Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Who Am I?

So, I told you a while back I am the new running column lady for Ohio Sports and Fitness magazine. I just finished the draft on my first article about excuses. Overall, I'm pretty pleased with it. I hope the editors are too! I don't have a whole lot of time right now to do a whole lot more with it.

Although, they have already asked me for something else. A bio. That's no problem, I thought upon reading the e-mail. But, when I went to write something I had no idea what to say. I sort of fell into serious running--it wasn't really my intent. I still feel like an impostor sometimes. I wrote about the beginnings of my "career" a while back. Since then, I've run two more marathons, been pregnant twice, had one baby (so far), quit my job. Man, who am I any more? I can't even define myself as a person these days, let alone why I'm someone qualified to write a column about running.

It's funny this comes up as 2009 comes to a close. Fitting is more like it. I look back on this year and I realize I have felt so lost as I try to redefine myself as a mother. I love being a mother, but motherhood has shaken my sense of self to the core. 2009 has been one big struggle to figure out who is Salty now. Where is she going? What does she want? Sorry for the third person.

Wow. There's a lot more to say about this I suppose. But, peanut is going through a phase and hasn't really napped in days. Today I drove 50 miles around town while he slept an hour and a half. I got a chai and peaced out to the smooth sounds of NPR. It wasn't that bad, but hell if it's what I would have chosen to do if I had a choice. Poor kid. The boobs are changing with the pregnancy and he isn't happy about it. We didn't want to force wean him, but looks like my boobs had other ideas. Too bad that's how he falls asleep. We're struggling to find a new way. We'll get there. I'll get there. It will take time.

Happy new year everyone!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Ho Ho Ho!

Merry Christmas! There's a lot going on: we heard #2's perfect heartbeat; I ran 26 miles last week including a whopping 7 miler; I had a "talk" with my mom in which she admitted there is a problem; and we have an eastern timber wolf roaming around the orchard! I also have to write a complaint, work on my contracting job, outline my syllabus for my class and hang out with my family--especially my sister while she's in town. Woo! So much going on, so no time for blogging. I'll be back soon though. Once the crazy holidays are over. I need to go wrap the gifts from Santa! I get to be Santa! So exciting!!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Preparing for Birth

I've been thinking a lot about childbirth. Big shock, considering I'm pregnant and all. Last time, my birth didn't quite go as I had hoped, although it was still wonderful even though I was in labor for almost three days, two of those unmedicated and ended up unable to walk for a week! But even though it wasn't quite what we had in mind, the fact that we studied and prepared really made it a wonderful experience and one I am more than happy to repeat even if it's as tough as it was last time (although, I'll take one of those super easy 4 hour labor, 5 minute push dealies too!) I learned so much about myself, my toughness, how strong my relationship is with mrp. It was the best almost three days of my life. It hurt like a mother and was very very frustrating at times, but nevertheless it was fun in a strange way!

Anyway, I wanted to share a few things that made the experience so good (despite being so abnormally challenging).

First, we took a 12 week Bradley Method child birth class. It was definitely a big time commitment, but it was so worth it. Both mrp and I learned everything about labor and delivery. The Bradley Method is particularly great for athletes because it treats labor and delivery as an athletic event with the dad as the coach! Mrp was a little tentative about birth before the class--we always figured he's be an above the waste dad--but after the classes he was more gung-ho and into childbirth than I was and was right in there helping me and the midwife when the time came. He was incredibly supportive and experienced all of the birth right along with me. It was an amazing thing and one we highly recommend. But seriously, I can't tell you how important it is to know as much as you can about what is normal during labor and delivery. There are things you can do to help you avoid a c-section, that you're more likely able to breastfeed, or whatever else is important to you. The more you know, the more empowered you are. Plus, it's just really interesting to learn about this most amazing of human processes.

