Thursday, October 18, 2018

Don't Stop Believing

Once upon a lifetime, if you are lucky enough, you will experience a miracle. 

Ours came on November 30, 2015. 

He is perfect in every way.  There are not enough words to describe how grateful and in love I am.  In a world where terrible events flood our news feeds, these past few days have given me a glimpse of what a true miracle looks like and the joy it can bring to everyone it touches.

I never truly accepted that we were done having children.  I held out hope that one day I would beat that less than 1% chance of getting pregnant. The universe had better plans though and it's rocked me to my core with an abundance of emotions and pure happiness. 

Tom and I were approached by the birth mother this past June.  She asked if would be interested in adopting her unborn child.  After a lot of thought and consideration, we cautiously said yes.  There was always a chance she would change her mind, so we kept our secret to just a few family members and close friends.

We've spent the past five months growing more excited, yet not allowing ourselves to get too attached to the idea.  The birth mother allowed me to attend some of her doctor's appointments and I was able to hear his heartbeat for the first time in early November.  After one of the appointments, she told me that I could be present for the birth and that she would like it if I held him first after he was born. 

Around 4am on November 30, I got the text that the birth mom was at the hospital and her water had broken.  I arrived a little before 5am.  She was amazing.  She focused and worked so hard to deliver a healthy little baby.  At 11:56 am, as the birth mom was surrounded by women who cared more for her and this baby than she will ever understand, she delivered the most perfect baby boy I have ever seen. 

The doctor let me cut the cord and then he placed him in my arms.  I was able to hold him skin to skin.  Those were the most magical minutes of my life. With tears streaming down my face, I took him in.  I smelled his skin, I kissed his head, and I just tried to breathe.  He was here and he was in my arms. I had experienced a miracle I will never forget.

When they took Luke out of my arms, I immediately walked up to the birth mom who was being tended to by the doctor and hugged and kissed her.  She is the most selfless and giving woman that will ever be in my life.  She gave my family the most amazing gift anyone can give.

Life is so short.  So funny.  So incredibly sad at times.  But then, out of nowhere, there are these moments that we live for.  They are what life is truly about.  Breathe it in.  Count your blessings.

In my darkest moments, I could never see what was right around the corner.  Friends, Don't ever Stop Believing.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Ways to Eat Healthy For the a Busy Lifestyle

It can be challenging for busy people to eat healthy...I get it. There is of course the biggest problem; time. Sometimes there is just not enough time in the day for shopping, preparation, and cooking. This means that busy people often eat ready-made meals, which are high in fat, salt and sugar content.
Then there are the people who eat out more than in. It’s most likely at fast food establishments where it's quick and easy to get your meal but detrimental to your health. It is possible, though, for very busy people to eat healthier. Eating healthy will actually make a person more productive at his or her work. So healthy eating habits should be included in part of your work schedule.

So what are 5 ways that very busy people can eat healthier?

Always have breakfast - This is often the most skipped meal in the day, but as you have heard a million times, it is the most important meal. Skipping breakfast can lead to weight problems and diabetes. So what constitutes a great, healthy breakfast? Eggs (your protein), Ultrameal shake or foods rich in fiber like grainless granola, fruits, and vegetables.  "Egg Muffins" are a great grab and go option as well.  You can substitute egg whites and almond milk as well (or eliminate the milk all together).

Stay hydrated - A healthy body requires fluid. Make sure that you have plenty of water with you if your place of work doesn't have a water cooler. Drink water frequently during the day. You should consume half your body weight in fluid ounces. So if you weigh 130 lbs you should drink at least 65 fluid ounces. Try to limit your coffee to two cups per day and avoid sugary drinks like soda and juices.

Eat healthily when eating out - AVOID ALL FAST FOODS! It is ok though to occasionally eat at restaurants but choose the healthy options. Many menus now have the calorie total for each meal and this can be a good guideline. If there are no calorie guides then stick to this rule of thumb: meats should be grilled, vegetables steamed and salads topped with protein, lots of veggies and oil and vinegar for a dressing.  If dessert is a must, try fresh fruit with whipped cream.

Be careful with alcoholic drinks - An occasional glass of wine won't do any harm (and some studies even show that there are health benefits like resveratrol in the red wines.  However, you need to remember that alcohol is just empty calories and sugar. The over consumption of alcohol can also have a negative impact on health in general. Follow the 2:2 rule. No more than two drinks, two times per week, a four drink per week maximum.

