I had a bit of a meltdown yesterday. I was fine one moment and then, all of a sudden, I wasn't.
It hit me that I was...that we were supposed to have our miracle baby here with us right now. That this would be her first Christmas. And she isn't here.
Last year, while I was writing Christmas cards to send out, I told Nick that the next Christmas would look different...that I would be writing cards while breastfeeding. And darn if we started out the year with that truth coming true.
I know there's a reason for it...I know she's in a better place. But that doesn't make it any easier when it's been your hopes and dreams for so long. When you have the positive pregnancy test and hear your baby's heartbeat for the first time. All the excitement and fear all rolled into one.
And then the moment you hear there's a problem with your baby's heart and they want you to see a specialist. The fear and dread and holding on to hope they're wrong.
But then finding out it's so much worse than you could have imagined. So much so that the doctor recommends terminating your pregnancy. But how could I ever do that? Nick and I, of course, decided to let her decide. We would fight as long as she was fighting.
But we all know how that ended. Our sweet girl has been with God since May.
She's no longer in pain, which I am forever thankful for. But the ache and emptiness in my heart will forever be a part of me.
While I'm excited for this Christmas and spending it with family, it will be a little sad. Not taking adorable Christmas photos of our baby and our family. Just not having her here.
I hope and pray every day that next Christmas is different. We're taking action, we're making changes, and we're going to make it happen.
So for now, I am thankful for the time we had with her. For feeling her little flutters in my belly before she passed. For my beautiful family and the time we have together. And for trusting in God that we will have our baby Decker.
Enjoy this holiday season. Hold your loved ones a little longer, a little tighter. Tell them you love them. Daily. Hourly even.
With love and wellness,
My birthday is exactly one month from today. And I'll be honest, I can't remember my birthday from this past year. I can't remember any of the wishes I made or what I hoped for in 2020. But let's be real...2020 didn't exactly go as planned for anyone.
So many things happened this year. Good. Bad. And the unthinkable. I've ridden the roller coaster of emotions. I've been both insanely happy and heartbroken and unable to breathe. There were so many ups and so many downs. And I've learned so much...about so many things, including myself.
I can honestly say this year has been one of the best years of my life while simultaneously being one of the worst years of my life.
I have been more uncomfortable than I ever have. Which I suppose means I have grown more than I ever have before. And if you've ever been in this place, you know that growth isn't comfortable...at all.
It hurts. It's scary. It requires a whole new piece of you to get through it.
But regardless of the discomfort, it is 100% worth it.
I didn't know how I would get through a lot of this year. I didn't know IF I would get through this year. But I survived. And, against all odds, I thrived.
I've grown. I've made hard choices. I've changed. I've adapted. I've overcome.
And that, for this year of 2020, has been a success.
I have no idea what 2021 will h0ld. I know what I want from it, and I pray every day for it. But there's no telling what will actually happen.
But I know I will survive. I will get through whatever is thrown at me. I've proven that time and again.
It used to be that I did it alone. But I'm so thankful I have Nick standing by my side. I never have to go through any of the hard stuff alone. And I have someone to go through the amazing things with. He truly has been my rock when I couldn't stand on my own. He is a true blessing in my life.
So as we end 2020, I am thankful. For the lessons. For the growth. For all the wonderful things that have happened. And yes, even for the bad things.
I pray 2021 brings joy and happiness and of course, our miracle baby Decker. But I suppose we shall see. Because the only one who knows what will happen is God. And I trust His plan, for I know it's far better than I could ever imagine.
I hope you all have a beautiful week, and lean into the growth. It may be uncomfortable, but I promise, it is worth it.
With love and wellness,
We started and ended our first cycle of IVF last week. Going into it, I only had three egg follicles so we were hopeful. After all, we only need one. And at our first ultrasound, two of them appeared to be growing and doing well.
However, at our second ultrasound, they showed no growth. And the doctor looked at me and asked what I would like to do.
I mean...how was I supposed to know? I'd never done this before. What were our options? Would we have to pay all over again? These were all questions I had, and of course, Nick wasn't at the appointment with me, so I couldn't make that decision without him.
