Hello 40!

yourlifeDo you honestly think a writer would let her 40th birthday pass without spewing some thoughts about the day? Here’s the thing, I’m struggling a bit to really shine in this major moment. Earlier this week I had the opportunity to interview some healthcare workers for a campaign I’m working on. During one of the interviews, someone shared a patient story about an elderly lady who said, “You know what the hardest part about being old is? That when I look in a mirror, I see a 30-year old but everyone else just sees an old lady.”

This really resonated with me not because I’m an old lady by any means, but this week I realized just how often we’re judged by our age. Not necessarily good or bad, but rather just educated on how we’re either too young or really old or in some cases both. But here’s the thing, I’m just not buying it.

I assumed given my dramatic quarter-life crisis and then thriving thirties struggle, that 40 would play out like a really bad Lifetime movie. If ever there were a year to have an existential crisis, this would be it. But, if I’m being completely honest, while I did have that brief breakdown on Pinterest in which I attempted to define my life’s meaning with inspirational quotes and unattainable Bucket List items because the pictures were pretty, it passed. In fact, it passed pretty quickly and now suddenly I’m sitting here on St. Urho’s Eve looking at middle age with a new found appreciation and perspective.

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These first 40 years have been a shit storm of highs and lows that I wouldn’t trade for anything. I earned every inch of the massive crevice of a wrinkle on my forehead overcoming the obstacles thrown my way (and conquered). Those crow’s feet are the result of being blessed with amazing friends who make me laugh so hard my stomachs hurt and my face crinkles. And those stretch marks that span my waistline paved the way for the greatest achievement and challenge of my life—motherhood.

So yes, tomorrow, I turn 40. I’ll pay more for Life Insurance and modify my retirement plan. My metabolism will diminish overnight and I’ll probably spend a bit more time strength training and a little less time with chips and top the tater. But honestly, that’s about all the craziness I can squeeze out of this middle-age milestone. Because when all is said and done, I’m simply happy to be here in this moment.

If you are reading this right now, it means you have somehow played a role in my first 40-years and for that, thank you. The one piece of wisdom I have tonight is I know very little—but what I do know is that the people in my life matter. I wouldn’t be half the person I am today without you. What’s equally exciting is I have never been more in the driver’s seat of my own life than right now. I’ve finally reached a place where I am confident saying I’m a work-in-progress but it is my work in progress. So here’s to a new decade and life of living on my terms and to all women who are finding it within themselves to do the same. May we all be so lucky to enjoy so many more trips around the sun.

grandsabbatical

Training Update: What am I thinking?

Confused? The idea for my first VLOG came about due to an upcoming assignment.

Next week I’m heading out to the Michigan Ice Fest in Munising. I’m going ice climbing. And no, that’s not a typo. This should be relatively amusing, in part because I’m not a huge fan of cold and I’m afraid of heights. That said, I love a solid adventure, the outdoors and the UP, so I figured when else would I try this if not now. In addition to my standard writing and photography, I’m also shooting video.

Today, I spent some time familiarizing myself with my new GoPro. And, because I’m a total dork, I thought I’d share some behind the scenes suffering of me training for my upcoming race in May. Don’t worry, I won’t inundate you with shots of my legs in spandex over this series of posts I plan to share. But, I do hope to share some of the beauty I see on the trails (once I’m outside) and a little bit about why I run and how tough it is for someone my size to build speed and endurance. Regardless of these challenges, I plan to keep slogging away.

In the meantime, I’m looking forward to a girl’s weekend in the UP. I’ve carefully plotted out coffee stops to fuel my way through something that’s totally outside of my element. I’m sure I’ll have plenty of shots and maybe even a few stories to share from my adventure.

Survival Mode

The countdown is on. In less than one month, thousands of runners will lace up their shoes and hit the tri-county corridor to complete the Whistlestop. Since giving birth 13-months ago, I assumed I’d be among them. In April, I completed a warm-up half-marathon despite a polar vortex and countless other obstacles. I was unstoppable when I crossed that finish line. I set new goals and had every intention of setting a new personal best this fall.

