Monday, July 22, 2013

A Three Week Post-Partum Update!

Wow, can you believe it's already been 3 weeks since Baby J was born?!?!  Time sure flies when you're not sleeping.  It's still so hard to believe that that crazy alien in my belly was that little precious baby:

You cannot tell at all from these pictures but I can't believe how much bigger he's getting already!

An update on life with a baby:
  • I don't sleep.  It's amazing I haven't been declared clinically insane yet.  I've never been a good napper and I don't even try most days, though this is something I should probably learn to do.  While I'm definitely tired, I don't feel tired enough to go to sleep.  Baby J has an annoying habit of sometimes wanting to be awake for a few hours in the middle of the night.  I think he has his days and his nights mixed up.  Please tell me how to fix this!
  • Breastfeeding HURTS.  It's way way way WAY better now, but oh man, that first week was AWFUL.  First I just had terrible terrible nipple pain, then when my milk came in can we say ENGORGEMENT?  My boobs were just ROCK HARD and could not have hurt more.  It's definitely getting better but there's definitely still pain with each and every latch and righty tends to hurt a bit more than lefty.  Too much information?!  Sorry Dad.  :-)
  • So pretty much I'm a zombie milk machine.  All I do with my life is feed Baby J it seems!  I finally attempted pumping the other day and HATED IT, but I know I need to start on my stockpile so yeah, as if I'm not spending enough of my day being a cow already!
  • Caring for a newborn is HARD.  Their little necks are so fragile and I'm just so worried I'm going to hurt him all the time.  It's SO hard to change his clothes, he screams bloody murder and getting his head through the neck hole is practically impossible.  All baby clothes should feature full length snaps or zippers.  
  • Speaking of crying bloody murder, he doesn't do much besides eat, sleep, and cry.  We're not getting much quality awake time yet which is a bit depressing.  And sometimes he'll be sleeping so soundly on you and then as soon as you lay him down, boom, he's awake.  The longest 5 minutes of your life occurs after you lay him back down to sleep at 4am just praying he'll go to sleep right away and he won't have one of "those nights".  
  • I worry about him ALL THE TIME.  I check to make sure that he's breathing in the middle of the night.  The circumcision was HORRIBLE and I immediately regretted doing it (even though he seemed no worse for wear the next day).  I don't know how people lived before they could Google all of their baby's ailments and make sure they were normal. 
  • You need to time your excursions!  As soon as Baby J is done eating - that's your 2-hour window to get anything you need to get done before he needs to eat again!  HURRY!  
  • I love him so much.  He's so precious and I feel so incredibly blessed and lucky.  How did we end up with the best baby in the world??  But, best baby in the world, please sleep more at night soon.  
 Getting the best baby AND the best pup in the world just seems too lucky?!?!

I'm still not totally sure Cooper knows what this baby character is but we're working on it...

Tell me all your baby whispering secrets. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Next Time I'm Definitely Getting a Epidural

Okay okay, time to write the labor story. I don't know why it's been so hard to write it down, I've told it a dozen times. But I definitely need to document it before I start to forget!  You think a marathon recap post is long. Well since labor lasted 2-3 times the length of a marathon, this post is going to be 2-3 times that length. Or more. So feel free to not read, but since this was one of the most important (and traumatizing??) days of my life, it must be documented!

So we all know once 37 weeks hit, I was ready to have Rudiger. I honestly just felt like he was ready, and as I mentioned earlier, because of my long cycles I wasn't positive my due date was correct and I actually thought it might be a bit earlier than July 18 (like July 12 like the 20 week ultrasound showed).

Anyway, I didn't do anything crazy to induce labor (no castor oil here after hearing the horror stories!) besides old wives tales of eating pineapple, drinking red raspberry leaf tea (supposed to "tone the uterus" not put you into labor), take a warm bath, and walk a lot.  I never in a million years thought I would actually be early, given it seems first time moms often go late / need to be induced.  I was dreading the thought of being induced on August 1!

But I digress. Anyway, on Thursday at my doctor appointment I chose not to be checked, however the previous week (36 weeks) my cervix was closed but 80% effaced, which I think surprised the doctor. I did express my concern that I was feeling less baby movements so they hooked me up to the monitor and she did notice I was having contractions, but since I didn't feel them she said they were just Braxton Hicks and sent me on my way.  In retrospect - those might have been real contractions!

Just a little picture recap of the pregnancy.

