Friday, November 16, 2012

QOTD: Ironman

Many people ask "why do you run" or they ask my husband "why on EARTH would you want to run 100 miles?" As if there's just a simple neat little answer like to lower your cholesterol or something.

I watch the broadcast of the Kona Ironman with my husband every year. Every year I bawl my eyes out. Al Trautwig's voice will make you cry like a baby as he tells the story of these AMAZING people. They highlight specific stories and at the end, when all the "slow" (yet still amazing) people are crossing the finish line and the finish line announcer is saying "Joe Six Pack YOU. ARE. AN. IRONMAN." I usually bawl like a baby and have goosebumps. Because I'm a sentimental fool like that.

So, in my typical fashion, I sit on my couch. I sit next to husband. I bawl my eyes out. A chubby balding man tells the story of his Ironman and of how he cannot describe how strong he feels as he crosses the finish line. He discusses how amazing the experience is to complete this amazing race. And he sort of hit the nail on the head.

If you have to ask why, you'll never understand.

-Random Ironman Finisher

Sunday, November 11, 2012

2.7; 45; 34

2.7 miles; 45 (ish) minutes; 34 degrees

Today I attempted to actually raise my heart rate for the first time, in a very very long time. So I suppose this is my first official "running" blog post.

The weather this afternoon was very cold and brisk. There was a massive freezing wind creating a loud rustling sound all around me. I took my slap-happy chocolate lab, Pavlov, and we left the house about 2:00 p.m. We walked our .7 mile "loop" around the neighborhood. We then walked one mile out and back to my house. I walked about a 16 minute mile. I probably never got out of breath but I did eventually walk quickly enough to get myself warmed up, just a bit.

Other than the very cold wind, it was a beautiful day. There were no clouds and a beautiful bright sunny afternoon.

Overall this "workout" was a major success. A little mileage, a little warm up for the legs. A little test of the joints and ligaments and at the end, I felt pretty solid. I'm laughably tired from the effort but that's ok. Baby steps. Long road back.

Quick check on my body. I am the softest, doughiest, weakest version of myself I have been in a very very long time. I looked at my legs in a pair of shorts last week and giggled. I have chubby thighs and skinny calves. This means, my calf muscles have basically atrophied from lack of use and my baby fat has settled where my fat always settles-butt and thighs. My core is very very weak and I feel this mostly through low back pain.  My lower abdomen muscles and pelvic muscles are sore a lot and I can tell pretty stretched out.  While my legs tire quickly, they actually feel reasonably stable.  My feet (my usual weakest spot) are holding up very well. I stuck to very sensible shoes while pregnant and currently am living in shoes with high arch supports. My upper back and shoulders actually feel pretty strong, probably from all the baby lugging.  My arms, however...jiggly.

My basic plan for returning to a fit and lean version of me...DO NOTHING for the first two weeks after baby. Start walking between weeks 2-4. I have fulfilled the plan. I sometimes think I was born to do nothing so I was really good at that for weeks 1 and 2. Walk on treadmill, at incline between weeks 4-8. 30 day yoga challenge from November 23-December 23. (This translates to daily yoga on each of the these days and this goal may well kill me.) Start walk/running after January 1. That's as far as my "plan" goes.

All of the reflection and record keeping serves a greater purpose for me. I am a very goal oriented person. If I don't have something keeping me motivated and moving me forward, I tend to fall way way short of my capabilities. I don't believe I am a particularly talented runner but I have seen my body respond to being pushed and formed and re-formed many times over the years and I honestly believe I am capable of every single goal I set out below. That said, I realize that many of these goals are so lofty that it's going to take an behemoth effort to accomplish. I think part of this "journal" or blog for me, is about accountability to myself. Making myself stick to my goals and keeping me focused. I mean, if I say it online...I have to do it, right?

So here goes (GULP):

(1) I want to finish the 2013 Wichita Half Marathon.

(2) I want to run the local 4 mile Superbowl run, preferably with no walking.

(3) I want to run a marathon in all 50 states. I am (I believe) 14 states in. This should be accomplished by approximately the year 2030.