The path to success seemed so obvious. Lose weight. Train hard. Show-up. Achieve goal. I started strong. As someone who thrives on organized chaos, my goals seemed manageable. I updated my to do list factoring in my new goals and kept plugging ahead. Then, life happened.

I’m not sure how I went from organized chaos to overwhelmed mess. Somewhere between a foot injury in mid-July to typing this today, I lost my way. My diet derailed. My training became non-existent. My immediate to-do list trumped finding time to get out and run. Tomorrow never happened. By mid-August, I acknowledged the half-marathon needed to be a 10K. Then, life happened again. This time, an unexpected lingering illness knocked my desire to run. My body shut down. It became easier to make excuses than push through and run. At some point, the obvious path to success became an unbearable burden.

Last week, I acknowledged a 10K wasn’t in my cards on October 11. My consolation goal wasn’t achievable. In many respects, running rejected me. Truth be told, I’m disappointed. But, I’m picking myself up and moving on.

I’m not sure where I go from here. This week, I put on my running shoes, cranked up my Ipod and headed out with no goal other than to run until I didn’t feel like running anymore. When I was tired, I stopped. I walked. I took in the fresh fall air and acknowledged that some things are beyond my control. I caught my breath, I ran some more. It felt amazing. I don’t know if this will equate to lining up for another race at some point. I do know that the pressure of a race right now won’t motivate me. If anything, it’ll break me. So for now, I’ll run for fun until it isn’t fun anymore. If I find myself longing to line up at a starting line, I’ll put together a plan and do it. I’ve done it before. I can do it again. But, it needs to be on my terms and my timeline.

Meantime, I’m returning back to the basics. First on that list, get back on track. Block off time to enjoy all that fall has to offer. Hike. Take pictures. Enjoy some family time at home and on the road. Say no to new freelance. Utilize my vacation. Plant garlic. Fertilize my garden. Keep breathing. And from there, who knows where life will take the Probst family.

Back of the Pack: Run for the Lakes Both Humbling and Inspirational

bethSaturday marked my 4th Half-Marathon. It was my first race post baby. Training revolved around teething, sleepless nights, never-ending illnesses, pregnancy gut and this lovely thing called a Polar Vortex. One week before the race, I was driving through a fresh foot of snow. Two days before the race, I was slipping and sliding along ice and slush covered roads in yet another Winter Storm Warning. Last but not least, my interpretation from the racecourse description was that this would be a relatively flat, scenic course. Instead, I was greeted with miles of rolling hills, an open-road course complete with exhaust fumes from cars whizzing by, scenic views of residential streets and overzealous 10k runners who shared the first 5-miles of the course after starting a mere 15-minutes after the half-marathon start time.

The race itself was pretty uneventful. After a few miles, I accepted the course was going to be endless hills and that as long as I kept putting one foot in front of the other, at some point it’d have to end. My legs adjusted accordingly. Somewhere along the way I found my rhythm. My first mile took 17.5 minutes. My last 3 I was pacing 13:30 and I could have pushed myself harder. As I rounded the last corner and crossed the finish line I saw my husband snapping photos. A college friend stood near by clapping. It felt good. I glanced at the clock to discover I finished above where I expected. But nowhere near what I wanted.

It wasn’t until later that day that I finally logged onto the website to get the down and dirty. I finished in second to last place. My time was 45 seconds faster than my last race but not a PR. By all accounts, I should have been happy with my performance. I mean, a fat girl jogging 13.1 miles is nothing to look down on.

But that’s the thing. I don’t want to be the fat girl in the back anymore. I want to be the large girl in the middle back. I don’t mind finishing at a below average time as long as I’m personally improving. Truth is, for this to happen I need to start looking at my entire body and not just logging miles every week to justify the frozen pizza my husband and I used to enjoy on weekends. I know this isn’t brain surgery. But I’ve discovered that knowing this and doing it are two different things.

I have also learned that if I share something in writing, I tend to show-up and play the game to speak. Run for the Lakes was my low point at a high weight. It was inspirational to cross that finish line but frustrating to know my time would have been substantially faster if I was carrying around less padding. While training was tough this go around, I trained hard and honest. I showed up on race day ready to run. I pushed myself. But, that’s only a portion of the equation.

