We successfully moved across the country with a 15 month old, dog, and household of stuff. It’s been an incredibly hard, exhausting, exciting, and challenging spring so far and I don’t even know where to begin. So, I’ll just jump on in. This could get long, so I’m going to break it up into a 3 part series. You can read Part 2 and 3 Here and Here.
Pregnancy and Miscarriage
We found out in early March that we were expecting baby #2! We were THRILLED! I always wanted my kids close together and I wanted to start working on #2 just in case we experienced any trouble (like the first pregnancy which ended in a miscarriage at 12 weeks). The timing was a bit insane, since we were prepping for a cross-country move May 7th, but we couldn’t wait to show up in California with a little stowaway! Well, things didn’t go as planned… do they ever?
First, at what we calculated to be our 8 week appointment (based on my last period), the baby was only measuring 5 weeks. Strange… but our dates could very well have been off since my cycle was nowhere near regular yet. Then, a week later we went back to find a 6 week baby with a little steady heartbeat! A bit slow, but the Doc figured it was just getting going.
Whew, it felt like we were in the clear and everything from there on out would be the (relatively) uneventful, smooth, and healthy pregnancy I’d always dreamed of… then I saw the tiniest bit of blood the Friday before what would be our 8 week appointment (based on the new dates adjusted at the first appointment). Okay, I’ve spotted with both my previous pregnancies…. those went 50/50, miscarriage/live birth. I trusted my gut and got in that day to have the baby checked.
The baby’s heartbeat was gone. It had stopped developing sometime in the 6th week after we saw it last.
This couldn’t be happening.
I was in shock, disbelief, numb.
All our plans for another little November baby (like the first we miscarried which was due Nov 2nd, this baby’s adjusted due date was November 15th) were crushed. It took 3 weeks of bleeding before I finally miscarried fully. I had worked from home for a week waiting to pass the baby, but ended up miscarrying in the office on my last day before leaving for our big move to California. April 23rd. Almost exactly 2 years after I miscarried my first baby.
I packed away our Sister Bear and Baby bear shirts along with my hopes and dreams for these little siblings who would grow up so close in age. I pushed down the excitement for seeing Ziva as a big sister. I forced myself to see the silver linings this time around. At least I wouldn’t be having morning sickness and fatigue as I packed for the big move, at least I’d be able to lift things, at least, at least, at least…
I promise you, there was and is no silver lining that makes pregnancy loss of a wanted baby feel okay. There’s no silver lining good enough to replace the weight of a newborn in your arms, the kicks of a little growing baby, the joy of their first smiles, the love, the person they become. There just isn’t.
At least this time I had Ziva. At least this time I could hold her and find joy in her as she grows and changes… at least this time I know that I can survive, and life will go on, and eventually the sharpness of the pain dulls.
At least I was preparing to move back home where I could be close with my family and have a wide network of support for whatever the future holds. Our little family of 3 (4 with doggy Brinkley) would continue and move forward and move on, missing one more little angel.
We were in need of some time at home to work on projects and spend quality time with each other. Thank goodness for the long weekend! On Saturday we did a ton of normal errands, living room workout, and brought in big haul of greens for the 5 day clean eating challenge we’re kicking off this Tuesday.
On Sunday a few of my friends came over to practice for their budding personal organization business. I’m so grateful to them for offering to practice on my closet because it was in dire straits. I’ve been maintaining multiple size wardrobes for a while and it has resulted in an overflowing closet and dressers. I made them an egg bake for brunch and they spent like 4 hours helping me cut through the clutter and clean out the excess.
The results? 6 bags of clothing on its way out the door! They even took it with them so I wouldn’t have a chance to pick back through it later. I’m telling you, if you ever have a chance to work with professional organizers it is so worth it! If you’d like a recommendation, shoot me a message and I’ll put you in touch. I just hope they want more practice soon because the nursery needs their help!
Sunday night we headed out to the in-laws for a get together with out of town family. Our new little nephew and Ziva had a great time practicing tummy time together. Ziva is really getting to the age where she notices and wants to interact with other babies. It’s pretty cute!
