Monday, December 22, 2014

Baby B- The Journey

Thank you all for the kind words from this week's BIG announcement.  It's scary to let the world know when there is still so much uncertainty when growing a little one!  Part of being a blogger is sharing your knowledge and your experience with the world in hopes that maybe someone can enjoy it, learn from it, or relate to it.  Today I'm sharing our journey to being 16 weeks pregnant with our first child.  While our road wasn't super easy, I know that compared to some people's journeys it doesn't even compare.
The Beginning
Kyle and I started trying to "grow" our family in December of 2013.  I had passed my RD exam, I had a job, and the gym was doing well.  It was time to take the plunge.  After 3 months of trying and several trips to my doctor we learned that I wasn't ovulating.  That's a pretty key thing in order to have a baby.  Pretty much step #1!

My doctor hypothesized that it could have been too many years of birth control taking their time leaving my system, too much working out, too low weight, or a few other options.  We decided to take some progesterone pills in hopes of "resetting" my system so I would ovulate.  That didn't work.  My levels were still too low to ovulate. Instead of waiting and trying to gain weight or run less my doctor prescribed Clomid, which would basically help me ovulate.  I was psyched.  I thought this was the magic button. I bought a fancy ovulation monitor and was primed for success.

Month #1 of Clomid - nada.  Month #2 I did a little more research, adding in FertileCM (which I recommend), Pre-Seed (also recommend), and still nothing.  Month #3 was the same result.  Month #4 we made a significant change and I added acupuncture.  It was recommended by friends who were in the same boat and I was ready to try anything.  My first acupuncture appointment was the day after I ovulated on the 4th cycle of Clomid.  I used Dr. Prieto in Orlando and I HIGHLY recommend her to anyone trying to conceive whether with drugs, IVF, or without.  I had 1 more acupuncture treatment during the "waiting period" after ovulation and then had what I thought was the appearance of "aunt flo" and the end of another unsuccessful cycle.

The "M" Word
TMI, but I have always had "light" flows.  So when my flow was a little "off" this month I didn't really think about it.  I had a different type of cramping that was mainly on one side,but it lasted the usual 3ish days and I went on with my business.  About 10 days and 1 acupuncture treatment later I noticed some very tender VERY tender.  I asked my friend who also went to acupuncture if she ever got that after a treatment and she said, "No - maybe you're pregnant."  Ha - I laughed.  But when the soreness didn't go away I thought why not check.  So I did.  And I got the faintest of faint second lines.  I was shocked.  I knew that the digital pregnancy tests were more "accurate and definitive", so I dashed out to buy those.  Peeing on the stick and it said "NO".  Got it - negative.  Let's move on...however I knew that HCG in your urine was higher in the morning and I took the test in the afternoon, so I said I would take it one more time the next morning.

The next morning happened to be a 5k announcing morning, so I took the same digital test at 5am and was shocked when it said "yes".  I excitedly woke Kyle and told him the news.  We were shocked, surprised, and excited.

The next few days, like any psycho pregnant woman, I continued to take tests.  I was still in shock when after a few days something happened that I knew wasn't good.  The second lines were getting lighter instead of darker.  Then the digital test that said "yes" a week before said "no".  My heart sank.  After a trip to the doctor, it was confirmed what I knew inside.  This one wasn't going to stick. My HCG levels were going down and the pregnancy wasn't viable.

Kyle and I were heartbroken.  It's tough to go from elation to trying to comprehend such a loss. It hurt and you felt like you were starting over at zero.  We were comforted by the fact that this showed we "could" get pregnant and truthfully it saved us a lot of testing that our doctors were going to run since the plan was to stop the Clomid.  We were also grateful that it happened early and we understood that it wasn't the right time.

After we grieved I did the only thing I could to move on.  I vowed to learn as much about how to conceive as possible, so that I could give us the best chance for the future.  I read Taking Charge of Your Fertility and Making Babies and continued with acupuncture.  The biggest source of anxiety for me was not knowing if I would ovulate without the help of Clomid.  We had to weigh the decision of trying naturally or returning to the Clomid.  I will never forget the night that Kyle and I sat with my big desk calendar and made a plan.  We would try the acupuncture alone for 2 months and then re-evaluate.  I circled the date on the calendar.  We never needed that date.