(4) I want to run a sub 1:45 half marathon. (Current PR Is 1:51:30).  This should be accomplished by 2018(?).

(5) I want to run the Chicago 2013 marathon in 4:30.

(6) I want to qualify for the Boston Marathon. [This is the biggest most lofty, most unrealistic and ridiculous goal I've ever actually said out loud. But now it's out there. And maybe, in 10 years or so(?), it will happen. In the meantime, it's cooking in the back of my head at all times and will be a driving force me in my running for a long time to come.]
(7) I want to be able to hold the following yoga poses: crow; headstand; firefly; wheel and pigeon. I am a very inflexible girl with terrible balance and limited strength, especially upper body strength. So all yoga goals are way way outside my comfort zone.
In the meantime, 2.7 miles at 16 minute miles. Baby baby steps. New baby still nursing every 2.5 hours steps. Newborn baby still 15ish pounds overweight steps. New baby, still feeling my insides getting adjusted to not having a 8+ pound boy resting on them steps. At least I'm taking those tender steps right?

Friday, November 9, 2012

QOTD: Urgency

In discussing the crazy state of the upcoming holiday season, one of my fave bloggers, Kelle Hampton, said on Wednesday:

Nothing is more urgent than being kind to ourselves and present for our families. 

-Kelle Hampton

Preach it sister. There is happily busy and there is urgent and crazy. I hope this holiday season to be the former. Slow down, soak in the little happy moments. Feel calm in the quiet and the peace of family and friends.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Nicholas Robert, a birth story

So both my husband and I thrive on being busy. Like really stupidly, over the top busy. We both just seem to perform the best, in every possible capacity, when we have a lot on our plates. And despite knowing since Valentines Day that we were supposed to have a baby October 25, we went ahead and booked up a very busy October. People told us we were crazy for trying to do so much so close to our due date, but we just don't seem to know any other way.  We received invitations for three different gatherings on Saturday, October 20:

Party #1: Eliot's friend from preschool and one of our running buddies planned a family friendly pumpkin carving party. I had concerns about whether we would get pumpkins carved if we were tending to a newborn or in the hospital, so I definitely wanted to take our little guy to this gathering. 

Party #2: One of our favorite couples was scheduling a birthday dinner for the Mister. Aaron and Joni are old friends and ones we don't see nearly often enough. October is usually a busy time for us and we'd missed several of his birthday parties in the past because of the timing. Scott and I discussed the party and said "we really need to go to his birthday dinner this year, no excuses."

Party #3: Renee (aka Ray Ray) was also turning fabulous on Saturday, October 20. And our running family was organizing a fun little surprise party for her at our absolute favorite bar, the Anchor. So one of our favorite people + one of our favorite places + our awesome friends = have to go to this party too.

The week leading up to this night was...interesting. Monday I was in labor for literally 6 hours. I had low back pain and nausea, all day. When I got home that night I couldn't eat. And I thought, wow, this is it. Around 6pm the contractions started. Scott kept checking--is this it? Do we need to pack the car? Call your dad? There was zero pattern to the contractions and rather than speed up, or form a pattern, they just sort of would hit, make me feel awful and then go away. At midnight, suddenly I felt wonderful. I felt hungry. I ate some cereal. All contractions stopped and with a heavy sigh...I went to bed.

Tuesday, I woke up and felt amazing. Naturally. After feeling so crummy the day before, I was great on Tuesday. That evening I attended my Inns of Court meeting, I presented to a group of fellow lawyers some thoughts on Bryan Stevenson, a truly inspiring guy, and came home. Nothing of consequence to report.

Wednesday. Felt great again. This is my bestie's birthday and it was quite evident little man was no showing for this date as well.

Thursday. Busy busy day. Doctor appointment (dilated to a 2 and based on everything, I appeared to be stalled. And I would be pregnant for the REST OF MY LIFE), phone conference with client. Lunch meeting. Court hearing. Partners meeting.

