Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Bye Bye 2008. Hello 2009!

* Well, 2008 was a big year and now it's coming to a close. It certainly was not a big running year for me, but otherwise it was huge! I'm hoping there will be more running in 2009. In a few minutes I have to leave for my 6 week postpartum check-up. This is where I'll learn whether or not it was a stupid idea to start running already. Last I left you I was hoping to run 3 miles continuously by New Years. As of today I've run at least 3 miles continuously 5 times! Last week (+ this Monday) was like this:

M: off
T: run 1:00 (10:00 pace)/walk 2:00 and then run 1:00/walk 1:00 for a while until I had 3 miles in.
W: run 3:00/walk 1:00 x 10 (10:00 pace)
Th: ran 3 miles straight (9:48 pace)
F: ran 3.5 miles (9:33 pace)
S: Ran 4 outside with no watch.
Su: Ran 4 outside with no watch.
M: ran 4 outside with no watch.

It was so nice to break a sweat, especially outide! For each run I definitely started to get a little tired toward the end, but nothing too bad. I am just out of shape. The pace felt easy, like 8:00 pace back when I was in shape. The worst part is that none of my running clothes fit me right now. I have to wear race t-shirts. I can squeeze a tech shirt on my body but I have to wear a t-shirt over it or I feel too self-conscious. I broke down and ordered some larger winter running clothes just to get me through the winter--just a jacket, a tech shirt and a pair of pants. I don't feel that huge or anything, but I am about 2 dress sizes bigger than I was pre-pregnancy right now. I'll find out how many millions of pounds I weigh shortly :(

Anyway, it amazes me how I feel exponentially better every day. I went from worrying about running more than 1:00 at a time to running 40:00 at a time within the span of days. I definitely am still weak in spots from the birth, but I am slowly getting back to normal. I hope my midwife gives me the ok to make running a part of getting back to normal now and in the New Year! I'll keep you posted!

In the meantime, enjoy some Nathaniel pics from Christmas!








Update: I have the go-head to keep on going! I am all healed up and ok to run. That's the good news. The bad news is that I am still 24 lbs over my pre-preg weight and almost 30 lbs over my racing weight! Yikes! I can lose 30 lbs by summer, right?

*Speaking of out with the old and in with the new, it may very well be the end of an era. We asked Nathaniel if he wanted to be called Nate and he smiled at us. Then we asked him if he wanted to be called peanut and he very audibly pooped.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Mommyhood

Woo! I just ran 3 miles! It wasn't continuous, but I did manage to run 3 whole miles! I did a little 1:00/1:00 alternating walking with running and then moved to 1:00/2:00 until I had 3 miles in the books. I felt great! I'm hoping to be able to do a continuous 3 miles easily by the New Year. I think it shouldn't be a problem, but I am a little worried about overdoing it. The last thing I want is to get injured or aggravate one of my birth war wounds!

So staying home with a newborn is a bit taxing. Getting down to the basement to run/walk/exercise for an hour can be very tough. The first week we came home, mrp had a couple of days off and we had a lot of help from relatives. It helped that it was Thanksgiving week and people were around and off from work. However, by the second week I was still physically recovering and I was pretty much on my own. I think newborns sleep so much so their moms can recover physically. Seriously, I don't know what I'd do if I was so weak now. Nathaniel has a stuffy nose and it's a huge chore to get him to sleep enough throughout the day and at night so he isn't a huge crying mess all the time. I have to carry him around a lot and do a lot of dashing back and forth throughout the house to gather tools to keep him calm before he bursts into a full on melt down. And then I don't have time to exercise, but I need to more than ever. I need that hour to myself to recenter and recharge. I have never appreciated it so much!!! To get it I usualy have to wait until mrp gets home. Every time I try to get a workout in by myself Nathaniel always wakes up when I'm about halfway done. (Stinker!)

Geez. I'm making this sound great, aren't I? I am not complaining, I swear! At the same time he is more and more alert and just so stinkin' cute! He loves to play on a blanket on the floor. He rolls around on his back and smiles. Then we flip him on his tummy and he tries so hard to crawl. He kicks out his legs and moves his head from side to side. He's been able to hold that big melon up since he was a week old. Another thing he loves is the bath. I get in the tub and hold him and mrp and I scrub him up and hold him up while he floats around on his back. He just loves it. We've been giving him a bath almost every night since his cord stump fell off in hopes of starting a bedtime ritual. One night I was able to get him to sleep all by himself before 9:00, but usually he doesn't go down until 10:30 or so when I do. He is definitely beginning to understand the difference between day and night though. When we wake up in the middle of the night now it is just to eat and then we go right back to bed. He rarely fusses or stays awake after he eats during the night anymore and when he does if I take him back and hold him in bed with me he will usually fall asleep. Sometimes he needs to nurse a little bit longer but usually the close cuddles knock him right out. I think he would sleep in longer stretches if it wasn't for the stuffy nose. I hope that doesn't last all winter!

Anyway, things are really great over here. As challenging as it can be I am loving motherhood. How could I not when I get to look at this every day! Below are a sampling of photos are wedding photographer took of Nathaniel at 3.5 weeks. Enjoy!






Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Finally!

I have been so lucky. Besides a few weeks of nasty nausea and fatigue early on, my pregnancy was smooth sailing. I felt great most of the time. Often I would wake up and feel completely normal and have to feel and look down at my big swollen belly to reaffirm that I was indeed pregnant. Outside of the last few weeks of running I never experienced much pain or discomfort at all.

Suddenly, at 37 weeks I started experiencing signs of pre-labor. It felt like I fell off a cliff and went from feeling completely normal to really really pregnant. I’m not sure how to describe the feeling other than I had a feeling of instability: things were changing. At my 37 week midwife appointment I was 1 cm dialated! I also started experiencing contractions every night around this time. I would wake up in the middle of the night experiencing painful cramping in my belly and back. Nothing ever came from them, but they’d often keep me awake worrying that I was going into labor! Little did I know I had two weeks to go!

After a week of these contractions and other symptoms of impending labor I gave up getting my hopes up that any of these signs meant labor was coming. Even when I was 2 cm at my 38 week appointment on Monday, Nov 17, I didn’t make anything of it (at 10 cm baby is ready to come out and you can start pushing). Of course, over the days I had more and more contractions and more and more signs and symptoms but my body had cried wolf so many times that I started ignoring it. On Tuesday, Nov 18 I started having contractions in the afternoon that got stronger and closer together. By bedtime they were 7 minutes apart. I fell asleep for about an hour and woke up to very painful contractions. But I timed them and they had spaced out. I managed to fall asleep for a couple of hours and woke up and the contractions had petered out by the morning. They were still there but were not coming consistently and the intensity was no longer consistent between contractions. I had taken a 4 day weekend already and the thought of sitting at home ruminating about what my body was doing was really unappealing. I needed to do something to distract myself so I went to work. I didn’t have much to do, but it was so nice to get out of the house. I only stayed for half a day and as I was driving home, around 1:30, the contractions suddenly picked up intensity.

I made it home and immediately took a nap. I managed to sleep for two hours. When I woke up the contractions were serious. Once mrp arrived home around 6 we began to time them. They were about 4 minutes apart! We continued to monitor them throughout the night. They became more and more difficult to get through and by 3:00 am on Thursday morning we decided to head into the hospital. The midwife on call came in and checked me. After 2 days of constant contractions I was still only 2 cm dialated!! What a huge surprise and disappointment. The midwife said I could labor at the hospital for 2 hours and then she’d check me again. For the first hour I walked the halls with mrp and squatted for every contraction. Then the second hour I tried to rest but the contractions hurt too much so I got up myself as mrp napped and walked and squatted alone. After 2 hours of this the midwife came back and of course I was still only 2 cm! She gave me some info on false labor and an Ambien. She said if I was experiencing false labor as she suspected, I would sleep right through the contractions with the Ambien. I was nervous: if this was false labor, would I be able to handle the real thing?!

Mrp and I went home. My contractions were so bad I needed to stop to sit down every time I had one. We made it home and I popped the Ambien, only to hurl 10 minutes later. Miraculously, the Ambien had hit my system before barfing and I suddenly felt overwhelmed with the need to sleep. I crawled into bed only to wake up in agony 3 minutes later. Then I fell asleep again and 3 minutes later I woke up moaning in pain and mrp came running in to rub my back. Then I fell asleep again and 3 minutes later there was mrp rubbing my back! This continued for 3 long hours! I could not sleep through the contractions! False labor, my @$$! After 3 hours of the most obnoxious sleep ever I woke up and the contractions were still 4 minutes a part and hurt! I encouraged mrp to take a nap as I went in for a hot bath. I tried to do my crossword puzzle in between contractions, but it was hard. Nothing was really taking my mind off them any more.

