Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Return to Running After Baby

I've been running!  Yippee!  This is a running blog, isn't it?  Good thing I worked that SOMETIMES into Ricole Runs, Sometimes!

Can you believe it's been 8 weeks already???

Running is glorious and I've missed it so much.  It's been hard coming back though, don't get me wrong.  I am constantly reminded of all the fitness I've lost, how little arm strength I have, and how my abs are non-existent and disconnected and a MESS.

I can also see I'm going to have to learn to love (or at least like?  or at least tolerate?) the dreaded dreadmill again, since baby plus winter coming might make running outside a bit more difficult.  So far it's been working out well to go running in the evening once JMan gets home from work, plus it's usually a bit cooler out by then, but I know that can't last forever.  I ran on the treadmill for the first time today since WHO KNOWS WHEN, and it was not easy, plus RIDICULOUSLY sweaty.

My main focus has been on getting this little guy to smile, instead of on running!

I ran off and on for most of my pregnancy, so I felt pretty comfortable diving back into it once I was feeling up to it.  I won't lie, I did try running a bit in my 4th week post-partum.  I know the general recommendation is 6 weeks off, but I had a pretty easy pregnancy and an uncomplicated labor (besides some tearing) so it seemed okay.  I didn't feel great though so I did wait a bit longer to really start, and all of the first runs were more of run / walks than runs.

I'm happy to report though that the last two weeks (weeks 7 & 8 post-partum) I have felt FULLY recovered, have run 4 times each week, have logged 14 miles each week, and ran a "long run" of 5 miles each week.  Yeah yeah all of you running ultra relays and marathon training, 5 miles isn't much to you, but I have no idea the last time I ran 5 miles without walk breaks!  It's been A LONG TIME.  And it feels GLORIOUS.

As you can see, August isn't even all the way over yet and I've already ran more miles in the month than I have the ENTIRE TIME I was pregnant, though I am awfully close to early first trimester (November & December) and peak of feeling good during second trimester (March) levels.  
Man May, June, and July are awfully sad.

 I won't lie though, it has  been SOOOO INCREDIBLY DEPRESSING to watch my two relay teams compete without me the past two weekends.  First, the Spokane to Sandpoint Ultra Relay team I put together last year, a few short weeks before finding out I was pregnant, DOMINATED and even won their division two weeks ago.  So sad to not be there!  It was even harder to miss running Hood to Coast with my team last weekend though.  I almost ran it, and am certain I could have, but finally decided the logistics were just too difficult, and if I was going to be away from Baby J for a night I CERTAINLY wanted to spend that night sleeping - not NOT sleeping the entire time! 

So who wants to run an ultra relay and Hood to Coast with me next summer to make up for this?!?!

So I hope to keep this up, running 4-5 times per week.  With time being limited I'm anticipating most runs will be the 3 milers I've been logging a lot, but I'd like to get in at least one "longer" run each week.  I won't lie, I've got my eyes on some races.

First up: 
Um, the half.  Duh. 

I did the Leavenworth Half Marathon in 2011 and LOVED IT, and we all know I LOVE Leavenworth, so this seemed like the perfect comeback race.   Obviously I'll just hope to finish it and not die, I don't even have dreams of running the whole thing!  I just want to have a blast of a weekend.  This is a little over 5 weeks away so not a ton of training time left.

Then I've got:
with Team Nuun!

Becky still thinks I'm not going to do this race but I'm dead set on proving her wrong, despite the logistical nightmare I'm predicting with pumping and such.  The idea of throwing that liquid gold away makes me shudder even now.  

And finally, I'm registered for:

Amica Insurance Seattle Marathon
Again, the half.  Don't get too excited.

This was my very first half marathon, and I did it again while 8-ish weeks pregnant last year, so it seems fitting I run it again a year later!  Plus Zozi finally had a deal I couldn't refuse.  This race I'd like to finish with a bit more dignity (i.e., at least run the whole time, if not run hard!) than Leavenworth. 