(Spoiler Alert) 39 Weeks Mirror Picture: My Last One!
And then...joggers and lagers. Running, then drinking, with friends. My friend Shelley and I walked two very slow, very tough miles--she is just two weeks behind me in pregnancy but she and our other walking friends were moving along just fine. The walking was really truly hard for me, not going to lie. I was very uncomfortable and baby was just giving me a heck of a time. But I followed up my two mile walk with frito chili pie, the dinner of champions.

Friday. Pumpkin patch! I really wanted to seize the moment and grab a solid beautiful fall family photo. Due to a freezing Kansas wind and below normal temperatures, we got one shot, in a sheltered spot behind trees.  I had dressed us in matching clothes, done my hair and makeup and was so excited for this amazing picture. That didn't happen.

Preparing for pumpkin patch, hair still intact.
Spoiler Alert: Last Picture as a Family of 3.
Don't let this picture fool you. It was bitterly cold out there.

Friday night--my cousin's wedding! We had a blast, let Eliot stay up 2-3 hours past his bed time so he could dance with me and eat wedding cake. He loved it, I loved it and he looked super handsome in his big boy dress up clothes.

My handsome wedding date!
Saturday. Cleaned house. All day. Eliot was a champ and helped me clean and we just scrubbed and dusted and vaccumed and mopped and scrubbed from 8am until about 4pm. And at the end, we had a sparkling house!

Saturday night was finally here and it was time to party. I donned a purple sweater, a jean skirt and some black boots.

Party 1: 6:00 p.m. Courtney and Edgar's beautiful pumpkin carving party. Their home, straight from a magazine, had been completely dressed up for fall. The giant pumpkin carving station in their driveway, allowed Scott to carve a pumpkin, complete with pipe cleaner mustache and glasses. Eliot painted a pumpkin. I ate...everything in sight while my pumpkin sat neglected nearby. Dips, crackers, veggies, hummus. I was starving! We had a wonderful time and afterwards took Eliot to my parents home for a little slumber party. We wanted the option of staying out late and not worrying about getting home to a sitter.  This turned out to be the single best decision we have ever made. (blatant foreshadowing)

Party 2: 8:05 p.m. Birthday dinner at a fun seafood restaurant and steakhouse. Since I had stuffed myself at Party 1, I opted for a appetizer of beef satay and loads of water. I was suddenly incredibly thirsty. And uncomfortable. I went to the bathroom and the funniest thing happened. I felt like I had to go, and couldn't. But I felt so much pressure, like the baby was just right there? I returned to my chair and noticed, I really did not feel so hot. But I wasn't going to let a little discomfort ruin my grown up night out. My friends who know me crack up at this story. Yes, I am dedicated to it turns out. I am so dedicated to partying that I will ignore multiple early signs of labor to keep it rolling.

Party 3: 10:00 p.m. Birthday party at our favorite bar. With no less than 10 optional Octoberfest beers to choose from. We pulled in to the final stop. Again I was chugging water and asking the waiter to please for the LOVE...keep it coming. Scott was enjoying the beer selections and suddenly I was nauceous. And in pain. But not intense pain. Dull aching pain, in my gut.  The pain came and went but since I was engaged in witty banter with beautiful people, I was not paying enough attention to notice any pattern. But, I realized that perhaps just maybe, I would be having a baby in the next day or so. And so, at about 10:45, I looked at my husband and said, "I think it's time to go." But before we left, we took loads of pictures, with the birthday girl, with friends, posing looking silly, and just in general. Because clearly, pictures were in order.

Me and my littlest friend, Ray Ray!!! Happy Birthday Love!!!
The ladies...
Yes, Kristen on the right is a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. In case you're wondering.
The gents...
Spoiler Alert: So we are about to parents. Again. Like really really soon.

10:45 p.m. We get in the car. I drive because Scott has had multiple beers throughout the evening! I mean, these were parties after all.  We leave the last establishment and I turn to him and say, I think I might be in labor? He laughs and then looks at me, "seriously?" "Seriously."

"Are you having contractions right now?"

"Well not like right now but I think it's contractions? I don't know, let's go home and time them."