The funniest thing was that I received several phone calls while mrp napped. A friend from work called asking whether I had the baby. “Not yet. Hold on!” (muffled moaning for 90 seconds) “Sorry. I’m in labor. I just had a contraction. I’ll let you know when he’s here! Bye.” About an hour later I received another call. It was a friend from high school calling me out of the blue! What are the odds?! She has 3 sons of her own, the last one arriving in May so she totally understood every time I put her on hold for a contraction. It was great talking to her! I hope our guys get together soon!

By about 3:30 pm I had been laboring at home for about 10 hours. I was starting to think I couldn’t take it any more. I tried to eat some soup, but it came flying out of me shortly thereafter. Mrp was up from his nap by now and I asked him what he thought of going back to the hospital so I could take up the midwife’s offer for morphine sleep (she said if the ambien didn’t work this would be what the next step so I could rest to prepare for “real” labor). I really hated the idea of pumping opiates into my body and peanut’s body even if they’d be out of our systems by the time he was delivered, but I was getting desperate. Mrp looked at me and reminded me of our Bradley training and how tough he knows I am and encouraged me to keep trying. We decided that I’d labor like this at home until about 8:00 and then I’d go into the hospital to get morphine sleep so I could sleep through the night. However, by 5:30 I was throwing up everything I put into my body—even Gatorade! I puked in the toilet. I puked in a bucket while leaning on the bed. I puked in the bathroom sink. I was starting to go down hill fast and my contractions were excruciatingly painful and never seemed to leave my back.

Mrp called the midwife and our doula and they agreed we needed to go back right then. On our way out the door I puked in the kitchen sink for good measure! We were on our way back to the hospital. The ride there was excrutiating! I was so uncomfortable not being able to move in the seat and every bump magnified the intensity of the contractions. Ouch! By the time we arrived at the hospital I was so tense and a huge mess. Plus, this time there were tons of people around-it was 6:30 pm. I needed mrp to wheel me to labor and delivery and people stared at me as I moaned in agony.

We finally made it upstairs and they stuck us in a room. It hurt so much just to go from the wheel chair to the bed and then they strapped the monitors on me and I thought I was going to die. I was so uncomfortable already and now I was confined to the bed and had these monitors jabbing me in the belly. Ow! I was so tense and having a really hard time relaxing. The midwife arrived and checked me. I was sure she was going to say I was still only 2 cm, but this time I was 5!! Woohoo! I was officially in active labor (technically starts when you’re 4 cm dialated)!!! I was so excited and had a renewed faith in my quest for a natural childbirth.

The midwife said she’d be back to check me again at midnight (about 5-1/2 hours later) and she left. Our doula soon arrived and we were off to labor away! Mrp and doula were great! Doula massaged my lower back while mrp applied the cold compress to my forehead. Then doula would run out to warm-up the rice bag while mrp helped me drag my iv fluid to the bathroom to pee. All the while we listened to the mix I made for our wedding! It was great to hear all those songs again and it helped me relax. Doula also helped me relax and reminded me of the deep breathing techniques we learned in class. The best help in that department was when she reminded me to relax my shoulders. I guess I hold a lot of tension there because every time she said that and I relaxed my shoulders the contractions were much easier to deal with. By around 11:00 I felt like a zen master. Each contraction hurt worse than the one before it but remembering they would not kill me and relaxing through them I was able to bear them without moaning or writhing around in pain! Meanwhile, I was still vomiting a lot. I’d eat ice chips and vomit. On top of that, I had 3 bags of iv fluid and couldn’t pee. And by 11:30, I was so tired I was falling asleep in between contractions! I was a mess. But between the vomiting, the intensity of the contractions, and the fact I was aleady 5 cm dialated we were all confident pushing wasn’t too far away!

Finally, shortly after midnight the midwife came back to check me. I was excited. All that work had to pay off! She checked me and looked at me and said, “I’m sorry. You’re still 5 cm.” I thought she was joking. Mrp squeezed my hand. Everyone looked sad. We knew my quest for a natural child birth was over. There was no way I could continue indefinitely without sleeping. I asked the midwife what my options were. We decided morphine sleep was out because it can stop or slow down contractions. She and my doula both said the best thing, if not the only decision left to make, was to get an epidural. This would allow labor to progress but would allow me to sleep. I needed to not impede my labor because it was going VERY slowly (by now I had been in labor for more than 48 hours, with 24 of that very painful). The midwife was concerned that I wasn’t in false labor, but that my contractions were dysfunctional, probably too weak. She thought I’d need pitocin (a drug that induces contractions) to really get things going. So, I decided to get the epidural. It was really an easy decision. I had labored on my own for 2 days! I wasn’t a wuss. I had given it my best shot. How could I have known that my labor would be so unconventional?! I couldn’t help but wonder what the Amish do in this circumstance, though! Would I have been one of those poor saps who dies in childbirth in some slummy tenement if it were 100 years ago? Yeah, the weird sh*t that runs through the mind of a woman in labor.

I have to say the contractions I had after deciding to get the epidural and before I actually got the epidural were the WORST!! There was no longer a point to them. The anesthesiologist finally arrived and did her thing. It was totally gross to feel the needle go in my back! YUCK! But I did it and it eventually felt so good. I felt the warm numbing stuff head down into my legs. I could still move a bit, but I could no longer feel the contractions. Around 1 am, the midwife came back. We decided that before we gave me pitocin to see if breaking my water might get things going. So, the midwife went in to check me one more time and now I was 7 cm!! So, in a half hour I went from 5 to 7! The midwife said that sometimes a woman’s body becomes so exhausted that it impedes progress and that by getting the epidural and relaxing that that probably did the trick. I am really happy that I wasn’t 7 cm when she checked me before the epidural because it would have made my decision to get the epi very difficult. When there was no progress after 6 hours of intense labor there was only one choice. At 7 cm I would have still needed to make the same decision but I think I might have always wondered what would have happened if I just stuck it out (probably would have passed out! Ha!)

As she was checking me though, my water broke on it’s own! It felt like peanut kicked her in the face! There was a pop and then a gush!! It smelled very earthy and weird too. I will never forget the smell. Anyway, with that my contractions were registering more intense so they let me go which meant I got to sleep! Sleep!!!! I slept for 4 hours and then they woke me up to check me. 9.5 cm, baby! I just had a little bit of cervix blocking peanut. The midwife said she’d be back in 2 hours. I tried to sleep but I was so keyed up and by now I could feel my contractions in my back. I was chatty and my doula had to keep reminding me to rest as she massaged my lower back! 2 hours passed and the midwife came back. I was psyched! Soon I’d be pushing, I thought! Of course, guess how far I was dialated. Yep, 9.5. Labor had stalled—again.

So, they brought out the pitocin. They rigged that up and I fell asleep again. The nurse woke me up at noon (it was Friday, Nov 21 now). The midwife came into check me and this time I was 10 cm! It was time to push!!! Pushing was the hardest workout I have ever had! It made me feel really bad that I have always been a bit lax in doing my ab exercises. Never again! With every contraction, I gave it my all and every time the midwife said, “harder, harder, harder!!” I asked, “how do all these wussy girls do this?!” I figured I’d be strong and tough, but this was so insanely difficult and I pictured all those women who never lift a finger and wondered how the hell they managed to do this! The midwife replied, “who do you think is having all those elective c-sections!” Not that having a c-section means anyone’s a wuss, but I can see why a lot of women would need to or opt to have one in the face of how hard pushing is!

After 2 hours! of pushing, we got the bad news that peanut was not even under my pelvis yet. It felt like I had a bowling ball between my legs and I had been pushing so hard that it felt like my eyeballs were going to pop out of my head yet nothing had happened! Again! This time though, there was no easy option. Peanut’s heartrate was starting to spike and we both were becoming feverish. I still hadn’t peed! The midwife brought in the ob’s who counseled me that I may need to get an emergency c-section—after all that! The ob’s watched me push during a contraction and decided that I could do it but that I’d need an episiotomy to get peanut out as soon as possible. Yikes! An episiotomy was the thing I most feared! I said I’d rather get the c-section. My doula held my hand and assured me that I’d rather get the episiotomy. She promised me it would be ok. Mrp held my hand to and encouraged me to trust the doctors, my midwife, and our doula. I asked my midwife to promise me I would tear on top of the episiotomy and she laughed at me. Hey, it doesn’t hurt to ask! So, I kept pushing. And finally, my midwife said, 3 more contractions and you will meet peanut! I gave those all I had. The first one of these three brought the episiotomy. I only know this because mrp’s face became white as a ghost’s! Right after this contraction, "Born to Run" came up on my ipod mix! WIth the second pf these contractions came peanut’s head, face-up! And before the third, my midwife made me give one last push and peanut was out! Suddenly, the mystery of my disfunctional labor was solved. Precious peanut was posterior, or sunny side up. Most babies come out head first but facing down. Since peanut was face up he was not cooperating with my body and wasn't doing his part to move things along. Hence three days! So my little peanut finally was born at 2:44 pm on Friday, November 21 2008 to the crooning of Bruce Springsteen. He was 8 lbs, 5 oz* and 21 inches long.

Anyway, as soon as peanut was out Mrp was crying and I was crying and then he was whisked away by the pediatricians. Nathaniel’s heartrate and temperature were very worrisome, as was the fact that his cord was around his neck twice! Poor baby!! I could hear him screaming and mrp ran over. Then I heard mrp yell, “he squeezed my finger!” Meanwhile, I had a 3rd degree tear on top of the episiotomy and I was now being stitched up which was the worst part of the whole ordeal. I was so mean to the doctors. I kept snapping at them to stop! And then I’d ask if they were almost done. They were great dealing with me! Finally, after 45 minutes I got to meet my baby! What a sweety! I put him on my chest and he found my boob and within a minute he was suckling away like a natural! The ease with which he breastfeeds makes up for the tough labor. It is such a wonderful thing. Ahh… Anyway, mrp and I couldn’t stop staring at him. I took the picture with the little striped hat on with my phone about an hour after he was born.

One by one the nurses left, the ob’s left, the pediatricians left, the midwife left, our doula left and there were mrp and me alone with our little precious peanut. And then he started screaming and mrp and I looked at each other and started laughing hysterically! And then we kissed our little peanut, Nathaniel and he relaxed and there the three of us were: a family.

*He initially weighed in at 7 lbs 14 oz, but once up in the nursery he weighed in at 8 lbs 4 oz. This caused the nurses to check the scale in labor and delivery and sure enough it was miscalibrated and Nathaniel's official birth weight was 8 lbs 5 oz. Still not nearly as big as those pesky ultrasounds suggested!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Walking

So yeah, still no birth story. This week. I promise!! Instead of writing that I have actually been working out. I am honestly shocked I have felt good enough to do anything already, but I'm very happy about it and of course taking it it very easy and going about my transition back into a runner very slowly.

On the Saturday after Thanksgiving we took Nathaniel for his first walk outside. It was in the high 40's and sunny. We bundled him up and walked about a mile in an hour. I had to move very slowly as all my muscles were still quite weak. Plus, we ran into a bunch of our neighbors who insisted on stopping us to admire the baby. It's so nice how many people are almost as happy for us as we are!

After that first walk, I was not very hopeful about getting back to exercising any time soon, but much to my surprise I have been feeling exponentially better every day. On Monday I vacuumed two rooms and did a circuit of lunges, calf raises, crunches and push-ups. On Tuesday I felt good enough to get in a walk on the treadmill. I walked 1.5 miles in about 1/2 an hour. On Wednesday it was in the 40's again so I took Nathaniel out for a walk and we made it about 1.5 miles. Then I did 1.75 miles on Thursday. I took Friday off and then this weekend I walked 2.1 miles on Saturday and 2.5 today. Every day I've done my circuits too except I only got crunches and push-ups in yesterday but I did do my full stretching routine for the first time in months! I am starting to think I might try to incorporate a little running in a week. I have no reason to push it (other than being a bit antsy to get back to my prepregnancy weight!) so I'll just go day by day with how I feel.

Uh oh! Somebody's hungry!! Here are some more pics from our first walk.




Friday, November 28, 2008

What a Week!

Wow! What a week! On Nov. 18 I looked like this and now that belly is much smaller and peanut is on the outside! I am finally able to get two free hands and a few seconds to update this here blog. A week after his arrival, things with Nathaniel are going so so well! Labor and delivery were very tough and was much different than any of us anticipated. I am planning to write a detailed birth story very soon, but in the meantime I can just sum it up and say that due to a stubborn peanut my labor was very very long and I had to go to plan B, C and D. I have had a bit more to recover from than I anticipated, but a week later I am feeling much stronger and can see a light at the end of the tunnel and I'm sure I'll be up and running soon. Not too soon, but soon. In the meantime, I am loving my new role as a milk-machine.

Here are some more pictures of my little nut!

Friday, November 21, 2008

He's HERE!!

Baby Peanut has arrived.

Nathaniel Louis was born today at 2:44 - Mom Dad, and baby are all
doing well. He was 8 pounds 5 ounces and 21 inches long.
I haven't seen him yet but will heading up to the hospital in a bit and
will take some pictures. For those of you on facebook stay tuned.


-Salty's Mom

(posted by Auntie Adventurous, with much excitement!!)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Peanut is on his way!

Hi blog readers and fellow Salty advocates! Miss Adventurous here, guest posting on behalf of my big sister and Mrp to let you know that Peanut is on the move. According to our mom, Salty went into the hospital at about 3:00 this morning and then they sent her home around 7:30. Still, we definitely think he's en route!

More updates to come!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Latent Stage of Labor

* I am in labor. Whoa! Don't get too excited! According to my doula, I am in what is called the latent stage of labor. I have been having contractions since yesterday afternoon and they were consistently 7:00 apart and getting pretty intense. However, they since spaced out to 9:00 apart and are now irregular in both intervals and intensity. Last night they got so intense I had to hum to get through them. Those suckers can hurt! Hopefully, they're getting things moving so I can progress into active labor soon. Although, don't get your hopes up. The ol' doula says the latent stage of labor can drag out for 2-3 days! On the other hand, the contactions can pick up into active labor at any time too. So I have gone from one sort of waiting game to another, similar although slightly different waiting game complete with cramps!

*A photo of me getting ready to handle one of those nastier contactions. Ok, not really. But isn't harmonica guy cute?!

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Athletics of Childbirth

Still pregnant! Mrp's prediction was that we'd have peanut today. It's not looking good. I now realize my body is one that needs a long wind up. All that stuff I started experiencing 10 days ago, while they can be a sign that labor is just a day or so away, aren't necessarily that. My body needs a nice long warm-up before it gets going. And I'm ok with that.

What worries me though is that peanut is still measuring pretty big. With each passing day now, the risk for complications with birth go up. Of course, these risks aren't super-duper high--peanut is not going to be 12 lbs or anything like that! But it does worry me because I am hoping for a natural, med-free child birth. But as my midwife has told me, some woman have a horrible time giving birth to a 6 lb baby and others have a super easy time with a 10 pounder. We can only do what we can do and hope for the best.

And this leads me to what mrp and I have done to create the best possible chance for us to have a natural med-free childbirth.

1. Read a lot! As soon as I found out I was pregnant I started to read books about childbirth. One I really liked (although it might be a bit heavy-handed for some) was the Birth Book by Dr. William Sears. I educated myself about the pros and cons of all procedures and concluded for us, the best would be to go natural and med-free. We believe it is not only what's best for both mom and baby physically (all drugs have side effects!), but was also both something I could probably handle and something I think I would really enjoy. Obviously, I won't enjoy it like an ice cream sundae (heh!), but I look forward to pushing through just like with running. I honestly feel that if I can get through a birth unmedicated I will be both a better tougher runner and a better tougher person in general!

2. Signed up for Bradley Class. Once mrp and I decided to go for a natural birth, we looked into various coping strategies. I'm sure you've all heard of Lamaze--you know, do weird breathing exercises to cope with the pain of contractions. Lamaze wasn't for us, but the Bradeley Method was. And here's why: Bradley treats birth as an athletic event and trains the dad to coach mom through it. Perfect! Mrp's the coach and I'm the athlete! Bradley focuses on good prenatal nutrition, prenatal exercises to get all those birthing muscles engaged, and relaxation. In fact, relaxation is probably the thing Bradley stresses the most. So mrp has been trained for 12 weeks on how to help me relax. And for me, this is invaluable. I have never ever been more relaxed in all my life than the last couple of weeks and mrp and I have learned so much about how to help me cope with stress in general. Plus, it's just been so much fun to learn about everything pregnancy, labor, and delivery together. The Bradley classes facilitated so much more togetherness through this whole process.

3. Hired a Doula. A Doula is a labor assistant. She is there to help you cope through labor and to advocate for you with the hospital, ob or midwife. Our doula just happens to also be our Bradley instructor and we love her. It will be so nice to have her there to remind us how to put all our Bradley training into action. It will also be invaluable to have her if a natural birth becomes impossible. She will both help us know when this is the case and will help us cope with whatever alternative we must pursue.

4. Drafted a Birth Plan. Mrp and I wrote up our wishlist for our birth. We made sure to communicate our open-mindedness, that if we had to do something we rather not do to protect the health of me or peanut we would gladly do it. But it is a nice reference point for the hospital staff and our doula. Here is a link to an early draft of our birth plan.

So we've done our part. Now it's up to peanut, really. Can't wait to put all this training to good use!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Take Me Away: Zen and the Art of Waiting for Baby

* Hmmm. What is going on? I feel totally normal today. Well, not totally normal, but relative to yesterday normal, I guess. Yesterday I felt crampy all day and I had so much pressure in my lower back and deep in my pelvis. When mrp and I were walking to the car I felt like I had one loooooong contractions all the way there. I was pretty miserable. But after dinner last night I took a long hot bath and turned the jets on full boar. It felt so good and was so relaxing. I realized then and there that I was doing precisely what I didn't want to do.

And what would that be? Obsessing and micromanaging and trying to make something happen. I couldn't help to think back to the whole marathon/stress thing. One can run a marathon and trust her body to do what it has trained to do and let it dictate how things go. Or one can stress and tense up and obsess over splits and water and gu and every little thing. What if a contraction I feel turns into labor? Obsessing about it now won't change anything. And really, the liklihood is it's not labor. So I should assume that at first. I'll only be wrong once, as mrp pointed out to me when we were chatting about this this morning. If it is labor, labor will show itself eventually. I should save my energy and just let it happen. And if it's not labor, so what? My body is prepping and getting ready for labor and I should use these non-labor contractions as a learning opportunity.

Over the last few days I felt myself falling into this pattern of thinking: if I don't go soon I don't know what I'll do! Having the baby asap = good. Having to wait a few days, a week or two = bad (and worse as you go down that line!) This is not unlike the pre-marathon thinking process. Running goal time = good. Running anything slower than my goaltime no matter what = bad. And it's not just good or bad, it's about self-worth: I am good if I have the baby tomorrow or run my goal time, but there is something wrong with me if I have the baby in two weeks or if I run slower than I wanted to. But really, is it? Of course not. Just like every race, particularly a disappointing one, offers up an opportunity to learn and grow as a runner, every extra day I have before peanut's arrival is an opportunity to savor the just the two of us with mrp and being able to do things on my own time. Don't get me wrong. I am so unbelievably excited to meet my son and squeeze the chubby little legs that have been kicking me relentlessly over the weeks. I can't wait to kiss those chubby cheeks and blow on that belly and dance in my living room with him in my arms. Ahh, I say I cannot wait. But that is just a figure of speech. I can wait and I can do it happily.

If you haven't done so, please enter our contest and take a stab at guessing peanut's birthday and birth weight!

* For some reason, every now and then work allows me to access blogger. I am taking advantage of it and drafting a normal non-e-mail post! Hopefully, this is not an IT Department/Big Brother trap to see what hellions dare blog at work!

Monday, November 10, 2008

We're Getting Closer

I have had some labor false alarms the last couple of days. And this comes after experiencing just about every prelabor sign and symptom (I won't get into those finer details here as it is a running blog and not a place you would normally expect to read about bodily fluids--yummy!) Even so, my own personal prediction is that I am going to deliver peanut on Thursday the thirteenth at 38 weeks and he will weigh 9 lbs 6 oz. Mrp thinks he will come next Monday the seventeenth and weigh 10 lbs 1 oz. Feel free to leave a prediction in the comments. If I get inspired and not overwhelmed in the coming days perhaps whoever is closest will win a prize! How's that for a commitment? Heh.

I am trying to not get my hopes up and relax and expect labor to start sometime within the next 2.5 weeks rather than the next 2.5 hours. It's hard when your body teases you, though. I woke up this morning at 4 a.m. with serious contractions that came 7-8 minutes apart for 2 hours. Mrp woke up at 6 and I told him. Then I did not have another contraction for over an hour!! And since then any I have had have been weak and very irregular. Damn! I thought maybe we actually would have peanut on our first anniversary (which is today! Happy Anniversary Mrp!), but now I am sitting in my office at work so I think that that won't happen. Lots about pregnancy and childbirth is like running, but this waiting has no running parallel. It's like planning a taper, but not knowing when the marathon is. Yeah. It makes you crazy!!

UPDATE: My sister, Auntie Miss A. will gladly handle contests. She promises a special prize to whoever most closely guesses her new nephew's birthday and birth weight!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

On the Happy Side of History


I walked up the driveway all smiles with the literature in hand.  A man waited for me next to a red work truck.  "I might as well hand this to you since you're here," I said.  He was smiling, until he saw what I was handing to him that is. Then he looked at me with anger in his eyes and sharply said, "I don't live here and you definitely don't want to give that to me."   I felt that if I wasn't pregnant to the point of almost bursting that he would have snapped my head off!

On Monday, my mom, grandma and I canvassed my neighborhood for the Obama campaign.  We went around hanging voter information on supporter's doors.  I was so heartened to see how many Obama supporters were in my neighborhood! Most people weren't home, but occasionally we came upon someone raking leaves, just leaving to run errands, or an errant workman hanging out in a driveway.  For the record, that was the only guy who gave us anything even resembling grief.  What struck me about him was how angry he was.  My mom, grandma, and I were so happy and smiling to be there and he seemed so bitter.  I couldn't help but be reminded of this moment as I watched the crying, cheering, hugging mass in Grant Park last night and heard the boos and hisses coming out of the crowd when McCain was giving his concession speech.  This time, I am happy to be on the happy side of things.  I know how upset I was 4 years ago, after campaigning for John Kerry and seeing him go down in such a close election decided mainly by the failure of my state to turn blue.  I came around and I hope those disappointed by last night's results do this time around.

But I am especially happy that peanut is on the happy side of things.  How cool is it that I can tell peanut about the Monday before election day when he in his momma's belly  walked around his neighborhood with his grandmother and great grandmother encouraging his neighbors to vote for Barack Obama.  Even little peanut has a part in history.    

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Kink


Oh great.  I have the worst kink in my neck.  I rolled over last night in the middle of the night and felt something pull but dismissed it.  When I woke up I was in agony!!  I can't turn my head or move my arm all the way without pain.  And of course I can't take anything for it either!! I brought 2 hand towels and a bath towel that I could make into a warm compress here at work but I haven't mustered up the guts or the energy to nuke my towel in the break room. I really don't want to have to explain what it is that I'm doing. Heh. Hopefully when I work out in an hour or so that will help.

Speaking of working out... I think running is definitely for sure done until peanut arrives.  I know I keep threatening this, but this time it's true. I ran 7 miles two weeks ago, .25 miles last week, and 0 so far this week. Besides my legs, peanut is low and sitting on my bladder now and as you've seen I am really big now and feeling too awkward to safely stay on the treadmill if it's going over 4 mph! However, I've still been getting in about 5 workouts a week. I have been getting great 45-50 minute workouts in on the eliptical when I can get down to the gym at work and hilly power walks on my treadmill in my basement.  I've also managed to work in a couple of really nice hikes at my favorite park.  

And speaking of really nice hikes at my favorite park... On Saturday I am going to almost go for a run with almost every one I have run with since I've been pregnant with, only they will all run while I walk and then we are going to meet up for breakfast afterwards.  I am so excited!  I have missed all of them since I slowed way down and now stopped running all together and I cannot tell them how appreciative I am for their company and support over the months! I am one lucky lady!!  This will probably be the last time I see them before peanut and next time I see them they'll each get to meet the little guy! How exciting!!  

And speaking of getting to meet the little guy... 36 weeks today!


Monday, October 27, 2008

Lightening


Towards the end of some pregnancies, momma experiences something called lightening.  What this means is that baby hunkers down into the pelvis to get ready for his houdini like exit from the womb.  Yesterday, peanut dropped! I had a busy morning and early afternoon and I came home pooped.  I crawled into bed for a nap and noticed my pubic bone ached something fierce.  I adjusted my postion and snoozed deeply until the alarm woke up (stupid stupid alarm!)  I had the hardest time prying myself out of bed, but I finally did and I just felt terrible.  I started the rest of my chores anyway.  Mrp came home and I told him how I was feeling and suddenly I realized--I can breathe! Mrp took a look and wasn't convinced.  He has me lift up my t-shirt.  "Hmmm. Maybe!" he said.  My belly button is now turned slightly downward and my belly is much fuller lower.  I still have my basketball but it's not as big looking.  I am so glad I got that photo (http://notpeppery.blogspot.com/2008/10/happy-birthday-mrp.html) at the height of my hugeness!  

 Anyway, the whole this is weird though because I was having tons of Braxton Hicks all day and I felt nauseous.  I think maybe the nausea is there to make me hungry again because I was having a hard time eating with peanut all up in my stomach before.  I am not sure if I'd prefer the heart burn to the nausea.  Tough call!  But now I am exchanging my breathlessness and heartburn with constant pelvic pressure and more Braxton Hicks.  And the swelling isn't getting any better so I think running is pretty much out of the question until after peanut's arrival.  My left hand looks like a catcher's mitt.

Last night this big change got me really nervous that maybe peanut will come really really early.  I was up for two hours with anxiety about going into labor last night!  However, I read up on it and it sounds like it usually indicates weeks to go not minutes so I should be safe today. Phew!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Happy Birthday Mrp!

What a difference a birthday makes!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Swing State


So today I put my Obama magnet on my car.  It's parked at the park n' ride.  We'll see if the magnet is still on my car this evening. I thought of taking it off and stuffing it in my purse when I parked my car anywhere, but why pass up an opportunity to wage a social experiment?  I totally expect it to be stolen, but how long will it take? Where will it happen?  In other poltical news, my mother, grandmother and I are going campaigning for Obama together on Nov 3.  It will more or less be 4 generations campaigning together! I am not quite sure what they will have us do.  I'll let you know! I would like to do something fun, but I will just be happy to get out and do something and take advantage of living in a swing state.

In peanut news, peanut is still a gigantic fetus.  Yesterday, my midwife did something called palpating, which is just a fancy way of saying she poked around my belly to guage the position and size of the baby.  She agrees: he's a big kid! As a result, the consensus seems to be that he will come early.  So we're looking at more like 3 weeks to go than 5.  Yikes!  I am so excited to meet peanut so that works for me. Plus, as selfish as this is that means I get to get back to running two weeks sooner! Can't wait! Although, I have a lot going on between now and getting back to running!  And of course now that my hopes are all up that he'll be here in 3 weeks, he'll be two weeks late.  The thought of going late is really really unappealling! So, come soon peanut!

Also, peanut is still riding high and now that my uterus is big (measuring at 37 weeks!) I cannot breath and I have constant heartburn.  Seriously, sometimes I worry he will kick me in the face!  Haha. It's not that bad, but it's pretty bad! It stinks to be short!  I kind of hope that when he drops (and that's going to be soon, right little buddy!?) that might also relieve some of the blood flow issues in my legs and I might get a run or two in before he arrives.

In mrp news, he took all of last week off from running, but he has actually run every day so far this week.  He's been talking about running a fall marathon next year. I hope he does.  He seems to be putting the experience in perspective and looking to move on.  I think there are more mrp marathons to come!

So that's what's going on over here. Everything very exciting, though nothing all that new and exciting.  Just generally exciting!



Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Nuts


I have turned into a chipmunk! I am one messy disorganized person normally, but lately I am a freak about organizing closets and my files at work and making sure I have enough of everything in the house. I am obsessed with the notion of "just in case."  Hormones! Mrp is in heaven as normally he has to bribe me to do any real cleaning or organizing.  And for whatever reason I'm actually enjoying tasks like sorting through my old clothes and refiling files at work. Hopefully, some of these hormones will stick around after eviction day.

Unfortunately, running isn't going so well.  My lower legs flood with lactic acid when I run anymore and it hurts so much running just isn't enjoyable.  Add in the bladder, the round ligament pain, etc and it just isn't happening.  I only managed 7 total miles last week running. Today I ran .25 miles while I waited for an eliptical and I have to admit I was completely excited when one finally freed up and I could end the misery in my poor legs.  Elipticalling is proving a great workout.  I feel great doing it and I can keep my heartrate up without a break for 45 minutes to an hour.  And when I need an outside fix I can get in a good hilly hike at my favorite park, so all is not lost.   It's not the aerobic exercise. Sadly, it's just running.  But with 5 weeks to my due date, I might be able to run again in just 8 weeks.  I won't push anything and will take my time getting back to it, but knowing how soon I could be back out there makes me feel better about not running now.   But I will keep up the exercise and I am not ruling out running anymore (who knows, maybe my legs will work themselves out before the big day and I'll get a few more miles in.)  I think about it and I can get plenty out of shape in 5 weeks and I want to be in good aerobic shape for labor and recovery. And not gaining extra weight that I'll need to take off will be an added bonus. So I will keep at it until the end!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Crisp Fall Days


So this weekend was perfect marathoning weather! As I walked in the park with my buddy E it reminded me of my first marathon.  I remembered my last run before the big day, winding comfortably down my street decked out in glorious fall colors feeling nervous and hopeful.  I remembered lining up on Sunday morning in shorts, a singlet, and those green gloves freezing my tush off!  And I remember the sun shining down as I made my way to mile 24, 25, 26 and finally made the turn to see that I was indeed going to meet my goal time.  So much better than worrying about Nor'Easters and then moderate heat and wind.

I think back to my last two marathons and the problems I ran into and now at least a year later I realize what the problem was.   I was a ball of tension, worrying about this and that and not hopeful, excited and looking forward to the miles ahead. These past few months of forced rest from training have made me understand just how important the enjoyment of racing is to the racing experience.  I can be super fit and my body can be completely capable of my goal time, but it ain't happening if I am freaked out and worried.  I was sitting in childbirth class a couple of weeks ago and our instructor said the key to a positive natual labor is to relax and let your body do what it was made to do.  Doesn't this just make sense? In my first marathon I was over a minute of goal pace at the half.  But I didn't care. I trusted myself.  I believed I had the ability to do it and I was happy enough to give it my best shot.  I understood that it didn't mean I was a bad person or an intrinsically bad runner if I didn't quite make it.  I ran within myself.  

I remember reading Shalane Flanagan talking about running within herself sometime during the summer and I wondered what the heck she meant.  Looking back I see it's based on running self-esteem.  It can only happen when you have nothing to prove about yourself through running. When you have faith in your training, your dedication, and your mind and body.  When you know you'll do your best and that's good enough.  And by good enough, I don't mean you're settling. You just know that that is always the best you can do and you are satisfied with it.  You understand that there is no magic gu to water to gatorade combo that will achieve your goal or some magic pace to run any particular mile to achieve your goal.  To achieve your goal, you get out there and let your body do what it was meant to do and to do its best with what you're given.  

Thursday, October 16, 2008

All Good People Have Bad Days


So mrp's marathon didn't go quite as planned.  It all goes back to the spring.  After we found out I was pregnant, mrp decided that this would be a good opportunity for him to make another crack at the marathon.  You see, when I met mrp he was a pretty serious runner.  He started running right after college and slowly and methodically improved from a 3:48 to a 2:48 marathoner over the years.  Mrp's a different runner than I am.  I am type A work hard get it now kind of person. I am much more intense about my running.  Mrp on the other hand is very intense in his every day life but uses running as his undisciplined time.  He's more disciplined than probably most people with his running but he's less disciplined about it than other areas of his life.  Also, he is not intensely competitive as some people we know (and love!) around these parts.  However, he still takes pride in his running and the improvements he has made, as he should.

Anyway, when we first met (well, it was the second time but that's a looooong story for another time), mrp was in the midst of his most intense training cycle ever.  He was running well over 100 miles per week.  However, he also worked two jobs and lived about 40 miles away from me.  After I entered the picture mrp suddenly had much less time on his hands.  Yet, he attempted to do everything. By the time his fall marathon came to pass, he was in the best shape of his life but pretty much suffering from overtraining syndrome.  He still ran a 2:48 on a hot day in New York, but it definitely did not reflect what he was capable of.  After New York, mrp was way burned out.  He needed a break.  I don't think he really raced for more than an entire year after that.  In the meantime, I started training myself.  I think it helped mrp to live vicariously through me as he tended to his own recovery.    I ran my first marathon and qualified for Boston.  I think this helped mrp catch the bug again.  We planned our trip for the following spring.  Mrp didn't train very hard.  He peaked around 80 miles per week with a tempo and a long run.  The winter that year was really brutal so we did what we could.  Even so, he pretty easily ran a 2:49 on a day when many others suffered at the hands of the Nor'Easter (me included!).  

After Boston, mrp was pretty much done for the year as he helped me focus on another fall marathon.  He continued to run moderate mileage including many a long run and tempo with me.  But with our wedding in the fall, our house and our jobs it was just a bit much for us both to dedicate an entire season to training.  So, he made the sacrifice.  After my fall marathon we figured mrp would train for a spring marathon.  Well, that didn't happen and at the end of February, mrp decided to register for Chicago.  A week later we discovered I was pregnant.  So, it was fitting that mrp train for 6 months to get in a solid marathon before the baby came and our lives probably wouldn't permit serious training.  

He started off well.  He was working on building up his mileage and we anticipated him going back to those 100+ mile weeks.  However, before that could happen. Wham! We were in a car accident.  Besides being hurt and worrying about the baby, we now had yet another thing sucking away our time: dealing with insurance companies and body shops and car rental agencies, etc.  That was it for mrp.  He just couldn't do it.  He gave up training for a couple of months.  He still ran, but did no workouts. No long runs.  He'd skip days at a time. Then at the end of July we ran one our favorite local races and mrp ran a 5 miler 3 minutes slower than his pr.  We crunched the numbers and figured with 2.5 months he could get in decent enough shape to salvage Chicago.  However, those 100+ weeks just weren't going to happen.  With peanut's arrival becoming more and more imminent, mrp just couldn't sacrifice the time to run twice a day our outside of his lunch hour on most days.  So we worked out a plan and we'd see what happened.  Mrp peaked at just 75 miles per week.  At first he was doing long 10k reps, a long tempo, and a long run. This worked well for mrp.  Within a month he ran a 10 mile race almost at the same pace as the 5 miler in July.  Then 3 weeks after that he ran a half-marathon at a slightly faster pace than the 5 miler.  Things were looking good.  After the half, we switched to two longer workouts a week:  one 14-16 miler and one 18+ miler.  The first including 6-8 miles at half-marathon pace and the latter including up to 12 at marathon pace.   We decided he shouldn't do much of a taper since he wasn't beat up and his mileage was never high.  The week before the marathon he ran about 60 and the week of he ran about 35 before the marathon and 60 with.  

If you can't tell mrp was conflicted about the whole thing.  He felt more devoted to baby preparations and stuff like that than running, but he wanted to train too. He was torn.  Even on our way to Chicago he said he didn't want to go.  But there he was driving us and worried about whether we had enough gatorade.  And when we were in Chicago I think he was less worried about getting himself ready for the race and more worried about whether I was ok.  It's hard to let an 8+ month pregnant woman self-sacrifice and tend to your needs! But we managed pretty well. We got him loaded up with food and liquids and to bed early. We talked about heat strategy--see how you feel we decided.  But even as prepared as we were, he still had doubts and he still expressed apprenhension about the whole thing as we waited for our cab to the starting area.  It was already warm.  We knew it wouldn't be the best day for a good time.  But maybe, he could still pull it out.  

After sitting around together for a while and pinning numbers on and lubing up with body glide and making fun of the way I felt not racing--it's like being the only sober person at the part--I finally left mrp to the crowd of runners to make my way to my spectator vantage point up north.  At a minute before 8:00 the gun sounded and mrp was off.  And he felt it.  He said from the gun he just didn't feel right.  And then his garmin crapped out under the tunnels during the first couple of miles.  He didn't know what pace he was running.  All the way at the half he didn't know.  He was surprised that he ran a 1:27 and change half.  He was hoping for a 1:24.  So by this time he was hot and conflicted and irritated and now disappointed.  And then he forgot the clocks were posting a time linked to the start of the elite race, so he thought the clock said he was running 5:00 slower than he actually was.  He said during the last few miles he thought he wasn't even going to break 3 hours!  And as the race wore on and it got hotter he didn't have the fight in him to go after the time he was capable of.  He could have run 3-5 minutes faster at that point, but why?

He finally made it the finish in 2:57:00.  His worst marathon in more than 5 years! I reminded him how lucky he's been to not have had a bad race in so long.  But it's not much consolation.  He knows he didn't really put in the work to feel entitled to a faster time, but at the same time it sucks. Right now he's wondering is this something to avenge or a sign to hang up the racing flats.  I so hope it's the first choice!

Despite the disappointing race, we did have a super fun time on our whirlwind trip to Chicago.  We stayed in the seedy Howard Johnson.  It was such a throwback and the bed wasn't nearly as uncomfortably as I originally feared.  I forgot to get pictures of the place.  Seriously. It's the essence of 60's motor hotels.  You have to stay there sometime! We had fun riding the school bus to the expo.  We had fun making fun of people at the expo.  We saw Ryan Hall and Brian Sell at the expo and hoarded yummy samples at the expo.  Although, would you believe the Chicago marathon expo did not have nip-guards? Very odd.   I ate Chicago style cheese in a bread bowl pizza while mrp ate spaghetti.  We ate breakfast at the Hojo diner before leaving the city  which was just more throwback awesomeness.  On our way home we stopped at the Indiana Dunes State Park which was lovely.  We even waded in the lake--in October! The sand felt so good on our feet and the cool water felt so good on our tired legs--my legs felt like they ran a marathon too from running around to 4 different spots along the course to see mrp and one loooooong walk from mile 25 to the finish line.  And then we stopped in some scary town and went to a scary Wendy's and laughed at the scariness and then we sang songs along the dark highway as peanut danced along in my belly and finally, finally! At midnight on Sunday we pulled in the driveway and headed straight for bed!  And that, my friends, was our trip to Chicago.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Cankles!


I have cankles! My feet and ankles have been puffy since Sunday.  I totally believe it's because I haven't run or worked out since Friday.  Maybe I'm nuts but I think the blood flow and the sweating from regular exericise has helped me avoid such horrible side-effects until now.  That's it! I'm working out today no matter what.  Luckily I have a date with my pregnant buddy *M* (trainingtotri.blogspot.com) to "run" at the park tonight. It might be more walk than run but I don't care.  I have to do something. Cankles are unacceptable!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Still Running...Somehow!

I was doing so good there for a week or so, but I've been a bad bad blogger again. There are so many posts I want to write: second trimester recap, pregnancy and running resource review, among others. But alas I have been feeling very lazy.

Perhaps it is because I am carrying a giant baby. According to the doctors, as of 32 weeks peanut is in the 96th percentile for growth. This means he's about 6-7 lbs now with 6 weeks to go! Check out those cheeks! And I am massive. I look only slightly chunkier in the rest of my body, but my belly is out of control gigantic! It is making me slow and awkward. When I see it I am shocked though, because while I do feel pregnant and big I don't feel THAT pregnant and big. Maybe I just expected a lot worse? Who knows. I am glad I feel relatively good.

The bigness has gotten to me as far as running goes though. It has been really tough since the relay to get out there. I cannot stand the idea of 6 more weeks of sloth though so I am going to keep at it, but it's just not anything I'd call enjoyable most days. I am lucky to get through 4 miles at around 10:40 pace stopping twice. That's a good run these days. When I run my lower legs burn and hurt, probably from the extra weight, the crazy weird stride I'm sporting lately, and I'm sure the general swelling I've been experiencing lately doesn't help either. If I stand for more than 1/2 an hour at a time, my feet hurt like crazy so I'm not sure it's just a running thing. *

Also, I have finally been experiencing the dreaded round ligament pain. This is when the ligaments supporting the uterus are strained. I really never had it until about a week ago. People always asked if I needed a brace for my bellt when I run and I just never did. The pain is just occasional so I still am not going to get a brace, but now I know the appeal.

The last thing that I am not experiencing that is making running difficult is the whole bladder thing. Sometimes I'll stop to pee midrun only to still need to pee as soon as I start up again! It's so annoying! Peanut's head down and sometimes he just likes to snuggle up to my bladder or something. Who knows. This is also not an all the time thing so, I can deal. But it does add to the laundry list of reasons I have to sometimes force myself to do something I used to be dying to do all the time.

Wow. I sound whiny

I have readjusted my goals on any given week. I just want to get out to exerice 5 times a week, whether running, elipticaling, or even walking. I don't care. I just can't stand the idea of doing nothing for over a month and I know as soon as I slack I'm down for the count. So, I will soldier on.

*Please ignore the ugly squinty look on my face and enjoy the beautiful scenery of Indiana Dunes State Park. We stopped on our way back from Chicago. Yeah, I'll write about that soon! Swear!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Running and Pregnancy Blogs and Resources


Hi all! I would like to compile a list of pregnancy and running blogs and resources.  If you know of any good blogs or have found a resource on the issue helpful, please post a link in the comments.  

Thanks!

I'm a Huge Geek!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Speed Bumps Finish in 3:57!

So the relay was perfect! We had a beautiful day and we must have all felt good because we easily cruised to a 3:57 marathon! Not bad for 5 pregnant chicks! Mrp and I left the house at 6AM. I could not psychologically leave earlier. I just couldn't. We made it down to Akron just in time to park and see *VB* cruise by shortly after the start. Mrp and I then waited around and watched the USATF women's 8k championship start. That was cool. But they made me feel obese! Seriously, I am like 3 of one of those women right now! I walked with mrp back to the car to drop off our stuff and then I gave him a kiss and sent him on his way for his own 20 miler. I started to make my way to the shuttle to my relay checkpoint.

It was a little sketchy out there, it was still dusky out and there weren't very many people other than a few bums. There I was all alone, 7.5 months pregnant in my short little running skirt and pony tail and bag full of snacks to keep peanut satiated. It seemed to be many blocks before I finally found some race volunteers. I asked one where the shuttle was. He said it was about another 5 or 6 blocks down the street. And then he said, "but you can't walk that far. Let me get someone to get you a ride." I laughed and replied, "Um, I'm about to run 7.6 miles. I can handle it." And with that I broke down and jogged the few blocks to the shuttle and then I was on my way.

I made it to my checkpoint and looked for a comfy place to sit. I had at least an hour to wait. I felt so conspicuous. Weirdly conspicuous with my big belly in my racing clothes. I felt like some sort of novelty act. Although, I remembered how I injected myself into the scenario! Most people were afraid to comment, but I could tell they wanted to. A bunch of people recognized the Speed Bumps and were super cute and excited to see me. I heard others whisper to the person standing next to them about the story they read in the paper of saw on tv. After working my way through the crowd I spied an open curb which was perfect for sitting, so I plopped myself down and settled in. A few minutes later a lady came up to me and introduced herself as *KB*'s mom. *KB* is the Speed Bump who ran leg 4 and she would be handing off to me. *KB*'s mom hung out with me and chatted and cheered on runners with me the whole time I waited. It was fun! Finally it was getting to be about that time so I found the area where I needed to stand to take the hand off. About 10 minutes later, about a minute or 2 after I saw the 4 hour pace group go by, they called our number and I saw *KB* cruising my way. I was so happy to see her and share the moment. My heart was racing and I just felt a wave of excitement as I grabbed the bracelet and took off. Peanut must have thought I was a big cheesy dork!

