38 Weeks

by | | 7 comments
Honestly, there's not much to report on this end. After a lot of running around to a couple of parties and Gear West Du last weekend, I was exhausted for a couple of days. This weekend, I kept it a little more low-key. I let Steve and my brother Matt head up to Apple Du by themselves (traveling that far from home at this point makes me a little nervous anyway even though it doesn't look like the munchkin wants out too badly). Mostly I've spent this holiday weekend wrapping up some loose ends, cleaning, and doing a few small projects. Oh, and I've taken several naps.

Abbe and I got in another run on Saturday, and today I hopped on the recumbent bike at the Y for 85 minutes. I was reading a really big "Caring for Your Baby and Young Child - Birth to Age 5" book, and my arms were actually sore from holding it up by the end. Yikes I've got some upper body work to do!

I've decided that if this kid doesn't come out to meet us by next weekend, I'm running the Grand Old Day 5K. Steve and I ran it together a long time ago - way before he got too fast for me.

A page from my old running scrapbook

A close-up of our baby-faces from 9 years ago before we did our first 5K together

It's a local celebration that starts in the morning with an 8K run, an 8K inline skate race, and a 5K run/walk. Then there's a parade and TONS of food, alcohol, and people watching. Normally I work on this day, but my hospital scheduled someone else knowing there's a good chance I could be in labor and not able to report to work. The last few years, it's sort of become a tradition for me to do a long run on Grand Ave in the evening after all of the celebrating is coming to an end. It's kind of fun watching the carnage after an all day drinkathon for a lot of folks. When Steve and I ran the 5K years ago, it was pretty low-key. A lot of the really competitive runners do the 8K, and there are plenty of walkers, so if I need to take a quick walk break at 39 weeks pregnant, I won't be finishing dead last.

No news on the baby timeline - just a lot of waiting knowing we may be able to meet him/her in a couple of days or as long as 4 weeks. Looking at the increase in temps finally approaching, I'm really hoping for a few days. I'm a little worried that I'm still feeling too good for labor to be eminent. I'm having more and more days where I'm feeling uncomfortable, but I'm still feeling OK for the most part. I'm not sleeping any worse than I've been sleeping for the past few months, I can still get my wedding ring on and off, and all of my shoes still fit. My belly is getting HUGE, though :)

I received a lot of positive comments regarding the article about exercising during pregnancy that I was featured in last weekend. I can't tell you how happy it makes me that it is inspiring current and future preggos to stay healthy and active. Mentally, I would be in such a different place right now if I weren't able to stay active.

I have professed my love for NUUN many times here over the years. Even though I'm not currently into heavy training, I have been drinking it lately. Although it may all be in my head, I'm drinking a LOT of water these days (sometimes up to a gallon a day) and sometimes feel a little funny. Worried that I might be diluting myself out too much, I started putting NUUN in one bottle. As an added bonus, some of the electrolytes in it can help to curb leg cramps, a common occurrence during pregnancy. Well, they recently came out with a whole bunch of new flavors. I've given the Grape, Strawberry Lemonade, and Fruit Punch all a try, and they're DELICIOUS! I went nuts at REI this past week when the tubes were all 25% off. A lot of other companies (Hammer, Gu, etc) have come out with comparable products. Although I'm excited to try out some of those products someday to see how they compare, all of the ones I've looked at contain stevia as a sweetener, which has not been proven safe in pregnancy.

Well, that's a lot of random thoughts in one place. Now I'm off to set up the BOB with Steve - one more thing to check off the to-do list!

37 Weeks... and Counting

by | | 6 comments
Today we've officially hit our 37 week mark. In the pregnancy world, that means we're technically "full term," even though my due date isn't for 3 more weeks and I may have as many as 5 weeks to go. Like Most pregnant women, I'm hoping that the munchkin comes sooner rather than later, but I'm slowly coming to terms with the fact that I need to be patient - not an easy feat for a type A personality!

I am noticing some signs that I won't be pregnant forever - a little more pinching pressure when I walk or run sometimes, a lot of Braxton Hicks contractions (some that wake me up at night), and the bump just keeps growing. Baby is still head down. We're hoping that he/she stays locked that way until it's go time!

Last weekend we had our final baby shower before Baby comes. Between that and making one last big trip to Target, Babies R Us, and Baby Grand, I think we have all of the "essentials." I'm sure there will be things that come up that we never knew we'd need, but for now, we're feeling ready. We've got the swing set up, the car seat installed, and everything washed and put away. My MD asked Steve and me if we are ready at my appointment this week. I think she was a bit taken aback when we told her that we feel like we're good to go. I felt the need to explain that we've had a number of friends who got caught off guard. We don't want to be one of those couples.