The next thing we did that made a huge difference is we hired a doula. Our doula just happened to be our Bradley instructor. She was awesome and totally helped us. It was really important to us to try to have a natural childbirth and to avoid a c-section at the very least. I am certain after my crazy labor I would have ended up with a c-section without her. She helped us know when what was happening was normal and when it wasn't. She helped us know when we could negotiate with the doctors and when we couldn't. Plus, she helped mrp help me--it helped him be confident in how to help me and also to know when I was just uncomfortable and yelling or really mad. Heh! It's hard to know sometimes! It was really invaluable to have her. We will definitely be using her again. E-mail if you want a referral!

Finally we made a birth plan. We knew what we wanted. Like I said, we wanted a natural, unmedicated birth if possible. We wanted to breastfeed exclusively if possible. There were other more specific things we wanted too and we wrote them all in a plan. Here is a reproduction of our birth plan with things that didn't go as hoped in the parentheticals:

We are Salty and Mrp and we are very excited to welcome our first baby into the world. Our hope is that we can put our Bradley training to use and experience a natural childbirth. However, the health and safety of both baby and mom are our top priorities and we are open to doing whatever is necessary to preserve both.

Priorities and Preferences

ALWAYS!
(: Healthy and happy mom and baby :)

Labor and Delivery

Prefer vaginal birth and no episiotomy--avoid all cutting if possible (got cut. UGH!)
Prefer to labor without pain meds--please do not offer, we will ask if we want them. (We asked)
Prefer to stay mobile and active throughout labor (HAd to be chained to monitor more of the time than I wanted)
Prefer mother-directed pushing
Prefer heplock to iv for mobility (Was way dehydrated so had an iv).
Prefer periodic external fetal monitoring (cordless if available) and would like to avoid internal monitoring if at all possible (had it for a brief time, after got the epidural)

Post-delivery

Prefer to nurse baby immediately after birth (Nursed about 45 minutes after birth, but had no problems at all).
Prefer for dad to cut cord AFTER it stops pulsing (Mrp couldn't cut the cord because poor peanut was in the care of the NICU peds immediately after birth).
Prefer to donate cord blood to public bank if possible (not possible on Friday afternoon--lame)
Prefer to delay eye ointment and vitamin K for at least an hour after birth
Prefer NO Hep B vaccine be administered to baby at this time
Prefer to room-in with baby and dad.
Prefer our son NOT be circumcised.

Contingency Plans

We understand that procedures we would not prefer may become medically necessary. If the need arises, please allow us time to consider our options and ask questions before performing a non-preferred procedure.

C-Section

Prefer dad be present if possible
Prefer mom is conscious throughout
Prefer to nurse baby immediately after birth


Anyway, I just wanted to share what worked for us. I feel really strongly that we need to educate ourselves and empower ourselves to get the birth experience we want. That doesn't mean we all have to want a natural childbirth or anything like that, but if you have something you prefer out of the experience it's best to understand the process and go into it with your eyes as wide-open as possible. This time I really hope I get a nice, short labor and an unmedicated quick delivery. The odds are that this one will be much easier than the first, which is pretty much the standard for second pregnancies. But, if it isn't easier I'll deal again!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Professional Sweatpants Wearing Baby-Making Machine

I have been trying to stay abreast of current developments in tax law and legal education in general. I came upon an interesting article tipping me off to a movement among law school graduates to warn others about the "law school sham." Apparently, the job market is so bad and there are so many JD's being spewed out every year that many law school grads are left jobless. The problem is, is that law school ain't cheap! Many of these people end up with 6 figure student loan debt and unemployment. SUCK!

Of course, I had a good job. I also have 6 figure student loan debt, after deciding a JD wasn't enough. No, I just really needed that LL.M. from Fancytown U. Who knew I'd leave the professional lawyer job to be a professional sweatpants wearing baby-making machine? I'm lucky that I went to a good school (at least considered so around here) and had excellent grades and all that. But, I can totally relate to the discontent. I feel like I would have been better off settling for a GED rather than the LL.M. I have a couple of little jobs, but those just MIGHT pay my loan payments for the next few months. Woo. The only thing that makes me feel a little better is thinking about the career that surely (right?) awaits me once the kids are in school.