I quickly found a rhythm and came upon a full marathoner who recognized me as a Speed Bump. We started chatting and he asked me what our goal was. I told him I just wanted to eek under 4 hours. He responded that due to the hills coming up that probably wasn't happening. I said, "For you? I think it's definitely within reach for me!" Of course, I could hear mrp in the back of my head scolding me for pushing myself and I reiterated my plan to myself that I would not push it just to make this goal if I didn't feel up to it, but heck if I did I was going to go for it! Unfortunately, the line for the restroom at the checkpoint was insane so I REALLY had to pee. I HAD to stop at the first porta-potty I saw. I ditched the dude and waited in line to pee. It didn't take too long--maybe a minute? Two at most. It was SO worth it. I have never ever had to stop to use a porta-potty mid-race, but when you have to go THAT bad, it's a good idea!

When I rejoined the race I found my rhythm again quickly and this time I was running next to a woman from Atlanta. She was hoping to break 4:00 or at least better her 4:05 pr. We ran together for about 2 miles and she was really seeming strong! Then we came to a pretty decent hill and I told her to go ahead and I'd meet her at the top. But then at the top she had stopped to take a gu at the water stop and I passed her and didn't see her again until the finish. She ended up running a 4:01:02 so she came close and got a nice pr. Congrats!!! After hill I was feeling really good. It felt like the rest of the race I just cruised along. Mrp didn't want me to wear a watch so I'd be less likely to focus on pace and more likely to focus on how I was feeling. This was smart. I think I would have been more likely to worry I was going too slow to break 4 hours at this point if I knew what my pace was, but without knowing I felt more confident and knew if I was patient and continued to feel good I totally could do it!

I made it to the point where I picked up my friend Evie last year to run with her for a couple of miles as she finished the full marathon (see the post from last year here: http://notpeppery.blogspot.com/2007/09/smiles.html). I was really looking forward to this section because it was familiar and to kind of try it out to see if maybe I'd like to do the full Akron marathon next year. I have to say it felt good and if I am able to run a full next year, this will be at the top of my list! Anyway, I made my way along and around the 24 mile marker a motorcycle with a camera guy pulled up next to me and chatted with me while they filmed me running. I was definitely enjoying the celebrity treatment! They rode along side me for about a mile and almost as soon as they left I spotted the 4:00 pacer directly ahead!

I didn't even have to push it, I just cruised right on by. It felt great! With about a mile to go mrp was waiting for me and he jogged along with me. He was proud of me for keeping it relaxed and taking it easy. That made me so happy! I was so worried about overdoing it in some way that it just meant a lot that I got mrp's stamp of approval! Finally with about a 1/2 mile to go I started to feel pretty tired, but it was awesome to say by to mrp as I ran down into the Minor League ballpark. I heard friends screaming my name as I ran towards the finish. I was so happy as the clock was ticking down the seconds past 3:58. I crossed the finish around 3:59:00 and was so immensely proud of my team! And there they were waiting for me at the finish! It was better than I ever could have imagined! Thanks *VB*, *MN*, *KP*, and *KB*!

I know you want pictures and as soon as I have them I'll post away! In the meantime, thanks for everyone's support and help finding and naming my relay team! I couldn't have done it without you! (I think this celebrity stuff is getting to my head. I am starting to sound like Miss America! I'll be back to my average everyday self soon. Promise!)

Friday, September 26, 2008


Peanut Pranks

Since about the halfway point of my pregnancy I have been feeling really great. I could still do just about everything I did before I got pregnant except maybe stay on my feet for long periods of time. move heavy stuff, and I generally needed to go to bed a little earlier.  Otherwise, wow! Pregnancy was great!  So when we signed up for our relay I was very confident that I could easily complete the 7.6 mile last leg.  Last Sunday sealed the deal when I ran 8 comfortably averaging 9:52 pace. So I thought.

Then Tuesday rolled around.   I was ok most of the day. I ran 4.5 miles at lunch.  But then as I was getting off the bus to go home, I could hardly stand up! I was in a lot of pain. Sweet little peanut had parked himself in a very unfortunate spot. I was in agony all evening.  I tried pelvic rocks to no avail. I laid down. Nothing. I gave up and went to bed. Unfortunately, every time I rolled over I'd wake to sharp pains. It was not a very good night's sleep! This continued through Wednesday, but was a little better.  Maybe I just adapted? I ran 3 miles on the treadmill but had to stop every mile to go to the bathroom.  Peanut was just putting a lot of pressure down low and it made me feel like I constantly had to go and I could only stand it for 10 minute bursts. Yesterday it was better still, but I remained uncomfortable much of the time.  I had a really nice 5.5 miles run in beautiful weather with a co-worker.  It gave me confidence, that even with peanut in the bad spot I could still finish my relay leg.  Well, I woke up today and peanut must have moved because I feel back to normal!! Yeah!  Thank you peanut! I am going to go for a 3 mile walk during my lunch hour just to get out and move my legs, but otherwise peanut and I are ready to roll right now.

And all five Speed Bumps are ready too.  Our team has our shirts (mine still fits!) and we're going to get our race packets tonight.  I am so excited to see this plan actually come into fruition and with such a wonderful group of women! All 4 of my teammates are wonderful and I can't wait to see their smiling faces at the finish line!

As a teaser for you, check out this spot four of us filmed for a local news channel! http://wwwphp.10tv.com/vplayer.php?clip=2008_09_25_Pregnant_Moms_Form_Relay_Team.wmv&site=ONN



Wednesday, September 24, 2008


A Libertarian Runner Momma for Obama

This is a running blog, I know.  (Stop now if you don't want to know about my personal politics.) I don't take the decision to air out my political beliefs lightly.  But in light of recent developments I have lept off my uncharicteristically apathetic ledge and jumped on board a campaign. But first, a little back story.

I have odd politics.  Ideally I am a libertarian.  Practically, I generally vote Democrat. I know. It doesn't seem like it makes any sense.  But believe me, I have thought it all out and it makes sense to me. Anyway, I was shocked and awed by the Bush adminstration for 8 years.  (Particularly the lack of transparency, the unconstitutional hoarding of executive power, and tax cuts during times of war, but I digress...) I cringed at the nightly news for 8 years.  I'm over it. I worked on the Kerry campaign in 04.  I wasn't particularly crazy about him but I was so anti-Bush I needed to do something.  Anyway, long story short, he got swift boated. Pictures leaked of him wind surfing. W asked the audience, "Do you want some wood" at a debate and he came off as delightfully charming to most of America.  Kerry lost. It sucked.

I didn't get sucked into this election right away.  Maybe I felt burned after being so involved in a losing campaign 4 years ago. I was very perplexed by the choices of Hilary or Obama. After careful consideration I voted for Hilary in the primary.  For once I wasn't paying all that much attention this summer.  Obama gave a very moving speech on race in early summer that struck me, but beyond that I was uncharacteristically apathetic. But once the conventions started I've been hooked.  Today I am officially a momma for Obama. I donated to his campaign after reading McCain wants to postpone the debates and suspend campaigning to single-handedly save the economy that is fundamentally sound and that he doesn't know much about.   This would be novel if he didn't try to play this card during Hurricane Gustav.  Like his pick of Palin, this wreaks of desperation to me.  His poll numbers are trending down, his weakest issue is foremost on everyone's mind, so he needs to refocus everyone's attention.  Nice tactics. Bad president. Obama on the other hand has stayed calm in the face of it all and although he isn't the most experienced person, I do have to say I like the idea of some new ideas and perspective being infused into American leadership.  I believe he has the intelligence and level-headedness to handle a crisis and I believe he has the balls to ask for help when he needs it.  Plus I trust he understands and respects the Constitution.  Hey, you can't take somethings for granted any more!  

We need a new direction. We need calm focused leadership. Obama's my man this year. If he's your man too, please take a trip over to his website (www.barackobama.com) and give what you can. I want peanut to grow up in a nice strong stable America.  

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Somethin' in the Oven

Lately when I run downtown I am subjected to all kinds of interesting comments. The first time anyone said anything to me was about a month ago. I was running with a friend and we passed two men standing on the side of the road. When they were behind us we heard one guy say to the other, "Holy Sh*t! She's got somethin' in the oven!" Another time I was out there and two ladies came running up to me and pointed at me and said, "You! You are having a boy!!" It was almost like they were gypsies or something. It was weird. These were two exceptional circumstances. Today is more typical. I was running with my buddy E over a long bridge and this older guy passed us on his bike and said, "I've never seen a pregnant lady jogging before!" It was cute. And then when we were almost done and just crossing the street to my office we passed a guy idling on his motorcycle who said, "Go momma!" The beauty of it is that every time someone says something to me it's in support of me running. I have yet to have anyone say anything negative.