Today we were ready to get some exercise to burn off some of the treats from the night before. There are so many adorable neighborhoods here in Ann Arbor and we love going for walks to oogle the cute little houses and quaint family neighborhoods. Today we drove over to the old west side and took Brinkley and Ziva for a nice long walk. It’s pretty hot out, but there was a nice breeze.
Ziva slept through most of the walk, but Brinkley was loving it! She loves taking walks in new places and she stops to mark EVERYWHERE. You’d think she was a boy dog.
At the end of our walk we stopped in at Argus Farm Stop for some coffee and water. I love the farm stop for their delicious drinks and fresh local produce. It’s a bonus that it’s also completely adorable.
We’ve been trying to get out and active each weekend since we know the nice days are numbered with the fall closing in on us. Our holiday weekends may not look quite like they used to, but they’re wonderful all the same. As for tonight? Meal prep and the 21 Day Fix Dirty 30 workout for me.
Since I was very small I’ve had a love affair with picture books. My mother, a kindergarten teacher and artist, nurtured a love for beautiful books filled with diverse stories and artful illustrations by gifting us books for all special occasions. After dinners out, my family would meander over to the nearest bookstore and spend time perusing the shelves, often coming home with a new book to add to our ever-growing collection.
Now, as a new mom, it’s my turn. While we may have boxes upon boxes of magnificent stories tucked away in the shed back in California, we have begun growing Ziva’s own little collection here in Michigan. Hopefully someday we’ll get my collection here for her to enjoy as well. In the meantime, I’ll share with you my favorites, the classics, and ones we discover together.
Over the weekend we visited Literati, the adorable local book shop in downtown Ann Arbor. I headed up to the second floor to find the children’s section and picked my way through the board books until I found one that felt just right for little Z. The House in the Night (by Susan Marie Swanson with illustrations by Beth Krommes) caught my eye with its striking black and white, intricate illustrations, and simple, rhythmic words.
I always loved the books with big spreads of sweeping scenes filled with tiny little details you could get lost in. The art is just beautiful. The black and white with just touches of warm yellow light seem magical. The story has an arch to it like a relaxation exercise, taking you all the way out into a dream like, ethereal space, and then back into the warmth of the scene. I can imagine this one will be sending Little Z off to sleepy land for years to come. Thumbs way up.
Who’d have thought that one of the things I’d miss the most when I left California was the smell of dirt. Moist dirt under the leaves of a forest floor, warm dirt in the hot sun. There are so many memories linked to the smell of the soil in California that I long for… especially during the long winter months of Michigan.
Today we ventured out for a walk in the warm sunshine. The wind finally died down today, and we went for a long walk through the winding neighborhood across from our place.
Walking alongside a wooded area the breeze picked up the smell of the warm earth and dry leaves and it took me straight to my happy place.
It feels so good to be back outdoors. Turns out our neighborhood is a pretty nice one with winding paths through parks and green ways between quaint suburban streets. Since I was limited to seated activities most of last summer we really didn’t get to explore much. I can’t wait to keep taking baby Z out to explore and play as she grows! I’ve counted 4 playgrounds within a short walk from our place. Z will have plenty of options once she is old enough! For now she is exhausted from napping in the stroller-
It’s been a long year…. full of good, full of change, and full of learning experiences. The turbulent weather seemed to match the tone of life. Unpredictable, overwhelming, exciting and scary. Life has sped up so much these last few years, with big shifts in my life coming faster and faster. Looking back reminds me how much we really did and how many really good times we had, amid the chaos of lose and change.
I’m not huge on parties, so when it came to planning our New Year’s Eve I knew I wanted to do something special but different. We decided to make dinner at home together, then head Downtown to the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit to ring in the new year with the Zac Brown Band. With so many instruments and high quality musicians on stage, how can you go wrong? I would definitely put this at the top of my favorite live shows list. It was an intimate and thrilling way to count down to 2014.
Last winter was cold. I don’t have to remind you about our fantastically freezing Polar Vortex. There was something exciting about how extreme the weather was, and how life just had to slow down and shift to accommodate it. With that said, I’m glad we aren’t pushing through negative degree weather and heavy snow this year! I’m not as sure on my feet with a basketball belly under my coat, you know what I mean?
