Whirlwind at Heart

Cannot believe that I haven't posted here in months! Argh, I'm awful - let's reset, shall we?! But where do I begin? 

Perhaps with the fact that I'm currently 39 weeks and four days pregnant? That our now two-year-old son has been boycotting naps and not sleeping? Or perhaps that my husband had open heart surgery weeks ago? Or that we're still living with my parents because our renovations to our home aren't complete?

They say life is crazy and I'm in no business of comparing to others but I know I'll look back at this time and simply think: what the.... ?! 

I'll share something that I posted on social media surrounding my husband's surgery. How do you share the news with friends, colleagues and more of a monumental life happening? Not sure of the right answer but here's what I shared (with a few tweaks)...

Tomorrow morning, my 35-year-old husband will have open heart surgery to repair a “4 out of 4” severely damaged valve and other associated complications. It’s still surreal to say and type. Mere weeks ago, we were focused on final remodeling decisions for our new home, a growing belly (32 weeks now), preparing for our son’s 2nd birthday, childcare for baby no. 2, busy summer work seasons and more... while these life pieces still stand, our world was additionally turned upside down.

The past weeks escalated quickly filled with myriad appointments, tests, doctor consults, expert opinions from across the country (literally - Dr. Craig Smith, Bill Clinton and Barbara Walters’ cardiac surgeon, Dr. Tara Nerula and others), ongoing doctor questions, new developments, switching of doctors/surgery teams, rescheduled surgery date and no shortage of emotional highs and lows. It’s a curious thing when you hear a thud at night and find your 6’3 husband in the best shape of his life lying on a kitchen floor after learning of needed heart surgery, rushing him to the ER and then for weeks thinking any loud noise could be him suffering a stroke or heart attack and not wanting to leave him alone.

There is an odd sense of relief of now having the top Chicagoland team and surgeon performing the surgery (Dr. McCarthy at Northwestern helped develop the ring going into his heart) but there are still many unknowns these next months. We will somehow navigate through. He has been nothing short of superbly amazing; poised, patiently explaining developments to friends and family, coworkers and more. He has been a rock, my rock.

We are grateful for support from many... parents flying back early (we will have all four grandparents help for little man), siblings, relatives, the Zeno and Midmark families, friends and more. Much love and good thoughts and prayers from all. 

Bump pic surgery.jpg



A New Journey

To say that the last three weeks have been the biggest daze is an understatement.


From my first hospital stay to the helpless, hopeless and frustrated feelings the first week home to new cries, moans and yawns, it's been a veritable adventure but with a boundless increase of love.  


The world will never be the same as my husband and I welcomed a new life on April 4, 2016, promptly at noon (on the dot!) with a healthy baby BOY. It's been a wild ride but the sweet face has certainly changed all of us. 

Photo credit:  Bella Baby

Photo credit: Bella Baby



Saturday Sips

I love playing tourist in my own city.


For a friend's birthday over Easter weekend, we celebrated by enjoying afternoon tea in The Lobby at The Peninsula Chicago. The elegant lobby, scenic Chicago views overlooking the Terrace and Michigan Avenue bustle, striking florals, live string band and top service completed a delectable experience. 


While 37 weeks pregnant, I was still able to partake in most menu offerings and found (why just now?!) a delicious preggo-friendly bubbly! Perhaps I was most excited about this discovery... for those curious, it's the Fre Sparkling Brut (with under 0.5% alcohol) and was most refreshing with notes of green apple and ripe pear. 


Other highlights were the rich desserts (hello chocolate mousse cake bites) and my favorite - the cucumber sandwiches and warm scones. And how can I forget my very own 'Peninsula Easter Bunny Bear' gifted to my baby bump. Now that's hoppy-tality. 

Afternoon tea menu.

Afternoon tea menu.

Lovely display. 

Lovely display. 

Easter florals

Easter florals

Sweet treats, please!

Sweet treats, please!

Home Stretch

Wild how pregnancy has flown by. I'm 36 weeks, and each day is a different challenge! 


Overall, I'm grateful for my journey although there have been bumps in the road.


First trimester was ridden with nausea round the clock (thank you, diclegis!) and bizarre food aversions (chicken, broccoli, meat = vomitous) and some extreme bouts of exhaustion. Also, we didn't quite know how far along we were at the beginning - we were anxious to tell folks but ended up having to wait a bit longer after confirming baby's gestational age. 


Second trimester things looked up with more energy but towards the end I was diagnosed with pelvic separation. Not a rare symptom, but essentially the front joint of the pubic bone separates - it was painful to stand up, walk and I quickly got diagnosed and started PT which did wonders. We had some scary doctor's visits as well - had to get three extra ultrasounds to check on a heart photo that one of the Northwestern specialists (as the OB doctors office sends out) wasn't pleased with. Per multiple images, one of the heart ductus' looked abnormal, small. After many total hours of ultrasounds, different angles with different machines, and seeing the specialist himself combined with checking with the Northwestern Prentice fetal carioligist specialist, he confirmed the baby's heart was great. A great relief. 


Now in the third trimester I was lucky to get a 33 week ultrasound (hey, extra photos!) to check if the placenta had moved up - as it was low in earlier ultrasounds - and indeed it did. Given I'm less than one month until due date (eek!), I'm seeing the doctor every week. The pressure is down there when I walk (welcome to waddling), my ears are popping like crazy (extra fluid everywhere!), I'm apparently snoring (sorry, hon), cannot wear my wedding ring (hooray for bloating!) and the heartburn is increasingly unbearable at night. 


More to come, can't wait for Baby R to get here!  


Bathroom bumpie @ 34 weeks  

Bathroom bumpie @ 34 weeks  

Lounging with my bump, babe and sweet Winnie. 

Lounging with my bump, babe and sweet Winnie.