Angel Baby

 It is with a heavy heart that I share this news. Shane and I were expecting a baby due in March, but at our first ultra sound appointment we were heartbroken to learn that there was no heartbeat. We are devastated, and although we are still grieving our loss, we are healing. I went back and forth about sharing this. I would have announced our pregnancy next week... Today, driving home from my follow up appointment, I realized that I didn't want to carry this secret any longer. I had a baby, who is no longer with us. But my baby was real, and I loved Baby C with all of my heart. Through this tragedy I have spoken to many women I know in real life and  joined a few online support groups. And I was I shocked to learn just how many lives are touched by this type of loss. Yet no one talks about it... I share this as part of my own healing process, and to help fight the stigma associated with miscarriage.  I wrote the entire story here (which I haven't used in years), but thought would be the best place to share my very personal story. 

It’s been 2 weeks and 6 days since the absolute worst day of my entire 30 years of existence. On what was supposed to be a joyous day, our first ultrasound, I saw my baby for the first time.  And then the lines followed… I knew in my gut that was supposed to be the heartbeat but I didn’t say anything.  The ultrasound tech told us that the doctor was there and she would go get her.  I knew.  But it didn’t help when they walked back in and the doctor said the words no expecting mother wants to hear.  “I’m sorry, but the baby stopped growing at 7 weeks. There is no heartbeat.”  The next few minutes are a haze, but I clung to Shane for dear life and sobbed gut-wrenching, primal sobs that only come from the deepest grief.  I was supposed to be almost 10 weeks and there had been no sign that a miscarriage had occurred.  After careful consideration, Shane and I decided on a D & C, and it was scheduled for that Friday.  

Driving past the labor and delivery building, we arrived at the surgery unit .  There were people there for knees, and hips, and who knows what else.  They probably thought I was crazy as I wept on Shane’s shoulder, waiting to be called back.  I had a general idea of what was going to happen to me, but I tried not to focus on the details.  I couldn’t.  It was all so unfair.  There are stages of grief, and I began to feel anger. Through my tears I bitterly cursed being in surgery and not labor and delivery.  I vowed my next time at the hospital, I would be bringing home a healthy baby.  I had the doctor assure me that I wouldn’t remember anything, and tears streamed down my face as I drifted under the anesthesia.

For one magical second, as I woke up, I forgot where I was.  Then, like a sucker punch to the stomach, it hit me.  The nurse told me to take deep breaths as I cried for them to give me back my baby.  I was empty.  Officially not pregnant anymore. And I hated it.  I still do.

For a week I wasn’t sleeping.  I couldn’t.  Miscarriage is physically and emotionally traumatic. After my D&C, I had some of the side effects of having a baby.  Just no baby to show for it.  And although my baby was “only” 7 weeks, my body underwent a  massive transformation on the inside, preparing to support a growing life. And then in an instant it was all gone.  I’m healed physically now.  I have no more symptoms of pregnancy, although I yearn for them back. I also can say that I am doing better emotionally. I’m functioning in my daily life, but it still hits me and knocks me down when I least expect it. Grief is unpredictable and hurts in unimaginable ways.

I will never forget my first baby and will always grieve this loss.  But I hope in time I can begin to move on.  I think writing and talking about it helps.  I find comfort in knowing that people know about my angel baby. And although I’ll never get to hold my baby in my arms, they will always be in my heart. No one should have to endure this type of loss alone.  I am lucky enough to have an incredible husband and amazing support system of close family and friends and was shown compassion and kindness by all the medical professionals I’ve come into contact with.  But many other women have not had that experience. After my miscarriage I talked to women who I know personally who experienced a miscarriage, and I hadn't even know! I also joined a few support groups online, and it opened my eyes to how many women this happens to.  One in four. That is an insanely high number.  And yet no one talks about it.  I know it’s taboo, but I can’t stay silent any longer.  I can’t carry this secret.  It’s too heavy to carry alone.  I don’t want to talk about it all the time either.  But I want everyone to know.  I have a baby in heaven.  I am a mother.  Hopefully one day I will be a mom to a baby I can hold in my arms and whisper to them how much I love them.  But until then, I need to share my story.  This is part of my grieving process. I am one in four. I am not alone. If you are going through this, you are not alone. We will make it through this.   


An Inspiring Experience

The Seed Experience is "two full days of vegan immersion"...and it truly is.  So many amazing vegan products to sample, from beauty care to Teese cheese.  (Oh my word, you haven't lived till you've had some teese nachos!)  There is vegan fashion, jewelery, demos, and did I mention the food? There are just so many vegan options out there and it is wonderful to see them gathered in one place.

