Pugs & Pushups without the Pugs or Pushups?

It’s been far too long since I’ve updated this site. Twin motherhood, working full-time, moving twice, and just life has made anything extra (like this blog) hard to keep up with!

Something I never anticipated when becoming a mother was how intentional I HAD to be about things I used to do during down time. If I want to keep up with things I like doing, I have to actively participate in time management to be able to do them.

Over the last two and a half years my health has been on the decline. Sleep disturbances, crippling anxiety, and simply not taking care of myself (both from a physical standpoint and a mental one) was creating a space where I felt like my only purpose was for my family and I no longer mattered. I struggled to lose weight and find anything for myself.

The last few years have also been hard for Charlie, our pug, and reason for the blogs “pugs” title. In 2016 he began coughing and was having episodes where he’d pass out frequently. Despite working with some of the best veterinarians, on Xray we were unable to find any real reason for the cough, and medication wasn’t working. In 2019 he was finally diagnosed with lower airway collapsing trachea which had progressed probably from three years of coughing.

Over the last 6 months to a year his hind end also started to get weak. To the point where he was having trouble controlling his bladder and would often urinate and dedicate wherever he was sitting and wouldn’t notice, so he would sit in it until someone moved him. We found ourselves having to carry him outside to go to the bathroom where he would then struggle to stand for anymore time than the time he was going potty.

On August 14, 2020, with multiple veterinarians opinions, realized that his hind end was not going to get better, his cough was progressively getting worse, and the only option to keep him here comfortably was to sedate him to the point where he was no longer the dog we know. We decided that while the twins were at daycare, we’d let Charlie finally rest.

As a veterinary technician that has written about euthanasia of my patients, deciding to put Charlie to sleep should have been easy, but it wasn’t. The decision to euthanize him was, to date, the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make. Together with my husband, we sat downstairs at my job, and behind tears I kissed Charlie one last time and attached the syringe, slowly pushing the sedative, followed by the euthanasia solution into his veins.

I’ve been part of more euthanasia’s than I would like to remember. Working in the ER and then as an oncology technician, I’ve had to say goodbye to so many pets, many of which I felt a personal connection to. The decision to euthanize Charlie myself was one we made as a family, but also I felt that it was a necessary decision. While my patients were always so hard to say goodbye to, being able to hold their paws or give their families condolences always made it slightly easier. For me, being able to control the decision around Charlies end of life experience was important. He trusted me to make the best decisions for him throughout his entire 12 years of life. I felt as if I owed it to him to be there for him in this way.

So, now our house is more quiet. We still have our dog Miley, a chiweenie, who has inadvertently become my emotional support dog while I’ve become her emotional support human. I’ve started taking her to work with me and whenever I can take her anywhere else, I do.

Aside from Miley, we also have our cat, Louie. He’s much less a people person and has always kept to himself. For Louie, not much has changed, but I’m glad our house is not completely empty as I’m not sure if mentally I’d be able to handle that.

Teagan petting Miley (this never happens)

After Charlie passed I came to the realization that I needed to start to take care of myself. Having a propensity for depression, I knew that if I didn’t start taking care of myself soon, I’d likely be in big trouble (mentally) and as a wife and mama of twin toddlers I have too many people counting on me to be there for them. I also realize I can’t be there for them if I don’t first take care of me.

So, while my house may be without my pug, and I haven’t done a push-up in what feels like a lifetime… I’m here, trying to look after my physical and mental health.

In 2010 I made a promise to Charlie and Miley that I would take care of myself so I could be around for them. In 2020, I kissed Charlie for the last time and promised him I’d take care of myself for Miley, for the twins and his daddy. While I can’t promise I’ll be doing any pushups any time soon, I can promise to write more, to continue to work on myself mentally and physically, and to allow myself to grieve because even though I don’t regret euthanizing Charlie (he was not living a quality life) I miss him every moment of every day.

In loving memory:
Charlie Bentley-Sofia Thomas
7/25/2008 – 8/14/2020

Reflections of the last 6 months of motherhood

I dreamed of this for the last few years but I never knew what I would do once it happened. Would it even happen? Would I ever be able to be a mom? And if I did become a mom, would I be a good mom? Would I be able to provide for my kid(s)?

When my husband and I went to the reproductive endocrinologist we were blinded by high hopes and dreams of becoming parents. She assured us that if we stuck with her we would get pregnant, she also assured us that the goal was one healthy baby at a time. Well, she did get us pregnant during our second round of IUI (intrauterine insemination) after a surgery and quite a lot of monitoring appointments, but we were (I was) pregnant with twins!

Pregnancy was not necessarily terrible but it wasn’t enjoyable for me. I read about women who loved pregnancy so much, and even followed a few on Instagram. But for me, pregnancy wasn’t glamorous. Sure, I taught group fitness up until 37 weeks, and I didn’t have horrible morning sickness; I had nausea at the end but only threw up twice (excluding that morning I was rushed to the hospital for throwing up multiple times in a 6 hour span and became incredibly dehydrated), but I was incredibly uncomfortable. I gained 65lbs, which is a lot on my 5’0” frame.

Aside from the lack of glamor that came with pregnancy, I was incredibly excited to meet these two little people. To this day, over 6 months after their birth, I am still excited every single day to see them but let me tell you…. there are so many things that no one could have prepared me for. The funny thing is, if anyone tried to tell me anything before, I probably wouldn’t have listened. It’s funny how that happens right? Like we have to experience it ourselves regardless of how many people tell us.