Because proud mamas find ways to post pics of their kid, even when it has nothing to do with what they are writing about.
Because proud mamas find ways to post pics of their kid, even when it has nothing to do with what they are writing about.

So today I share with the few folks that read this blog my latest goal. It is about focusing on my entire body. It is somewhat about the scale but more about being conscious about the choices I make that affect my weight. I’m using a light version of Body for Life. I’m finishing up week 3 and have lost 8 pounds so far and am concentrating on rebuilding muscles in my core and upper body. I plan to focus on this for the next 10-weeks, while filling in my trainings with cardio and continued short runs. In July, I’ll start training for the Whistlestop this fall and a 10K in Auust in Herbster. My dream finish time is 2:44, or 39 minutes (3 minutes per mile) faster than my last race. At the minimum, I have to break 3-hours. No excuses. Just time to make this happen.

To keep myself honest, I may bore you with monthly check-ins on my progress. Wish me luck… share any tips you might have… resources… inspiration. I’ll take any and all of it.

In the meantime, the calendar has finally turned to May. This means my favorite greenhouse in the world is open – Hauser’s! I’m taking Jake there this weekend for his first gardening adventure. I need to replace the asparagus and several perennials that didn’t survive the hot summer sun and my bed rest last summer (AKA as no water for 2-3 weeks).

Hope to share more about this adventure and life in the Northwoods moving forward. As always, thanks for reading!

Resolutions Suck

Resolutions. How can one simple word be so loaded? Resolutions often result in empty promises of losing weight, eating healthy, exercising and being an overall better person. It signals us highlighting our weaknesses and focusing on how what we are currently doing isn’t good enough.

Last year I attempted to buck the trend of setting resolutions by setting the bar low.  Guess what? I still failed. I have yet to publish my book. I backed off on volunteering in the community. I weigh a mere 4 pounds less this year than I did last year at this time. I had the worse garden on record. I continued to believe the best in people, despite discovering that some people don’t deserve this kindness. And, despite an incredible week long vacation in Washington, D.C. my 2013 list of places to see remains primarily unchecked.

By all accounts, this past year was a failure. Except it wasn’t. In mid-January, just days after setting my goals, I was handed a curveball. Remember this?

In an instant everything changed. My priorities changed. My goals changed. My resolutions became a distant memory. And, despite my best attempt at planning, I have since discovered that no matter how much I lower the bar, it won’t be enough.

So I’m taking yet another approach at setting goals. This year’s goal—expect the unexpected. Go with the flow. Recognize that the next year might be about survival. Life may revolve around changing diapers, teething, first steps and making the most of each moment with Jacob of Moon Lake.  And frankly, that’s pretty amazing.

This year won’t be about me. I won’t make major self-improvements. Instead, I will be reminded time and time again that I have no idea what I’m doing as a mother. And each time this happens, I will smile because the one thing I wanted more than anything in life has happened. I am in fact a mother.

Last but not least, I am setting one concrete goal. In April I hope to run my first half-marathon since having Jake. There I’ve put it in writing. I am running again. And guess what. I am scared to death. I am out of shape. I seriously question whether I’ll be able to finish. I’m not exactly sure how I’ll find time to train. Each time I step on the treadmill, my head is filled with self-doubt.

But, each time I finish a training session, there is a glimmer of hope. That little voice from the depths of my soul that whispers maybe I can, despite my head shouting I cannot. I don’t know who will win or what the future holds. But, I do know I’m going to try. If I fail, so be it. It’ll just be one more item to blog about.

Merry Christmas from Moon Lake

merrychristmaswebHello! It is Jacob of Moon Lake again. I hijacked mom’s blog again so I could send you my Christmas letter. I’m not sure how I feel about the photo but I’m guessing the ladies will dig it. What’s there about me not to love? Just don’t ask mom this question at 2 am when I decide to show my less happy side. Don’t hate on me. I don’t plan these growth spurts. And when I’m hungry, I’m hungry. Anyways, I digress.

