My Brother Lost the Bet

by | | 9 comments
My brother Matt and his girlfriend Angela were over last night. Matt admitted that he would have placed money on the fact that I'd be running 3-5 miles two weeks postpartum. Honestly, a month ago, I would have too. I mean, I ran 4.5 miles the morning of the day my water broke, I managed to avoid a C-section, and the rest of my body (and my brain) are ready to go. My nether regions? Not so much. Local rock star Kortney Haag stopped over yesterday with her two boys and an amazing lunch. She said that the first time she tried to run after giving birth, she felt like her insides were going to fall out. I was so relieved to hear this because that's EXACTLY how I felt yesterday on my walk when I had to run to beat a changing light. It's a little disconcerting.

Thank you all SO MUCH for your advice and encouragement on my last post. Unfortunately, not much has changed on the breastfeeding front. It is getting a little easier, but I wouldn't classify it as "easy" by any means. Henry still doesn't have a great sleeping schedule, and he rarely goes a full 3 hours between feedings. That meant that he was up every 1.5-2 hours last night, and I woke up feeling exhausted. I had hoped to get out for a walk before the 100 degree temps rolled in, but at 8 AM, all I could think about was trying to get in a nap.

We have been a lot better about getting out of the house, though, and I know that's been helping to relieve the cooped up feeling that has been creeping in. Henry LOVES the stroller. He passes out in it every time. Right now, I would rank it at the top as far as "good investments" that we made before he was born. Seriously. The BOB is worth its weight in gold. Other great investments: the Simple Wishes hands free pumping bra. You cannot underestimate the value of having 2 free hands during those 10 minutes. Also, a good baby carrier... I bought the Baby K'tan a few weeks before Henry was born. He's just now big enough to go in it, although his head control is really good, so I probably could have tried it earlier. He was crabby for much of the morning. Once I strapped him in it, he fell right asleep. I've had 2 hours of a content, sleeping baby.

We got out for a 1+ mile walk yesterday with the BOB and a 2.5 mile walk the day before. I love living in St. Paul and being able to make it a goal to walk to get a few errands done. Tuesday's walk was to our local pharmacy. The pharmacist told me I in no way look like I gave birth 2 weeks ago. (It's a good thing we don't operate on tips - I would have had to give her a big one!) Though I still feel like I did, it's amazing how big of a difference putting on real clothes and getting out of the house makes! I'm hoping we can get in another good walk tomorrow once the heat subsides a little. I'm still sore afterward, but icing really seems to help.

Well, back to another feeding. Happy 4th of July weekend, everybody!

Slowly But Surely, With Emphasis on the Slowly...

by | | 11 comments
Things are progressing slowly around here. Henry and I are figuring each other out more and more each day, and I'm starting to feel a little more independent with what he wants/needs. Steve has been a HUGE help - feeding me when need be and taking on diaper duty for many of the daytime hours so I can at least make a trip to the bathroom once in a while. I am SO glad that he's on a summer schedule and can be home a little more often. Steve and I have both wondered multiple times in the last week how people do this with more than one kid. Seriously, moms of multiples, you have my utmost respect and admiration.

Endurance wise, I'm feeling good. I don't get too tired working around the house and going up and down the stairs multiple times. Steve and I got out for a 2.5 mile walk Wednesday, and it felt SO good to just get out of the house.

Out on our first long walk!

Somebody likes the carseat and the stroller :)

My legs, back, etc all felt OK. The rate limiting step seems to be my lady business. I think I grossly underestimated how long it would take everything to heal after 36 hours of labor, 3.5 hours of pushing, and some repair work. Between that and BFing, showers have been... interesting.

At least once a day on most days, I describe myself as bruised - just overall sore. I actually am bruised still on my forearm where they tried to place my IV for the first time. Nearly 2 weeks later, the huge hematoma is still a variety of ugly yellow and brown colors.