I loved my work, but was ready for a change. In March I got a new start at a smaller digital company in Ann Arbor and dove in to the new work. It was scary starting a new job, with an hour commute, right as I found out I was pregnant, but I knew it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. Brian, the loving husband he is, knew that I was ready to get back to Ann Arbor (one step closer to a feeling of home), and we started our plans to move.
After the long cold months of winter, we were eager to head home to California in April. Excited that we would be 12 weeks along while we were there, we made plans to announce the pregnancy in person to my friends and family. It was to be a trip full of celebrations and love with my sister’s baby shower and my best friend’s bachelorette. There was so much joy in the first half of the trip… only to be balanced by the heartbreaking end of our trip and our first pregnancy.
We returned to Michigan after the miscarriage and went into hibernation. I can’t imagine a better team I’d rather have by my side than Brian and Brinkley. May was a blur… an adjustment to life without the little baby in my belly. Learning to see life through a new lens.
As fast as loss can come on and sweep the rug right out from under you, love and abundance can swoop right back in and fill the dark spaces lifting you right back up. In early June we were shocked and elated to learn we are once again expecting a sweet little baby. My best friend got married, and though it was a planned elopement and I wasn’t able to attend in person, I was overjoyed for her and her new husband. To top it all off, the end of June brought the arrival of sweet, sweet little Stella Ray. My sister gave us one of the best gifts we could ever receive and we’ve spent the rest of 2014 just loving on her and watching this adorable little bundle of happiness grow!
Ann Arbor here we come!! July 1st we moved into our new Ann Arbor apartment. It’s been a tough transition, but a good one. There are things we miss about life in Royal Oak, but there are many things we love about Ann Arbor too (including the many summertime festivities that we were able to take part in, like Sonic Lunch, Art Fair, and Summer Fest).
We celebrated our first anniversary on July 21st with a trip back up north, you guessed it, to Traverse City! What can I say? We love it up there. We had big plans to spend a few days in Traverse City and then to head to Mackinac City to take the ferry over to Mackinac Island for our romantic anniversary. That plan was thwarted by another pregnancy scare and a day in the ER. So, instead of gallivanting around a historic island, we took it easy and spent the rest of the weekend with good friends, healing and waiting to see if we would get to keep our little one. Thank G-d for good friends and for things turning out alright.
We headed back to California again for my cousins beautiful Santa Barbara wedding. We spent a week taking in the sunshine and loving on little Stella Ray, and another week making the rounds with family and friends in the Bay Area. It was a great trip slightly tainted by our nerves, but we made it home all in one piece, the bun still baking in my oven. Whew.
I LOVE MICHIGAN FALL. I know, what comes after isn’t so hot (pun intended), but I can’t help but love everything about the crisp, sunny days of fall. My college roommate, Anne, came to visit us and we showed her some of the best fall has to offer. After asking around we decided to go apple picking at Spicer’s Orchard in Fenton. The drive wasn’t bad from Ann Arbor, and it was a great experience! We will definitely be heading back next year. The tractor ride through the orchard, bright blue sky, delicious apples, cider and donuts are all part of what makes fall here so special. We would definitely recommend Spicer’s for families looking for a day of fall fun. We can’t wait to go back with little ones someday.
The gorgeous days of fall football and apple picking quickly shift to grey skies… thank goodness for warm family holidays like Thanksgiving to help get us through. We haven’t had much snow this year, but we got plenty during our interstate drive from Michigan to New Jersey for Thanksgiving weekend. Brian is a master driver, and I’m glad he is cause I would have been a whimpering fool if I had to drive!
We spent the weekend with my cousins in New Jersey, playing with her little ones and reminiscing about our extended family. We even got in a day in Manhattan to check out the 9/11 Memorial Museum. I love exploring with Brian, but I don’t recommend traveling when you are pregnant. Maybe it’s just me, but long drives and long days trekking through cities are better enjoyed without worrying about pregnancy troubles (like swollen feet and fatigue). I know many women are able to go hard during pregnancy, but for me it felt like a little too much action. Still, we had a great time. 🙂
My dad came to visit! I love spending time with my dad. He’s great to adventure with and he has a gung ho attitude when it comes to projects. We spent the weekend hanging out, clearing out the baby’s room/closet and working to prep the nursery for when the little one (hopefully!) arrives. There is nothing better than time with family, and we have had so much of it this year, despite long distances and tough times. It’s really been a journey. I feel like I’ve grown and changed more than ever this year (easy to say when you’ve been pregnant most of the year, but I mean it figuratively as well).