Going into this I knew I wanted to try a natural birth. I had taken classes, read books, and watched The Business of Being Born, and my #1 concern was in wanting to avoid a c-section if at all possible, and going without an epidural seemed helpful given the relationship between epidurals and c-sections. I'm not stupid though, I knew that it was highly possible I wouldn't be able to accomplish this and had zero qualms about changing my mind if necessary.  So just keep that in mind! 
So Saturday morning, June 29, I woke and immediately wanted to get a walk in before it got too hot since this was one of the more extreme hot periods in Seattle. JMan was actually away in Seattle with some friends attending the Mariners games - I was supposed to go too that afternoon but decided I would probably be too hot and uncomfortable so luckily he came home to hang out with me or else we really could have been in some trouble!

Anyway, I walked 6 miles with Cooper, and when I was done I noticed the spandex shorts under my running skirt were wet. Nothing dripping, no gush, just wet. I figured it was just from the walking in the hot humid weather while carrying 30 extra pounds. After I showered and dressed though, the same thing happened with a clean pair or shorts. I was confused but knew all kinds of weird things happen when you're pregnant!  But thanks to the doctors / books severely ingraining in you that you MUST go to the hospital if your water breaks I didn't forget about this, but I did go on with my day.

I went and picked JMan up, we went to Costco and had samples, and watched some Breaking Bad.  I was feeling pretty wasteful of such a lovely Saturday, but around 12 or 1 I had started feeling pretty crappy. It felt really crampy and I just wanted to lay on the couch.  I did NOT think they were contractions, but I did start to notice that they kind of came and went in a pattern so I started secretly timing them (JMan still didn't know any of this was going on at this point!) and they were about 5-6 minutes apart. I had never had any Braxton Hicks contractions so I figured that was what they were, so I took a shower to see if that relieved them.

The shower didn't help, and by then I was freaked out that maybe my water had broken and I was nervous of hurting the baby with infection, so I told JMan what was going on and thought maybe we should just call Labor & Delivery and see what they say. They said I should come in and they would test the fluid to see if my water had broken or not.  It was around 5:30pm at this point. 

I remember feeling TERRIFIED as we packed some bags for the hospital "just in case".  Packing the hospital bags was just another thing on my to do list I never got around to finishing before the baby!  I 100% figured they would laugh at me at the hospital though and send us home - just another first time mom in fake labor!

A precious preview - NOT fake labor!
So we got there and had to register (yep, preregistering was one more thing I was supposed to do!), and felt ridiculous being taken back in a wheelchair.  The nurse took the swab to check the water and then decided to check my cervix... You cannot believe my shock when she said I was dilated to 5 cm!!!  I literally said in disbelief, "No way, are you lying?!?!" I'm not sure why I would think nurses would lie about that and think it was a funny joke though...

So she was like, "Well, it doesn't matter about your water, you're staying!"  But it turns out my water HAD broken after all also.  It was around 6:30pm at this point.

I had tested positive for Group B Strep so the next step was immediately hooking me up to the IV to get the antibiotics.  A new nurse, Jean, who was amazing and I'm so grateful for, came on at 7:00pm.

Not much happened for an hour or so. I laid there and got the IV and bore the contractions. About the time the IV was finishing up was when the contractions were getting pretty bad, because I was asking Jean to please unhook me so I could sit in the jacuzzi tub or on the birthing ball or at least just move around.  I had all these grand ideas of how I would deal with the pain (i.e., jacuzzi, birthing ball, squatting bar, walking around, etc.) but none of them really panned out. 

I sat in the jacuzzi for maybe 10 minutes or so (or who knows? Time was moving in slow motion when every few minutes are awful) but it didn't really help and the contractions were getting pretty bad.  By this time I was also pretty shaky so although I wanted to try other pain-coping strategies like the birthing ball or walking around I didn't feel like I physically could do those things so I just laid on my side on the bed. The contractions got BAD.  Awful.  Terrible.  Horrible.  I was squeezing Jman's hand off and making terrible animal screeching sounds.

At this point was when I started pretty much whimpering, "I can't do this I can't do this I don't want to do this."  I was going back and forth about getting drugs for a while here.  I didn't want to give up on my goal of going drug-free but the pain was worse than I ever imagined.  Finally Jean was leaving the room and I didn't know when I'd see her again so I just shouted at her "DRUGS!! I NEED AN EPIDURAL!"  The disheartening thing was my class had taught me that once you ask for an epidural it can be about 45 minutes before it actually takes effect with getting the anesthesiologist, prepping the area, etc., and it seemed IMPOSSIBLE that I could even live that much longer.

Lucky (unlucky?) for me, she checked me first, and found that I was at about a 9.5 - much too late for an epidural and just a few contractions from pushing time. It was probably around 9:30pm and I was pushing by 9:50pm.