Back to my letter. It is crazy to think of everything that has happened in the past year. You know a year ago, I was sitting in my mom’s stomach wondering exactly when she was going to acknowledge my presence. She kept making up these odd excuses. But frankly, I think she knew. Sure, she probably didn’t want to get her hopes up. Can you blame her? I wasn’t around pre-me (duh), but I have been around when she’s reminded me I’m her miracle baby and how grateful she is to have me in her life. I think that makes this Christmas extra special. But I have a hunch that every mom thinks their baby is a miracle (only I really am folks).

lovesantaI only mention this because it ties to my Christmas message of please believe. Believe in what? I’m not quite sure. I’m only 4-months old and am still figuring out the whole faith thing. But, I do know that I’ll totally believe in a fat red guy fitting down our miniscule chimney if it scores me presents each year. I even have a shirt to prove it. And, I don’t ever want to stop believing that someday we’ll live in a world where the milk flows endlessly, we alternate round the clock between playtime, nap time and dinner time, and no single kids goes without daily hugs and kisses from folks that love them to the moon and back again. We’re not there, yet. Not even close. And that makes it hard to keep believing. But, I’m going to try. And, I’m going to do my part to make sure it happens. I hugseven started by kissing the neighbor girl…and flirting with a gal at my first Happy Hour (Yeah, I totally have game). I hope you’ll consider the same (not kissing the neighbor girl but doing your part to make the world a better place). I know mom and dad try to live this way, even when it at times can be very, very discouraging. But, that doesn’t stop them from trying.

I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas. May you fine time to indulge in too many cookies (eat one for me, please), drink too much milk, laugh until your stomach hurts, stay up too late telling stories with those you love,remembering what matters most not only at Christmas but all-year round and finding a place in your heart to believe in the unbelievable.

Live life, laugh lots, and love forever,

Jacob of Moon Lake

So much to be thankful for…

jacobThis year, it is easy for me to give thanks. I’ve enjoyed a year that is full of blessings, including the birth of Jacob of Moon Lake. It is amazing to me how someone so little can insert so much energy and wisdom into one’s life, along with an awesome sense of gratitude to those around me.

He taught me, prior to being born, that I should slow down and be present in the moment. There is nothing wrong with an afternoon nap. And, ice cream for dinner is totally acceptable… on occasion. Too often, and he dealt me a blow of heartburn so bad I was quickly reminded that everything in life is better in moderation.

Since his birth, he has taught me to expect the unexpected. Material things don’t matter—especially when attempting to wear clean clothes to work. Sometimes the best things in life are really, really difficult (aka 2 am feedings). A simple smile can literally light up an entire room. And, there is nothing more powerful than the grasp of a hand or the hint of a smile meant just for you. Once again, human connection conquers all.

It is an awesome responsibility to know that you are responsible for someone’s life. At times, overwhelming. But, it is in these moments where I realize I am far from alone. In addition to being blessed with an amazing son, I am blessed to be surrounded by a village of kind, caring, compassionate friends, family, colleagues and mere acquaintances (also known as Facebook moms) and of course my soul mate. It is these people who never hesitate to lend a helping hand, hug, or simple words of encouragement.

This past year, time and time again, people have found time in their busy schedules to help me. And this thanksgiving, I want to say Thank You. Thanks for being a part of this tumultuous, exhilarating, exciting, ever changing journey of motherhood. I have no idea where the next 20, 30, 40 years will take me… heck I don’t know where tomorrow will take me. But, I do know it’ll all be ok thanks to the amazing people I am blessed to have in my life.

So to everyone who has or will be part of my journey, Thank You! I wish you nothing but a lifetime of unexpected experiences that bring joy to your life!

Happy Thanksgiving!

32 Days of Jacob

Pretend this is in focus. I am too lazy to download pics off my actual camera so this will have to do.
Pretend this is in focus. I am too lazy to download pics off my actual camera so this will have to do.

Thirty-two happens to be my favorite number. Think Duke’s Fabulous Five and Christian Laettner. What can I say, some things from my middle school days stick. So, in honor of Jacob being 32 days old, I thought I’d share these 32 facts that many a mother has shared before me, but I didn’t believe until going through this myself. I write this one-handed as I rock him, nurse him and make a silent prayer that he takes an afternoon nap. Despite that, I wouldn’t change this for anything. Even at 32-days, he is still my miracle baby.