Basically, what the doc told me is that we still have most of our money left because we weren't too far into this cycle. So we could re-evaluate our options and see what other protocol we could potentially try. She named a few like I had any idea what she was talking about, with the last one being an egg donor. It breaks my heart even thinking about that. And I know we aren't there yet, but it's hard.
It's hard trusting the process and trusting God. It's hard not knowing if I'll ever produce a good egg. And it's hard hearing the doc tell you you have a perfect uterus...now we just need the perfect egg. I'm trying. I really am. But at what point is it too much?
I try my best not to stress out. I try my best to sleep. I try my best to not have too much caffeine. I try my best to not overdo it in workouts. I try my best to take all my vitamins and supplements and add new things as I learn about them.
But it's constantly on my mind. I find that I rarely think about much else. I don't know how to get it off my mind. I don't know how to "relax" and "just let it happen."
Nick and I talk with the doctor on Wednesday to find out the next steps. And while it's really hard hearing that our eggs aren't growing like they should, it is better to hear it now than to get pregnant, get our hopes up, and then have another miscarriage.
And I'm happy to be able to enjoy the holidays without having to prep for the embryo transfer. I received the instructions for that and I would be giving myself more shots and a whole lot more the week of Christmas. And this year, Nick and I are spending Christmas with my mom. So again, while it's hard not having that to look forward, I'm happy to be able to relax and just spend time with my family.
I'm eager to talk to the doc and find out what her thoughts are and what next steps we can take. And I pray every day that a miracle occurs. Because I know our God is so much bigger than anything else. And I'm trusting that we will get our miracle baby. Even when it's hard.
I'm putting it out in the universe what I WANT. I'm focusing on what I WANT. Because that is so much better than focusing on the negatives and the what ifs. Our miracle baby will be here soon. It's all a part of God's plan.
Now if only I could let it go and relax a little bit! Ha!
I hope you all had a beautiful Thanksgiving. And holy cow, welcome to December! These last few months have FLOWN by!
And for any of you who have gone through IVF or these struggles, I would love to hear your advice about how to relax a little bit. How to enjoy the journey. I try to relish in every part of it instead of trying to rush through it. But that's always been hard for me.
I love y'all. Enjoy your week!
With love and wellness,
I saw this and knew it was the perfect follow-on from my blog post last week. Life will rarely go as you plan it. I mean, best laid plans and all that. But the journeys you find yourself on will rarely go as you think they will.
I know my life has been a series of [both fortunate and unfortunate] events, and it's been all about the pivot. I've had to learn to adjust and keep moving forward, faithfully knowing that whatever was to come next was exactly where I needed to be.
But let's see... I determined in middle school that I wanted to be a federal criminal investigator and that's what my path was throughout high school and into college. I fast tracked it through college so I could immediately jump right into my career. I got hired into the federal government right out of college, thankfully, and I started on this journey I'd had planned for years.
I worked for the Department of Energy, Office of Inspector General, but wasn't too happy with the work there. So after approximately 4 years, I applied for and got a job with the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS). Fast forward 7 years or so and I was miserable. I hated going to work. I tried to find anything else to do other than go to work.
So here I was, in this job I'd fought for and planned for since I was in middle school...and I was miserable.
So after almost 12 years with the federal government, I quit. I'd started my own business as a health coach and I wasn't going to continue working at a job I hated. First pivot.
Well, of course, that didn't go as planned either. Three months of living on a very fast dwindling savings and things weren't looking up.
Enter Rodan+Fields and CrossFit coaching. Yet another pivot.
I'm so thankful I found both of these things, because they're what saved me for yet another pivot that was still coming down the pike. These two were my saving grace and kept me from having to go back to working for the government or some other 9 to 5 job. I loved the freedom they both afforded me, but I also loved that I was doing something I was so passionate about.
Throughout all of this, I'd gotten married. I was well into my 30s when I got married too. Well, that ended when he was arrested and never came home. Talk about a HUGE pivot.
I certainly never anticipated going through that experience. That was a journey I never thought would end that way.