I drive the rest of the way and each time the pain would hit, I would squeeze the steering wheel very tightly until it passed. But I never felt overwhelmed by the pain.

11:00 p.m. Home. I race for the bathroom where I proceed to get sick from everything I ate all evening. WHAT??? And I remember, this happened with Eliot. Very sick to my stomach. Oh dear. This really is happening. I briefly smile and think "October 21, 2012, what a lovely birthday." I head upstairs to take my high heeled boots off. I take out my contacts. I brush my teeth. Tell Scott to get ready for bed because we weren't going to head to the hospital any time soon but to be prepared.

11:05 p.m. Scott gets out the iPhone to start timing the contractions. First set, 2:15 seconds apart. WHAT???? Next set, 2:14 seconds apart. I think "This phone must be broken." I sit on the edge of the bed, while Scott brushes his teeth and prepares for bed. "Do you want to just go in to the hospital?" I respond, "No, let's wait 15 minutes and see if they slow down."

11:10 p.m. *silence as I try to breath through contraction* Holy crap. This just got real. I blink away tears, look at Scott "It's time. I don't think we can wait. Get dressed."

11:12 p.m. Scott jumps out of bed. Gets dressed. I'm in jammies I want to wear to the hospital.

11:22 p.m. Car is packed. Scott grabs me a towel to sit on in case my water breaks over my protest. "Oh my god, we aren't that close to this happening. I don't need a towel." I probably roll my eyes.

11:25 p.m. The drive begins. The contractions are real. I start the low quiet moaning thing each time. It's so weird and I can't control it. But every two minutes on the drive, I'm closing my eyes, breathing as deep as I can, sometimes grabbing Scott's hand, and softly moaning, unable to speak. In between contractions, I'm lamenting how the traffic lights are conspiring against me and how I can't believe this is really happening. I mean honestly, I was just at a bar.

11:40 p.m. Arrive at the hospital. Scott asks if he needs to drop me off at the door. I shoot him a look that garners the nervous laughing response of "yea, okay so I will drop you off at the door then? I'll park and be right there."

11:41 p.m. I check in to the front desk. "Hello, how can we help you tonight?"
"I think I'm in labor, my contractions are two minutes apart and they are pretty intense."
"Your name? Date of birth? Can you fill out this form? Proof of insurance?"
"I can start working on the form. I really think I need to get to a room please."
Takes another look at me. "No problem. Let's call you a nurse. You work on that form when you can."

11:45 p.m. Nurse arrives. "Can you walk to a room? Do you need a wheelchair?"
"I can walk. But let's just go fast and in between contractions."

11:49 p.m. In room, breathing heavy from the walk.
"Here's your gown. And a cup for your urine sample. Do you want an epidural?"
"Yes let's order up some drugs please."
Husband walks me to the bathroom as at this point, the contractions are causing me to be woozy.
Bathroom...get sick. Really really sick. SIGH.
I get my gown on. Seriously, why must one's backside be on display again?

11:55 p.m. Nurse returns. "Well, we should probably check you. See how dilated you are." *pause for embarrassing medical reality*
"You're almost to a 4. How are those contractions?"
"Okay, your nurse anesthetist is on her way."
"Thank God."
And there it is. This is happening.
Nurse looks at my face and smiles. "Did your water just break?"
"Yes, it did."
"Well you just bought yourself a ticket to stay. We will call your doctor. And, so you know, your contractions are going to get much more intense."
Scott laughs and says "So about the towel you didn't need." He's gloating. While I'm in labor. Rude.

Midnight. Scott holds my hand. These contractions are overwhelming. Each time I lay on my side, grab the hand rails of the bed and Scott's hand and just moan. I don't even know where this sound is coming from, but everything is getting more and more dream like. The world is going fuzzy. I stop hearing sounds. I feel nothing except the deep and intense ache that fills my body. And during the contraction, I am aware of nothing else.

And now, the timeline is gone. I have no idea when anything happens.