Besides the a w e s o m e vegan food, there is so much to do at The Seed.  When I arrived, JL Fields of JL goes Vegan had just began her presentation, Blogging 2.0 - From Your Blog to Main Street: How to Expand your Vegan Activism.  So before making my way around for the food, I grabbed a seat in the back and quickly became enthralled in what she was saying.  Or more like asking...simple questions really.  But they got me thinking. What IS my blog's niche/voice?  It's kind of all over the place; running, yummy plant based food, random goings on in my life, oye!  

As you've probably noticed it's been a little bit since the last time I blogged.  A lot has happened in my life and I'm so excited to share it!  JL's talk seriously inspired me to start back up with blogging.  And as I move forward on my blogging journey I plan on refining my niche and truly find my voice.  

But all in good time. First, I want to tell you more about The Seed!

I got my THRIVE Foods book signed by Brendan Brazier!  If you haven't heard of Brendan you much click on the link.  He is an amazing plant based endurance athlete and creator of Vega, a completely vegan supplement line with only the highest quality ingredients.  I swear by my Vega!

His talk was so inspiring and jam packed with information on how to maximize your athletic potential on a plant based diet.  

I attended The Seed last year for the first time, and knew I had to come this year.  The food, speakers, information, demos, products and so many like minded people all in one place...looks like I'll be attending The Seed again in 2014!


NJ Marathon Part 2

Saturday night I prepped everything I would need for race day.  Now, my alarm is set for 5:30 every (week) day, however marathons are generally held on the weekend... I'm sure  you can guess what happened. Thankfully I woke up by myself and I made it to the race on time.  Like, announcing "Runners to your corrals" on time, but there before the race started!

And we even had time for pictures!

I went into this race with a clear fueling strategy.  Fueling began a week prior to race day.  I made sure to feed my body whole foods with plenty of high quality carbs and protein, but not really changing it up too much.  The day before I didn't chug water, but made sure I was fully hydrated.  My race night dinner was early, light and I've eaten it a million times before with no stomach issues.

Race morning I had my usual PB and banana sandwich.  Then I had my first GU in my corral waiting for the race to start.

After my first GU I made sure to take a GU about every half hour.  Unlike my last marathon I was consistent and made sure I didn't forget to take any.  I also drank Gatorade and water at each station, spaced about 1.5 miles apart from each other. 

And of course I had to take a picture with the Elvis(s).

In my race day strategy Lou gave me great advice, which stuck with me. You can’t set a PR during the first 10 to 30 minutes but you can defiantly lose it. He told me to zone out, block out all the excitement, focus on deep rhythmic breathing, and RELAX!  And that's what I did.  I listened to 3 podcasts, Marathon Training Academy, Vegetarian Food For Thought, and Marathon Talk.  On Marathon Talk they interviewed ultra marathoner Scott Jurek.  He's won 100 mile races, so it put my 26.2 in perspective!

I hit mile 13 feeling great!  At 13 I turned on my jams.  Fun. really gets my heart pumping for the record!  At the 1/2 way point my race strategy switched.  It was time to 
kick the tires and light the fires”
It’s now time let’er rip. It’s “hurting time”

 My race strategy now was to pick a runner in front of me and focus on catching them. After passing them, pick another runner and pass them.  It was actually a fun game and it helped the miles go by.

Spread out along the course there was a good amount of people cheering, and I always love a funny sign to get me smiling!  They even had a couple bands playing.  

When we finally hit the boardwalk I knew I had almost made it.  Of course I felt tired but the boardwalk gave me some renewed energy.  After the boardwalk came what I thought was the hardest part of the race.  The sun was beating down and all around you could see people digging deep to keep going. 

I'm pretty sure my Mom and Matthew were REALLY close to the finish line, but when I saw them I just assumed the finish line would be a hop, skip, and a jump away.  I was wrong.  Seriously, those last .2 miles are rough! 

Matthew was shaking his moroccas and yelling "Go Melissa!  You're almost there!"  I picked up the pace but I didn't see the finish line.  I kept up the pace and thinking it would be around the next bend.  I was getting SO mad.  Where was the finish line?!  

When I finally saw it I sprinted and gave every ounce of energy that was left in my body.

Mile 26 was my fastest mile of the whole marathon. Negative splits, what what?!  As soon as I stopped running all the muscle pain hit my body.  My lower back ached and my legs felt like jelly, but I was SO. HAPPY.

I know I did not PR, but I felt strong, accomplished, and oh that runners high! 

After my last 2 marathons I felt burnt out.  Not this time around.  I really think that if I give myself enough time to build up a solid base, and stick with Lou's training plan I can PR.

Each race we always learn something new, but I think we need to have the right attitude going into it.  I knew this race for me was not about pace and being fast.  Instead I wanted to find a way to finish strong and still love running the next day.  I think I achieved this, and am excited for what the running future holds!