But all of these things, every single one of them, have led me exactly where I'm supposed to be. I've made mistakes. I've gone down the wrong path. I've felt lost. I've felt like I was at rock bottom many times. But I know every experience has molded and shaped me into the person I am today.
I didn't know it at the time, obviously, but they were all bread crumbs leading me here. I didn't know when I started coaching CrossFit that I would one day own my own CrossFit gym. I didn't know when I went through the hell of 2017 and my first marriage that it would lead me to my current husband.
And my goodness...the journey Nick and I have been on to have our baby is certainly not one I ever thought would happen to me. I thought I'd get pregnant, have this magical pregnancy (ha!), and we'd have our healthy baby. This has, perhaps, been one of the biggest pivots for me.
All I know is that every pivot I've had has brought me closer to God, has brought me deeper into my faith. I've leaned harder into my faith during each of these moments than at any other times in my life. I don't know if I would have survived if I hadn't.
So while my journeys in life may not have gone as planned, they've gone exactly as they needed to in order to get me exactly where I need to be and to be exactly who I am.
My biggest piece of advice is to keep moving forward. Have faith that everything will work out exactly as it should. It may never seem like it will end, but the only way to get through anything is to keep moving forward. It does get better, I promise.
And remember...it's all about the pivot. Be open to the pivot.
I hope y'all have a beautiful Thanksgiving week and enjoy your time with friends and family, if you are going that route. Either way, be safe and be blessed.
With love and wellness,
Y’all. These last couple weeks have been HARD. I’ve been tired and irritable and super run down. I’ve also felt down...almost depressed down. I haven’t wanted to do anything. And I’ve been pretty negative, something I’ve worked hard to NOT be. At least on the regular.
It wasn’t until I was talking to my mom about all the meds and supplements I’ve been on for IVF that it dawned on me... I’m back on birth control pills. Something I haven’t been on since my late 20s.
But let me tell you... it brought me right back to those days. I was always tired and run down and super negative. My face was ALWAYS broken out. I had no energy and didn’t want to do anything but lay on my couch.
And that’s EXACTLY how I’ve been for the past couple weeks of being back on birth control.
It’s such a strange correlation for me, but it makes sense. Back then, I’d been on birth control for years... since I was a teenager. And one day in my late 20s, I decided to just stop them. Cold turkey. I hated that they were masking what was going on with my body and my hormones.
And holy cow were they. I know they are now. Headaches. Irritability. Exhaustion. No energy. Breakouts. On my face and my body. I have enough energy to get up, go to the gym to coach and workout, then come home and eat, shower, and I spend most of the rest of the day on the couch.
It’s not a fun place to be.
Thankfully, I only have to be on them for three weeks, so my last one is today. I’m so ready to be back to “normal” and not feel like I need a boatload of caffeine just to get through the day.
I’m also ready to not feel like a tightly wound rubber band waiting to be snapped. I feel like every little thing has set me off lately. And that’s not me. It’s driving me bonkers!!!
Add to it that so far, the IVF process hasn’t been the smoothest. I was supposed to start my first set of shots last Tuesday and that still hasn't happened...I'm *supposed* to get them tomorrow...one week later than originally planned. I've been reassured that this won't make a difference so I've been praying and trusting that everything will work out how it's supposed to. Let's just say insurance and pharmacy issues created a huge hassle and back and forth and the clinic didn’t do too much to help resolve it.
So I’ve been stressed on top of everything else. Not sleeping. Having the most bizarre, vivid, real dreams. Oh. And running a new business too. Plus still working my other businesses. And running our household. Oh, and Christmas is coming up so now we have to think about cards and gifts and traveling. Oh, and did I mention our car troubles? Again.
Yes. Life has been a lot lately. And I know it’s part of the ebbs and flow of life. Sometimes it’s down and sometimes it’s up. But dang. I’m ready to be on an UP!!
The end result of everything we’re going through will hopefully, prayerfully be baby Decker. So I know it’s all worth it. And one day, I’ll look back and this will be just another blip on my calendar and in my life and I’ll most likely laugh at the craziness.