I'm trying to cut myself some slack. I don't take to sitting still for very long, so the last 2 weeks have been a pretty big adjustment in that department. I know I just need to listen to my body to know when I'm ready for more intense activity. A big part of all of this is how hard it is to leave the house. You know the difference between running and biking, how much more prep-work is involved to get out on your bike (pumping tires, emergency kit ready, water bottles, helmet, etc, etc vs just running clothes and shoes)? Well, multiply that by about 20 and you have what it's like to leave the house with a newborn even if it's just to be gone for 30 minutes. Sometimes it's just easier to stay inside. The fact that the weather has been so cool and crappy has definitely made this easier. I know that with a little more practice, though, I'll be more confident at leaving the house, and I really NEED to. It's just not good for me mentally for me to feel so cooped up.

On the weight-loss front, the first 2 weeks have been pretty dramatic. I am down 22 of the 42 pounds I gained. I know most of this is baby and excess fluid, but it's somewhat reassuring. I'm definitely not dieting right now as it can be detrimental to your milk supply and it's really the last thing I should be thinking about. I know the rest of the weight will come off MUCH more slowly, but it's still comforting. It's funny how much less I feel compelled to eat lately. I would say I'm back to my pre-pregnancy appetite - plenty considering I'm not as active as I was. However, I was SO HUNGRY ALL OF THE TIME when I was pregnant that it seems like I don't eat at all anymore (think 2000+ vs 3000+ calories per day).

Henry is up 4 ounces from his birth wt and 5 ounces since Monday, so I must be doing something right!

Well, my little man is waking up again - time for another round of feeding. Happy Friday, everyone! And now, I leave you with a couple of bathtime photos:

Henry's first "real" bath since his belly button fell off

Yummy big hands!

Henry's Birth Story

by | | 27 comments
First of all, thanks everyone for your kind words and congratulations. As you probably all know by now (especially if you read Steve's blog), Henry was born one week ago today. After feeling like he'd NEVER come, we have had quite the week welcoming him into our lives. I love him more and more each day. Though I'm definitely still tired and sore, I'm looking forward to getting out of the house more this next week. Steve and I went for a 45 minute walk with him on Friday. It felt SO good to just get moving and actually see sunlight, even though I was a little pooped at the end.

I thought I had a boy baking in the oven since the moment I found out I was pregnant, so I think it's pretty funny that that's how he came out. In retrospect, I'm glad he was a "surprise."

I have found it really interesting and helpful to read other people's stories regarding the birth of their children in the past. It always amazes me how very different people's experiences are. If you don't want to read a long, potentially TMI story, come back later and just skip this post :)

Something told me before my run on June 10 that it could be my last for a while. Call it instinct or just knowing that the timing was getting close, but it was in fact my last run with baby Henry in my belly...

My water broke at 11 PM Friday night. At first, I didn't even think that's what happened. He was kicking all over the place, and suddenly I felt a very small "pop" and a little gush of fluid. I jumped out of bed and told Steve my water broke. I went to the bathroom and decided that all of that baby twitching must have just caused me to lose bladder control, even though that had never happened to me. I sheepishly informed him it was a false alarm. Then at around 2 AM, I lost another small amount of fluid and started to think that maybe it had broken after all. I tried not to wake Steve. I called into the hospital, and they said that since I wasn't having much in the way of contractions, I should give it an hour or 3 before coming in.

I woke Steve up a little after 3 so we could get a few things lined up in case this was the real deal. We got to the hospital around 5:30. By then, I still wasn't sure my water had broken at all. When they did the exam, they were just as confused as me and wanted to keep me a few more hours for observation. As we sat in the triage unit, a physician and a nurse both came in to inform us that even if my water hadn't broken, we wouldn't be going home. Henry had an episode of bradycardia (low heart rate) that was significant enough to worry them that he was in distress. At 8 AM, they repeated the exam but found that it most definitely HAD broken, so now we were on a time frame. Usually they'll only let you go 24 hours after it breaks. Since I really wasn't dilated at all (I was at a 1 and 50% effaced - women walk around for WEEKS more progressed than that) and was not having a lot of contractions, they started me on pitocin, which Henry it seems did not like. He had a two more episodes of his heart rate dropping to the point of doctors and nurses rushing into my room and doing all sorts of interventions to make it come back up. At 2 PM, my MD told me that he had broken her 3 strikes rule and I would probably need a C section. They decided to see what my body could do on it's own and gave me a 7 PM deadline to "make progress". I tried all sorts of different positions, walking, etc. Just before 7, my contractions were 2 minutes apart lasting about a minute each.