The thing is, despite people talking about postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety, no one talks about things like going back to work and leaving your baby(babies) with a nanny or at daycare. Some women experience serious depression immediately after their baby is born or comes home. Among many reasons is this feeling of loneliness. No one tells you how lonely becoming a new parent can be (and again, when they do, you don’t believe it). Something I did back before my children, when my best friend had her first baby, was step back from being as present in our friendship. I thought she needed time with her kiddo and I thought she would appreciate the alone time. What I didn’t realize was she needed me then, more than ever. We discussed this many times over the years but I never could truly grasp the feeling of need until I myself was in her shoes.

No one tells you how lonely it is as a new mom, but at least when the babies first come home you have people checking in on you. Recently we went to our 6 month appointment with the twins and the doctor, a new doctor we haven’t seen yet, asked me if I went back to work and how I was doing. She seemed to take a real interest in how I was but it didn’t go much further than that. It got me thinking about how the novelty of a new baby (or in my case, babies) wears off and people stop coming around to check on you. There’s always these milestones – you get pregnant, the world rejoices; you have the baby, the world rejoices; you come home from the hospital, people come in droves giving you food wanting to meet the baby(babies); but what about when you are required to go back to work?

Many women in the US know how I felt when at about 6 weeks postpartum my job started asking when I was coming back and then at 8 weeks when I went back. No one asked me how i was feeling or if they could help. Lots of people have asked me if we have help, but that hasn’t come with offers to help. Do we have help? Well, that answer to that isn’t yes but it isn’t no. My mom and my mother in law have both been incredibly helpful. My mom has come up to visit as often as she can to spend the day so we can get a little break, and my mother in law occasionally takes the kids so we can nap or helps us out the babies to sleep. But, did we or do we have help consistently? Unfortunately, our reality is that the twins care is the responsibility of my husband and I. Childcare in NY is extraordinarily expensive and it just doesn’t pay for me to work just so I can pay for it.

Going back to work, for me, like what I imagine it is like for so many women we just don’t talk about it, was extremely hard. I found myself crying to and from work. My husband gets anxiety when he is left with the twins. This isn’t a bad thing, it’s actually incredibly normal if you ask me, but it added a layer of stress that I can’t even begin to explain. I was unable to go back to work full time because of our lack of childcare and the schedule and availability that my job afforded. Due to circumstance I wound up back home only two months after trying to go back to work. Why is it that women are just expected to go back to work as soon as maternity leave is over? I can’t possibly be the only one who just isn’t the same after having kids.

My priorities have completely shifted. I no longer have the patience to deal with ridiculous complaints and things that just no longer seem important. I could never have anticipated the change in me. I mean, out of all of the things people have talked to me about, no one told me I would completely change. No one told me I would no longer find joy in what I was doing for a living and surely no one told me how going back to work would feel. Like someone literally cut a limb off of me. The emotional pain was equivalent to what I imagine the physical pain of a limb being ripped off would feel like. I often find myself feeling the pulse of my children, to feel my heart beating outside of my body. Is that weird? If it is, oh well. These two small humans need me, and what I guess I didn’t realize was that I need them.

No one really checks on you when you go back to work. They just expect you to be 100% back to who you were. As if no time has passed, as if nothing has changed. For me, that was impossible. The depression kicked in pretty quickly after going back to work. Honestly, I think that’s why it didn’t last. My dad and step mom came to help a few times, which I am so grateful for, but In order for me to succeed i needed an army to stand behind me and unfortunately I didn’t have one.

10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Breastfeeding Twins.

I’ve told a few people that I would write about my breastfeeding journey and it’s taking forever because, well- twins!

Let’s be clear, before the twins were born I decided that no matter what I was going to breastfeed. Now, I don’t want you to get the wrong idea here: a fed baby is what is important (I’ve never loved the saying “fed is best” because it makes me feel some sort of way, but I suppose it is true). Here’s my take on it  (it may be controversial but it’s how I feel): “The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that breastfeeding continue for at least 12 months, and thereafter for as long as mother and baby desire. The World Health Organization recommends continued breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond.” According to both AAP and WHO babies should be breastfed (obviously unless there is a reason why a mother CAN NOT breast feed – there are medical reasons so please don’t think that I’m saying that there’s something wrong with formula especially in theses cases) for at least the first year of life. I’ve also read some places stating at the very least “exclusively” breastfed for the first 6 months. Ok, so now we know what’s recommended – what about what is realistic? Realistically there is a LOT of social pressure on both ends. You have people who pressure you to do “what’s best” and then people who chastise you for however you decide “what’s best” means to you and how you decide to feed your child(ren). I’m getting a little off track here, but let’s start this by saying whatever you decide please know that you are the parent, and your child(ren) won’t be messed up forever if you choose one way or the other for whatever your personal or medical reasons. 

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest (see what I did there? ha!) Let’s chat about the things I wish I knew before I started breastfeeding. Also, let me also tell you that had someone told me half of this stuff (which actually, some tried but I’m hard headed and stubborn so I wouldn’t have listened anyway so maybe this is moot but if it helps anyone then – cool! 🙂

What I wish I knew (and wish someone would have told me) before breastfeeding:

  1. Your body knows what it’s doing. 

Don’t second guess yourself. Milk production is a supply and demand sort of thing. You’ll be told to pump after the baby(babies) feed every time… realistically, that didn’t work for us, and my supply wasn’t affected. This does not go to say that it shouldn’t be tried – for some people it really is the only way to keep supply up, but with two babies, pumping after every feed made me crazy. I felt like I was literally tied to a chair and my back was constantly killing me. I decided to try other things (more on that below) and only pump when I needed relief or when I was away from the babies for an extended period of time. This worked for me, but I think it’s important to note that every body is different, and you should play around with what works for you. Maybe pumping after just the morning feed (which I did for a little while in the beginning), or maybe picking a later feed to try and pump after. I think there’s something to be said about listening to your body and trusting it. Your body knows what it’s doing. 