So for now, I’m going with the flow. I’m taking it one day at a time. Using my amazing skincare to keep my skin in check. Trying to rest as much as I can and not push myself past the brink of exhaustion. And relying more on Nick to help instead of being super woman all the time.
It will be worth it. And I will get through this stage of my life.
Life is a journey. And I’m going to enjoy every step of the way!
Have a beautiful week. And make sure to enjoy every step of your journey too!
With love and wellness,
I had a long talk with God Saturday night. I realized that I have been worrying and wondering what if and letting my thoughts get the best of me lately. And it finally dawned on me that I was trying to control everything.
I prayed for a long time, asking for help to let go of my worries. To let go of my need to control everything. To be in control of everything. I asked for peace with whatever happens...to be okay with whatever happens.
Because as we start our journey with IVF, I can't help but wonder and worry. What will happen? Will it be successful? Will we get our miracle baby? Will we complete our family?
But these are things I can't control. We have no idea any of these answers. And we won't until we actually go through them.
So I can either allow my fears to take over and just not go through any of it. Because what if it doesn't work? Why go through it all if it ultimately doesn't work?
Or I can put it all in God's hands and allow Him to be in control. Because what if it does work? What if we are successful and have our baby?
And when I look at it this way, there's really only one way I would ever be okay with doing.
Trying. Putting it in God's hands. Seeing what happens. And being okay with the outcome, whatever it is.
If we don't try, I would forever wonder if we would have had our baby. I would forever wonder. Period.
And this...this is giving us our opportunity. And if I don't take it, then I would be an idiot. Plain and simple.
In any pregnancy, IVF or otherwise, God is the only one who is in control. God is the only one who knows the outcome.
So that's what I'm doing. I'm praying, long and hard every day, and putting it all in God's hands. Because that's really all I can do...other than taking the meds and following the protocol from the doc's office.
But I'm going to enjoy this journey. I'm going to relish every little step. And I pray that our end result will be baby Decker.
The most important thing I can do, however, is to let it all go and give it to God. So that's where I am.
Our first appointment is November 17th, so I'll keep y'all updated. We're in the first phase of it all, which involves lots of supplements and vitamins and birth control. We start our first set of shots on the 10th, and then we'll go from there.
It's all in God's hands now. I may not be in control, but I know I am loved by the One who is. And that is good enough for me.
Have a beautiful week, my friends.
With love and wellness,
It's hard for me to ask for help. It always has been. I hate the feeling that I can't do it all myself.
And yes, I know. We aren't built to do it all on our own. But I'm so used to taking it all on by myself. I've spent a lot of my life doing it all by myself. So to me, it's just normal.
But enter a husband who wants to help. Who doesn't necessarily know what I need, especially because I don't always voice it.
It doesn't always end well.
I hold it in. And I get stressed out. And I resent that I *have* to do it all.
But you see where the problem is here. I don't have to do it all myself. I take it on as if I have to. And Nick can't read my mind. Nobody can. How are people supposed to know when I need help if I never express it?
I know I'm not alone here when I say that I expect Nick to know what I need help with. That I shouldn't have to ask for help.
But that, my friends, is silly. That logic doesn't make any sense.
Nick can't read my mind. Nobody can read my mind.
I don't know why we go through life expecting others to know what we need, when we need it. I mean, think about it. Do we know what others need without them expressing it or asking us for help?
We aren't psychics. Nick isn't psychic. So I can't get mad at him when he doesn't do what I didn't ask him to do.
The biggest lesson I've learned being married is to ask for help. To express that I am overwhelmed and I need help. To communicate exactly what I need.
It's crazy how it works.
Except now I need to work on asking for help sooner. And not letting it completely overwhelm me and get angry that he's not helping.
It's a learning process.
So lesson of the week... ask for help BEFORE I have a mental breakdown.
I hope y'all have a great week. And welcome to November!
With love and wellness,
This is it. The week of Kynsleigh's due date. The week we were so eagerly anticipating earlier this year. The week that will now be one of the hardest for me. And hopefully the busiest (aka, to keep me distracted).
It's hard as we approach October 28th. We should be having our baby this week. Instead, we are working on starting our first round of IVF. I have so many feelings and emotions heading into this week. Honestly, I've sort of been all over the place when it comes to this week.
I'm sad. But I'm excited. But I'm also nervous. With a little fear of the unknown in there. And I bounce back and forth through all of these multiple times. Sometimes in one day. Sometimes in one moment.
It's a lot.
Last week, we received our fertility testing results. We are normal, healthy, perfect even. Except for me. I have a smaller right ovary, which I'm not sure is actually working right, or has ever worked right. And I have a low ovarian reserve, because let's face it, I'm no spring chicken. I'm 38 years old, and will be 39 in January. As the doctor so lovingly pointed out, I'm not getting any younger.
So if we're going to have a baby, we have to do this NOW. It's no surprise to everyone that we've been trying. I mean, we've had six miscarriages. The doctor said it wasn't genetic, it wasn't anything related to our health...they were all embryonic abnormalities. Aka, my low ovarian reserve and the quality of my eggs.
And we have two options for having a baby. We can try again on our own while they aggressively support us with medication and such, but there's no guarantee (is there really ever a guarantee?) the embryo won't have any abnormalities. Or we can try traditional IVF. Where they can genetically test the embryos and only transplant normal embryos.
I'm not going to lie. I didn't want to go the IVF route. It made me feel like a failure. Like I couldn't do what I'm supposed to and provide a baby for my husband/family. And I know...you can tell me I'm not a failure and this doesn't make me less of a woman. But it's how I felt at the time of hearing all of this.
However, Nick and I decided that we've done enough on our own. I kept trying new things the last several times we got pregnant. But we kept getting the same results. With Kynsleigh, we actually made it past the first trimester, but our poor, sweet girl had severe heart issues. Which, unfortunately, comes from abnormal embryos. And I know I'm tired of having miscarriage after miscarriage. My body is worn out. Nick is worn out. We need a new story.
So we started this weekend with new supplements to support egg quality and we're waiting for my next period so I can start birth control. I'm on the November/December cycle at Procreate Fertility in Chesapeake. Let's hope and pray we can plump my eggs up and get our miracle baby Decker!
However, IVF scares me. Needles scare me. The process scares me. The unknown scares me.
But you know what scares me even more? Not ever trying and not ever knowing. Nick and I want a baby. We want to complete our Decker clan. And I would forever wonder "what if" if we didn't at least try.
My mom sent me this picture when I was having a freak out moment about how overwhelming it all seems. And she said, "Take it one baby step at a time." Yes, she meant the pun too.
This picture so accurately reflects the importance of baby steps. If you push too hard, too soon, you may not get where you want to be or get what you want. Or worse, you may have a setback and be further back than where you started.
This is important not just for me right now, but in everything in life. The baby steps will get you to the big steps. Start small. Start with the little things. Because they all add up.
And that's how I have to look at IVF. I can't let the entirety of it overwhelm me. So I'm going to take it one step at a time. Not wonder or worry about what comes next. The fertility clinic knows what they're doing. So I'll have to trust the process and trust that they'll tell me what comes next. And of course, I'll trust God and the journey we're on.
So that's where we are. At the very bottom of the ladder, working on our baby steps. Prayers would always be much appreciated!
I love y'all and hope you have a beautiful week!
With love and wellness,
A year ago, I made a hard decision (for me) to step out of my comfort zone and begin coaching at a second CrossFit gym closer to home. I'd been coaching at a gym in Virginia Beach for so long that it felt abnormal to even think of going anywhere else.
However, it was a good 35-45 minute drive without traffic to and from and I felt like ALL of my time was spent in my car. It was draining on me and I wasn't enjoying it as much as I used to. I knew I needed to make a change, but I was terrified to (as we all are when it comes to change).
Looking back, it was the start of something phenomenal in mine and Nick's life.
It started small. We each only coached one or two classes a week, but as time went by, our coaching increased. We became more immersed in the gym and it became our family. We built friendships and relationships and made this second gym, CrossFit Chesapeake, our new home.
As the months went by, I realized I needed to make a decision. I couldn't continue coaching at both gyms. I was spreading myself thin, as I tend to do, and it was wearing me out. I was tired and drained...All. The. Time.