Who wants to run these races with me??? 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

I Haven't Slept in 7 Weeks (A Baby J 7 Week Update)

Remember when I did Baby J's 5 week update and said I was going to do these updates every week so I could remember how fast he was changing?  So yeah... I guess that was a little ambitious on my part?  Once every 2 weeks will have to do.

Having a baby is still HARD.  That hasn't changed at all.  Not-one-bit.  But he's just so freaking PRECIOUS which makes up for the tough times.  

First trip chancing eating at a real restaurant.  Thankfully it was a success.

So let's recap.

Baby J's Health:  Baby J remains a MONSTER BABY.  We like to pretend he's like a roaring giant growling in a low voice "MOOORREEEEEE".  Maybe you had to be there.  Anyway, at 1 month he weighed 9 lbs 12.5 ozs, and by our less accurate scale he weighed 11.3 pounds at 6 weeks and 12.4 pounds at 7 weeks.  That's right, he's pretty much doubled his lowest body weight (6 pounds 3 ozs).  MONSTER. 

Yep, I'm a monster!

He had a case of baby acne that's cleared up nicely as has a blocked tear duct in his right eye that was causing all kind of goo to come out of his eye.  He does seem to be getting some cradle cap on his scalp now though.

My Health:  Have I mentioned I still haven't slept?  Yep, that's 7 weeks and counting.  I also haven't lost any more weight.  I've kind of given up on that though, honestly.  Not forever, just for now.  Honestly, you can't expect me to not only not sleep, but also deal with a screaming baby, and be ravenous all the time from breast feeding, AND STILL expect me to not eat dessert. 

While it really makes me mad I don't fit into my old clothes, I know it will happen someday and there's no reason to stress about it now.  I've accepted the wise words of most other people, who've said: "It took you 9 months to put on the weight, give yourself 9 months to take it off".  Most of the ladies who were pregnant at the same time as I seem to have easily lost all of the weight, and it's hard not to compare myself to them, but that's just my dumb pride talking.  I doubt anyone else really cares about my belly flab except me.  And if you do care - kindly shut your trap! 

I HAVE been running though!  I think that deserves a post all its own though... but I've ran 5 miles without walking twice now! 

Sleeping:  There has been some improvement in this area, though not a lot.  Again, others' similarly-aged babies seem to be giving them 5-6 hours of blissful sleep, and we're nowhere near that.  But we are sometimes (inconsistently) getting a longer stretch of 4-ish hours, which is lovely after the 2-hour stretches I was writing about at 5 weeks. 

That's the good nights though.  It's still hit or miss.  He still seems to suffer from something, whether it's gas or reflux or a dairy allergy or just plain colic or something else I'm not sure, but there are nights where he just screams constantly for hours.  The "witching hour(s)" are usually between 6-10.  It's hard to take, let me tell you.  Poor little guy is just so sad, it just breaks your heart you can't help him.  Last night this went on until midnight, and since I had to go to work today it was REALLY rough!  We've tried gas drops and me giving up caffeine - neither seem to have much of an effect, so I'm toying with giving up dairy now to see if that helps.  I REALLY like dairy. 

I hate you guys.

Napping:  Again, there has been some improvement, but not a lot.  He has taken a few naps in his *gasp* crib!  Not just his pack n' play, but his crib! 

Sleeping in the crib!

He also still regularly naps either in the Ergo or the car seat.  Other times though he'll be sleeping peacefully in your arms and then WIDE AWAKE as soon as you put him down.  It's a bit frustrating!

Yeah Mom, I'm awake.

Eating:  He eats a lot.  This hasn't changed.  Though we're getting some longer stretches of sleep at night, he's still eating pretty consistently about 10 times a day.  I had hoped this might decrease to around 8 but that doesn't appear to be happening any time soon. 

Pumping:  Pumping is no longer the worst.  I can tolerate it.  I actually think I'm becoming kind of obsessed with building up my freezer stash!  I get really excited when I get 5+ ounces (sometimes I only get 3 though and then I'm really disappointing since that's not really even one whole feeding).  Yeah, you can say it, I'm a weirdo.  It's still hard to fit it in though since I can't pick up Baby J while I'm pumping, and Baby J always seems to "know" I just pumped and wants to eat as soon as I drain those puppies!  I also pumped at work for the first time yesterday and IT WAS WEIRD.  WEIRD I tell you.  