Rainbow Baby
Since I was on the OCD plan of conception, I peed on ovulation sticks on the daily.  After 2 weeks of big, fat negatives I was feeling pretty down.  Then one day I finally got the happy face I was looking for.  I ovulated all by myself!! Look at me!

About 2 1/2 weeks later, I upgraded to pregnancy tests once again and there it was the "it's so early, why are you testing crazy lady, faint positive line."  I didn't tell Kyle this time, but kept testing and overanalyzing the lines.  The lines stayed.  A trip to the doctor and two blood draws later it looked like we were moving in the right direction.  My HCG tripled and my progesterone was in the 30's.  (For those who don't know dropping progesterone can cause miscarriage, so this was another good sign)  We weren't telling family, but Kyle and I were quietly excited to be pregnant again.

Then it happened.  The moment that every woman who has ever been pregnant fears.  There was blood.  I was at the gym at 7am for my workout and I went to the bathroom and there it was.  My heart stopped.  I couldn't breath.  I ran out to Kyle and called my doctor.  Was it brown, they asked?  Yes I said.  They told me to go rest, in bed if possible, and call them if it got worse.  In a haze I drove home and crawled into bed.  This was on Tuesday.  On Wednesday I was still spotting and it was a little worse. I called the doctor the second they opened and was sent to the hospital to have my HCG drawn.  4 anxious hours later I saw the HCG went up again.  But I was still bleeding.  I spent Thursday in a panic.  As much as I tried to stay away from Dr. Google I would find myself pouring over message boards after searching "6 weeks pregnant bleeding".  Brown blood was old blood. That was okay. Friday I went to work at Disney to announce a track event.  That's when things got worse.  I went to the bathroom before the event started and there it was.  Bright red blood.  I couldn't believe it.  There was nothing I could do.  I had to work.  Throughout the event the bleeding got heavier and I sat behind my microphone with my heartbreaking.  I drove home between sobs and Kyle and I didn't leave the house that entire weekend....except for my second HCG draw where again the numbers went up.

We were certain that we were facing our second miscarriage. It was tough.  The doctor scheduled me for an ultrasound the following Wednesday afternoon. I went alone, because I didn't want anyone else to have to hear the news that I feared.  I wanted to face it alone. The ultrasound started and I don't know if you've ever seen a 6-week ultrasound, but it doesn't look like a baby.  You also can't always hear the heartbeat at 6 weeks, but a minute into the ultrasound there it was.  A heartbeat. 118.  Baby survived.  I couldn't believe it.

We told our families the optimistic news and I'd love to say that I felt relieved, but I didn't.  Six weeks is still VERY early and a lot can happen.  I have never lived in such fear as the 6 weeks between ultrasounds.  I still spotted for another 2 weeks, but it was brown again.  My doctor told me that the ultrasound revealed a small sub chronic hematoma, which explained the bleeding.  However she didn't give me any other details, so I was left to wonder how that would affect the rest of my pregnancy (and I still sometimes wonder).  For 6 weeks every cramp, ache, or weird feeling sent me into a panic.  I know I wasn't myself.  I was consumed by worry and questions.  Due to the bleeding and previous miscarriage I was asked by my doctors to limit all exercise and activity as much as possible until 12 weeks.  I traveled to Dallas, Atlanta, Salt Lake City, and LA all with a tiny baby and a big load of anxiety.  I continued acupuncture and tried my best to be positive.

Finally the ultrasound day arrived and Kyle got to come this time.  I knew all too well about "missed miscarriages" and I cannot tell you the relief it brought to see that heartbeat again.  Baby B was still there and looking as expected.

So here we are - 16 weeks and I wish I could say that worry is gone, but it's not.  Telling the world about the pregnancy leaves me with a whole different level of fear.  I know there is still a lot that can go on, however I try to calm myself with the fact that every test we have had has shown a healthy baby and that what's meant to happen will.

Keep on growing Baby B - Mommy and Daddy love you and want to meet you very much!
In sharing our story I want you to know that it's not in a "poor us, look what we've been through" light.  I know that other couples have endured much tougher journeys. My only hope is that if someday there's a girl out there googling about conception and early pregnancy bleeding maybe I can give her that grain of hope to keep believing.  And hopefully in less than 6 months I can be that happy ending.

