should’ve been saved on things we really, truly don’t need.

Either binge-eating while on the couch and watching too much TV and mindlessly scrolling, or not eating at all.

I wanted to be a better mom for my daughter, but I was so stuck in my ways that I found it hard to dig myself out. I knew I needed help. I started researching self help, listening to podcasts, taking a few minutes after my daily devotionals to listen to what God was telling me. Last night as I was rocking my daughter, I looked on her wall and saw the print we had made of Proverbs 31:25. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve read this while rocking her, and anytime I am changing Cora she looks up at this print and smiles {mostly because it’s in a shiny brass frame, but I digress}. And it hit me that I was the furthest thing from the Proverbs 31 woman. I had been reading this verse over and over for years as something to strive for and as I rocked all I could think about was how I am the furthest thing from my ideal. So without further ado, my 2019 word of the year is…

Discipline.

This is an ugly word. And when I first landed on it I was like there has GOT to be a better one but nothing else did justice to how I wanted to spend my year. This is something that I so severely lack and it effects every part of my life. I find it difficult to put down my phone in fear of missing something that SOMEONE ELSE does that has no effect on me. I get by on the bare minimum at work because by the time I get to work I’m exhausted. I eat or drink whatever I want because it feels good in the moment. And I am sick. of. it. I have this nagging feeling in my chest that something HAS to change and this is it.

I need to stick to social media free home time {which means deleting those apps from my phone}.

I need to get better about our household budget and get back to paying off our debt and saving for the future instead of spending all the money because I “deserve it”.

I need to cook more quality meals and eat them at our dinner table instead of picking up take out because it’s been a long day and sitting in front of the TV while we have dinner.

I need to spend time learning more about my field, honing in on exactly where I want to be at the end of the year and how my life looks in five, ten, and even thirty years from now.

I need to get better at discipline myself and sticking to what I say I’m going to do. It’s too easy to take the lazy way out and I’m finally calling myself on it. Is this year going to be challenging and ugly at times? Absolutely. But in 10 months from now, I can guarantee I’ll look back and say THANK GOODNESS I took this step in the right direction. I do have some big goals set and am working on the small steps to get there, I’ll touch more on this in another post on another day.

 

SO what about you? What is your word of the year? Any big or small goals? And if so, how do you stick to them, what is your plan of action?

 

the five stages of grief

Over the weekend I found myself mourning the family we will likely never have. I’ve been in this place before, but not like I have lately. Up until now, unless I was speaking with one of our lawyers, I didn’t think about it. I had buried the thought of our frozen embabies so deep in my head. I didn’t talk much about having additional children because I know it only brings pain into my heart.  Yet, when we gathered with our neighbors over the weekend, I found myself smack dab in the middle of this conversation. Maybe it’s my fault for even bringing up that Cora was an IVF baby, maybe it’s my husbands fault for being a social butterfly and just being an honest and open human being. Regardless, I found myself in a friends kitchen while I listened to Irwin tell our story and tried to distract my mind.

Stage One: Denial.

I remember exactly where I was when we found out – both times. The first time was one of those “it can’t be us” moments. After all, we found out while we watched the news. We hadn’t heard anything from the clinic so it definitely didn’t affect our precious embryos they had collected just one month earlier, right? And then I remember walking in the door after work and Irwin telling me we got “the letter” from University Hospitals. We hadn’t even opened the envelope, but we knew. I called the clinic right away and our fears were confirmed, our embryos had been effected. They didn’t have answers, but they were investigating. I remember in that moment and for weeks after thinking ours were fine. They had to be fine. Just because every embryo in the tank they had tested was non-viable didn’t mean that ours were.

Stage Two: Anger.

This phase started to creep in around the middle of June, when we started speaking with lawyers. We were unsure that we wanted to pursue legal action, mostly because I was already pregnant and that is what the goal was with our IVF cycle – a healthy baby and pregnancy. Once we started meeting with lawyers, I began getting angry. I wanted {and still want to most days} take down University Hospitals. Not the doctors or nurses, but the hospital itself. I was angry that there was so. much. negligence. involving the fertility program. The clinic doesn’t take on new patients in December to clean and maintenance the facility, so why did this happen so shortly after their yearly maintenance? If they knew this was going on {which they did} why didn’t they take steps to correct it immediately? Why were we never informed they were having issues, but contacted multiple times during our cycle to make sure we knew the fee of $9800 would be due prior to our egg retrieval?

Stage Three: Bargaining.

This is the only phase that I haven’t really felt myself sit in. I’ve had passing thoughts of wishing we would’ve transferred more than one embryo, but nothing that has been a lasting thought. I really do think this is because of my successful pregnancy, and the fact that Cora is so perfect. If we wouldn’t have achieved a pregnancy, like so many others that were affected, I think I would be feeling this stage more. And that brings me to where I currently sit:

Stage Four: Depression.

I hate that word. Sad? Sure. But depressed? That is a whole new level of sadness. One that I equate with numbness. One that I didn’t think I felt until recently. I’m not depressed about the beautiful life I’ve created with Irwin. I’m not depressed about having a baby and losing a lot of my freedom. I’m not depressed about my mom-bod. But I am depressed about the thought that my dreams of having that big family are somewhat shattered. I’m numb to the thought of having to go through another round of IVF. Of being poked 100 more times. Of spending tens of thousands of dollars on one more shot at possibly having another baby. Of knowing our lawsuit may not do anything but put a band-aid on the situation instead of totally changing the way fertility clinics operate.

Maybe someday I’ll be able to get to stage five. But today is not that day.

Today, I mourn the family we painstakingly created, only to have it taken away before I even got to call them by name. Today, I rejoice in the blessing that is my daughter and knowing that one more week could’ve been the difference between our biggest blessing ever and total heartbreak. Today, I cry for all of us who are going through this nightmare. And today, I hope that in the midst of all this, we can bring about change and more regulation for the fertility industry. I hope that we can embrace our families, whether we feel they are complete or not. And I hope that someday, all of us can get to Stage Five.

four years

Last night Irwin and I got to celebrate our 4th wedding anniversary!

12063512_10153210516844856_5935020842685024133_n10407471_818462844843827_4274431823758644392_n12195861_10153210520709856_2645848016388332720_n11811509_10153034705279856_3979326643739170336_ncaraballowedding-538

We are actually very traditional when it comes to anniversary celebrations and I wouldn’t have it any other way. We always do our gift exchange after work, head to our dinner reservations at Urban Farmer downtown, and follow that by enjoying a slice of our wedding cake. Our gift exchange is usually pretty simple, as we follow the guide for yearly anniversary gifts. This year was fruit, flowers, linen, or silk. Irwin got me a set of really high thread count sheets that I’m debating not even using until the baby is here because with my luck my water will break the night we put them on the bed, and I got Irwin an ottoman to go with his favorite chair. We headed out to our dinner reservations and were ironically sat in the same booth we sit in every year. We never have requested this spot, it’s just always where we end up and it’s now become a bit of a running joke. Urban Farmer is probably our favorite restaurant in Cleveland, and I can’t decide if it’s just because it is that delicious or if it’s because it holds a special place in our hearts. It’s definitely not inexpensive, but for a once a year meal it’s well worth it! We always end up taking a part of our entrees home so we’ve never ordered dessert there, but that’s what our wedding cake is for! And yes it is the same cake we served the evening of our wedding and yes it is still edible and tasty for that matter. We still have about 2/3 of the cake left and plan to have a slice every year until it’s either inedible or gone.

Next year will mark five years and we have a trip to Europe planned over our anniversary. I’m a little sad we will be missing our normal traditions and that baby C won’t get to experience her first Halloween at home, but we are also looking forward to doing some traveling and seeing a part of the world we’ve never been to. For all you married readers, do you have a usual anniversary date, or do you do something different every year?

nursery tour

We are about three weeks away from Baby C making her appearance and her nursery is ready to go! She won’t be sleeping in there until I am back at work in January, but this was such a fun project for us to work on to help pass the time.

Irwin and I literally picked four different furniture sets before ultimately purchasing the one we ended up with. The first set we found was at Babies-R-Us, which announced their closure approximately three weeks after finding out we were expecting. The next two were finds at Buy Buy Baby, and both of which were discontinued even though they still had them on the floor. And finally, the set at Target, which I thought we would end up with…

Then came a baby expo. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law accompanied me to an expo on the east side of town on Saturday morning which was filled with informative classes and vendors promoting either themselves or a product designed for parents and their newborns. I ended up being dragged over to the Pottery Barn Kids booth, where they had some furniture set up. The ladies at the booth explained that not only did we get an amazing discount for being at the show that day, but there was also a furniture sale going on in store, so we hopped over there once we walked through the ballroom.

Immediately I was in love with everything in the store, but I had kind of brushed it off because I knew we had a budget in mind. Well, once I sat down in the recliner, I was sold. Was it more than what we had wanted to spend? By a bit, but we actually didn’t do too bad! And I learned that my mother-in-law is a master negotiator. We ended up with furniture from the Dawson Collection and a reclining glider and ended up saving around 40%! 3887B496-459B-4C7D-9A8E-CE4B250C08A15012D734-313D-48A9-A42C-3B4DD2540D75

FD1F1230-BD02-44D7-955B-173A0ACB7ABF

After our baby showers, it was time to get organizing! I ordered a few sets these fabric boxes to place in her dresser and keep things sorted. Right now, the left side of the dresser is foldable clothes – so pants, socks, onesies, footed pajamas, etc. and each drawer is a different size. On the right side of the dresser is my cloth diaper stash, burp cloths and swaddles, and extra bedding. The dresser we ordered came with a topper which is great for the wipe warmer, night light, and a supply of diapers to have on hand for each day.

Her closet is definitely still a work in progress, but right now all the items that needed to be hung and any items past 6-month size are in there. The closet has sort of natural partitions where the shelf is connected to the wall, so that is how I sorted the sizes in there.

F87C2042-6CA6-44AF-9E62-2F02F6C2B92A

Baby C’s room has a nook right when you walk in, and we knew from day one little bookshelves would occupy this space someday. The majority of the books here were gifted, but I also bought a bunch from Amazon so we never run out of reading material! My personal favorite is “I Love My Puppy”.

I’ll be doing separate posts on why we decided to cloth diaper and on the baby monitor we ended with, but for post length purposes, I’ll end the tour here! I walk past this room daily and every time I think about how this space just exudes her personality, or at least, I think it will. I guess we’ll see in a few weeks!