J's Likes:  Houston, we're getting SMILES!  FINALLY!  Not very often, but they are there!  We're also getting much more quiet alert "happy" times, while before he was pretty much only eating, sleeping, or crying.  He can track faces and makes eye contact now and has even been making sounds that aren't crying, which I guess people call "cooing".  It's precious and adorable and I love it.  He gave JMan the BIGGEST GRIN EVER tonight and it was probably the #1 most adorable thing I've ever seen.  Now it's my mission in life to get one of those directed at me.  :-)

 My poor attempt at capturing one

He's also actually starting to look at the toys dangling from his play mat and he LOVES to kick his feet and "play the piano".  I wonder where he got his love of kicking from?!

He still LOVES to take baths (who wouldn't enjoy a baby hammock in a hot tub??) but HATES when he's taken out.  Then he screams bloody murder.

Big belly

Finally, I was pretty certain Baby J looked EXACTLY like JMan.  I still stand by that thought.  Except then I also saw this:

And now I'm off to try and get some sleep...

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Baby J is 5 Weeks Old!

Can you believe it's been 5+ weeks (actually, coming up on 6 at this point) since Baby J was born?  Things are... challenging.  Having a baby is HARD.  If I hear one more mom tell me about their baby that's happy all the time / never cries / sleeps through the night / is an efficient nurser I might snap!!!

Baby J is none of those things. I love him and he's precious but I'd be lying if I didn't say that the crying and the sleepless nights aren't getting to me.  Basically I haven't slept since June 28, can't I be labeled clinically insane yet?  JMan really tries to help but until men can breastfeed there's not a lot he can do.  It's really really really REALLY unfair that the woman not only has to carry the baby AND birth it AND feed it AND has to bear all the sleepless nights too.  

But let's recap how Baby J's doing in his 5th week.  

Baby J's Health:  Baby J is a MONSTER BABY.  He likes to eat a LOT and it shows. Everyday I marvel over how freaking big he is.  At his 1 month appointment he weighed 9 lbs 12.5 ozs, but I'm sure he's well over 10 pounds by now.  

Monster Baby with a friend's baby who was not only born at 40 weeks (instead of 37) but is also 3 weeks older.  My baby will eat your baby for breakfast. 

My Health:  Well, I don't get much sleep and I never get to nap.  I swear Baby J is perfecting a new type of torture to debut on Homeland or something.  This week I've also developed a new horrible symptom: terrible upper back and neck pain, which appears to be from poor posture while breastfeeding.  All I can say is OUCH.  A few days I couldn't even really turn my neck.  

I AM down 2 more pounds since my 4-week body update though, yay me!  Still a whopping 9 pounds to go.  I do try to get some exercise every day and I even have started running!  I am OUT-OF-SHAPE!  The farthest I've run so far without stopping is 19 minutes, but I'm slow and my cardio fitness is poor.  I also can barely do 10 push-ups on my knees!  SAD.  That needs to be remedied ASAP! 

Sleeping:  Totally hit or miss. He's certainly not a prodigy in this department though.  Most nights are pretty good though, with good nights meaning he gives us a few 2+ hour stretches of sleeping.  He usually wakes to eat about 3 times between 11pm-8am, though since the last time is around 6am and I will normally be getting up then I guess it's about 2 times.  It's usually around 1:30am, 4:00am, and again at 6:00am.  Bad nights he's up to eat what seems like every hour.  Horrible nights he decides to be awake from 2am-6am.

He's certainly the most precious when he's sleeping!
Napping:  Napping is BAD.  I really need to work on getting him into a better schedule that involves regular naps.  Most days he pretty much refuses to nap in the traditional sense, and must instead be lulled to sleep in his car seat via the BOB or the car or by my movement in the Ergo.  For some reason he'll cry when I'm holding him but pop him in the Ergo and he's happy.  That thing is the #1 hands-down best gift we received!  It does seem like both him and I are SWELTERING in the blanket he's basically wrapped in plus this heat (who wants to buy us some AC?!?!) but it's worth it to stop the crying FOR SURE.  I do know this is just a crutch though and I need to figure this issue out.  Suggestions???  I've read Baby Wise but I refuse to let him cry it out this young. 