Nurses arrive, a bunch of them. They start my IV. They ask me my name and why I am at the hospital. Scott leaves to bring our stuff in, most importantly, my contacts. I put contacts in.

Nurse anesthetist arrives. Consent is given for the epidural. I start shaking. I'm suddenly terrified and second guessing. I don't think I want the epidural. But I'm not mentally prepared for the pain I'm in. And I flash back to Eliot. I labored for 16 hours with no epidural and was stuck at a 4 for HOURS. I am at a 4 now. I cannot do this again. I cannot labor with no end in sight again. Consent is given. I look at Scott "I'm so scared." I'm shaking. He sits in front of me and says "You are great. You are going to be fine. This is scary but you will feel so much better, just look at me." I get local anethetic. I feel huge amounts of pressure but she nails it. First time and the epidural is in perfectly.

Nurse lays me on my right side. Montiors are beeping. She says "Let's roll you to your left. I need to check you. How far were you dilated when you came in?" I respond "4, the first nurse said I was a 4." The nurse eyes get big and she looks across the table at her co-worker "Uhm, she's a 9. Page the doctors." I look at Scott. It's maybe been a half hour since I was a 4. I'm a 9???? He starts laughing. I start laughing. This could not be any more different than labor and delivery with Eliot.  And...if they had checked me immediately before getting my epidural, I would not have gotten it.

Resident comes in and introduces herself. I remember her round soft face and wispy blond hair. But not her name. She is kind and professional. And then, she's there. My OB, Dawne. Scrubs, KU headband, crazy curly mane of brunette hair and a big smile. "So we're having this baby tonight huh?" Dawne is a personal friend, a fellow runner and basically the best OB/GYN in the world. I cannot say how much I love her. "Is your block working? Are you comfortable?"

I laughed and said "Actually, it hasn't kicked in at all. I'm still feeling every thing."

"It will work soon. I'm going to scrub up. I'll be back."

At some point one of the nurses informs me that there's muconium in my urine, which means the baby has pooed...inside me. A neonatalogist shows up and introduces himself. He explains that if the baby has ingested or breathed in the stool, he will have to suction out his lungs upon birth. He also indicates that "So long as he is vigorous and active and crying, though, we'll leave him alone and just monitor him." Scott and I both feel a little worried but the contractions are still slamming my body and wrecking my ability to process any information. I know I'm scared that he's okay but I also feel much more at ease after the doctor has explained that usually there are not any problems with a baby that has done this.

Nurse points out that I have a button to push to administer more anethesia. Uhm. Yes please!!! She said, "dont worry, it's controlled so we won't let you overdose." So I proceed to push the button several times and say "I just need to make sure it works."

Short time later the doctor comes back and checks me "Let's get dressed. It's time for a baby."

And then, the room goes dark except for the spotlights, on my nether regions. I'd forgotten about this quiet, dark environment. It was quiet, it was peaceful, despite the 8+ people standing around me, looking squarely at my lady bits. Everyone put on gowns and gloves. And suddenly, I'm partially numb and the pain subsides. I stop feeling so blurry. My epidural is at the very least, I will not feel the pain of pushing.

My primary nurse is named Cinnamon. She is a flaming redhead like myself. She said "Let's do a practice round of pushing. Are you ready?" We practice. 3 pushes. Counting to 8 on each push. I can do this. She asks if I'm okay with baby laying on my stomach immediately after birth. "Of course."

Someone tells me, it's just past 1:00 a.m. Scott and the nurses take bets on babies's birth time. Scott guesses 1:28. I pushed for 3 hours with Eliot. I think he's lost his mind.

I push for four sets. Scott's eyes get big on the last set. And I realize, he's here. 1:26 a.m. Dawne holds him. He's huge. And blue. And has a full head of black hair. He's beautiful. And...he's screaming his lungs out. In about 10 seconds he's bright red and the neonatologist smiles. "He's quite vigorous. We won't interfere."

They lay him on me. He starts peeing and then pooping all over me. GEESH. This kid! The nurse cleans us both up and diapers my little defecator.