  • Newborns are extraordinarily resilient. Mothers (especially first time moms) are not.
  • Tears. There will be lots of tears. They will not be from your child. You think you can control them. You can’t.
  • Diapers. So many diapers. With so many various surprises that leave you talking a lot about poop. That is all.
  • Those first smiles – just signaling the need to use more diapers. It is not your child being a genius.
  • Breastfeeding is not this beautiful and easy part of motherhood. Your child does not make sweet sounds while you sit back and relax knowing you are nourishing your baby.  It is work.
  • You will make mistakes. Daily.
  • You will take shortcuts. The sooner you accept this doesn’t make you a bad mom, the better.
  • There is no such thing as supermom. Just being a mom, is frankly super enough.
  • Some friends will be annoyed by your constant baby talk or just check-out of your life. Guess what – they were never your friends to begin with. It has nothing to do with you changing. Life events should change you.
  • Raising a puppy is not the same as raising a child. Duh. Should have figured that out sooner.
  • You will be very tired. Very, very tired. Even if you sleep when he does. It doesn’t matter. Your very strong friendship with coffee will be reunited.
  • Stalking old friends on Facebook will be a regular occurrence during your endless feedings.
  • You will spend all day running around like crazy but get to the end of the day and discover you’ve accomplished nothing but surviving.
  • Life will be measured in ounces, number of wet diapers, and minutes sleeping. Everything else is just details.
  • You will quickly learn how to eat one handed while rocking. Those who can’t, will perish.
  • You’ll gain perspective on what matters in life. Guess what? It isn’t the new car you bought. (Even though I still do love my new Forester).
  • Car seat buckles suck.
  • Someone needs to invent an inexpensive solution to hands free pumping without having to change, create a homemade bra or sit hunched over like a cow being milked.
  • The overpriced swing that you thought you didn’t need—be really glad you have it.
  • The swaddle swoosh route will only take you so far.
  • You can never have enough burp rags.  But, you can in fact have too many newborn onesies that he will outgrow before he even gets a chance to wear them.
  • Your eardrums will learn to tune out or turn down your child’s moments of rage.
  • Your nose will learn to ignore the smell of sour formula.
  • You will learn to shower in under 10-minutes with one ear tuned in for crying. This will be the closest thing to “getting ready” you’ll do for a while.
  • Even the best baby in the world has bad days. Moms who tell you differently either have selective memory or are liars.
  • The good moments outweigh the bad.
  • You’ll find yourself obsessed with baby photos and overwhelmed with love for any and all of your friends who are having, had or thinking about having babies.
  • You’ll have a new gratitude for other friends who are willing to talk candidly about makeshift solutions for parenting.
  • The first time he grabs your finger, looks into your eyes and babbles to you, life will never be the same.
  • It is an overwhelming and awesome sense of responsibility to have someone so innocent rely on you for everything.
  • There is a special zen that happens every time he nestles on you, grabs your shirt and falls into a deep sleep. These are the moments you will never get back.

Despite every day being so incredibly long, before you know it, your little guy won’t be so little so take everyone’s advice to just cherish every moment – good and bad. It is a lot to take in, so quickly. But, like millions of mothers before me, this too shall pass. And, before I know it, there will be a whole new set of wisdom to acknowledge.

 

 

Hi, my name is Jacob.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI don’t know if you heard but since mom had me, she’s taking a small break from blogging and writing in general. So, I thought I’d take her spot and introduce myself. My name is Jacob William Probst. Son of the Probst clan on Moon Lake. I was born on August 8, 2013 weighing in at 6 pound 12 ounces.

Life has been pretty crazy the past few months. I guess years for mom. But that pre-dates me so I’ll start with what I’ve been up to. A few months ago, I decided to give mom a run for her money and play with her blood pressure. My goal was to get her on bed rest so that she’d have time to rest up before I arrived. I quickly discovered she is not the greatest listener. It turns out she’s also old (35 for Pete’s sake). The combination resulted in me getting a little antsy. Which I guess resulted in the doctors getting a little antsy which ultimately resulted in them attempting to jump start my delivery date.