Sure, looking back at life pre-peanut it was so nice to make good money there for a while. I never ever in my whole life was financially comfortable except for the four or so years I worked as an attorney. I rather enjoyed it! I hate worrying about money and it is the one thing really dragging down my enjoyment of my current gig. If we were just a little more financially comfortable then we could... x y and z. I so so so miss the financial independence, but as mrp says we can either have a lot of money or a lot of time. And right now we need the time.

What's kind of weird though, is that now that my teaching gig is fast approaching I am having a hard time mentally thinking of myself as a professional again. I am so used to not showering frequently enough, wearing race t-shirts and not plucking my eyebrows regularly that I am not sure I can be a convincing law prof! Plus, I'll be all rotund and pregnant. Oh well. I'll just have to fake it until I make it.

In running news, I don't feel like running today. I have a very low grade cold. Plus, my only option is the mill and one of my ear plugs blew out and the foo fighters just don't sound very good piped only in my left ear. And besides that I just ate a too many candy cane joe joes. Mmmm.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

First Trimester Report

This pregnancy is flying by. I feel like I JUST ran a marathon and here I am 12 weeks pregnant! That being said, the first trimester has not been fun. Last time I was pretty nauseous and tired, but it seemed so much worse this time. I can't seem to get enough sleep (last night 9 hours + a 2 hour nap today and I'm still pooped!), and I feel nauseous almost all of the time. I am living on soup and seltzer and even so, I have gained about 12 lbs already! I was doing really good about the weight and then all of a sudden I got huge. Seriously! I've had to pull out the maternity shirts around 3 weeks ago. I couldn't hide this bump if someone paid me. The weird thing is that I can still wear some pretty tiny jeans. Last time I had to use the ol' rubber band trick and was in maternity pants by around 12 weeks, but this time it's all on top, I guess.

I am starting to feel better about running. For a while there the most I could stomach was 4 miles, 5 times a week. Doing more than 4 was like pulling teeth and just exhausting. But since around Thanksgiving, I've been feeling a little better and have happily run 5 or 6 a few times and even ran a couple of decent races. And this morning I got out in the morning for a run all by myself, which I haven't done since I found out I was pregnant--I just felt too tired and too awful in the mornings to run. I felt pretty crappy the rest of the day, but I think that would have been the case whether or not I ran. It's just life these days. Hopefully, not for too much longer. If I recall, last time I felt a lot better around 14 weeks and like my old self around 20 weeks. So, 2 more weeks and I should be doing a lot better. I hope!

In other news, peanut is still nursing and there doesn't seem to be an end in sight (maybe that's why I'm so tired?! Hmmm). He's eating great and he has taken very well to whole milk, but he only drinks around 4 oz per day. I don't want to force more on him. He eats yogurt and cheese a plenty. He is only nursing before naps and before bedtime. I'm hoping he'll self-wean when he goes through that independent stage around 15 months I keep hearing about. Anyone have any experience with that? I guess if I have to tandem nurse it won't be the end of the world. I just never saw myself as such a crazy hippy lady! I just don't think I want to force weaning. Fortunately, we're in a position where we don't need to do that, so I guess like with everything else we'll play it by ear.

So that's our end of the first trimester report. Now I need to get to bed so I can try another one of those morning runs tomorrow!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Mrp's Dirty Little Secret

I'm going to let you in on a secret. It's something you never expected. Mrp has a blog! He's blogging about his vegetable growing enterprise as well as our life in the valley. I haven't shared much about that, but many of you know mrp has a passion for growing vegetables and this past summer we headed to a local farmers' market and sold our wares. We were a hit and sold tons of sweet corn, heirloom tomatoes, bell peppers, edamame, broccoli, squash and some other veggies. He has even bigger plans for the coming year, so check out his blog here! And if you're really adventurous, you can blow his mind and leave him a comment or even become a follower. He doesn't think anyone will ever read it!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Treadmill Season