Plan ahead - As a busy body, you will be used to planning in advance to get things done. You would never think about going into an important meeting without planning right? Eating healthy requires the same planning. Everyone's schedule is different, but it should be possible to reserve time in the week to plan for meals. Weekends could be good days to use some time to prepare and plan meals. Remember to also plan your snacks, and make sure that you have healthy options. Choose fresh veggies and fruit, as well as organic fresh meats. We have some great healthy meal preparations and recipes on this site.  Even the busiest people can take advantage of the many markets that sell prepared roasted chicken, to save cooking time and have a source of healthy protein on hand.

Eating healthy is a lifestyle and requires change many times.  Do one small change a week and see if you can fit some of these lifestyle changes into your life!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Miracles Do Happen

As 2015 comes to a close, it's only fitting that this be my final blog post.  This blog started as a way for me to share my knowledge about health with other people. Over time, it became my outlet for my frustrations with infertility.  For those that have read my previous posts, you got a very up close and personal view of my emotions surrounding my desire for another child.  

Being told I had less than a 1% chance of getting pregnant again, Tom and I looked into adoption. We didn't share that with many people.  After two years, it didn't seem like it was going to happen and we were tired of holding on and feeling the heartache.  Somehow, along the way, it had put a wedge between us.  Infertility is a very lonely place and can have a very negative effect on your relationship if you are not careful.  

In February of this year, we decided being a family of three was our fate.  We finally let go of any hope.  Deep down, I still felt like our family was not complete, but I finally stopped "trying".  We started focusing on each other again and honestly....somewhere along the way, we fell in love...again.

 Marriage is hard. You have to work at it.  And if you are distracted by other priorities, it's easy to forget how much you love that person.  IF you're lucky wake up one day.  You realize how much you have been neglecting each other and you work at it again.  You smile again.  You enjoy each other's company again.  
You start living again.

By June, we were stronger than ever as a family.  Life was busy...but it was good.  

We were then blind sided with the greatest gift we could ever hope for.  We were asked to adopt a baby.  The birth mom came to us and asked if we would adopt her unborn baby.  She was due November 25.  

We spent a lot of time talking it over.  So many things could go wrong between June and November.  She could change her mind.  What if the baby doesn't bond with us?  There were a lot of questions and concerns.  Ultimately, we decided it was 100% worth it.

Lucas James entered this world on November 30 surrounded by a handful of people that love this little boy more than he could ever imagine.  The doctor handed him to me first and I was able to sit skin to skin with him on my chest.  He was perfect.  Ten tiny toes.  Ten tiny fingers with the longest nail beds I've ever seen on a baby.  Beautiful, pink skin.  Perfect, red lips.  When he cried, I lost any sense of control and let my own tears fall.  He was the missing piece.  My heart was full.  

Tom and Lyla were able to meet him soon after.  I don't think I stopped smiling that entire day.  Nothing will ever be able to take away the amount of joy I felt that day.  It was the greatest feeling I have ever experienced.  We had a son.  And he was perfect and loved and the most amazing gift. 

Luke has been home for about one month.  Newborns are tough, so I won't say it's been perfect.  But I wouldn't trade a second of it. Watching my daughter hug and kiss her brother brings me to my knees at times.  Watching my son fall asleep on my husbands chest as he lays on the couch softens every tense muscle in my body in an instant.  I've gone through so many emotions over the past month, but the greatest is joy.  Pure joy.  I've never been so incredibly grateful for anything in my entire life.  I want to pinch myself at times because I know what happened was a complete miracle.  The stars had to align in just the right way for everything to work out the way it has.  Life is so precious and so fast. You better believe I'm taking the time to enjoy every moment these days.  
Miracles do happen....
Luke is ours.

Photographs by Beth Fletcher Photography

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

“The emotion that can break your heart is sometimes the very one that heals it...” N. Sparks

I originally wrote this in July 2013.  Time has healed, yet little instances happen in life that sometimes bring all the emotions front and center.

I've debated writing about this topic for a long time on this blog.  Is this something I want to share with people that know me as Dr. Bozovich?  Why not?  It's not embarassing.  It's not my fault.  It's just a sad truth that I have come to accept recently and maybe writing about it and sharing my story, I might be able to move on or even help someone else in a similiar situation. 

When Tom and I got married, I told him I didn't want children.  He was fine with that, even though when we first met, he talked a lot about having a son to coach.  As the years went by, he let go of that and decided a life with just me was OK. 

Somewhere after our third anniversary, I changed my tune.  I wanted a baby....maybe more.  After many, many talks, we decided together that we should start a family.  Lyla Ray was born less than two years later. 

Getting pregnant with Lyla was a breeze.  We started trying and got the positive pregnancy test the very next month.  I don't know why I ever thought I didn't want children.  Lyla has brought more love, warmth, emotion, and happiness into my life than I could ever have imagined.  When she looks at me with those enormous, blue eyes, I feel true innocent love and my heart warms.  She is everything that is right and I wish I could just hold on to her tight and keep her right where she is.  If I could freeze time, I might try.  But then I think of all the experiences she still needs to have and I know she must grow up and I must be a bystander.  All of this has become even more real to me in the past few months as I realize that I will never experience these moments again. 

I thought once Lyla was three, we would have baby number 2.  Lyla will be three in a couple of weeks and I'm not able to have any more children.  There are options, but they are extremely expensive, time consuming options that still only have a 10-15% chance of success. 

This is where I was torn.  I want to give Lyla a sibling, but I also don't want to miss out on her life right now.  If I were to do the IVF, donor egg, and whatever else they suggest, that is precious time I am spending away from my blue eyed, curly blonde.  I don't know how I'll respond to being on multiple hormones and I would rather not turn into Mommy Dearest. 

Through many tears and late night talks, we have decided to be a family of three.  Three is good.  My heart absolutely breaks for those that are forced to be a family of two or for those women who can not experience a pregnancy.  I was lucky.  There are a lot of people that don't even get the one chance I was given.  Somehow, this little girl has magically come into our lives and has brought so much joy.  These things make it hard to be sad, but the reality is, I am.   

It's hard to walk past our third bedroom some days.  I still have a lot of baby things to give away or toss out.  But I'm not quite ready.  I'll do it in my own time.  I've felt more emotions in the past few months than I ever thought possible.  From deep sadness to rage and anger and even numbness.  At times, it almost felt like I had lost someone very close to me. 

I get asked a lot when we are going to have another baby.  It's an extremely hard question to answer because I don't want to lie, but I also don't want pity.  I don't want to hear about everyone's story of how they know someone who was told they will never have a baby and then they stopped stressing and it happened.  I know this.  I understand this better than most people on the hormonal and biological level.  I understand that I still have a chance - less than 1% to be exact.  If it happens, I'll be over the moon, but the reality is that it most likely never will and I must move on with the life that I have now. 

Which brings me to the point of this post.  In roughly 5 months, I will run my first marathon.  If there is anything in this world that can help clear my mind and help my thoughts sort themselves out, it's running.  So for the next 5 months, my focus is on marathon training and living my life.  Being the best mother, wife, friend, and doctor that I can be.  It's time to take control of my life again and not let this Premature Ovarian Failure ruin it.  I can't beat it, so I might as well accept it and do something I never imagined myself doing. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

How's Your Running, Doc?

I get asked a lot about my running.  I've been very quiet on the subject over the past year because I didn't really know what to say.  I'm not sure I completely understood what was happening until this past Sunday. 

I was supposed to run with some friends at the Dunes on Sunday morning.  There was a chance of snow or cold rain.  Last year, I would have been excited to run in the snow and would not have cared if there was a little rain.  This past Sunday, however, I woke up to a little girl asking if she could snuggle with me.  It was 5:50 am.  She crawled into bed.  I checked the weather on my phone and complained that I didn't want to run in wet snow.  I curled up next to Lyla and my husband and knew there was no chance I was going to run. 

We stayed in bed, talking until Lyla realized she didn't have a princess dress on.  She ran in her room, put on her dress and started blaring Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off" from her radio.  I looked at my husband and we smiled and then started cracking up laughing. 

There is a constant challenge in life called balance.  Every decision, every action, every reaction has an outcome.  That outcome, regardless of what it is, will shift the balance.  For every potato chip I eat (and lets face it, I don't eat just one), there is an outcome of hydrogenated oil and fat in my body which increases my sluggishness and decreases my ability of buttoning my favorite jeans.  For every mile I run (and let's face it, that has been minimal over the past year), there is an outcome of increased endorphins (aka: happiness) and decreased time with my daughter. 

After I trained for Tecumseh and ran the hardest race I have ever encountered, I felt amazing.  I felt like I could conquer anything and immediately wanted to start training for Tecumseh 2014.  But, life has other plans and my balance has been tested and manipulated into a woven mess over the past 12 months. 

I have struggled, sometimes on a daily basis, with my decreased training.  At first, it was due to an injury after running Indy Mini back in May 2014.  I let myself take some time off to allow my muscle to heal and then it became increasingly harder to "get back out there". 

I found other ways of working out and I enjoyed them.  However, I missed running at the dunes.  I missed my running friends.  I missed the sound of the lake at the end of trail 10 or on the ridge of trail 9.  I missed the sand, the roots, the sweat, the air, the aches, the feeling of complete exhaustion.  At the same time, I gained snuggle time with a blue eyed, curly blonde.  I heard infinite giggles and watched my baby turn into a creative, smart, and hilarious little girl.  I saw my daughter's face light up every time I told her it was "Mommy-Lyla Day".  I was given the strongest hugs little four year old arms could give me.  My heart grew and stopped at the same time on multiple occasions.

Watching your child grow is the most beautiful and heart breaking event in any parent's life.  There is pride in watching an individual emerge from those chubby cheeks and clumsy hands into a little person that understands feelings and all of a sudden can write their name.  There is also great sadness when you realize there will come a day when that little girl will be a woman and will drive away to find her own adventure and place in this world. 

I don't regret the time I spent training for Tecumseh.  I also don't regret not running much over the past year.  I'll continue to run 1-2 times per week early in the morning before the sun and my daughter rises, but the Dunes will have to wait.  We will meet on occasion, but there is no urgency.  Running will always be there...Lyla at age 4 will only be for a short time.

For now, my balance in life is tipped heavily to the needs of my blue eyed, princess loving, Taylor Swift singing, little girl.  In the end, I'll never regret that decision, no matter what the outcome. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Happiness Challenge

It breaks my heart when a patient underestimates their abilities or self worth.  Sometimes I feel like a patient is scared I am judging them when I mention being more active or eating healthier.  I speak a lot about proper nutrition and healthy eating.  I talk about it because I want to be able to help people live a healthier lifestyle.  What I do not talk about is being skinny or "ripped" or looking better.  I do not believe our self worth is graded on those characteristics. I do not like someone better because they are skinny.  I like someone better if they have good energy, have a desire to be a better person, and genuinely care about others.

No one is perfect.  No One.  In the pursuit of perfection, one will ultimately end up frustrated and unfulfilled.  There is no reason to strive for perfection.  I encourage the pursuit of happiness and self love.  If you have the ability to love yourself, you will find true happiness.  You will be able to love greater, enjoy more, and let go of what you can't control. 

Take a look at what you dislike in your life, whether it is your weight, your job, your car, etc.  What would make you happy?  If you lost 5 pounds?  If you didn't have to work?  If you drove a fancy car?  Picture yourself happy.  What does that look like?  I can't do it.  I don't know how to draw a picture of myself happy.  Being truly happy comes from an emotional state of enjoying a moment in time...forgetting whatever is bothering me...letting go of those things I can not control.  If I picture myself 5 pounds lighter, I'm not happier, I'm just thinner.  If I want to be happy, I would be listening to my husband tell my daughter a bed time story.  I would be watching my sister laugh with my niece at the beach.  I would see my best friend running in the dunes alongside me. 

I spent a large part of my life wishing I was skinnier.  No matter how much weight I would lose, I was never happier.  Ever.  There was always something more I could do.  About 3 years ago, I decided I wanted to be a good role model for my daughter when it came to being healthy.  I changed my diet - by not dieting.  I choose to eat whole foods for the most part and eating less than healthy foods in moderation.  I don't comment about my body unless it is in a positive way (as much as possible).  I do not use the words skinny, fat, chubby, etc. to talk about my or my daughter's body.  I use the words strong, healthy, and beautiful.  Our bodies are beautiful.  Every single one of them, no matter what size.  If you think about how they work and the amazing systems that control our movements, our digestion, healing processes, and's a miracle and should be looked at with awe, not judgment.  I focused on what would make me happier - being a healthy role model for my daughter and stopped obsessing over my own body image.  What happened after that was amazing.  I started enjoying things more.  I felt more alive.  My relationship improved with my husband.  Parties became more enjoyable.  I started to listen more.  I started to live more.

Don't get me wrong, I am a woman and I still have my insecurities.  But, knowing that they do not define who I am helps me get out of a funk much faster than before.  I still have days when I don't like my outfit or how I look in the mirror.  It's those days that I must remind myself that I am beautiful on the inside and out.  I have a kind heart and a desire to help others.  My body does not reflect who I am.  In the past, if I left the house not liking my reflection in the mirror, it would affect my entire day.  I was probably not the nicest person to everyone, not because of them, but because of what I was feeling about myself.  I make a conscious effort to give myself a pep talk if I find I'm not loving that person in the mirror.  I tell myself the exact opposite of what I'm feeling.  And it helps.  We really are our worst critics and we shouldn't be.  We should be our greatest supporter.  We should be reminding ourselves how great we are each and every day.  Not in a self-absorbed, cocky way, but in an encouraging, self-loving way.  If you don't love yourself, how can anyone else? 