Stopping for a contraction

I was getting pretty pooped by then. When they checked me at 7, they said I had made significant progress. I was now dilated to 2 and much more effaced. After all of that work, I didn't feel like that was much to brag about. They gave me an 11 PM deadline and some Nubain, which made me feel a little drugged but let me get a little rest between the contractions. At 11, I was dilated to a 3, and they were OK with that progress. At that point, I had been "in labor" (sort of) nearly 24 hours and had been awake for 40+ hours save three brief hours Fri night.

I had hoped to be as drug-free as possible throughout labor, but it was decision time. I decided to get an epidural, try to sleep a little, and see if numbing me would help my body stop fighting the pain and actually let me make progress. I had spent the last 9 months using all sorts of muscles to keep him supported during my runs and throughout the rest of my day. They were working against me. In the back of my mind, I knew I'd need either an epidural, spinal anesthesia, or (if he had a REALLY scary bradycardia episode) general anesthesia for a C section anyway. It was the best decision I made. I slept off and on for 5 hours, and when the checked me at 5 AM, I was dilated to a 7. I have no doubt in my mind that without the epidural, it wouldn't have happened. By 6:45 Sunday morning, I was fully dilated, but he was still pretty high up and they wanted to see if he'd come down with the contractions without me having to push him down. We started pushing at 7:45. He hadn't come down much on his own, so I had to push him down. At first, the pushing was actually pretty easy. My contractions were pretty sporadic - sometimes 10 minutes apart, sometimes 2. I was so relieved that I wasn't heading to a C section for the moment that I was actually joking around (I am very sure the epidural helped).

They say that one disadvantage of having an epidural is that you can't push effectively, but I could still tell when a contraction was coming, and they kept telling me how great my pushes were. We had one more REALLY scary bradycardic spell that lasted several minutes where they called in extra nurses and the NICU team, but we got him recovered. I was SO hot in there. Even though I was wearing nothing but a sports bra, Steve was putting icy wash cloths ALL over me. The room wasn't warm, but I was WORKING. I never thought that I couldn't keep going. I knew I had to. I was just so worried that Henry would have another scary episode. At the end, they kept asking if I wanted to feel his head, but I just wanted to focus on recovering between contractions so that I would have enough energy to keep up effective pushing. I pushed for 3.5 hours total, but eventually, he was out! Steve got to announce that we had a boy. They plopped him on my chest, and I felt something splash me in the face. I didn't think much of it until later when they explained that when Steve cut the umbilical cord, blood flew EVERYWHERE. He even covered the walls with it.

Our family right after his birth. You can see blood on my face and on the pillow...

Henry was 7 pounds, 6.2 ounces, and 20 inches long. Oh, and we think he's pretty cute :)

I held Henry in my arms for a long time and knew I'd never be the same.

The day we were discharged from the hospital

Steve was AMAZING throughout the whole process. I couldn't ask for a better daddy for our son. Happy Father's Day, Honey!

We were also very fortunate to have my mom in the delivery room with us. She's an OB nurse by trade, and having her love, support, and expertise there was SO helpful, especially during some of the scary episodes. We love you, Mom (Grandma)!


We got to bring Henry home Tuesday evening. The Script's "For the First Time" played on the radio: Even after all these years we just now got the feeling that we're meeting for the first time. I welled up for the zillionth time of the week.

The rest of the week has been a roller-coaster of emotions, mostly happy, although breastfeeding is SO not fun right now, and that has caused a few sad/pained tears. Everyone reassures me it does get better. In the meantime, this keeps me motivated:

We think we'll keep him :)

The Big 4-0

by | | 15 comments
Tomorrow is my due date - I've officially hit 40 weeks! And the way things are going, it doesn't look like I'll be "doing" anything but cheering Steve on at his Oly tri, where it likely won't hit 60 degrees before he finishes. Yikes that'll be a chilly one, and I thought last year in the cold rain was hypothermia inducing... I've been sitting on the fence as to whether I'd come out to watch the race. I know it's good for me to get out of the house, but I do get tired pretty easily these days. As long as he's OK with me being a party pooper and not wanting to stick around for hours afterward if I'm tired, I'm still considering tagging along. Right now, I'm feeling OK. We'll see how I feel in the morning.