So, treadmill season has officially begun. Today was a crazy weather day--one of those days where we left the house and it was warm and an hour and a half later we left the restaurant where we had lunch with my mom and it had to be 15 degrees cooler and super windy. A few minutes ago it was snowing and now it's sunny. It's crazy. But it's super windy and the temperature is dropping like crazy so I can't take peanut to the park. That left the treadmill today. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be at all. In fact it was quite nice. I put peanut down for his nap, put on a sports bra and shorts and my ipod and hit the mill. 4 miles went by super fast. I could have easily done another one or two except towards the end of the four I was feeling pretty stitchy. I'll blame that on playing around with the incline and dancing around to good tunes! I also had to pee midway and instead of having to break up peanut's zen-like flow and take the BOB into the very pleasant park restroom, I could just pause the hamster wheel and run upstairs. So nice! I think I'll manage to run through the winter!

I am not above taking peanut out in the cold though. We went to the park on Monday and I got in 6 miles around 9:20 pace. It was 33 and snowing. It wasn't sticking for most of the run, so with the weather shield, his coat and fleecy hat and mittens and his blanket he was fine and so was I. In fact, he snoozed the whole way! For me, I love running in the winter. It's so quiet and peaceful. But, the days when I can take peanut out are definitely limited now. We'll just have to savor every one of them!

In other news, peanut is walking like crazy! He's like a little tiny frankenstein. He's doing laps around the living room and stopping in to the kitchen to visit me for a hug, a sip of milk or bite of bagel. It's so cute! He is loving the mobility! He started walking two days before his birthday and now he can't stop. It's amazing!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

What's to Come

I have so much on my plate right now, but I can't stop thinking about running and all the fastness I want to get back after #2 is born. I didn't even run today, I was so busy! But, still I dream of what's to come!

I've been really thinking about it and I really enjoyed the short races this last year, much more so than I ever have. I had so much fun running harder on the track. I feel sick of long and slow and marathon pace and fartleks and boring stuff like that. I so long to run FAST. I want to burn up the track and the roads. I want to push a double BOB faster than any mom before! Last time I was pregnant I was burned out from a long couple of years of continuous marathon training. This time, I feel like I was just getting started when I got pregnant again. I feel like I have so much more to do with my running and I am so excited to do it!

I hope to spend about a year or so just focusing on 5k-10k's. I can't imagine I'll have time to do any continuous 20+ milers for a while, but I can probably swing 12-14. I'll probably have to run very early in the morning and rely on help for workouts. We shall see! But I miss it so much and hope that I can have that me time. But yeah! I think I can get under 18:00 for a 5k by my 36th birthday in May of 2011! If I can do that then I can meet my other goal of cracking the top 5 in the Johnnycake jog by going under 30:00. I really think I can do it. I believe if I stuck with the short stuff this past year I would have made some serious dents in my pr's. Stupid marathons! (although in all seriousness I think if I wasn't pregnant I probably would have pr'd at the Towpath Marathon even after the whole Akron thing. Oh well!)

It's kind of good I'm pregnant in the winter or I'd be having a heck of a time restraining myself with all my favorite races going on. There are no local races really until February, so that'll help me. Plus, again, I am crazy busy with my non-running life: contracting job, teaching job, full-time mothering. It's a lot! And I don't have a lot of help. So yeah. Not really going to be very tempted to overdo it with my running now. But just you wait. End of July, beginning of August, I'll be back!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Sort of Fast!

What a nice day. I woke up and got about an hour of work done (I got a short term contracting gig that I can do from home!) and then headed into town for a 5k with the girls. On Halloween a bunch of us got together and did a trail run before heading out for pancakes afterwards.



Well, we had so much fun we decided to try to do it somewhat regularly. I noticed that a really great 5k was on the calendar about a month later on the other side of town (only fair for our westsiders!) so it was on! 8 of us met up this morning to run the race and then head out for pancakes afterwards. The real kicker is that 5 of us are pregnant. FIVE! It is so great to have so many pregnant friends. I am so happy for everyone and it's awesome to have so many ladies to share and commiserate with!



Anyway, I am not sure what it was but I felt good! I started out with Evie and MN way in the back of the pack. It's so crazy starting way back. We walked or jogged for quite a while and finally I found some open road and took off. I passed like 500 people over the first mile, I swear! My split was 7:39. At the mile mark, I did a gut check and felt good so picked it up. I saw E-speed coming back in first place! Woohoo! I just saw her coming around the corner and didn't see any other women. That got me excited. Mile 2 was 7:14. I did another gut check and still felt great so I picked it up even more over the last 1.1. I passed lots of people and it felt so good. My stride felt FAST and smooth. I miss that feeling so much! I think I like running fast. I used to think I hated 5k's, but now I think I LOVE them! I love the raw power it takes to run a good one. Exhilerating!

Anyway, my third mile was 6:53 and my last .1 was :42. Woo! I ran a 22:30! That's a huge pregnant pr for me--like over a minute! Much of that has to do with the blistering fast course--minimal turns and the flattest course of any race I have EVER run, ever! It's awesome for a fast 5k. Plus, the weather is always just about perfect--high 20's, very little wind. Just FAST! Love it! But yeah, between the course and the cool weather and maybe because I'm in better shape I had a great race for two ("race for two" is kind of cheesy, isn't it? Oh well!). I ran my nonpregnant pr on this race a couple of years ago too. I think this will be my comeback goal race after #2 gets here. PR? Hope so! Oh and speaking of, E-speed ran a 18 second pr and won! See. Told you this race rules! (What is wrong with me? "This race rules?" Am I a 12 year old boy from 1987?!)

Afterwards, we bombarded a local pancake joint and scarfed up all kinds of crazy pancakes and giant omelets. It was such a fun morning. I came home and mrp and peanut were outside having a great old time. We all ate the left over omelet and some other snacks and then we put peanut and momma down for a nap. Boy did I need that after a fun fantastic morning. I have such great friends and the most wonderful family. I am one lucky girl!

Here are some pics of mrp and peanut playing outside. Couldn't you just eat them up?!


Wednesday, December 02, 2009

A Little Kicker!


#2 is a healthy little kicker measuring 10w4d! (Not twins, thank goodness!!!) Wow. Now it's really sinking in. We are going to need a lot of diapers!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Buffering

So tomorrow is our first ultrasound for this pregnancy. I'm nervous and excited. Mrp has been swamped at work and we thought I would just go, but as the appointment became closer we realized we both needed to be there. Thank goodness! It would have been so hard to do it without him, good or bad. I have no reason to think we will see anything bad, but you just never know. It's just my nature to prepare for the worst I guess.

So, yeah. I'm sort of a pessimist. I am actually very optimistic too, but I always buffer myself for potential bad stuff. I think that's a pretty standard reaction for people who've experienced sudden and tragic loss. I'm not sure what it is--pregnancy hormones, holidays?--but lately I want to work on my relationship with my mother. I haven't talked about her much here, if at all. It's a very complex thing. I don't even know where to start to try to explain it.

My mother had me when she was very young--17. She married my father a month before I was born, during her junior year of high school. Imagine! My dad was just 19, himself. Tip: don't get married that young. Really. Like wait until your 27. At least! Seriously, though. It wasn't the most stable environment for me as a child. The early early years were kind of fun. My mom did cartwheels and taught me ballet in our kitchen. My dad was creative and fun and made crazy snow forts and sand castles with me. On the other hand, my parents fought and these fights were sometimes physical. I distinctly remember getting in between them crying and screaming at them to stop when I was about 3 years old. This was a running theme throughout my childhood--parenting the parents.

Around the time my sister showed up, my father's mental illness appeared. He was a major depressive. Like, to the point of psychotic. My mother was a brick in the face of it all. Stoic. Soldiering forward, taking care of her family. When he finally died--he had tried to commit suicide several times before over the years--my mother seemed relieved more than anything. And who can blame her? Not me.