So that starts to answer the first question we get asked a lot lately - Are you ready? Physically, I think we're ready. Mentally, I'm as ready as I can be. I'm sort of treating the labor/birth process like going into a big race. I know I've prepared myself as much as possible. I think about it occasionally, but for the most part, I try to push it out of my mind. It uses too much energy, and having a specific vision about how things will go is impractical. I'm just going to have to listen to my body and make adjustments based on what "race day" brings. Of course I know that no race I've ever done, including Ironman, will likely be as demanding or as long as labor, but for now, that's how I'm looking at it.

The next question I get asked is, "How are you feeling?" For the most part, I'm feeling OK. When we had a couple of warm days last week, I was sweating for 2 days straight. My main complaint is that I really don't sleep well, but honestly, I'm not sleeping any worse than I have been in the last few months. I realize we've got a way to go, though. I have different aches and pains than normal, especially in my SI joint where things are definitely loosening up. Steve's been really liberal with the backrubs which definitely helps at the end of some long days. In general, I'm feeling pretty lucky. I'm not swelling up, I'm just a little more tired than normal, and even though I keep packing on the pounds, I don't feel like a heifer on most days. I attribute most of these things to still being able to exercise at this point.

... Which brings me to the last question I get asked a lot lately, "You're still running? Really?" My answer is pretty consistent. I'm not running fast, and I'm not running far, but I'd like to keep it up as long as I'm still feeling OK. My max has dropped to just over 5 miles. Any longer than that and I get a lot of SI pain afterward. I sometimes have to stop and walk, but not all of the time. To a lot of people, it seems really late in the game to be running, but since I've been doing it the whole time, it just seems natural to keep going. It helps that I have so many mommy role models out in the blog world who have done or are doing the same thing. It has also helped to have fellow blogger Abigailius meeting me for weekly or twice weekly runs. We met this morning for a rainy run. As usual, I had so much fun talking to her that our 40 minutes were up before I realized that I was soaking wet. I brought Steve along to snap these pics before we ventured out into the rain:

Ready to run with a whole lotta rain in the background.

We had to do the 5th grade back-to-back pose to really get the effect of 2 full-term preggo bellies :)

My preggo workouts landed Baby and me in our local paper this weekend. Here's the link to the article Can you tell I'm starting to run low on maternity running clothes? I do have a couple of pairs of shorts, but that requires a lot of body glide, and I don't risk it on rainy days.

TC 1 Mile Race Report - 36 Weeks Pregnant!

by | | 16 comments
The Munchkin's room is finally ready! We spent yesterday afternoon setting up the baby swing, getting the carseat installed, doing one more load of laundry, and buying a few last "must-haves." Saturday was our last baby shower. Steve's sister put in so much work, and it was a blast seeing everybody. I don't know when we'll be getting home again since pretty soon I won't want to be 2 hours from home (and our hospital). Now it's just a lot of hurry up and wait. Statistically, Baby won't likely be coming for at least 4 more weeks, but I've had a number of friends who got caught off guard, and I didn't want to be one of them!

Last Thursday was the TC 1 mile. To be honest, I've written this race off in years past. Since they guarantee entry into the TC 10 mile for 1000 out of the 3500 entrants, I've always assumed that the only reason to run it was to get a slot, and since I've always run the marathon, I wasn't interested in that. Plus, the race is on a Thursday night, and being out on "school nights" sometimes makes it hard for me to get up for work the next morning!

This year, though, I am very aware that every time I go out for a run, it could be my last for a little while. I'm still feeling OK as far as the running goes, and I knew one mile would be doable even if I was having an off day. Plus, they had given out coupon codes in our Marathon race packets last fall for $5 off one of their races. That brought the price down to $15, so I registered. I had so much fun that I'll be going back next year. It was one amazing fun party!

This was their 7th year putting it on, and they've had the bid for the USA 1 Mile Road Championship for a couple of years now. I was signed up in the "friends and family" wave, which was the first of 7 waves. I knew it would be pretty low-key, and I was confident that I could finish under the 13 min cutoff since many of my runs have been around 12:30 pace lately. My goal was just to have fun and savor what will likely be my last race before Baby shows up.

The weather was pretty crappy. It was cool and rainy, and we had to work to stay warm while we waited for the start. Steve was wearing his tri backpack filled with our stuff. The plan was for him to see me off at the start and then race ahead every couple of blocks until I got there. I really thought I'd be super slow and he'd have plenty of time to wait for me. Right before the race, he decided he just wanted to run it as a bandit. I warned him that it specifically states in the rules that bandits aren't allowed. "Honey, this is the Friends and Family Wave," he said. "Plus, you're pregnant. Nobody's going to care if I run beside you." Since it was the first time he's pulled the pregnancy card, I went with it.