So... this week in review: Monday I got to work and decided I was just over being pregnant. They had officially moved me to project time, and things were a little slow while the projects rolled in. I watched the clock a lot until my doctor's appointment where we didn't really get any new news. My MD doesn't do internal exams until 40 weeks, so in the way of "progress," I have no idea where we're sitting. Aside from lots of pelvic pressure and Braxton Hicks contractions, I don't have much to go on.

I somehow missed the memo that it was going to be HOT at the beginning of the week. I was paying attention to the end of the week forecast for Steve's race, but I missed Mon and Tues. When I stepped outside in my corduroy pants Monday, I thought I was going to melt. No wonder it had been so hot and sticky in our office all day! A 95 degree day for an overdressed non-acclimated pregnant woman is pretty miserable.

I had so much fun running the 5K with Abbe on Sunday, and Monday morning, I realized I didn't have any more "fun" activities planned. There are still plenty of things on my "to-do" list, but it's mostly non-essential filler at this point. I took a step back Monday morning and realized that maybe I just need to relax a little. Being revved up all of the time probably isn't encouraging labor, so I scheduled a message for myself. I was honestly hoping it would send me straight into labor like they have for many women I know, but I figured if nothing else, it would help me to relax. Though it did relax me, no baby results.

Tuesday we hit a 23 year high temperature of 103 degrees. I think I heard it was the 4th hottest day on record here. Abbe and I were going to go for a very easy walk, but she finally went into labor, so I just went to the Y where it was still very hot and hopped on the recumbent bike for a little while. I talked to my mom that night who basically told me I just need to stop working out for the next week. Of course, she's been trying to get me to slow down throughout this whole pregnancy, so I wasn't surprised. In keeping with the theme of trying to relax, though, I thought I'd give it a try.

Wednesday I was a wreck. My preggo coworker was being induced, my running partner had her baby, and I was getting pretty anxious to meet my own kiddo. I felt... well, to be honest, I felt lonely. It seemed like I was out on a race course where all of my friends had finished and were off celebrating with their families. I on the other hand, had quite a ways to go and didn't know exactly where the finish line is. Yes there are still other preggos out here with me, but many started a wave or two behind me, and somehow that doesn't make me feel any better. I don't necessarily have a ton of energy for huge social outings at this point, and I know my family is getting just as impatient as I am as they're waiting anxiously at the finish line.

Yesterday, I decided I'd get a pedicure after work. Steve had gotten me a gift certificate for Mother's Day, and this seemed like a great time to use it. After my pedi (which left me really relaxed and with super cute toes), I went to the mall to do a little shopping - a gift card for my Goddaughter's birthday, a Father's Day present for my dad, and a robe for me for the hospital. When I got home, though, I didn't feel any better. I just still didn't feel like myself emotionally.

I hadn't slept well Wed night and had woken up at 4 AM unable to go back to sleep. I had contemplated getting up and just going for a run or a walk but just laid in bed instead. Planning ahead, I laid out my running clothes last night just in case I had the same issue this morning. I was able to sleep until 4:45 but was wide awake again. I heard the rain outside, but after a few minutes, I knew I had to give it a try. I was out the door just after daybreak, and it was GLORIOUS. It was cool and just lightly sprinkling, and though my times have now slowed to something resembling 13 minute miles, I felt great. I planned to try for 3-3.5 miles, but at the 1.75 mile mark, I decided to keep going. It was at that stoplight that I caught the eye of a group of 6 runners who were also waiting.

One guy took a look at my belly and asked, "You're not going into labor in the next 1-2 hours, are you?"

I gave him a big smile and told him, "Hopefully! I'm due tomorrow!"

They all smiled and one of the women in the group piped in, "I've been there!" They wished me well and took off as the light changed.