Guess what? I didn’t like that. I refused to come out. Mom suffered for about 25 hours before the doc finally said, I don’t think your little guy wants to come out. You think? I still had 3 more weeks of lounging to do. But, the doc had different plans for me. Next think I knew I was screaming bloody murder and the clock of life had officially started. It turns out in my wild days I had somehow put a true knot in my lifeline (aka cord) and wrapped it around my neck, so it is probably good it ended this way. I know mom, dad and docs were relieved this chapter of my life was over.

Since then, we’ve been chilling as a family after an extended stay at the hospital. Turns out in addition to me, mom and dad have four very hairy kids. They like to sniff around me, especially while I’m eating. I haven’t had a chance to look in the mirror yet but I can only hope I’m cuter (and not as hairy). A couple of them tend to puke up what I’ve heard are hairballs—my spit-up doesn’t even hold a candle to that nastiness. But, I definitely poop more so I’ve got them beat on that end.

Mom says I’m a miracle baby. She tends to say this when she’s crying (which is daily right now but she keeps saying they are tears of joy so that’s a good thing I guess). If you ask dad, he’d say there is a scientific explanation for how I came to be. But, I’ve seen the way he looks at me when he thinks nobody is watching. While new to this whole life thing, I must admit I’m digging this whole unconditional love thing.

Since coming home, I’ve went on several adventures. My first stroller ride was to the local library with mom. Mom and dad are obsessed with books… I wonder if they recognize by the time I’m in school, books will be so old school. That said, we practically have a library in our house and I already have a book shelf packed with books. Mom’s been reading me OK magazine. Dad says it’ll make me stupid. But, I must admit I enjoy hearing the latest about all of the celebrity babies right now, although Prince George and North West are not nearly as cool as Jacob of Moon Lake.

We did a family hike on our Herbster land. Dad says this land will be the down payment for my college. Not sure what that means but it has lots of trees so that’s cool I guess. Rumor has it that my dad makes his money off of trees. Afterwards we went to Lake Superior. I like water but I wasn’t crazy enough to go swimming in it the way Joey did. She’s nuts. Granted, she’s a lot furrier than I, but still the world’s largest lake can’t be too warm. Even a baby knows that.

Twice now we’ve went to something called garage sales. I’m not quite sure why we are bargaining on other people’s garbage but mom, and especially dad, seem to get a kick out of it. Supposedly, a lot of the things I have come from these odd sales. I just enjoy them because it means I get to ride in the car, which is very relaxing. That said, most of my car time has ended with time at the doctor’s office. I guess I lost a lot of weight in the beginning which had some folks on edge. But, I’ve been eating like a horse and yesterday I officially weighed in at bigger than my birth weight. (Even if you factor in the 2 ounces of milk I spit-up right after they finished weighing me).

I’ve also met quite a few old people. Family, friends, co-workers, and even random folks off the street who cock their head to one side and ogle me like I’m some rare, precious gem. Lots of people seem very happy to meet me and are constantly congratulating mom and dad. That said, I do know I’m pretty special so I can see why folks would say that.

This weekend I’m heading to my first County Fair. Mom says I’m too young to enjoy my first mini doughnut. But, she thinks I’ll enjoy looking at furry, four legged creatures. (I think she’s more into taking pictures of me near said creatures). She also has dreams of my winning the mutton busting competition some day. I’m not sure how I feel about that.

After that, I’m not sure what comes next. This whole time thing has me tripped up. Mom says we need to take it moment by moment. Dad doesn’t seem to acknowledge time at all. My life is measured in days. My feedings are measured in minutes. My sleep is measured in hours while mom’s is measured in cat naps. All of that said, I’m operating on what I call Jacob time.

More soon-

Berry Picking, Bare Feet, and Three Strange Men in an Ambulance

Prior to an unsettling event last week that caught me completely off-guard, I had the opportunity to take advantage of yet another great past-time in my neck of the woods—berry picking.