Lined up at the start.

Steve and me ready to run.

I took my place at the back of the line, and we were off! The Friends and Family wave really was full of families. It was so cute! There were little kids running with their parents who were as young as 3 or 4, and there were plenty of older children, too.

Someone had told us before the race that there were mile markers at every 1/4 mile, and after dodging a LOT of people at the beginning, I hit the first one in around 2:43. That's when I knew that I was running WAY faster than I had expected. I was trying really hard not to push myself too much. I wasn't at full conversational pace, but I could still talk with Steve without much effort, so I knew I was fine. I noticed a few cheers for the beach ball, but Steve was noticing a lot more reactions. I think his favorite part of the race was seeing people's double takes, extra cheers, and smiles as I ran by. I couldn't help but wonder what people thought as I was passing them!

Running with a beach ball!

Over half done.

Unfortunately, I lost the rest of my 1/4 mile splits, but each of them got progressively faster, just as the crowd got progressively thicker as we neared the finish line. Despite the weather, there were tons of people out there!

Running toward the finish.

Crossing the finish line.

I hit the finish line in a time of 10:24.7 with a huge smile on my face. I felt a little crampy afterward - just for a minute or 2, but baby was kicking away, so I wasn't worried at all. I certainly wouldn't have wanted to run it any faster. Baby and I have now done 5 races together. How appropriate that the first one was a Twin Cities in Motion race - the marathon.

After my heat was over, we walked back to Britt's Pub to thank Michelle Frey - local speedy runner and extra loud cheerer out there. She had spotted us during the race.

With local speedy runner Michelle Frey.

We grabbed a steamer at a local coffee place and went back to cheer on the TONS of people we knew who were racing. The last waves were the women's and men's championship. I got goosebumps as Sara Hall ran by us to break the course record for women and snag the time bonus. In the men's race, David Torrence took the threepeat and the cash bonus for time. The crowd erupted!

I would HIGHLY recommend this race to the locals. It was just such a fun celebration, it's not super pricey, and it's a great way to push yourself in a distance that most of us aren't used to racing. Of course, I didn't actually race this time around, and it may have been a little less fun had I been pushing myself to that level, but I remember thinking, Wow. That's it? when I was done.

On our walk/jog back to the car, Steve commented that his legs were a little sore from carrying the backpack around for 3 hours. I smiled and coyly asked him if he thought the backpack weighed an extra 30-35 pounds. He sheepishly admitted it wasn't even close.

So what's next? Well, I'm just going to keep running as long as I can. A lot of people are really surprised that I'm still running, but I just keep telling them that it's better than waiting around. The baby's not going to come any faster if I stop. This may have been my last race while pregnant, but I haven't ruled out finding a nice slow 5K somewhere, either - one where I wouldn't feel guilty about stopping to walk if I need to. I'm not trying to prove anything. I just still feel pretty good, and I know it's good for me physically and emotionally to keep going if I can. I also know that one of these days, the running may just have to stop for a while, or maybe I'll just be one of those women who runs until the day she gives birth. Either way, I'll keep you posted!

34 Weeks

by | | 22 comments
Yeesh. It's funny how fast time is flying by these days. I'm waiting for the day when I wake up and feel completely preggo miserable consistently, but I've been pretty lucky so far, and it seems to go in spurts. I had hoped to post a big update at week 32, but that week turned out to be pretty horrible, and emotionally, it completely drained me. I suppose I should start back there...

I had my regular MD appointment that Monday, and when she took my measurements, she muttered a "hmmm" - not a noise you want coming from your OB. She told me that according to my measurements, the munchkin wasn't growing on track, so they wanted me to get an ultrasound to check. Well you can tell yourself a thousand times over that you're sure that everything's fine, but it really doesn't change the worry and panic you feel, and I felt both. When I called the ultrasound unit the next day, they first told me that they couldn't possibly squeeze me in for 4 more days. I politely informed them that I am a hospital employee and that if they had any cancellations before then, I could make it work to run up there. They had a cancellation that afternoon, and according to the ultrasound, Baby was smack dab in the 50th percentile for weight, now head down, and has hair. After breaking out in full out sobs for the previous 24 hours, I had a few tears of relief. It drained me for the rest of the week, though. That Saturday, I was running with my bud Haley who has been kind enough to slow WAY down just so we can get in a chatty run now and then. We were out for a 7 miler and had just hit the turn around when I hit a lip in the sidewalk and biffed it. I didn't see it, and neither did Haley. Luckily, I landed on my hands and knees and then did this pseudo-roll to the side. My first thought was embarrassment, and then I remembered I'm pregnant. My MD had warned me that if you fall after 24 weeks, it basically buys you a 6 hour admission for observation. I felt fine (just a little skinned up and embarrassed), but I knew that running home could be really stupid, so we called Steve to come pick us up and walked a half mile to wait at the next stoplight. He drove us home, and I called the Labor and Delivery Unit. I explained that I hadn't hit my belly but had fallen pretty hard and was worried that I could have hurt the placenta somehow. I didn't know if they would just tell me to rest for a couple of hours and monitor Baby's movements or if they'd want me to come in, but after they talked to the MD on call, they told me to come up. Luckily, the 2 mint chocolate Gus I'd eaten right before the turn around had the munchkin all fired up, and he/she was moving so much on the monitor that they let me go after only an hour or so of observation. I was warned by so many people this winter to be careful, and I never even slipped while running. Now that the sidewalks are clear, I need to remember to pay close attention to my footing! In talking to my friends, I was amazed to find out that most of them have fallen during pregnancy. One tripped over her dog, one slipped on the stairs, and another one fell on some ice. Hopefully this will be my one story.