That being said my mother-in-law got wind of the relay. Mrp insisted I not tell her because she'd worry and since the article was in the Akron paper he figured she'd never see it. Well, her niece saw it who told her sister-in-law who then called her. So now she knows. Of course when she found out it was like the game telephone and I was now running a full marathon at almost 8 months pregnant! She called mrp who set the record straight and forwarded the story to her. I called her too. If it was up to me I'd tell her since there isn't anything to worry about and plus when you keep something like that a secret and then it comes out (which it always does!) then it looks like you're up to something fishy. But I'm not! Even the guy on the motorcycle agrees!

Monday, September 22, 2008


Surely the Fortune Part is Right Around the Corner!

http://www.ohio.com/news/top_stories/29204974.html

All 5 members of the Speed Bumps met on Thursday night for an interview with the Akron Beacon Journal.  The reporter wanted to focus the story about the one member of our team who grew up in Akron.  Other than taking some liberties with the quotes, it's a cute article and *KB* makes a great cover girl!  (For instance, he just asked me what my time was in Boston and this question was not in any other context other than that. My time in Boston, which isn't even a pr or a race that I am particularly more proud of than any other, was in no way linked to why I'm running the last leg.  The real reason is I figured no one else would want to run the long odd distance of 7.6 miles and that I'd have a better chance of finding 4 pregnant runners for 5k's and 10k's. But if he wanted to make it sound like we had time trials to pick our anchor that's fine. Heh.)  

So, the relay is on Saturday! I am getting really excited about it.  It was so fun for all of us to meet each other.  I knew 3 of the other members long before Thursday, but just met *KB* on Thursday.  I found her through allenjel (perserverance13.blogspot.com).  It was so great to meet her and see the whole team together! And of course it was great for everyone else to meet each other too!  I have to admit I've been a little worried about signing up for the longest leg.  Somedays lately running just doesn't feel all that great and I've only run more than 7 miles maybe 8 times since I've been pregnant.  Plus mrp has been a bit worried about me running lately, especially racing because he worries I will push myself too hard. Yesterday, I had an opportunity to test myself a little bit.  I took the previous two days off from running completely so I was well rested.  I got up early and went out to my old long run stomping grounds to get a run in before I met my friend Evie (runninalong-evie5000.blogspot.com) for breakfast.  I got there with plenty of time and it was a gorgeous crisp and cool almost-fall morning.  I felt good and I managed to run 8 solid miles with just two pee breaks and only one absolutely necessary! Not only did I run 8 miles but I averaged under 10:00 pace.  I felt really good! So now I'm very confident I will be able to finish my leg no problem.  Phew! And I had a great time with Evie. So it was a great morning! I am just going to take it easy the rest of this week and I should be fine for Saturday.  Can't wait!

PS If this post is funky, it's because I'm e-mailing it to blogger.  This is my first time with that so cut me some slack if it comes out all weird!  

Friday, September 19, 2008

Looking Back: The First Trimester

Well, maybe this work blocking blogger thing is going to be a bit more difficult to deal with than I thought. I have been too busy outside of work to sit down and write, let alone awake enough when I have a free moment to write cogently. So, I am writing at work and then e-mailing to my sister (Miss Adventurous—I can’t do links, so check out her blog at http://miss-adventurous.blogspot.com) who will then post the text for me. I will get around the stupid barriers! I might not have hyperlinks or formatting or pictures, but I will still blog at work while I have working brain cells each day!

So, yesterday marked 30 weeks of peanut. Can you believe it? That’s a lot of weeks! (Perhaps more significantly, very few weeks left to go!) I’m still feeling pretty good and still running. In fact, next Saturday (not tomorrow, the next one) is the relay. The relay may or may not be the end of my pregnant running. I think I will tone it down at least. We shall see. Anyway, to commemorate 30 weeks of running and pregnancy and the potential end to this era I thought it was time to take a look back. Today’s post is a look back at the first trimester.

Weeks 1-4

Let’s start way back in February. I decided that getting pregnant meant switching my physical gears: time to ease off the training and focus on gaining a couple of happy pounds and getting the old endocrine system all normalized. Little did I know all it would take was one week of that. I ran a 50+ mile week the first week of March and then mrp and I went on our trip to the Vegas and the Grand Canyon and the slack started! Well, in the running department anyway. I came back from the trip with 11.25 miles under my belt and a little zygote in my belly. The following week I ran 23 uneventful easy miles and then the week after that I knew something was up. I ran 21.5 miles, but it was the Thursday 6 miler with my friend LT that got me thinking. We ran my normal easy 8:00 pace but I was so out of breath I couldn’t talk. It was a weird feeling and one I had never felt before. That Sunday my period was 2 days late so I took a test and the rest is history.

Week 1: 51 miles with 15k race at 6:57 pace.
Week 2: 11.25 out west
Week 3: 23 easy miles
Week 4: 21.5 easy miles

Weeks 5-9

I was committed to continue running, but I’ll readily admit I was scared. There are a lot of mixed messages out there. Some schools say continue right on with marathon training while others are far more cautious. I decided to be cautious at least at first, especially after I had some spotting early in my 5th week. After 13.5 miles in 3 runs that week I decided to trade the runs for walking. I finally (it felt like it took FOREVER to finally see my midwife and get medical confirmation that I was pregnant) got in to see my midwife at 7 weeks and at the appointment she assured me to continue running as long as I was comfortable. So, cautiously I started back up. I ran slow as heck. My first run back mrp clocked me with the Garmin at 10:40 pace. Within a couple of days I was back around 9:40 or so. Even so, I felt like heck. I had nausea day and night that could only be cured by eating almost constantly. I put on a pound a week, which continued through 24 weeks! (My weight gain has since slowed down tremendously—I gained nothing between 24 and 28 weeks!) I found that although the last thing I wanted to do was head out for a run when I was beyond exhausted and on the verge of puking, if I made it out it would buy me a couple of hours in the afternoon in which I might actually feel almost normal. It really did make me feel better. I only managed to get out 4 times a week and a little over 20 miles per week during these weeks. At week 9 we had our first ultrasound and saw peanut for the first time. Mrp and I cried as we watched his little heart race on the monitor. Peanut was doing great and this gave me confidence that I was doing something right (or at least nothing too wrong!)

Week 5: 13.5 easy miles
Week 6: 0 miles
Week 7: 12.5 incredibly slow miles
Week 8: 20.5 less slow, but still pretty slow miles
Week 9: 22.5 getting back into a groove (a slow groove, but still a groove) miles

Weeks 10-14

Peanut was welcomed to week 10 of his gestation with a bang when we were rear-ended on our way to work one morning. Both mrp and I ended up with a bad case of whiplash. I also ended up with a horrible cold and days of worrying about peanut. When we made it into see our midwife a few days after the accident and we heard peanut’s heartbeat on the fetal Doppler mrp and I both sobbed. It was one of those magic moments I will never forget. I needed a few days to recover from the accident. I ran 5 miles the week after the accident and then got back on the pony with 23 miles in 5 runs the following week. And then I started to feel better! The nausea was not gone by a long shot but it was definitely letting up a lot. The weather was getting nicer. The second trimester safety zone was fast approaching and I seized the opportunity to ramp it up a bit. I ran 35.75 miles in my 13th week, including my first race with peanut. We ran a hilly 5.25 miles race averaging 8:13 pace. However, it was more like a couple miles at 9:00 pace followed by 3.25 around 7:30 pace. I ran a total of 7.5 miles that day with 5.25 somewhat hard. Yeah, I learned my lesson. Too much, too soon. I was so pooped the rest of the day and the nausea came back with a vengeance to boot. I toned it down a bit the following week and although my mileage was still up over 30 I was really beginning to find my groove again.

Week 10: 13 miles pre-accident
Week 11: 5 easy true recovery miles
Week 12: 23 easy feeling better miles
Week 13: 35.75 probably too many too soon miles including a 5.25 mile “race”
Week 14: 30.75 miles all easy and feeling good and back in the groove miles

By the end of the first trimester I was typically running around a 9:20-9:40 pace with the occasional sub 9:00 or 10:00 paced run thrown in. This was about 60-90 seconds slower than my pre-pregnancy easy pace and seemed right. I made it a point to run with friends as often as possible to ensure I was keeping the pace conversational and to just enjoy myself as much as possible. For a while there I was worried I wouldn’t be able to run much at all. By the end of this trimester, I was so appreciative of every run and really starting to enjoy running in a way I never have before. I had nothing to prove. I had no goals to meet. Each run was an end in itself and not some step to some greater far away goal. I was running in the moment for perhaps the first time ever. After a rough start, it was becoming great.