In total, I ran 4.5 miles. With the 5 minute walk at the end, I was back at my front door in just under 60 minutes with a whole new outlook. I felt like myself again. Yes it's getting harder to run. My feet ache a little when I'm out there. My SI joint feels achy when I'm done - sort of how my knees and hips feel after a long run when I'm not pregnant. My BH contractions usually ramp up after a run, too, although these days I welcome them since it feels like I'm making some sort of progress. The pelvic pressure I feel normally increases after my runs. I can't imagine it's easy for those parts to hold in a 7-8 pound baby anymore. I remember a 5 miler at 35 weeks, though, when I thought I can do this for 2 more weeks. I can't do this for 7 more. Today, I still feel like I can do this for 2 more weeks if I have to. I have learned over and over again throughout this whole journey that any physical discomfort I experience lugging all of these extra pounds through a workout is FAR outweighed by the emotional benefits of continuing to stay active. Plus, baby really enjoyed our post-workout protein, yogurt, and fruit smoothie :)

I got to work feeling great. I have been so lucky to be on projects this week. After Monday's slow day, they gave me plenty to work on knowing that I may or may not be able to finish it, so it's pretty low pressure. I am hitting my PTO max, so I've been shaving a little time off of each day to avoid losing hours. I've been able to come in and leave at flexible times, and I haven't had to be on my feet a lot. Plus, it has kept my mind busy.

I owe you a 40 week picture. We'll have to take one tomorrow.

Grand Old Day on the Go 5K Race Report - 39 Weeks Pregnant

by | | 11 comments
When Abigalius and I were on our weekly run on Tuesday, I told her of my plan to run the 5K this weekend if the munchkin hadn't shown up by then. It was a pretty cheap event ($20), and pre-registration was good up until the day before the race. Looking at past results for the run/walk, I confirmed that it is a pretty low-key race - no biggie if we needed to stop and walk for a bit. I knew I could wait a couple of days to sign up, and if I lost my twenty bucks at the last minute, I'd be happy about it. If nothing else, it would give me something to look forward to this weekend. Abbe got the green light from her husband, so we both signed up. We thought it could be fun to put our due dates on our backs. Everybody asks these days anyway!

Steve and I got to the race a little early and found Abbe, Micah, and their dog Gus on our walk to the start line. We stopped at the porta potty, posed for a few pictures, and watched the kids races.

Our homemade signs to answer a couple of questions

Mamas and babies ready to run!

There were kids, dogs, strollers, and families EVERYWHERE! It was so nice to finally have a beautiful weekend after the crazy spring weather we've been having, and you could tell everyone was happy to be out.

After all of the kids came in, we lined up at the starting line and snapped this photo:

Appropriately lined up next to the kids and the strollers...

Then it was time to GO! Abbe and I have been running together for a few months now, but we've never done a race together. I told her before we started that I was still just out to have a good time. I know she's a little faster than me, and I wanted to let her know that I didn't have any expectations that we needed to stay together if she wanted to run a bit faster. We both decided to just play it by ear.

Getting started next to the mini doughnuts

Right off the bat, we were getting a TON of comments about the signs on our backs and our very pregnant bellies. We got a lot of "Go Mamas!" and other fun cheers. One guy asked Abbe if today really was her due date. He then went on to offer that he's a doctor and asked her if she's dilated (uh, too far maybe?). We just joked that we probably wouldn't be needing his services on our run. :)

We hit the first mile in 11:10 - a little faster than our normal pace but still comfortable.

Having a fun run

Crossing the Ayd Mill bridge - a great belly shot

Mostly we just ran and talked and waved to the people cheering. The streets were lined with vendors getting ready for the day's celebration. I remember feeling really nauseated by all of the food smells a couple of years ago when I was racing hard, but to a pregnant lady on an easy run, doughnuts and other horrible for you food smells delicious. Good thing Steve and I only brought enough cash to indulge in a post-run bubble tea...

More food, strollers, and runners

I grabbed some water when we hit the turn around. The sun was starting to heat everything up. I drank some and poured the rest down my back. We haven't had many 80+ degree days here yet this spring. I was getting a little warm but definitely not overheated.

We hit our second mile in 11:17 - just fine with both of us. One guy pushing a double BOB passed us and told us we'd be in those shoes next year. I joked that I hoped I wouldn't be pushing a double BOB next year.