 He likes it?
Eating:  Baby J eats a lot.  Duh, that's why he's HUGE.  He eats every 2-3 hours but sometimes more often (never less often, unfortunately!), so it's really hard to predict his hunger. You'll think you have a few hours to go to Target until he's starving just 30 minutes after you finished feeding him. I think he might be going through a growth spurt this week because the feedings seem more erratic than normal. Sometimes the feeding sessions are MARATHONS too- going on for nearly an hour. So yes, pretty much all I do ALL-DAY-AND-NIGHT-LONG is feed him!  It's seriously a full time job.  I laugh when people ask what I did that day.  Um, I watched another episode of Friday Night Lights???

Pumping:  Have I mentioned how much I hate pumping? I was doing a HORRIBLE job of pumping consistently  but I am proud to say I did a good job this week of meeting my goal of pumping every-single-day (once a day, in the morning).  I'm trying to build up a decent freezer stash for when I have to go back to work for a few days at the end of this month. 

J's likes:  After the first few baths where he screamed, J seems to like bath time now - very relaxing!  As I mentioned above, he loves to eat and he loves to ride in the Ergo.  He's only had a bottle a few times but he seems to love it - probably because it gets him his food faster!  Sometimes he likes the pacifier, but most of the time he doesn't care for it.  At this point he very sadly doesn't seem to like much else. He laid on his playmat for 10 minutes or so without screaming finally - so we'll call that a win even though he didn't exactly LIKE it!!   Baby J hasn't smiled yet even though I'm DYING for one, I shamelessly beg him everyday but he's not listening! :-)

Look at that belly!  COME ON BABY J, GIVE US A SMILE!!!!!

Visitors:  We've had a TON of visitors - everyone is so nice to come visit!  We LOVE visitors!  Those that came in the early weeks got to hold a quiet, precious baby that slept in their arms peacefully.  Those that came later held a screaming infant for a few minutes before they gladly relinquished him.  :-)


                                                                           Leandrea & family

J's dislikes:  He sure does seem to dislike a lot right about now. They say crying peaks around 6-8 weeks - I sure hope this is the worst of it. It's funny to look back now at the first few weeks and think of those as the "good old days" when he slept more and cried less!  At the time those days seemed so hard, so I wish I'd documented it and been doing these updates all along!  Everyone keeps saying it will get better, but honestly, so far it has gotten worse as he's gotten older! 

It will get better, right????  I will sleep again someday???  Any and all suggestions / advice are welcome!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Did You Win?

So I know I'm the queen of not rewarding people who win my contests.  At least that's true in terms of Runcember, in which I never ever acknowledged how awesome everyone did and who won.
Runcember Winner: Well, Robyn won by a LANDSLIDE, with a whopping 202.35 miles walk/run in December.  She is AMAZING and my hero.  She nearly doubled my 111.30 folks.  But Jayloh and Icyr also deserve a huge SHOUT OUT as being the only other two to run or walk at least a mile every day in December.  Yes, I realize December was 7 months ago.  I'm a little late okay?  LAY OFF ME!  :-) 

And now on to my second contest you thought I forgot about.  Very [VERY!] shortly before I actually went into labor, I asked you all to guess my due date!  This turned out to be VERY difficult, given the very unexpected fact that I went into labor nearly 3 weeks early.  Thank goodness I did!  Can you imagine how big Baby J would have been if he stayed in there another 3-5 weeks? 

Turns out you had exactly 2 days to guess.  

Due Date Winner: Tasha, sweet as she is, guessed the date I wanted Baby J to be born on: July 4.  Rachael, trickster that she is, went and guessed after she heard I was in labor at the hospital!  She still guessed the 30th though, who knew my labor would be so quick?  Rachael's tricky guess was 20 minutes off, but Tasha takes home the prize.  Good thing Jen, who guessed freaking July 30, was wrong!

Weight Winner: Some of you were super evil and guessing ginormous babies!  Shame on you!  :-)  Lindsay had the smallest, and therefore correctest answer with 7 lbs 2 ozs (he actually weighed 6 lbs 13 ozs, which dropped down to 6 lbs 3.5 ozs a few days later). 

Height Winner: Rachael did legitimately guess the height exactly correct at 20.5 inches (though we dropped down to 19.5 inches a week later with the cone-head loss!).  Congrats Rachaem!

All of you winners - email me ( your mailing address! You've each won a tube of Nuun, which has been a LIFESAVER for me while breastfeeding.  I mentioned before how I'd never known hunger like breastfeeding-hunger, well I've also definitely never known thirst like the breastfeeding thirst.  I am thirsty ALL-THE-TIME.  Plus I know it's super important to drink enough fluids to maintain your milk supply.  So I've been drinking Nuun like it's going out of style, not only to make sure I stay hydrated but also to stop being so freaking bored of drinking water.  Lemonade is hands-down my favorite choice, though it's not entirely a fair contest since I've been avoiding Kona Cola and Cherry Limeaid because of the caffeine. Thanks for playing everyone!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

A One Month Post-Baby Body Update

It's already been one whole month since Baby J was born?  That seems impossible.  That little 6 pound 13 ounce baby has turned into a MONSTER BABY and is now tipping the scales at a whopping 9 pounds 12.5 ounces.  That's right folks.  He's gaining about a pound a week.  Scariness.  He's also grown from 20.5 inches (which reduced to 19.5 inches at his 1 week check-up thanks to cone-head) up to 21.5 inches, and I don't know what his head circumference was but it was in the freaking 80th percentile.  We are officially leaving newborn diapers and clothing behind!

Our baby is a counting prodigy already, no big deal.

Now an update on post-baby body.  Ugh.  It's not pretty folks.  I miss my (semi) flat stomach.  I kind of even miss being pregnant because then at least you have an excuse to be fat and your stomach is all hard instead of all soft, paunchy, and flabby like it is now. 

You can see that leaving the hospital I still looked a good 7-8 months pregnant:

But it was really promising how fast it went down.  These two pictures are just 9 days apart:

But I still look a good 4-5 months pregnant.  

Sadly, not much has changed since that first week though.  The first week's loss was AWESOME.  I gained about 31 pounds during pregnancy, from 143 to 174, and I went from about 174 pounds going to the hospital to 158 pounds a week later (16 pounds loss, with 15 pounds still to lose to get to my pre-pregnancy weight).  That first week I had the initial drop and then I lost a pound about every single day.

That has stopped.  Apparently they want me to work for the rest of the weight loss!  Boo. 

Not much change.

And sadly, there's been pretty much NO change since those first two weeks.  I'm sitting at a solid 154, with 11 pounds to lose to get to pre-pregnancy weight.  Losing weight is HARD.  Especially when you're freaking RAVENOUS all the time.  I thought I knew hunger.  I knew pregnancy hunger and I knew long-run marathon training hunger, but neither of those can compare with breastfeeding hunger.  It's OFF THE CHARTS.  Losing weight is also hard when you've had nonstop visitors which often involved delicious lasagna, ginormous marshmallows, and blackberry pie. 

And you can't really cut calories (much) if you want to keep your milk supply up.  So my August goal, if I choose to accept it (which I MUST), is twofold.  1) I must watch what I'm eating.  Not cut calories, not diet, but not eat crap.  REDUCE THE SUGAR.  And 2) EXERCISE.  Exercise is going to be key here to make that calorie deficit.  And I don't mean just walking.  I need to up the ante.  I need to figure out a way to get to the gym (for someone with abundant free time on my hands it sure is impossible to get there without daycare). 

So here I am, asking to be held accountable for losing this stupid baby weight.  Man I hate losing weight.  Not eating dessert is the WORST.  But it must be done.  My going back to work days are quickly approaching and I don't think they'll like me wearing maternity shorts and yoga pants...

Anyone have any weight loss secrets?  How did you lose the baby weight?