Thank you again for the support.  If you have a story please share it in the comments to help other families have faith and feel like they're not alone.

Love and over the rainbow,
Carissa & Kyle

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Healthy Holiday Party Tips

Tis the season to celebrate! I love all the events around Christmas time. Getting dressed up and chatting with friends amid the glow of an evergreen tree....but sometimes all that merriment can be a recipe for mindless eating and extra calories.  As a dietitian and personal trainer, I think it's my duty this time of year to pass along some of my favorite tips to keep healthy in your holiday.
Last Friday I made an appearance on Emotional Mojo talking about this very subject.  I partnered with California Raisins and Nestle Waters for the segment.

Did you know that California raisins are the most economical dried fruit? Fact!  Plus they boast fiber, potassium, and iron, which are all key parts of a well balanced diet.  Everyone at the station was blown away by the tasty combination of the raisins and asparagus.  I tossed the raisins in a little bit of butter, soy sauce, and balsamic vinegar.  Sweet and savory!

Next I wanted to talk about upping the H2O this December.  Hydration is something I encourage you to think about yearround, but it can be especially key at the sometimes-hectic holidays. Seriously, there is no better companion at a holiday party than water. It’s calorie free, and sweetener free and can be sparkling and refreshing.  I love flavored Perrier, S. Pellegrino, or the Nestle Pure Life Exotics.

When it comes to water it doesn’t have to be boring!  Think about presentation.  Serve water in a pretty glass or make it festive with flavored Perrier. Try a mocktail combining sparking water, fresh citrus, cucumber slices or a scoop of sorbet. 
I recommend this Pomegranate Cordial recipe for great presentation and taste.  I know that I'll be having a lot of mocktails this holiday season!

My other tip is to remember that sometimes thirst can masquerade as hunger, so staying hydrated can help prevent overeating or extra mindless munching.  I’d also recommend consuming 2 glasses of sparking water BEFORE the party to stop thirst and fill your belly.  Less room for cookies if you’re full of water!

I can't believe we are almost 1 week away from Christmas.  I start to get sad thinking that my favorite time of year is flying by.  I hope you have the happiest and healthiest celebrations ever this year!

What's your healthy holiday tip?
How do you stay hydrated at holiday parties?

Love and bubbles,
Carissa & Kyle

The BIG Announcement

Santa isn't the only one coming to town...

Welcome Baby B arriving June 2015!
Kyle and I are over the moon excited and feeling blessed to be able to make this announcement!!! (and we hope you love our Christmas pregnancy announcement as much as we do.  Santa! I know him!)

We started trying to grow our family in December of 2013 and I think like any naive couple we thought it would take a month of took a little bit longer and the journey was tougher than I imagined.  I will elaborate in another post, however Baby B is a rainbow baby and we are so grateful to be on this journey (and still a little nervous).  We know that many people struggle either publicly or privately to try to grow their families and we are thankful for all the support and advice we have received.
To answer some of your questions that you may have....
  • Due date is currently June 7, 2015 and as of December 14 I will be 15 weeks.
  • Yes, we know the gender, but you'll have to wait for the reveal post!
  • Thankfully I was never really sick.  Tired yes, nauseous not terribly.  I think it was a huge blessing, because I had 3 RunDisney weekends during my first trimester.
  • If you've been wondering why the blog was lacking running and workout posts, you now know.  While many women can run safely during pregnancy I was asked not to by my doctors.  I am allowed moderate exercise now which include walking, elliptical, and light weights.
  • We are still working out our "life post baby" plans, but I have no intentions of stopping race announcing, TV hosting, and working as an RD.  We have great family support, so aside from a new pal at the Diaper Dash, nothing will change!
  • Cravings? Pasta.  I joke that I'm birthing a little Italian baby.  Also sweets still do not sound good at all!
  • Maternity clothes? Not yet.  Since I haven't been able to workout I lost a good bit of muscle, so I'm still using that wiggle room.
Welp, that's the news kids.  I will have a few more updates in a few weeks, but I'm not sure if I will post weekly bump updates.  Let me know how much info you want to know!

Poll: Boy or girl???

Any pregnancy tips for us?
If you have kids, how did you announce your pregnancy?

Love and storks,
Carissa & Kyle

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

RunDisney Avengers Half Marathon 2014

In 2014, RunDisney announced 2 news races to their line-up - the Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon and the Star Wars Half Marathon.  Both scheduled in Anaheim at the Disneyland Resort.  In November 2014 the Avengers Half came to life and as a race announcer for RunDisney I was able to be there for all of the events. #RunAllTheRaces
I have been a big fan of all the Avengers movies and I especially love Captain America.  I was excited to see how our entertainment team at Disneyland planned to bring the race to life. Immediately upon arriving at Disneyland, I drove under the start line and I knew that this was going to be one epic weekend.
As with all RunDisney weekends the race started with the Health & Fitness expo.  That's where you pick up your race packet, shop race gear, and learn from our experts at the Speaker Series.  The expo was held on Friday and Saturday.
Saturday morning your RunDisney announcers, Rudy & myself, were up at 2am for the 5k Family Fun Run.  After a quick visit to costuming for lab coats and donuts we were ready to go! For some reason super heroes make me want donuts...weird?
For this 5k start we were stationed in the lab of Dr. Banner aka the Hulk when apparently hydra released a toxic serum. Agh!  Rudy and I escaped, but we weren't so sure about the runners...sorry guys! :)
The 5k run was great.  They costumes were superb and I love seeing the families run together.  Captain America took the prize for the most frequently costumed super hero! After the 5k, I dashed back to the hotel for a quick breakfast and then went back to the finish line to prep for the kids races.  One of my personal favorite things about the RunDisney races at Disneyland is that everything is so close together! It's much easier to dash back to the room and get a break as compared to races in Orlando where WDW is a much bigger property.

One magical moment at the Kids Races was the appearance of some "super" help to cheer on our runners: Captain America, Thor, Hawkeye, and Black Widow.
I kinda geeked out a little and insisted on getting a VIP photo with the group. Being the announcer and holding the microphone has some perks!
Sunday morning, Rudy and I were up at 3am for the big event...13.1 Super Miles!
With the help of Captain America up on stage we sent off the waves of runners.  Little did we know that California would order up some 35+ mph winds and give the runners a reason to conjure up some super human running power.  There was a section of the race on a dirt path and we had several runners tweet us and ask the nutritional value of dirt.  Ummm fiber?  Bless his heart the winner finished with a dirt covered face too!
My mom was once again out there running.  She made a special "Avenger Mickey" costume for this race and I challenged her to try and PR.  What a nice daughter I am...."Hey Mom, I know you ran a half last week and it's windy out there but why don't ya PR!"  Well Mom is super and she came in at 2:32 to score a half marathon personal best!
While cheering in the other runners I enjoyed my SECOND donut of the weekend courtesy of Kelly from Sparkle Athletic and #TeamSparkle
Our final runner of the race was another moment why I think races are so amazing.  One runner injured herself at Angels Stadium, which I think is at least 3 miles from the finish.  Another runner, who had never met this woman before, gave up running her own race to help this injured runner finish.  I love how selfless runners are and this amazing community.
I hate to play favorites, but Avengers is my new most favorite race ever.  It's a fact.

Congrats again to Mom and all the runners.  That's a wrap on RunDisney 2014.  See you in January Mickey runners!

What Avenger would you have dressed up as?
What's your first race for 2015?

Love and no hydra,
Carissa & Kyle

Check out all my RunDisney recaps here.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Front Page News

Guess who was on the front page of last Friday's Orlando Sentinel?  Yes, the very FRONT PAGE????

-----> THIS GIRL!
Talk about a surreal experience.  I was contacted by an Orlando Sentinel sports reporter several weeks ago and told they wanted to do a story on the OUC Orlando Half Marathon through the angle of the race announcer.  Me!  I was more than happy to share my experience and life as a race announcer as well as info on an awesome local half marathon. The reporter came by the gym along with a photographer.  We spent about 45 minute talking and taking a few photos for the article.

I knew the article was intended for Friday's paper.  Kyle and I drove to work together that day since he had a 5:30am client and I had a corporate 3k to announce at 5:45am.  I grabbed the paper and switched to the sports section.  Scanned it..big news about the new Florida football coach and UCF's miraculous conference win.  No race announcer.  That was okay.  It was a busy sports day and I was happy to have the article online.  I thought I'd check the local news section just in case.  Not there.  Then I went to close the paper and BAM - the real front page!
Here is a link to the article, however I heard some people have a problem opening it since it links to a subscriber page. I can post of photo of the rest of the article if you like!

The 38th OUC Orlando Half Marathon took place Saturday morning.  Fun fact - there are 3 men who have completed all 38 races.  Our race director, Jon Hughes, has also been there for all 38 years.
It's fun to announce such a large, well-organized, local race.  Plus I get to see lots of familiar faces and friends from the #TeamEd Marathonfest training group.  We also had a nice elite field.  The men's race was won in 1:07 and change and the women's winner came in at 1:17. Congrats to my friend Kayla on finishing her 1st half marathon!
Thanks again to the Orlando Sentinel for supporting running in Orlando and shedding some light on #announcerlife.

Have you run a non-Disney race in Orlando?

Love and stopping the presses,
Carissa & Kyle

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Blue Apron Meal Delivery

Meal delivery services are becoming popular.  Ingredients and recipes are delivered to your doorstep and you have everything you need to create new and hopefully tasty recipes.  For my birthday my sister-in-law, Kelsey, gave me 1 week of meals from Blue Apron. Since a lot of you were interested when I added the recipes to Instagram I thought it was worthy of a blog post.

Note: This post is NOT sponsored.  Not one bit.  I just want to share this service and my opinion with you since it's a hot topic right now.
My one week of meals from Blue Apron consisted of 3 dinners for two and the cost was about $19.99 per meal (about $10 per meal, per person).  On their website you can select certain meal preferences like "chicken, fish, shellfish, vegetarian, beef...."  I opted to choose poultry, beef, vegetarian, and fish.  After my first delivery I decided I did NOT want fish, so that's no longer on my preferences.  Unfortunately you can't pick what meals you get each week.  I've heard that's something they are working on for the future.

For my 3 meals I received:

  • Vegetarian creamy sweet potato and kale casserole
  • Yuku chicken drumsticks with 
  • Seared hake (white fish) with melted leeks (I made this with chicken instead of fish)
Chicken with leeks and I added my own asparagus
You receive a big recipe card with instructions and the exact portion of each ingredient you need.  This is the best part of the service IMHO.  You get to try new flavors, like Yuku, but you don't have to waste money on a big bottle of an ingredient that you'll rarely use.  The same goes for produce.  Need 1 stalk of celery?  That's what you get.  No waste.
My major complaint (besides the cost being more than I would usually spend), is that the recipes are time consuming.  And they use a lot of dishes!  I am usually a 30-minute meal type girl and I'll maybe use 1 pan and roast some veggies in my toaster oven.  These meals took more work and more pans, but I was pushed out of my culinary comfort zone and there's something to say about that.
Chicken drumsticks..again I added asparagus
As for the flavor, the chicken drumsticks had new and interesting flavors...but...I realized that I don't like chicken drumsticks.  The casserole was very filling and gave us about 3 meals plus I added it as a side to leftovers throughout the week.  Even though I didn't eat the hake I thought the potatoes and leeks that came with that were my favorite taste of the three.
Casserole, tons of kale!
Calorie wise the dishes are also probably more calories than I usually have for a dinner.  They come with estimated calories counts on the recipe, but if the recipe makes more than 2 servings that would be reduced.  I just looked at the menu this week and there's fried squash.  Sounds delicious, but not something that's a part of my regular, healthy, RD, weekday diet.

So would I use Blue Apron again?  Maybe.  I would need to see the menu ahead of time and decide if I wanted those meals.  Kyle and I usually have dinner leftovers for lunch, so not knowing if I'll have enough left over is also something to consider.  However it's fun and it's exciting and you don't have to think about meals.  It's like Stitch Fix for your refrigerator, so eventually I may do it again.  But I'd rather have someone buy it for me as a gift! :)

I also want to point out that Blue Apron is not the only meal delivery service.  I know there are others, but Plated is the only one that comes to my mind.

Have you tried a meal delivery service?
Would you?

Love and feed me,
Carissa & Kyle