2. Hand expressing after feeds can stimulate milk production 

I’ve talked to a bunch of moms on IG about hand expressing. So many of them tell me that they don’t get any milk when they hand express. I would recommend watching videos, and trying both hands. Every video I watched told me to hand express with the left hand if I was expressing the left breast – but I would get nothing, so I used my right hand and Bam! Milk! For me, using the opposite hand helped me the most. Biggest tip? Don’t grab the nipple itself (ouch) but hold the areola (dark part of skin around the nipple) with your first finger and thumb and press in then pull down (ever see a cow get milked? Same kind of concept). There are Youtube videos that show this well. Also, if you follow @Legendairymilk on instagram (I do not get paid to advertise – just so you know) they have posted some videos in the past so check them out!

3. Get yourself a Haakaa.

There’s not much more to say here. Does it have to be that brand? no, but, especially in the beginning when I was trying desperately to increase my supply for the twins, being able to use the Haakaa (or any other silicone pump that works with suction) when one was feeding and the other was not – was a lifesaver. 

4. Try pumping BEFORE the babies eat.

Ok, so this one sounds counterintuitive, but when I COULD wake up early (haha that clearly didn’t happen often) I would try this only in the morning, and found that I was filling bottles. Then, when they would wake up hungry, I’d have them latch and they’d eat.. the stimulation would help stimulate more breastmilk production and in turn .. Happy babies. I probably did this a few times a week between weeks 7 and 10. Around week 10 my milk production really seemed to normalize so I didn’t feel the need to do this anymore


The only times that I struggled with a dip in my supply were the two times that I didn’t drink water all day. Coffee does not constitute as liquids because it actually can dehydrate you. I don’t care if you don’t like water, figure out how you can like it and drink it. 

6. Fenugreek can be harmful to supply

I add this one here because it’s actually pretty important to my breastfeeding journey. I say that because I decided immediately after reading that fenugreek could be problematic, to avoid it at all costs. I am feeding two babies and to take the chance that it would actually dry up my supply was just not worth it to me. That being said, what I did try? All of the Legendairy Milk products (the one that seemed to work the best was Lactivist which I have used multiple times when I’ve noticed a decrease in my supply – see number 5.)

7. No Two People Are The Same…

This one should go without saying, but I really think it’s a matter of doing your own research, trying what you feel is right, and working through the trial and error. Some things that worked for me may not work for you, but if you are anything like me and you are hellbent on breastfeeding you will try just about anything! And honestly, I don’t think thats a bad thing!

8. Physical activity does NOT ruin your supply

Before I started breastfeeding someone told me that working out would tank my supply. This was stuck in my head for the first few weeks so it was hard to believe it wouldn’t, but there is actual research proving this is not the case. When I find the paper I will post it here but for now, feel free to do a google search!

9. Sunflower Lecithin for clogged ducts. 

This one should really be number 1. In the first two months of breastfeeding I got mastitis twice. The first time it was because I skipped a feeding and didn’t pump. The second time was overnight. Yup, all it took was a few hours for my ducts to clog, for me to get a fever, and to feel like I had been hit by a truck. Some people are lucky to feel the clogged duct before the infection hits. Me, not so much. So I started taking Sunflower Lecithin (you can get it at GNC but I really like shopping small so I bet you can guess where I get mine from — yup, Legendairy Milk lol – but the babies are 5 months old and I still have the bottle I bought like 3 months ago! I swear it’s an endless pit haha like one of those magicians bags) Anyway, I have not had another problem with clogged ducts or mastitis (THANK the sunflower lecithin Gods) 


Just in case you missed number 5, I wanted to remind you again.

BONUS:  Give yourself Grace. 

I think this saying has been thrown around a lot lately on social media but it’s really very true. As new moms I think there is a lot of pressure from every angle to “do what’s best.” But everyone has their own opinion about what is best. You want the honest truth? My babies are not exclusively breastfed. You want to know what else? I’m okay with that, and that decision was made by my husband and I — want to know why? Because we are their parents. Their grandparents, aunts, uncles, the lady down the street, the chick on Instagram that says you are a bad mom if you give even a drop of formula, or the old woman at ShopRite are not their parents so their opinions do not matter. What does matter is you doing what you feel is the best thing for your child(ren). Remember that you are an incredible person, you have brought an incredible new life (or lives) into this world and you are doing a fantastic job at feeding them, keeping them clothed, and above all — loving them!

I hope at the end of the day you know that whatever you decide to do, you don’t let societies expectations affect you. It was very hard for me to agree to supplementing with formula because of some ridiculous feeling of failure. I say it was ridiculous because it isn’t a failure, it’s some pressure that I put on myself because of what I saw others saying and doing. Remember that YOU and YOU alone have the power to decide what works best for YOUR family. Don’t let anyone – not even your husband or significant other – pressure you into feeling like you have to do a certain thing because it’s best. Do however, talk to your significant other and tell them how you feel about breastfeeding/formula feeding and ask for them to support you. If you don’t have a support system, reach out girl because I am all for supporting my fellow mamas!! 

Love you!