In February 2020, I made the even harder decision to leave my first home gym in Virginia Beach. It's where I started my CrossFit coaching and learned and grew as a coach. It was an emotional decision, but honestly, one that was overdue. As soon as I made the decision, I felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. I knew I was doing something FOR ME, which is extremely rare. I knew it would also benefit my home life, as well.
Of course, soon thereafter, the world changed and Covid hit. We were all sent home as gyms were closed. CrossFit Chesapeake offered zoom classes, but it was hard to keep everyone motivated. But somehow, we managed to keep everything moving forward.
Upon opening back up, Nick and I got an amazing opportunity. One that we had no idea would even be an option as we entered 2020.
For you see, Nick and I have dreamed of opening our own CrossFit gym for awhile now. Really, it's been something we've talked about since we met. We had plans for it to happen, but we figured it wouldn't be for a few years. We set up our garage gym with the intent of starting our gym in there and expanding.
And we did start in there. We had several clients we saw in our gym. But at the same time, we were growing at CrossFit Chesapeake. We were coaching more, helping with the fundamentals courses, and meeting all the members, both old and new.
And somehow, with everything else that has happened this year, Nick and I were able to make our dream come true a whole heckuva lot sooner than we ever would have thought.
On October 1, we officially became the owners of CrossFit Chesapeake.
We own our own gym.
It still feels weird to say that. And it still feels weird to be the owners of a gym where we've only been coaching a year.
I'm a firm believer in that everything happens as it should. All the fear, all the doubt, all the wondering what if...it led me...it led us exactly where we needed to be.
It was scary to make the initial change last year, but I'm so thankful I did. I'm so thankful I didn't let fear sideline me. I couldn't imagine where Nick and I would be if I'd let fear stop me.
We are exactly where we should be. We're living our dream. We're proof that anything truly is possible.
Y'all. Don't give up on your dreams. Don't ever stop pushing. And don't let fear stop you from acting or from moving forward. Because I promise, it is possible!
What are your dreams? What are your plans? And most important, what steps are you taking to make those dreams come true?
Have a beautiful week! And never stop working towards your dreams!
With love and wellness,
For far too long, I put others' happiness before my own. I said yes when I should have said no. I took on too much in order to please other people. It didn't matter how I felt; I simply wanted everyone else to be happy, or at least to not be upset with me.
But in the end, I was miserable.
I was worn out. Unhappy. Drained. I wasn't myself anymore.
That was my norm for a long time. I didn't know how to put my happiness first. I thought if I put my happiness before anyone else's that I was being selfish.
However, over a lot of self growth and time, I realized that I wasn't being selfish...I was being smart. I had to remember that I was someone too. And that my feelings and happiness mattered just as much as anyone else's.
And if I didn't make myself happy, how could I be any good to anyone else?
I think a lot of people do this. I think a lot of WOMEN do this. We want to make sure everyone else is taken care of. That they are happy and cared for. But who, then, takes care of us?
Something I always try to remember is that you can't pour from an empty cup. You can't take care of other people if you are drained, empty, unfulfilled. You have nothing left to give!
So it isn't selfish to make yourself happy, to put yourself first. It's actually necessary.
Always remember that you are someone too. Your happiness is important too.
How this looks is different for everyone. Waking up early and having coffee (or tea) before anyone else is up...having that alone time is self care and important for your happiness. Learning to say NO and being okay with it (this takes time, I get it!). I know it can feel like the end of the world to say no to someone or something, but it isn't. It won't be. People are generally okay if you need to make adjustments to plans. I've found that to be true.
Taking an hour to get a massage or go to yoga or go to the gym. Taking an hour to have coffee with a friend. Going for a walk. Having a conversation with friends about everything going on. Simply hanging out with friends.
Put your happiness first and see how you're able to take care of everyone and everything else much better. It truly makes a difference when you aren't drained or unhappy or miserable.
So remember, in your daily life, when you are working on making someone smile today, that YOU are someone too!
I hope you have a beautiful week and that you put yourself first today.
With love and wellness,