She really was a pillar of strength and amazing in that way. I don't know that I could be as strong as she was. However, here's where the story changes a bit. My mother's way of coping was to forget about it. Um. I was 11 and my sister was 6. We can't just forget that our dad killed himself. To make matters worse, our entire extended family was more or less on board with this strategy. If we cried or struggled, they told us to stop. At first, the main strategy to get us to forget was to spoil us. Later, my extended family would criticize me for making things hard on my mom. My mom worked full time and I took care of my sister. I was 11, 12, 13. I just lost a parent, suddenly. Violently. My feelings, my very being was wrong they seemed to say.

I somehow persevered, and though I had episodes of depression (I realize in retrospect) I did pretty well throughout my adolescence. But, by the time I was 20 I was a mess. I got off "the path" when I dropped out of college after one best friend (a guy) raped another best friend (who is still my best friend to this day). I couldn't take it. But I moved back with my mom, who had since remarried and moved to a new house. I didn't belong there. I felt like I belonged nowhere. All my friends were in school. I felt like a huge loser. All the denial and suppression over the years created a pressure cooker and the feelings just exploded out. In all my life, this was the only period where I truly felt depressed. My mother would have none of it. She insisted it was my hormones. I know she didn't want to believe I would turn into my dad or something, but still. I went to my doctor and told him what was going on and he quickly concluded I was depressed and needed to talk to a therapist. THANK YOU! My mom was not supportive of this, but I went anyway. The insurance ended up not covering it, but I went anyway.

But yeah. I'm not sure if it started after my dad or if she was always this way, but somewhere along the way my mother became the kind of person who can never admit something is not right. She exclaims, "Everything's great!" so frequently that it's her catchphrase. On peanut's birthday it was 5 minutes until the guests were going to arrive and the appetizers were not even started yet. I was exasperated and annoyed and frantically trying to get them going and she said, "it will be great!" And mrp and I looked at her with the "oh yeah?" look on our faces. And her response was, "what else am I going to say? Everything's going to be a disaster?" In her mind, everything is great or a disaster. Nothing just is.

This might seem harmless, but it causes a lot of problems. My mom fails to see many glaring problems and gets very angry with me for pointing them out. The worst example is her husband's alcoholism. The man is an alcoholic. There is no denying it. I can't remember the last time I saw him without a drink. He keeps a cooler in his truck. He hates going anywhere where he can't drink. And the worst thing is that he drives all over the place. My mother doesn't drive much (she has MS that affects her vision--a whole other issue) so he's driving her all over the place after drinking a lot. I HATE it. And now with peanut and #2 coming, I just can't take it anymore. I don't trust my mother. I do to an extent, but not completely. I know she loves peanut, but her commitment to pretending there are no problems causes her to make really bad decisions sometimes. Like, she drinks herself quite a bit in attempt to make her husband's drinking seem more normal. Or, she tries to act like he's peanut's "Grampa" and force peanut on her husband who really doesn't seem to want much to do with him (and hey, I'd prefer it that way myself!) She often says we are overprotective and things like carseat laws are excessive. She insists on giving peanut foods that are choking hazards even if I point it out because "it's fine!" No raisins, mom. Really!

She gets really excessively indignantly delusionally "Everything's great!" when she seems most unhappy. I so want to help her. I so want to improve my relationship with her and for her to have 100% grandma privileges with peanut, but we're nowhere close to that right now. I don't even know where to start with her. But you know, I didn't think I knew where to start with you and I figured it out.

Excuses, Excuses!

I am working on an article about excuses and I need your help! What are the top excuses or reasons you consider skipping a run or severely alter your training plans for the day? My big one was always bad weather, but I know there are lots of other's out there! So let me hear them.

Oh yeah. I will be writing the running column for Ohio Sports and Fitness in 2010! I am succeeding E-speed who did an amazing job. Hopefully, my columns will be remotely as good as hers!

Ok, now give me those excuses!