Sleep, eat, play, repeat…

Time flies way too fast! The twins are already 3 months old! How did this happen?

The first two months sort of flew by with Pat and I in a daze. We were taking it day by day and really didn’t know what we were doing. This last month we began focusing on sleep – we purchased the newborn class from TakingCaraBabies.com and implemented her suggestions immediately. Some of the things that worked the best for us were the swaddle, sound machine, and dark room. The idea of limiting stimulus was a real “Ah Ha” for me and I’ve really tried to focus on that – especially when trying to explain how to put them down for naps to family and friends who are trying to help.

A lot has been going on lately: our family is moving upstate NY, I’ve been working on trying to get in 23 minutes of “me time” daily (this week – that hasn’t been happening), I’m still in grad school trying to do my best to finish up by April of 2019 so that I can get a better paying job that will hopefully allow us to buy a condo next year, and I’m still breastfeeding these twinnies! I feel like I’m going 1000mph with no stop sign in sight but I suppose that’s how it is as a mom!

In the last few months I’ve tried to take some time for myself, I joined The Ladies Edge – an incredible group of women, and some men, that encourage each other to eat intuitively and workout for 23 minutes 6 days a week to give yourself some self care daily. Its been tough this last week to get that in, and with the impending move coming closer and closer, the next few weeks may be difficult to get that in as well, but I’d like to start trying to focus a bit more on making better food choices and spending a few minutes to better myself because let’s face it – the kids have been way more put together than me lately and that’s not ok!

Amidst all of the chaos, I’m trying to be better about writing here, updating you all, while still taking the time to spend all of the little moments with the twins.

How do you manage the chaos of your life? What are some things that you do for yourself daily? Are your kids dressed better than you? (If you’re answer to the last question is yes — do you think it’s time to put yourself together a bit?)

the thomas twins birth story

I wish I could tell you that we made it to 38 weeks with no complications, but alas, I can not. It was a Thursday morning, I was 37 weeks pregnant and heading to the doctor for our last appointment before my scheduled c section. I was scheduled for an NST (non-stress test) and then we were scheduled to meet with the male doctor in the practice (we had never met him before). My blood pressure reading was over 160 during the NST, and the doctor was concerned that I was developing pre-eclampsia, so after speaking with my primary OB, they decided that I should go to the hospital and that I may be having the twins that day.IMG_7693

When we left the doctors office we decided to go straight home to pack our bags just in case. Walking into our apartment, I grabbed my dog and I sobbed. I’m still not sure why I cried at that moment; fear of delivering sooner than I had expected, sadness for having to leave my dogs, fear that if something happened to me during surgery and I didn’t not survive, I wouldn’t be around for my pets or these babies that I held inside me for so long, fear of the unknown, or a combination of it all. What I do know is that I wasn’t crying because I was happy.

When we arrived at the hospital, the nurse was very sweet and kept everything pretty lighthearted. She was the same nurse that we had met during our hospital tour so I was immediately comforted by a familiar face. They strapped my belly back up to the NST monitor and monitored my blood pressure for over an hour. All of my readings were normal, and after about 3 hours they sent us home with the expectation that we would come back on Saturday for more monitoring and that I would no longer go to work as I needed to limit stress.

Saturday (37 weeks, 3 days pregnant) we arrived at the hospital for more monitoring. Another few hours on the NST and blood pressure monitors and I continued to have normal readings. They sent us home with the expectation to go into the doctors office on Monday for a blood pressure check.

Monday (37 weeks, 5 days pregnant) morning I decided that I wasn’t going to the doctors office for the check. I was feeling fine and resting. My C section was scheduled for that Thursday (38 weeks, 1 day) and unless I began feeling signs of high blood pressure (headache, visual changes) I was going to just stay home and relax.

Wednesday night, we made sure that everything was packed in the car for Thursday morning. We had to be at the hospital at 5:30am for my scheduled C section at 7:30am so we wanted to be sure that we had everything packed and ready to go.

(I’ll make a post all about what was in our hospital bags, what we actually used and what we could have done without, at a later date.)

That night, we got a few hours of sleep but I was so uncomfortable from being so large that good sleep was not something I was accustomed to nor something that happened – at least for me. I was focused on making sure my husband slept because it was very important to me that he was well rested so that he could be there 100% present when these babies came into the world.