Jean had the doctor (my doctor was sadly on call the next day so I had someone I hadn't met before but who seemed very nice) come in and prepped the room for baby, and the baby's nurse came in as well, but they both soon found themselves VERY bored since it was 2 hours of pushing before baby J made his appearance.  It seems I wasn't doing a very good job of pushing (not relaxing my legs enough?) for the first 30 minutes or so, but I finally got the hang of it.

At one point the doctor asked if he could make a small cut to help the baby get out, and I couldn't decide what to do but decided against it. He later said it was a good decision because I tore about the same as he would have cut.

It's hard to describe what the bad contractions felt like, or what pushing felt like, besides just that the pain was out of this world.  Pushing at least felt like it had a purpose though, and after a while you could feel that you were making progress, though it was disheartening how slooowwwww the process was and I kept asking HOW MUCH LONGER!!  Pushing was exhausting though, and my heart rate was so high and I was so sweaty. It was the hardest workout I have EVER done.  By far.

But finally he was here!  At 11:39pm, only 5 hours after getting to the hospital. Yes, don't hate me.

In case you didn't guess, this picture is NOT from right after the birth.  Those picture are NOT cute.  They are being hidden away. :-)

 And then I felt blissful euphoria.  Just kidding.  I still felt awful.  I was shaking uncontrollably even though I was hot and sweaty and not cold, and delivering the placenta and being stitched up was also awful - the whole process was just NEVER GOING TO BE OVERI feel like I missed out a little on being so happy to hold Baby J because I was shaking so uncontrollably that I was worried I was going to hurt him and I couldn't focus on him much because of the pain.

He got weighed (6 pounds 13 ounces), measured (20.5 inches with a pretty severe cone head!), and his Apgar score taken (a nice solid 9 out of 10), and JMan and the nurse said he said "Hi!" (Seriously!).

And that's a wrap! I'm really happy it turned out so well, no complications and no c-section and everyone healthy, but I'm honestly not sure I would try to go natural again.  An epidural sounds awfully nice in retrospect.  And I was lucky and the labor was pretty quick!  So I can't imagine those that suffer through 30+ hours of this torture. 

The rest of the hospital stay was a whirlwind of baby's first bath:

Plus just general recovery.  I was SO stiff after and it was really tough to just walk around.  The nurses were (mostly) great and taught us a lot about caring for a newborn (since we knew nothing).  But man were we ever ready to GET OUT OF THE HOSPITAL even after just 40 hours or so there.  Baby J had a small case of jaundice so we had to wait on his blood test to see if he was okay enough to leave, but when we got the go ahead, we got outta there!

But first we had to figure out the carseat. 


I didn't take a side view - but you can tell I still look 7-8 months pregnant in this picture.  It's a little depressing! 

And THAT'S a wrap.  I commend you if you actually read that whole novel.  How does YOUR labor story compare?!?!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

A Pregnancy Running Rant

I wrote this [obviously!] before I had the baby... but we can't let a written post go to waste can we?


Let's talk running again, just one last time while I'm still pregnant.  The baby is coming soon, right?!?!  RIGHT?!?!?!  But that's a rant for another post.  [Yes he came VERY soon!]

Pregnant running has definitely NOT been what I dreamed it would be.  I imagined myself as one of those fabulous people who run the entire time they're pregnant.  You know, kind of like that lady who ran a marathon on the day she gave birth, except just a little less crazy.  

But running wasn't like that for me.  AT ALL.  First we had MAJOR pressure on my bladder that made running very uncomfortable.  I had to stop to go to the bathroom about every 15 minutes.  Then that went away for a bit, but my calves were constantly SO tight and calf tightness and shin splints plagued me.  Then that started away and then the horrible rib and ab pain started.  Now that has lessened (but not gone away entirely) but the incredibly pressure on my bladder is back.

So yeah.  There's that.  But I did run a few races while pregnant!

There was the Mustache Dache - at approximately 5 weeks pregnant (and only 1 day of knowing it!):

There was the Seattle Half Marathon (at 6ish weeks pregnant) and the Christmas Rush 10k (at 8ish weeks pregnant):

There was the Seahawks 12k (at 27 weeks pregnant):

And finally, the Keizer Iris 10k (at 31 weeks pregnant):

So yes, I did run some.

Before we proceed with the "rant" portion of this post, let's be clear, I am absolutely ecstatic about Rudiger's arrival.  [Um, that's the understatement of the YEAR.  I am totally and completely IN LOVE.]  But let's also be clear.  I am NOT ecstatic about missing every single fun (mostly running-based) event of the summer.