As we neared Snelling, we were heading up a small hill and decided to walk for a couple of minutes. We definitely weren't going for PRs. Once we got to the top of hill, we knew we'd have just about 0.5 miles to go. It was then that Steve overheard a small group behind us say, "We can't let the pregnant women beat us!" As the four of them passed us, one woman in the group told us that she loved seeing us out there. She said she was a few months postpartum and wished she would have been running toward the end.

Getting started again and running down the hill

We passed Micah and Gus on our way to the finish line, which seemed to sneak up on us.

Finishing with smiles on our faces

Heading to the finish line. Gus the pug is cheering his mom on (on the right)

We finished our final 1.1 miles in 14:10 for a total time of around 36:37 on my watch. (I still have to check on the official finishing time - it was chip timed).

Hopefully this is my last "race" before Baby comes. I'd really love to meet him/her soon! I guess we'll see, though, since it might be a few weeks yet and I may be out a running partner soon. It was just a fun way to get out there and be active with a few hundred other people. It was a preggo lady's dream with porta potties everywhere! It was fun to hear all of the cheers for our bellies, and we had so many moms come up and tell us that they loved seeing us out there, including a couple who were running just a couple of months postpartum.

When Steve and I got home, we grilled some food, made some banana muffins, and weeded the garden quick. Then I took a well-deserved nap. What a fun weekend!

39 Week Tidbits

by | | 11 comments
Well, we're here. Today marks the 39 week mark. Officially, we have one week to go. Unofficially, we may have as long as 3 weeks to go, and my MD keeps reminding me of that. Everybody keeps telling me I look great at this point. I'm taking this as a sign that labor isn't coming anytime soon. In some ways, that's OK with me since I know that everything will change instantly when the kiddo gets here. On the other hand, I know that each additional week that goes by means another 1/2 pound worth of baby that I'm going to have to push out. Yesterday was my last scheduled day of work. With the way our department is set up, we don't have sick coverage, so I'm on projects until I officially leave. I'm hoping I don't need to be on projects for too long, but the flexable schedule will be good in the next couple of weeks. So since there are no real updates, here are a few quick stories highlighting what's been going on in our household:

* Steve and I have been tackling a few last minute small projects. Last weekend we did a lot of cleaning. This weekend will involve a few touchups. The BOB and car seat attachment are together and the house is stocked with groceries. Steve and I are spending a few hours today making a few backup birthday, anniversary, etc cards. I love being married to an art teacher. It gives me an excuse to have him help me!

* A woman who is interested in pharmacy shadowed me at work a couple of weeks ago. Interestingly enough, she's also training for IM Wisconsin, so she's been picking my brain on both accounts. When she saw the TYR cinch bag under my desk, she made a comment like, "Ooh, that's cute! You still bring a TYR bag with you to work!" A little confused, I replied that I was meeting a friend for a run around the lakes after work and my running clothes were in there. She kind of stumbled over her words and then just didn't say anything. It was hard for me not to feel a little offended by her comment and a little gratified by my ability to respond :)

* My neighbor asked me two nights ago if we are sure we're not having twins. She then found out we're due next weekend and replied that I look so good I make her a little sick. I think this is a complement?

* I was talking to my 70+ year old coworker in an elevator yesterday. We were discussing my recent newspaper article and how I'm still running. Another 70+ year old lady in the elevator commented that I shouldn't be running. Thankfully, my coworker told her that I was doing just fine. The other lady then went on to say that at 8 months pregnant, she went water skiing. How, exactly, is this safer?

* Abbe, my preggo running partner, and I are both signed up for the 5K tomorrow. It will be ON HER DUE DATE. I'm so happy to have found somebody as crazy as I am :) We figure if it doesn't send one or both of us into labor, at least it'll make for some good stories!

* Speaking of labor, as if I don't already talk about it enough lately, congrats to the Cara, Kelly, and Jess, who have all had their babies recently. I'm starting to feel like I may be finishing DFL in this race...

* And finally, here's a picture of the growing watermelon. I was a little nervous to post a pic with SO much skin, but I guess I've shown more when I've posted swim suit pics, so here it goes:

I'm not sure how much more I can stretch...

Race report coming soon!