I know this post a little bit all over the place, which in reality, is probably the most true representation of who I am.  My goal in writing this was to encourage those that do not understand how much damage they are doing to not only themselves, but to those around them by pursuing happiness through a quantitative goal.  Happiness cannot be measured by any one thing.  Being skinnier, having more money, having the nicest car....none of it will equal happiness.  How you treat yourself will directly start to impact how you treat others and have more of an effect on your happiness than anything else.  At least in my opinion and experience.   

Life does not always follow the path that we thought we would walk down.  In fact, sometimes, the greatest gifts will result from some of our darkest days.  If you never learn to let go of those demons and start living, you may miss the one thing that makes the rest of your life complete.  Take a deep breath, open your mind and allow yourself to just live and be who you are.  Accept yourself, accept your most annoying traits and embrace your best qualities.  I leave you with a challenge.  I challenge you to tell yourself one positive thing in the mirror every morning before you leave the house for one month straight.  See what happens.  It can be the same thing or you can change it daily based on what you need to hear.  Tell yourself what you wish your spouse, your kids, or your friends would say to you.  Send me an email and let me know if it changed anything.  Good luck!

Monday, May 12, 2014

It has been almost two years since I first started having "symptoms" of early onset menopause.  At the time, I was completely oblivious to what was happening.  It wasn't until a year later, when I still was not pregnant that I started to catch on and began looking for answers.  Answers I never found.

Sure, I have a diagnosis:  Premature Ovarian Failure.  FAILURE is what I think my brain always saw when I would type those words in the google search bar.  Failure is what most women tend to feel like when they find themselves with an empty womb over time. 

There were days that I felt so alone, I wanted to stay in bed.  There were days I felt so full of rage, I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs.  There were days I felt such a wave of unbearable sadness, I just wanted to lock myself in the laundry room.  There were days, I'd spend every spare moment I had "searching" for answers.  Searching for a reason why

Why did this happen?  Why was I able to have Lyla so easily and now I'm told my time has passed.  Why?  Why can't I give her a sibling?  Why?  Why?  Why?  Ugh.  I hate that question.  Because, in all honesty, I will most likely never have my answer.  I have my own hypotheses of why, but nothing I can prove. 

So, now what?  I had the idea to run a marathon to take my focus off trying to have another baby.  It actually did help.  I'm not sure if it's the time that has elapsed or that all those miles truly did heal my heart, but for the most part, I'm better each day. 

What still eats at me, and the reason I'm writing this, is that there are so many women that I now know personally that are dealing with infertility and it breaks my heart.  So here is my advice for those that are currently going through any kind of fertility issue and what I wish I would have known two years ago.

1.  Love your partner.  In the end, no matter what the outcome, your partner will still be there...if you are lucky.  Love them with all of your heart and nurture that relationship.  If you are feeling alone, chances are, he/she is feeling the same.  Focus on the love you have for one another...and not on what you are missing.

2.  Make plans.  I went so many months saying "no" to things, just in case I got pregnant.  You know what...if you get pregnant, you will figure it out later.  You'll either change your plans or just continue on pregnant.  Let's face it...if you get pregnant, will you really be "upset" about having to go on vacation or to a party with a cute little baby bump?

3.  Love yourself.  It's not your fault.  I don't care what you ate, what medicine you took, what activities you have done in the past.  Infertility is not your fault.  Don't beat yourself up.  You should, in fact, be doing the opposite.  Tell yourself every morning that you are beautiful and strong. Look in the mirror and say it.  And mean it.  The more you believe it's your fault, the more you feel badly about yourself and the more stress you put yourself under.  You ARE beautiful and strong and infertility is NOT your fault.  Period.

4.  Cry.  Let yourself feel what you feel without shame.  If you are sad, be sad.  If you let your emotions build up and do not acknowledge them, they will consume you.  You are allowed to be sad.  You are allowed to have a good time and laugh.  In every way you can, just be true and honest and allow yourself those moments.  Share them with the ones you love already.  Ask for hugs when you need them.  Infertility is a very lonely place at times and many people will not understand that unless you ask for help.

That's it. That's my advice.  I wish someone would have told me these things.  Or maybe they did, I just didn't really listen.  I know it's definitely easier to give the advice than to follow it, but try.  You don't have to train for a marathon in order to get through it either.  You'll figure it out...someday.  Just know that someday doesn't have to be today.