While still absolutely a blast, I was not excited to miss the annual Leavenworth Wine Tasting birthday weekend, I'm not excited to miss Ragnar Northwest Passage, I'm not excited to miss the Spokane to Sandpoint ultra relay I was previously captaining, and I'm definitely not excited to miss Hood to Coast.  It was certainly difficult to watch all my pals train for the Eugene Marathon and continues to try my jealousy watching my other pals all train for a Half Ironman while I "walk" and watch my weight climb and climb.

 Two amazing events that I definitely DON'T like missing. Have I mentioned I love relays?!

Does that make me a bad person?  Don't answer that?!

While having a summer baby is awesome because a) everyone who's awesome has a summer birthday, and b) hello, free maternity leave for us teachers, it's NOT awesome when you live in Seattle and we only get 3 months of nice weather the whole year, and I'm either going to be 9-10 months pregnant (and just waiting for the baby to make its arrival as I am now!), screaming in agony during the birth, or nursing an infant during those same 3 months.

Let's reiterate that I am excited about the baby again before you all start hating me, shall we??? 

The wallowing comes and goes.  My husband loves to put it in perspective: "There WILL be other summers you know.  There WILL be other races.  This is NOT your very last one and only chance to train for a marathon / Half Ironman / ultra relay".  And those things ARE true.  But that's easy for him to say!

What has he had to give up?  He's running more now than ever!  He's watching the scale fall, not climb!  He fits into all his clothes!  He gets to eat deli meat / drink beer / drink Coke Zero / not be worried about gestational diabetes.  He doesn't struggle to put on socks and tie his shoes (well, maybe just a little!).  He doesn't get winded just walking.

He's not going to BIRTH the baby or NURSE it.  There is not one single event he's going to miss because of this baby.  The worst thing that's happened to him was painting those freaking stripes (and yes, in his defense, that wasn't a very fun ordeal).

And this is what gaining 30 pounds looks like: 

So yeah, running is not going that well.  

End rant.  Please tell me I'm not the only person to ever feel this way.  I really really really do TRY to keep the jealousy in check, but sometimes it's just so difficult!

**Update - totally worth it.  :-)

Sunday, July 7, 2013

He's Here!

Most of you already know that eating pineapple, drinking red raspberry leaf tea, taking A (yes, just one) warm bath, and walking a lot made this happen:

Yes, we realize this picture is a bit untraditional, with me standing and JMan sitting.  :-)

My Daily Mile friends were like "Did you REALLY walk 31 miles the week you went into labor?!"  Yes friends, I did.  In fact, I was walking 6 miles when my water broke (though I didn't really realize it broke, but that's for another post). 

Don't be fooled, these are all walking miles.  I haven't ran since June 2.

So Baby J, all 6 pounds, 13 ounces, and 20.5 inches of him, made his way into the world at 11:39 pm on Saturday, June 29, and it's safe to say that we are 100% completely, absolutely, and fantastically in love.

How could you not be?!?!  Precious central, right?!?!

Labor story and one week update hopefully to come soon, but I'm kind of busy being a milk machine for now! 

Monday, July 1, 2013

3rd Annual Leavenworth Wine Walk!

Let's start by saying that I ADORE Leavenworth.  It's pretty much my favorite place EVER.  This was our third year going there for my birthday weekend (you can read about last year's 30th birthday here!) and in 2011 we ran the Leavenworth Half Marathon during Oktoberfest as well.

Last year's wine walk:

Oh, to be 30 again.  And to weigh 25+ pounds less.  And to be able to drink wine. 

But seriously, Leavenworth is GORGEOUS.  The climate is WAY better than Seattle's (East of the mountains and therefore drier, hotter in the summer, and colder / snowier in the winter) and everything is Bavarian themed - even the Starbucks and the Safeway!

On Saturday I went for a 4 mile run with Jordanne and Amy and then as they kept going I walked 3 more miles, and on Sunday I ran / walked 3 miles - and look at these views from the run:

Doesn't this look like a post card?!

 Adorable, right?!

So even though I couldn't partake in any wine, we headed out on Saturday for the wine walk. 

And it was LOVELY, even without the wine.  Good friends, good fun, great weather.

Jordanne, Jordanne's husband, JMan, and I all have birthdays that fall within two weeks of each other, so we also did some birthday celebrating.  Jordanne is amazing and thinks of everything, and brought not only non-alcoholic champagne but also a bottle of non-alcoholic wine.

Side bar - at a later BBQ at my house my Dad and Father-in-Law accidentally mistook the bottle of non-alcoholic wine for one of the ones we'd bought for the party and were drinking it!  

The group also surprised me with some AMAZING birthday and baby shower gifts.  I have the best friends IN THE WHOLE WORLD.  Seriously, they are so awesome and I'm so lucky. 

Best weekend ever, and best group of friends ever.  Yes, we swam until we got kicked out: