All About Our Good News!

If you follow me on Facebook, then you likely saw our recent announcement. If not, here it is…

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We are expecting twin boys!! We are beyond excited!! Here’s how this blessing came to be.

If you’ve been following along on our fertility journey, you know that we had unexplained secondary infertility after an early miscarriage. After undergoing a surgery this spring, we decided to try on our own for another six months before seeking more help. That six months went by without any luck, so we turned to our amazing doctor, Dr. Shamma here in Toledo for assistance.

We followed his advice to a T and our treatments were successful. I cannot say enough good things about Dr. Shamma and his staff. They made a very stressful situation as positive as it could be.

My first trimester started off filled with excitement and joy that I was finally pregnant. Soon enough morning sickness reared it’s ugly head and I was so sick it was debilitating. I was pretty sick with Lila, but twin sickness was a whole new ballgame.

Thankfully I started taking Diclegis, which is a morning sickness medication made up of B6 and antihistamine, that took the edge off enough for me to be functional. Before that I was literally laying on the ground trying not to vomit much of the day. Even on Diclegis I had serious food aversions and  all-day nausea. Lets just say I have a TON of respect for women who have hyperemesis gravidarum. 

Other than morning sickness I had a very stressful and scary two weeks around weeks 12-13. I began spotting and then bleeding every night around 4am. It would stop in the morning, but each night I woke to the same nightmare. After having a miscarriage and infertility, any spotting is terrifying. Every time it happened, I would get an ultrasound, both babies looked great and there was no visible reason for the bleeding. Then around 14 weeks it stopped and hasn’t happened again. Thank goodness.

While I was so sick and having spotting, I was essentially on bedrest, which put a huge burden on Luke and our extended family to help out. Lila was definitely impacted by it all and for a few bad weeks was very angry with me. I went from her full-time caregiver to barely around. She would hardly even look at me for awhile! Thankfully I begin to feel less nauseous around week 16 and our relationship rebounded instantly.

19 weeks with twin boys

I am 20 weeks today and besides some exhaustion, I am feeling good. My bump is pretty large and the babies are big as well. At my last appointment at 18 weeks, my belly was measuring 7 weeks ahead (compared to a singleton pregnancy)! However, I’m not too uncomfortable and am still sleeping well, so no complaints here.

The boys are fraternal twins, meaning they are like two separate siblings just born at the same time. I had my anatomy scan a week or so ago and both looked perfectly healthy and ACTIVE! On the ultrasound they were already rough-housing, with the top boy smacking the bottom one in the head. Don’t worry, the bottom one quickly retaliated and hit his brother right back. It was hilarious to watch.

I have a long way to go in this pregnancy and I’m sure pretty soon it will start to get uncomfortable and challenging, but for now I am just basking in my happiness about bringing two precious boys into our family. Lila says they’ll both be named “Lila” and can wear some of her jammies that are in boy colors. :)

Our journey to conceive these babies was not easy, but I would go through it all again to get to this same conclusion. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for encouraging me to keep going when it got tough.

 

 

 

5 Things 2015 Taught Me

New Years Eve has always been a day where I think back on the year I just lived – usually with a lot of happy memories. Today feels a little different. This past year has been a doozy for me. The physical and emotional pain I felt as I experienced infertility made this honestly the hardest year of my life thus far.

They said what doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger, and this year is the perfect example of that for me. Although I was brought to my knees several times, I also was stretched and grew by leaps and bounds in many areas of my life. In my experience, tough times have a way of helping you learn about yourself and life in a way happy times just cannot.

With that in mind, here are five things 2015 taught me:

1. It’s better to struggle together, than alone. I’d be lying if I said it was easy to share here on my blog that we had fertility issues. It was a huge ego blow for both Luke and me to admit this to ourselves and to my readers. We consider ourselves very healthy, so to have our fertility fail us was devastating.

BUT, by sharing so openly, we were surprised and comforted by the number of you who reached out to say “me too.” Hearing fertility stories from so many women and men I know made us feel less alone. It also made me realize that this wasn’t something I needed to feel shame or embarrassment about. So, thank you!

2. It’s possible to be happy for others, while sad for yourself. When you’re dealing with infertility, each new pregnancy announcement can feel like a stab in the heart. One skill I perfected this year was the ability to compartmentalize my hurt from the joy I felt for my friends and family for their good news. It wasn’t an act or show either. I really learned how to feel both emotions at the same time in an honest way. I guess you can say I learned to see outside myself more.

3. The best way to get support, is to ask for it. It’s difficult for me to let people help me or pick up my slack when I’m down, but this year taught me that it’s okay to ask for the support I needed. Whether that be emotional support, childcare or even just a hug. Our friends and family showed up in big and little ways once I got over myself and started asking for help in specific, tangible ways. They were there all along, but needed guidance on how best to support us.

4. I am stronger than I realized. I used to think I wasn’t strong enough to deal with life’s struggles that I had seen other people go through. I thought it would break me and used to joke I would be put “in an insane asylum” if it happened to me. Then something hard DID happen to me, and I surprised myself by dealing with it in a healthy way. Sure there were times I felt broken inside, but I always picked myself back up and moved ahead. I now know I can handle much more than I thought, which makes life’s unpredictable nature less scary.

5. Hope is a powerful thing. Through all the negative pregnancy tests, doctor’s appointments, unanswered questions and physical tolls put on my body, one thing kept me going – hope. It would have been easier to stop trying and live life as a family of three, but the burning optimism in my heart kept me going through it all.

I learned many more things this year, but these five stand out. I also am holding on to the many, many wonderful moments 2015 brought me with Luke, Lila, our families and friends.

Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for lifting us up this year in your words, prayers and actions. Part of me wants to say good riddance to 2015, but the other part knows this year’s struggles are part of what makes life beautiful, and hard, and a journey worth living.

XO

Liz

 

Five Last Minute Christmas Gift Ideas for Her

Christmas is around the corner and we all know that sometimes us wives, mothers and adult women are not the easiest to shop for. I have had a bad habit of putting things on my Christmas list that aren’t really for just me, like baby carriers, cooking supplies or memberships to local kid museums.

This year that stops! I am asking for only things that pamper me, make me feel pretty or just something I plain want for myself. That’s my inspiration for this gift guide.

Five Last Minute Christmas Gifts for Her

1. Beauty Counter Makeup. 

Beauty Counter cosmetics
If your girl is the crunchy sort like me, it’s likely she’s cleaned all the chemicals from her lifestyle. One area I’ve found this to be really hard to do is with my makeup. That’s why I love Beauty Counter! All their products are rated by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) for their safety and have only safe, natural ingredients.

From left to right in the picture above, I have my eye on the Rose Neroli Body Oil, Skin Tint Foundation, Matte Bronzer and Color Pinch Cream Blush. 

2. T3 SinglePass Straightening & Styling Iron (only at Costco)
T3 SinglePass at costco I have long coarse hair, yet somehow over the years I got out of my habit of using a straightening iron. Maybe before kids I had time to do a blow out with each wash, but now it’s air dry baby! That’s why I was excited when T3 and Costco asked if I wanted to try out the SinglePass iron. This baby heats up quickly and made my hair soft, straight and manageable in five minutes flat. You can buy this iron in Costco stores or on their website starting Dec. 18.

Before (coarse)
T3 singlepass

After (sleek!)
T3 Singlepass iron

3. Egyptian Magic Skin Cream (at Costco)
Egyptian Magic Cream

This is another Costco beauty product I recently fell in love with. Apparently this cream is a favorite among celebrities and I understand why. It includes only the following natural ingredients – olive oil, beeswax, honey, propolis, bee pollen and royal jelly – and has been used to nourish and protect the skin allegedly since Cleopatra’s day.

This lotion is rich, creamy and makes my dry winter skin sing. As an added bonus, it’s also great for sensitive baby and kid skin (but remember, this list is NOT about the kids!! lol).