We arrived at the hospital a little after 5:30am on Thursday, March 1st, 2018. It was still dark out when we got there but I do remember it was a little chilly. We parked the car and walked in. At the front desk the security guard sent us right up to the 6th floor (the maternity floor) of the hospital where we checked in with our nurses and was brought right into the OR prep/recovery area. An IV catheter was placed and two or three nurses asked me many of the same questions – to say that I felt like I was being interrogated is an understatement, but they were all very nice. IMG_7886They asked about family history, medical history, if I felt unsafe at home, and all of the typical “being admitted to the hospital” questions. Before surgery the one nurse shaved the area that would be where my incision would be, after I apologized for not coming in clean shaven but I just couldn’t see/reach and figured they’d do a much better job than I would anyway (she laughed and said not to worry, as most people don’t). Around 7:15am my doctor arrived and had me sign a consent form for the surgery, and then she went off to scrub in. I was wheeled off to the OR while my husband was kept right outside in the hall while I was prepped. The nurses and anesthesiologist were great and held my hand/talked me through all of it. I was asked to sit on the OR table and lean over where the nurse stood in front of me to help keep me calm and help push my shoulders down. Apparently when you are tense, you scrunch up your shoulders which makes it difficult for the spinal to be placed. The anesthesiologist talked to me about what he was doing, and walked me through each step which I greatly appreciated since I couldn’t see what was happening. The lidocaine was an unexpected painful few injections. I don’t remember offhand how many there were but there were quite a few times where he said “just a little pinch, warmth, stinging.” I’m not too sure when the spinal needle actually went in because the lidocaine did its’ job with great success but I do remember not being able to move my feet. It’s a very hard thing to explain as I didn’t feel like they were missing, I just couldn’t move them. They laid me on my back and began prepping for surgery. The anesthesiologist and nurses put up the blue drape, strapped my arms down out the side (more on that later), and set up my IV fluids and monitors. Immediately I started asking for my husband, and they brought him in moments later. He sat down next to me on my left side and held my left hand. I started feeling very nauseous, and was having trouble breathing. The anesthesiologist said it was from the spinal and put a little kidney pan next to my face on the right side so I could vomit (which I did, multiple times) and kept assuring me that I would feel better and it would be ok. I’m not sure if they gave me zofran but I did begin feeling better soon after but felt like I was in a bit of a haze which honestly worried me that I was losing too much blood and was going to pass out (thankfully I did not). In the few moments that had passed after that, I asked my husband if he could see anything to which he replied that he wasn’t looking. I could see the reflection of what was happening in the surgical light above me, so I wanted to be sure he was okay and wasn’t going to pass out on me. I kept asking him if he was okay and of course he said yes. I remember the doctor saying “she’s having surgery and she’s asking if he’s okay? How sweet these two are” and the doctors (yes I had two – Dr Kleban and Dr Jhang) having conversation about their weekend plans. I remember laughing and saying to my husband “are they really just having conversation like we aren’t even here?” Soon after one of the nurses said “Dad, are you ready with your camera? Baby A is about to be born” followed by some “oh look at him” and the first of what would be MANY cries from our first born son. They immediately took him over the to warmers where they announced his weight at 5lbs 6oz, and his length at 18.5”. Seconds later the same nurse said “dad, do you have your camera?” Followed by cries that sounded almost identical to the first babies, from our second born, our daughter.IMG_8069

My sight was very limited as I could only see my husband, who was bright red with tears of shear joy streaming down his face and lots of people surrounding the two warming beds weighting, measuring and cleaning off our babies. They announced that Baby B was also 5lbs 6oz and measured 19”.  The nurses then asked what their names were. Our response: Baby A is Declan Gerard Thomas, and Baby B is Teagan Marie Thomas. Soon after they had left Declan in his warming bed pretty much alone and all of the nurses and baby doctors were with Teagan.  They explained to us that she was having some breathing issues which were totally normal for the second baby of twins to have and they were going to bring her to the nursery to be monitored. At this point the nurse distracted me by bringing over our son to take some photos of him next to my face. She took my glasses off which made me annoyed and I told her to put them back because I am never without my glasses, plus I can’t see without my glasses and I wanted to see my son.


He was then swaddled and put in the bassinet for Daddy to wheel out while I was moved back to the recovery room where we could do skin to skin and begin trying to breastfeed. Soon after, we were informed that she was being transferred to the NICU for monitoring but would hopefully only be there for a few hours. We had to wait until she was settled in the NICU before my husband could go see her, so we spent that time with our baby boy, worried for her, but excited to be spending time with him. Once he was able to, he went to visit Teagan in the NICU. Little did we know, she wouldn’t leave the NICU until Sunday.

The following few days were a bit of a blur between visitors coming in and out, our daughter being in the NICU, settling into this new role as parents, and dealing with post operative pain management.


… Stay tuned for more on our hospital stay, my thoughts on my c section recovery, being first time parents of multiples, and breastfeeding twins! 

Pugs, Push-ups, and infertility?

There’s no doubt that the things I like are pretty straightforward – fitness and animals are kind of my thing… but babies?? Growing up I never saw myself as a mother. I mean, sure I imagined being old and having children that were older taking care of me but I never thought about being pregnant or birthing children myself. My husband and I spoke once in the beginning of our relationship about how lovely it would be to be able to adopt a child from Haiti (my husband is Haitian and Dominican) but up until a year ago the thought of having my own seemed unrealistic.

b0ec6543dc2be99067c4c8f5b8139f18.jpg (613×460)
not my photo – click for link to original

There’s a lot of reason for this I suppose; when I was 12 I was a victim of rape. He was a man who I knew and thought that I had trusted, the years following were some of my darkest. I had zero self-esteem or self-confidence and I looked towards men for the answers, for the love and acceptance that I didn’t give myself. It wasn’t until I had completely given up on relationships that I found my (now) husband. You see, I spent a good 18 years being pretty stupid. I was on birth control for only a short part of that because it was making me feel sick and I didn’t like it. When I was in college I experienced what I thought at the time to be a miscarriage while on birth control (the patch). I’m not sure if I’ve made up my mind as I’ve gotten older that it wasn’t, or that I am just really unsure about what it was and the doctor couldn’t fully answer my questions since I waited too long to go visit out of fear that my suspicions were true. Anyway, that was the absolute only time I have ever experienced even the slight possibility that I may have at some point been pregnant in my over 20 years since my first menses. That’s a lot of months!

Over the last 8.5 years my husband and I (who have been married for 4.5 years) have been having unprotected sex (sorry if that’s TMI.. but you clicked on the post about infertility .. if that was too much I suggest you look away now). We have had times where I’ve thought it were possible that I was pregnant, even went to the doctor because I swore I was twice! The first time the nurse made me feel horrible laughing at me because I was there for a confirmation when I had not gotten a positive on a home test. The second time I had gotten one (what looked like positive) but no other test was positive. The doctor confirmed that I was not pregnant but was hopeful that it was just a chemical pregnancy which means there’s hope that I could conceive.