I had another regular checkup a few days ago, and my measurements are back on track. The good news is that everything's still looking OK. The bad news is I'm headed for an 8+ pound baby. My MD told me that the biggest predictor of my baby's size is how big I was when I was born. Considering I was just an ounce shy of 9 pounds, I'm hoping she's wrong :)

So an update on the rest of life...

I'm still running. I can't run 9-10 miles anymore. Four to seven is now a long run, and seven takes so long that I only do that with company and a lot of Gu. For as much as I've been cursing the crappy MN weather this spring, I have been secretly happy that I'm not overheating on my runs. If we were having 85 degree days right now, I'd be toast. It's also nice to be able to sleep with our bedroom window open at night. Being a little chilly and actually being able to stay under the covers has been helping me sleep a little better.

The baby's nursery is almost complete. We still have a few items that are "must haves," like our changing pad, but for the most part, we've got all of the essentials. We've got the bedding all on the crib, pictures on the wall, and clothes washed. We have the car seat. We just need to put it in the car. Baby's and my bags are packed, and I've been stockpiling TP, paper towels, and anything else that I don't want to have to leave the house for. I've also been going a little crazy buying diapers. The coupons have been great lately, so I figured I'd better stock up while I still have a full paycheck. Next on the agenda is making some food to freeze to cut back on the need to cook for the first few weeks.

I'm still gaining weight - way more than I ever thought I would during pregnancy, but my MD is reassuring me that I'm still in the normal range. Still, as we get closer, I'm realizing how much work it's going to be to get this off. I've always been at a very average weight and have been up or down 7 pounds or so but never really had to try to take it off. I just have to trust that my philosophy of listening to my body (and breastfeeding) while making sensible food choices will eventually bring me back to fitting into my old pants - even if it does take a while.

I'm still biking on my trainer 1-2 days a week, but even the super squishy seat gets uncomfortable after an hour. I may have to use the recumbent ones at the Y for these last few weeks. Plus, I'm getting really sick of Coach Troy. At least with a recumbent, I can get through a few chapters of a baby book or catch up on a magazine.

I miss racing. I went to the Falls Duathlon to cheer on Steve and Matt this weekend. I miss being out there. I miss biking outside, and I miss being able to get my heart rate up in a way that doesn't involve simply going up our stairs! That being said, I am now signed up for what will likely be my last race while pregnant. The TC one mile is May 12. It should be fun. Steve was registering me and asked whether I wanted to be in the "friends and family" wave. I think I just looked at him astounded that he would even ask. I think most of those folks will beat me!

I have been having some SI joint pain in the last few weeks - likely from those ligaments relaxing. I know it will be even worse after Baby's born, and one of my good friends who specializes in women's physical therapy suggested this belt. Although I haven't worn it while running yet, I have worn it afterward a couple of times, and it feels like a miracle. Running and even standing in one place for a while both make that joint sore. It kind of feels like the stiff, achy feeling I get in my hips and knees after a long run. Just thought I'd pass along the info if any of my fellow preggo or post-preggo friends are looking for one.

It's funny how, especially as a healthcare provider, I've been so focused on hitting certain milestones that it never really occurred to me that I may be pregnant until almost July. That reality is starting to set in. Physically, being pregnant has been way easier than I thought it would be. Sure, I've been tired and my back hurts sometimes. I've had more than one day of feeling particularly chunky but have overall been OK with the way my body has been growing our baby. Lately, lots of friends have been telling me how much they miss feeling baby kicks. I've realized that I really need to savor this time because it will be over soon, so that's what I'm trying to do!

Finally, a picture update so you can agree that my belly, and the rest of me for that matter, is definitely growing!

Ignore the cankles... They're not terrible, but taking the pic at the end of the day didn't help...