IMG_1280The wild blueberries in Bayfield County are bountiful this summer. And, thanks to having a husband who spends most of his time driving the back roads of the county checking timber sales, he’s my perfect investigator for finding the best, secret berry hot spots around. This year was no exception.

Last year I purchased a blueberry rake from Williams Sonoma. I thought this might expedite the extraction process of the miniscule royal blue gems. FYI: It doesn’t work on wild blueberries.

I only lasted 45-minutes in the early morning sun before Baby Boy Probst informed me enough was enough. But, it was long enough to harvest enough berries to make a great batch of blueberry muffins and enjoy several breakfasts of berries and yogurt. As I packed up my car, I had every intention of returning to enjoy another harvest well before the season ended. Unfortunately, this won’t be the case.

A few days later I sat in the doctor’s office and was informed I should start taking it easy. Despite my best efforts to lie low, I was dealt another surprise last Thursday when my blood pressure shot up for reasons unbeknownst to me. Within an hour I was in my doctor’s office. She immediately had me admitted to MMC. While I was never in serious danger, there was certainly an immediacy I was not expecting. My hubby soon arrived at which time I was informed it might be go time… and that they were starting a magnesium drip in my arm and sending me via ambulance to Duluth.

Other than listening in on the Second Grade Tours I coordinate for the hospital, I’ve never spent time in or around an ambulance. I can honestly say it wasn’t on my top 10 list of things to do before I die. And, I certainly didn’t want my first transport to be one that would take 75-minutes, with three men I didn’t know, no shoes, and at a heightened hormonal state.

I silently cried much of the way to Duluth for no reason. The men, clearly experts at dealing with their own hormonal wives and/or overly emotional patients, did their best to calm my nerves. (Some medication may have helped as well). It was during this long, bumpy ride that I discovered two things—they really need to repave parts of Highway 2 and being vulnerable sucks.

There is something about riding barefoot in an ambulance with a measly hospital gown and no wallet or phone that makes you feel very vulnerable. It is even worse when your feet are swollen and less than glam. Watching too many episodes of Grey’s Anatomy had me envisioning us getting caught in a hurricane and me flying out of the back of the ambulance on a gurney, only to be lost in the woods in hopes some other stranger would find me. (Never mind it was sunny, dry and 70 degrees out).

Soon, the world’s longest uneventful ambulance ride was complete. I’ll spare you the details of the next 48-hours other than to say I never went into labor. Baby Boy Probst is doing fabulous. I’m stable. And, after two nights of monitoring and tests, I was allowed to return home with the understanding that this will be over in two weeks and berry picking or any strenuous activity (including work) is out of the question.

Every mother has a birthing story that is unique. Heartbreak, hope, sheer and utter joy, pain, anxiety, stress, frustration are regular emotions one rides on the rollercoaster journey of motherhood. My story is no exception. But, I’m also finding that my story is filled with angels that show-up at the most unexpected moments, asking for nothing in return other than to help me.

I’m not overly religious. But I find comfort in the chaplain who prayed for me when our adoption failed. The calming effect doctors and nurses have on being honest and direct with me at a time I want to think the worse. The nurse who came by and without even asking, offered me her Caribou coffee, knowing the hospital coffee was gasoline at best. The co-worker who didn’t think twice about checking my blood pressure daily to ensure I was doing ok and the others who have comforted me along this entire journey. Caring friends that listen to my endless ramblings without passing judgment and always knowing what to say or do. Supportive family. My breastfeeding, birthing coach and doula who answers my endless questions. My strong and compassionate husband who rubs my back, changes litter boxes (with minimal complaining) and vacuums while I nap. My puppy Joey who follows me around offering hugs and cuddles as needed, while my kitties offer me comedy relief and cues on how to rest for endless hours daily. And somewhere up there, I know the greatest angel of all—my mother is watching over me as well and reminding me that the Sisu Fin in me is strong enough for whatever comes my way in the next few weeks. Bottom line, Baby and I are both blessed.

So, my blog posts adventures in and around Lake Superior are quickly dwindling while I prepare for a different kind of adventure. But, I’ll be back soon with new stories and adventures to share about life on Lake Superior with a little one in tow. Stay tuned…