In April 2013 I had a TV (transvaginal) ultrasound after a car accident that had found some incidental findings on my CT scan. In January 2016 I had another TV ultrasound which came back basically normal except for two small myomas in my uterus (the doctor called these fibroids but the scan report said benign myomas – the doctor also told me that these should not affect my ability to become pregnant). The ultrasound also showed follicles which means I have eggs — but does not mean that they are being released or that they are mature when they are being released. Anyway, we were sent off to try for a year, the doctor said since I was under 30 years old we should try for a year and that most couples are successful when they really try (not just once or twice a month) after 6 months.

Six months came and went and I spent many mornings peeing on ovulation predictor test strips, temping using a basal thermometer, and tracking every little twinge and tickle I felt. After about 8 months of getting my hopes up and then getting let down I began to take Vitex, a supplement that is supposed to help lengthen your LP (luteal phase). The only difference I noticed with vitex was that my cycles went from 30-33 days to 29/30 days long and I began to get more fertile cervical mucous (sorry, I warned you).

This month marks our 1 year mark. 1 year of trying. 12 months of doing everything we can think of to try to have a baby, 9 months of buying ovulation predictor test strips, 6 months of tracking my temperature (I wasn’t consistent with this one) and 4 months of taking vitex (This last month I actually just took it when I remembered as I started to think it wasn’t doing much). We’ve timed everything to a T and been let down time and time again.

Next steps:  My husband has an appointment for semen analysis on December 9th. My OB didn’t want us to do it right away even though I insisted. I’m pretty sure it’s better that we didn’t because my husband just came around to the idea and is really nervous. He’s beginning to think he’s the problem – even though I still think it’s me. It’s so hard not to think it’s you when you’ve been “able” to conceive for over 20 years, 18 of those years you were pretty promiscuous, and you have never actually been pregnant, at least not to your knowledge. Last night while I was unable to sleep I purchased 25 HCT tests from Amazon. They are planned to arrive on Tuesday so I will be taking one on Wednesday morning which will be 13dpo (days post ovulation) and 2-3 days before my expected AF (aunt flow/period).

il_340x270.979285408_aqqh.jpg (340×270)

Although I love fitness, it’s not a secret that I’ve struggled with both my nutrition and my weight. I’ve also struggled with consistency in my workouts especially this year while TTC. In an attempt to do everything in my power to conceive I’ve decided to try to take a more plant-based approach to my eating style. Over the last few days it’s been pretty easy because I’ve really wanted this beet burrito at the local taco/mexican place. It has beets, goat cheese, rice and beans, salsa verde, and spinach. I’ve wanted it so much that I decided to recreate it today! It wasn’t nearly as good but it definitely hit the spot!  I’m not going to make assumptions but it is kind of weird that I want beets. They aren’t exactly a food that I eat often – but it’s so hard to say with my food cravings and eating habits because I have a long history of weird eating habits.

As I’m writing this I’m 10dpo. The last two nights I’ve had a lot of trouble sleeping, 8 and 9 dpo I felt like I couldn’t spend 5 minutes without having to pee. Yesterday I was exhausted and had this funny feeling – not necessarily nausea but something was very uneasy about my stomach. Today I have felt pretty good. I’ve had a bit of cramping/pressure in my right lower abdomen, this morning I had to urinate more but after I taught my class at the gym I haven’t had to pee more than normal I don’t think. I did have a burst of energy today – I wonder if it’s possible to nest way before you even know you’re pregnant! (that’s sort of a joke, sort of not). I cleaned my living room and moved my furniture in preparation of the Christmas tree going up (it’s supposed to go up tonight)! I cooked lunch (those beet burritos! So yum!) and I’m even doing laundry! It’s only 6pm but I don’t feel very tired today like I have the last two days. The only other random thing is that my nose was very stuffy the last two days but today it was running during my class and has been clear since. I really try not to symptom spot but this month we really did pull out almost all of the stops. We timed our intercourse perfectly, and I got the most positive OPK I’ve gotten all year! I can’t help but think how wonderful it would be if we could announce our pregnancy on Christmas day. How wonderful it would be to become a mom. How wonderful it would be to bring a child into the world (regardless of how F’d up it is these days) because I would love my child more than I’ve loved anything else in my entire life.

Well, this is the first blog I’ve written about our TTC journey and although I look forward to the updates, I am nervous that I will have to update this often in the future because I don’t know what lies ahead. We have discussed medical intervention and I think we’re prepared to do more testing first, to see if there’s a reason why we have been unable to conceive – starting with semen analysis. I am interested in finding out if those fibroids have grown, if my tubes are clear, if I’m ovulating appropriately, and if there is anything else we can do to be successful naturally. If we must, we would pursue IUI (intrauterine insemination) but IVF is not something either of us are prepared to do. I am also unsure if we would want to do clomid or any other medication that is supposed to help a woman ovulate because of the chances of multiples. I’m not sure multiples is something my husband and I are comfortable or prepared for (but please don’t get me wrong if we got pregnant and we had multiples I’d be in utter disbelief and extremely excited)!

I’ll end this here for now, I’ll know more about how much I’ll be updating once I know the results of that semen analysis and once I take this test on Wednesday morning to find out if I’m pregnant this month or not. If I am this blog series will surely be taking a bit of a turn (I can hope!!)