We truly can’t wait to see what 2015 brings. Hopefully it’s tons and tons of happy times and snuggles with our sweet baby girl. Cheers to the new year!
It’s finally here! The long awaited arrival of June. Not only is it feeling a lot like summer, but this is also the month we make the long awaited move back to Ann Arbor. Royal Oak has been a blast, but I’m ready to return to my people.
I’ve already started compiling an Ann Arbor Bucket List of sorts, full of all of the fun Ann Arborish activities I want to do during this round of residency in A2. I moved away 3 years ago and there were a ton of things I still wanted to do. This will be Brian’s first time living in A2, so I definitely plan on showing him all the city has to offer.
Sure, there are times I wish we were moving home to California, but Ann Arbor is the most like a home away from home that I’ve found here in Michigan and I’m ready to get back.
I can’t wait to share our adventures with you! Now, time to pack.
I promise, this won’t be the only thing I talk about on this blog forever, but for right now it is what matters. Breaking the silence about pregnancy loss allows me a place to think things out, and has allowed others to share their stories with me and find support, so we can lean on each other. That is part of why I continue to share. Thank you for listening.
It’s finally getting warm! Which means a return to active living. Going for a walk is the best cure for any discomfort. At my new job I have a friend from grad school and previous jobs who I can go for walks with around Ann Arbor’s (A2) downtown. I’m so happy being back in A2 where I went to school and first loved Michigan. I can’t wait to get settled and look into maternity yoga classes, prenatal groups and eventually take advantage of all that A2 has to offer for families and children.
It’s been a little nerve-wracking switching jobs, health insurance, and providers right in the middle of the first trimester. I can’t wait to get it all settled and have our next appointment. I wish we had gotten a picture from the first ultrasound at 7 weeks, but soon enough we’ll see our little one again.
Symptoms: Still have eczema patches that showed up with conception. Crazy pregnancy dreams are a norm, and occasional nausea and dry mouth are still a part of day-to-day life, but the main symptom is still exhaustion.
Sitting at my desk all day has been a bit uncomfortable, but I was happy to adopt a stray stability ball that found its way to my colleagues office. Sitting on the stability ball has really helped my back and comfort when sitting at my desk all day. Although I’ve been told it’s a nauseating to talk to me as I bounce on the ball. 🙂
Finally, my trip to California arrived! I couldn’t be more ready visit with my family, celebrate my sister and her pregnancy, celebrate Passover with our families, and host my best friend’s bachelorette day in Napa!! I am a bit nervous to fly for the first time pregnant, but as long as I stay hydrated and calm it should be okay.
Since we’ll be 12 weeks on Sunday, April 20th (the day we fly home to Michigan) we have decided to start telling the rest of our families and close friends while we are home and can tell them in person. I can’t wait to see their faces and talk about the future with them. It’s awesome because there are a number of new babies in the family living in the Bay Area, and soon there will be a few more!
Here’s a little something for your sunday listening pleasure (and a reminder of what will come next):
There’s just something about Sundays. The at home time, trips to the coffee shop, big brunches, long walks …endless loads of laundry to be done…
And what’s better then just any old Sunday you ask? A beautiful, crisp and colorful Sunday in the fall.
The leaves are falling outside, it’s definitely sweater weather now. Whether the plans are to stay cozy inside, or bundle up and head out, everything just seems a little more warm and fuzzy. So far this fall I’ve made two trips to the Franklin Cider Mill, and of course there are always plenty of football games to watch (Thank you Lions).
One of the most beautiful things about fall in Michigan is that the sky is so brilliantly blue much of the time, even as the trees start to take on deep reds and yellows. It’s breathtaking.
So grab your cocoa, break out your fuzzy slippers, and lets have a toast to one of the most fabulous days of the week and the prettiest season. Cheers!