I notice several things immediately. His head is perfectly round. His mouth opens so wide as he screams. He has hair all over him! Dark soft feathery hair. His skin is just perfect and unbelievably soft. I'm at a loss. He's wiped off but not clean and I don't care. I just touch him over and over. Hello Nicholas. You are perfect. I love you I love you I love you. Scott touches his head. We are just both in shock. He's here. Weren't we just at a party?

Nicholas calms down and starts listening to us and staring at us. He alternates looking at Scott and I and the nurses leave him there for close to an hour.

The doctors finish work on me. And they are done in very short order. Dawne hugs Scott, admires the baby and slips off to return to her bed. There is noise in the room again as everyone shuffles around. But somehow the cocoon of newness and love just sort of swallow the three of us. We both feel relief with his safe arrival. We both can't believe how fast he's gotten here. We both just can't believe. We're here. Parents again.

Scott leaves to make phone calls to our parents. A couple pictures are snapped and then it's just the four of us. Scott, me, Nicholas and Cinnamon, our wonderful nurse. She weighs him. He's 8lb, 3 oz, 19.75 inches. She bathes him. Holy cow...babies just smell like heaven I think. She measures his head and chest and takes his footprints. And after an hour, he acts ready to nurse, rooting around on any skin he can find. And she helps me nurse him. He's big and strong and cuddly. From moment one. Nicholas just cuddles in. He looks at me curiously. He responds to our voices. He looks intently.

Pink and precious and perfect.
And both of us speak to him. He's so fully himself. He's tired and hungry but more than anything, he wants to be held and be touched.

After being awake for about 90 minutes he falls into a deep deep sleep. He proceeds to sleep the rest of the early morning hours. Scott's parents arrive at 6:30, shortly after I shower and from's all family all the time. The quiet moments give way to happy loud chaos.  The most exciting memory I have of this entire experience is 9:00 a.m. when my first born arrives to meet his little brother. He's so adoring, so thrilled and just so loving with his brother from moment one. It's positively overwhelming to be around him and watch him love little Nicholas.
Eliot's first look at Nicholas. Very clearly, it's love at first sight.
I know someday they will fight. But I will always think of them like this I think.
And then Monday, we're home. Nicholas is a perfect little baby for the first 36 hours.  And now here we are. He's two weeks old and he's just becoming more and more his own little man.

This much a lover already. He's happiest with his head squarely at the base of our necks, nuzzled in, looking around curiously. He loves it when I sing to him (our current favorite is "Natural Woman" by Aretha Franklin). He smiles in his sleep all the time and even laughed heartily the other day at 4am. He has a temper. He hates being naked or having his diaper changed. He's learning how to squirm and his awake time is increasing more and more during day time hours. He looks almost exactly like a darker version of his brother.

He came out like a freight train. An hour and forty minutes from when we got to the hospital. It was a miracle, a race and a beautiful evening. My recovery was quick. My husband again stepped up and took amazing care of me while I recovered. And now, we are falling back into a routine. But this time there are two beautiful boys to kiss good night. We know we are lucky and frankly, each time I look at Nicholas or Eliot with Nicholas, I just feel the presence of God in my life. I have been so infinitely blessed.

First picture ever of my new family of 4

Thursday, November 1, 2012

QOTD: Jedi Truth

I think Yoda speaks a little truth here. I know more than anyone that you have to try and sometimes you won't always get the desired result. That said, in life, sometimes you just gotta put up or shut up. And in the movie, at this moment, Luke is whining about something being too hard in his training. Oh Luke...just get it done :)

Do or do not, there is no try.


My kid might be a bit obsessed with Star Wars. And when we gave him full license to be whoever he wanted for Halloween, he decided to be Darth Vader and assigned roles to all of us, including his then unborn brother.

Eliot provided a lot of dramatic breathing while in costume. I was thankful not to be 41 weeks pregnant and as usual, I have too much hair to fit in a wig.  Scott's Luke Skywalker but didn't make it in the shot and Nicholas is just flat out angry. He was resting comfortably on my mama when we disturbed him for the photo shoot.