**Baby dust to all those TTC**

Update: this was supposed to be posted after the appointment on December 9th but I decided to post it sooner because my period came. I made an appointment with my OB on December 12th so we can start the conversation of what our next steps are. I will be starting a Youtube channel to document our journey to conceive starting with those two appointments and I will update here occasionally but I promised my husband that I would try to keep our story off the personal pages. I’ll update here with the story behind the youtube video’s I think — since some people would rather read and others would rather watch (I think?). Well, stay tuned for the updates as we’ll hopefully know more about where we stand in a week or two!


GRIT, Sophie, and how I’ve been feeling lately

A lot has happened since my last post! So much that I keep thinking that I need to write a post about each individual thing and then I think that it would take me forever to do that! I figured I’d just start typing and see how much I get through – how’s that sound?

About two weeks ago I went to initial instructor training for Les Mills GRIT. If you’ve never heard of GRIT, it’s a high intensity interval training (HIIT) style class that’s 30 minutes long. The premise is quick bursts, followed by short rests, to burn fat fast! HIIT has been around for a long time, and has many benefits cardiovascularly as well as for your overall health! The weekend was long, grueling, and tiresome. My husband and I drove the three hours to West Chester University (in West Chester, PA) early Saturday morning to arrive at a quarter to 8am so that I wouldn’t be late for training!


The training modules are two days long from 8am – 6pm, and include learning about the company, learning to choreography for the class, a physically demanding challenge, and teaching the choreography many times over the course of two days. After you have completed the two days you are given a grade out of 3.



When the weekend was over, I had gained 10 new friends, was tired and sore, got a recipe for some amazing low carb/gluten free cookies, and passed with a 3/3!  After we were done on Sunday, my husband and I went to this burger place around the corner from the college and I had a huge burger with bacon and avocado!

The day after training I went to CrossFit (enter surprised smiley face here) and managed to complete the workout, but I was done for for the rest of the week! Exhausted really isn’t even the word!! Since training (which was about two weeks ago) I haven’t looked much at GRIT but after this weekend I plan to really practice and learn the choreography so that I can tape and pass to become a GRIT coach!

Later in the week last week, I went to an interview at another gym for both GRIT and Body Pump. They were interested in taking me on as a substitute instructor for now and willing to help me with my GRIT certification. I was very pleased with them and happy they want to help! I look forward to working with them and practicing! I am excited for what the future holds with these programs!!

This past week was actually a really rough week for me emotionally. At work we had a dog come in who appeared to have been hit by a car, she’s paralyzed in her hind end and had no microchip. A good samaritan brought her in, and with no known home we began calling shelters and rescues. Due to the nature of her condition none of the shelters would take her but we were hopeful in one rescue who said they had to call us back. I felt horrible, she was emaciated, and clearly mistreated. Depsite all of this she was extremely gentle and sweet.


There’s no surprise that I fell in love with her at first sight!! They named her “Cali” and then changed it to “Joy” but I felt she needed a better name. I didn’t think Joy was appropriate so I began thinking of names for her. She spent one night in the hospital and the next day I came to work and asked what was going to happen to her. The doctor said that if they couldn’t find a rescue they would have to euthanize her. That just could not happen. I asked to take her home that night to buy her some time and so that I  could think of something to do. They told me a rescue had called but had to rearrange some things and would be calling the following day to let them know if they could take her or not.

When I got her home she ran inside as if she knew we were home! She smelt my whole apartment and took an interest in my boy Charlie. Where he went, she went. Charlie is kind hearted and wouldn’t hurt a fly so he quickly took her under his wing. She slept comfortably on my couch next to me snuggled up to my leg, melting my heart with each and every deep breath that she img_9827took. She was comfortable, home, and it showed in her demeanor that she was no longer scared, but happy to be in a warm home in a “bed” (my couch) with a loving human and friendly dogs. While I watched her sleep, the name Sophie (which mean wisdom) came to mind. I lovelingly named her Sophie.

The following day, I brought her back to work as she’s special needs and couldn’t be left home alone all day. Around 12pm I was informed that a rescue was coming to pick her up at 2pm and she was scheduled for an MRI the following day. I was prepared for this, but my heart was broken. I knew that it was best for her, but I wanted to take care of her, I wanted her to be mine. Saying goodbye to Sophie was one of the hardest things I’ve done in quite a long time. I know that she was getting the medical care she needed, that I would not have been able to give her right away, and she would be safe and free from euthanasia, but my heartached and I img_9839felt like the wind had been knocked out of me with the news that my sweet girl would not be coming home with me again.

Sophie had an MRI the following day and it showed that she has spinal inflammation likely caused by trauma and she was prescribed physical therapy. Sophie may or may not walk again, but the rescue is willing to give her the chance. If you’re moved by Sophie’s story – please considering donating to Oliver’s Orphan Oasis at www.gofundme.com/ooohelp.


If you read the explaination of Sophie’s story on that go fund me account, that tear-filled tech — yea that was me! Damn, I really fell hard for that girl!! She is such a sweet sweet girl, and will need a furever home. If you want to feel the love of a rescue pet please consider adopting Sophie, or another baby who needs a home!

I’ve had quite an interesting week between Sophie, my tire going flat on the parkway to work, getting peed on and bitten by a cat, and feeling like the world is out to get me. I really hope that next week is better, and that whatever is going on with all this negativity stops soon!!