4. RevitaBrow Eyebrow Conditioner
Revitabrow Eyebrow Conditioner
So you know how thick eyebrows are all the craze with supermodels and celebrities? This product lets normal Janes like us grow amazing eyebrows quickly. I noticed this summer my brows were getting seriously over-plucked, so I bought Revitabrow, put away my tweezers and let those babies grow out. Within a month and a half I had a lot of brow to get shaped and was left with nice thick, Cara Delevigne-esque brows. Only downside it that once you stop using Revitabrow, that new growth will fall out. :(

Before Revitabrow
Before Revitabrow
After Revitabrow
After Revitabrow

5. Stitchfix
Stichfix personal stylist

By now, I’m sure most of you have heard of Stitchfix. If not, here’s the skinny: you pay $20 and a personal stylist sends you five items (clothes, purses, accessories) based on your personal taste. The $20 counts towards whatever you decide to purchase. The rest gets sent back.

I love Stitchfix for so many reasons. You get unique clothes sent right to your door, which is great if you don’t have time to go shop. Your stylist gets to know your personal fashion sense based on a questionnaire, pinterest boards and over time learns what you keep and don’t keep in each fix. The clothes fit my budget perfectly. You can set your budget limit, like “I don’t want to spend more than $50 per item.”

Stitchfix can style women of all ages and even has recently added maternity clothes. I have asked for a Stitchfix gift certificate from my in-laws this year so I can add to my wardrobe.

Stitch fix top and pants I recently kept
Stitchfix gift cards

That wraps it up for what’s on my “only for me!” Christmas list. I hope whatever you get this year makes you feel special, loved and beautiful. Let me know if you have any pampering gifts on your list I should check out.

Happy holidays!

XO – Liz

Disclosure: I was provided the T3 SinglePass iron and Egyptian Magic Skin Cream for free to try. This post contains referral links to Stitchfix and Amazon products. I only recommend products I personally love!

Lila Kate The Flower Girl

Two weekends ago Luke’s sister Emily tied the knot with Kenny in Bloomington, Indiana. They are a great match and we were all so happy to see them become husband & wife.

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One of the highlights of the weekend for us was getting to see Lila be a flower girl. Lila was equally excited. A princess dress? Flower crown? Cake? All her family? Sign Lila up!

Lila tends to be a little shy. I hate using that term because I don’t want to label her as one thing or another. I typically say “she needs a little warm up time” or “she’s feeling a bit bashful.” Needless to say, we were anticipating that she may have trouble getting down the aisle once she saw all the people watching her in the church. Two years old is a bit young to really “get” the whole flower girl thing too.

Emily sent Lila some flower petals to practice with in our house and for the weeks leading up to it she “walked the aisle” in our living room. We also tried to prep her as much as possible – “there will be a lot of people there that will want to say hi to you, so if you feel uncomfortable, you can just smile at them.”

I got her the perfect little tulle, silk and lace dress off Easy, and even made her a flower crown from fresh flowers we got at the farmer’s market the day of the wedding. She looked perfect!

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Finally her moment came. She was at the back of the church with Luke while I was in the front coaxing her down.

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Wouldn’t you know it? Our girl nailed it! She walked the whole way down the aisle, gently tossing her leaves and even looked around and smiled at all the people around her. I was so proud!

What got cut off in the video is that as soon as she got to the end, she was very adamant that ALL of her leaves be out of her basket, so she stood at the end and urgently threw them all out on the floor. Then seeing the big pile of leaves, decided “this looks fun!” and proceeded to roll around in them saying “I want to play in the leaves!”

It was pretty adorable. I swooped her up and we watched Emily make her grand entrance.

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As she walked by, Lila said “she has a cape on, mama!” I told her “It’s called a train, honey.” This confused Lila to no end “What train? I don’t see a train? Where’s the train??”

Our girl had lost her ability to be still or quiet at the point, so I took her into the hall until the service was over and we could get on with the real business of this wedding (according to Lila) …. the cake!

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Congrats Emily & Kenny!! We had so much fun at your wedding and are honored you had Lila part of your special day. XO.

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Thanks to my MIL Felicia and various other wedding guests for snapping of these photos.