On a good note – 41 days til I turn 30! I’m not sure why that’s exciting, butIMG_9871.JPG I like my birthday, and I look forward to another year older – hopefully I can continue to grow as a group fitness instructor, continue to grow as a person, and maybe just maybe become a parent — I was hopeful that this last one would have happened sooner but looks like someone has different plans for us!

Heres to learning Body Pump 99, GRIT 18, and hopefully having a better week!!




Puppy Up Foundation – Dog Walk

Today, Charlie, Miley and I went to the 3rd annual Puppy Up! fun dog walk in New Paltz, NY at the Adair Vineyards. The Puppy Up Foundation is dedicated to finding the links between canine and human cancers – through education, awareness, and investment in research, they are commited to finding these links as well as the causes of cancer for both human and canine patients alike.


Although Charlie doesn’t have cancer (and neither does Miley – I should note), we went to support both my job, my coworkers who have pets who have undergone chemotherapy, and the doctor that I work for – Dr. Sue Ettinger!

Dr. Sue Ettinger is known as Dr. Sue Cancer Vet, she co-wrote a book, speaks all over the country, and is a real advocate for canine (and feline) cancer – she loves her job and her patients! Dr. Sue spoke to the crowd about what it means to be an oncologist, why she loves it, and spoke about her passion — her new campaign — “See Something, Do Something – Why Wait, Aspirate!” Basically, there were never any real guidelines for lumps and bumps – how long do you wait? How big should it be before it gets looked at? So she set out to answer these questions with the See Something, Do Something – Why Wait, Aspirate campaign. If a lump is the size of a pea (about half the size of a penny) and has been there for more than a month, the new recommendation is that you bring your pet (this is not exclusively for dogs!) to your veterinarian to have it aspirated and have those cells sent to the lab for analysis.


During the day, I had many people come up and ask me questions about their dog – one man spoke to me about his dog with two large lumps on his neck that his General Practitioner (GP) Veterinarian told him was cancer, but had never done an aspiration. The aspiration is not that big of a deal, doesn’t hurt, and can save an owner a lot of pain, suffering, and money in the long run! In general many times surgery alone can be curative if a malignant cancer (this is not a death sentence — quite the opposite if caught early) is found early.

After Dr. Sue’s speach, some announcements, and the honoring of both a canine and human cancer survivor, the walk began!

Of course Charlie didn’t last long and needed to be carried almost immediately!! But Dr. Ettingers son came to my rescue and walked Miley while I carried Charlie for two laps around the vineyard!


One of the best parts about my job, and going to events like this is seeing the survivors! It just so happens that one of my coworkers, and a great friend of mine – Heather’s dog Hogan recently finished his chemotherapy protocol for lymphoma. Hogan went through his entire 19 weeks with little to no issues (except maybe a change in tastes which means he got to eat more of whatever he wanted)! Hogan is such an amazing dog, if it weren’t for his puppy cut hairdo (his hair didn’t really grow back after a haircut mid-treatment but should start to grow back now that he’s off of chemotherapy) and his bandana’s you’d never know that he had cancer!


Hogan enjoyed his walk with all of his friends today and really enjoyed this photo op!! Throughout the walk there were either In Memory posters or Survivor posters of both humans and canines alike. One of the owners of a patient we had seen was also there and found me to talk to me about her dog and where the family is now after their loss of their sweet boy. She has rescued two dogs since the passing of her boy, and now with a newfound understanding of what it is like to lose a pet to cancer – supports foundations like PuppyUp! It was sad, but it was nice to see that she seems to be in a good place and happy.

After the walk we watched the police dogs do their presentation – it’s always cool to see what they are capable of. And to our surprise there was a pitbull as a police dog! This was exciting because it shows the public that pitbulls are not all fighting, scary dogs. They can be trained, they are smart, loyal, and even play frisbee (as the police pitbull abptly showed off his skills after the demonstration right before he ran into the food truck to beg for treats!).

All in all today was a great day, we helped to raise money for the Puppy Up Foundation, got some exercise, enjoyed a day with our team, and even got to taste some really good wine (and some of us even bought a bottle or two — or three)!


For more information on The Puppy Up foundation head to puppyup.orgfullsizerender

  • Do you or someone you know have a pet with cancer?
  • What is your favorite foundation to give to?
  • What is your favorite type of wine?


Couples Workout!

They say that couples that workout together stay together! We used to workout together all of the time, but in the last few years we have “gone our separate ways” – he, towards body building, me, to crossfit and group fitness. Although we still workout together occasionally, this work out felt like old times!

Yesterday, my husband asked me if we could go to the track because he has been feeling like he really needs to up his cardio. He’s gotten stronger at the gym, lifting weights he once only dreamed of, but it’s become apparent that he gets winded doing simple things and that has got to stop. So we headed to the track!


1 lap around the track
50 walking lunges (25 each leg)
1 lap around the track
50 air squats
1 lap around the track
20 burpees
1 lap around the track
20 push-ups
1 lap around the track
20 burpees
1 lap around the track
50 air squats
1 lap around the track
50 walking lunges (25 each leg)
1 lap around the track

It was harder than I anticipated but it was really great to work together and help push each other. We were really driving each other to do more and to work harder! After the workout we played around and I did some hand stands – nothing like practicing being upside down after a long workout! Then we stretched and headed home!

It was really nice to be out there together. He seemed genuinely interested in some functional fitness, but did say he’d never make it at crossfit.. who knows, maybe after a few of these track workouts he’ll be more interested in getting stronger in different ways!!


  • Do you work out with your significant other?
  • What are your favorite workouts to do together?