Thursday, January 22, 2015

Running and prenatal vitamins

Remember this post?

I'm realizing I don't think I ever blogged about what happened in the years following this "diagnosis." I stopped running and started doing a lot of yoga. I love yoga. But the happiness I get after doing yoga is a different sort of happiness I get after running (honestly I'm not always happy after running but that's another story altogether). Anyway - my point is that I was getting antsy after being told to stop running. So I started running again. But it was hard because I had to make sure my digestive system had just been emptied before running which meant some days I couldn't run because I couldn't go. Around this time Graham decided to stop breastfeeding which meant I stopped taking prenatal vitamins. And gradually my runs became easier and my digestive problems largely vanished. I started running in the early mornings about 3x a week, running between 3 and 5 miles each time. And my pace got faster; I was running around 9:30 min mile which is a good clip for me (I'm ok that I will never be a competitive runner).  I'm also at this point doing yoga 2-3x a week and I'm in the best shape of my life.

Fall 2013 comes around and we decide Graham needs a sibling; back I go on the prenatal vitamins and immediately I'm plagued with the digestion issues that have a very negative effect on my running. AH HA! It all makes sense. The extreme constipation caused by the prenatal vitamins is totally messing with my game. Come to find out, there exists a vitamin with built in stool softener; why isn't this always prescribed?! Such a difference; I was able to continue to run again and did so for several months...until I felt like vomit because I was pregnant with Emmett.

I started jogging again in my second trimester and switched to power walking in my third trimester until the last few weeks when my sacroiliac joint was just in too much pain.

Here I am at 10 weeks postpartum. I'm doing 30 minutes of yoga most days, but can only get out to run about once a week, if I'm lucky, because I have no childcare. And anyone who has nursed a baby knows that mornings are the worst because you are tired and your boobs are huge and sore. Oh yeah, it's Michigan and winter and my neighborhood isn't the safest terrain in the winter for solo runs. And I really miss running!!! I'm hopeful that upon my return to work, I can use the treadmill at the fitness center at lunch.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Going back to work

On the eve of my return to my full-time job, I find myself reflecting on the last 3 months.

Things I will miss about maternity leave:

  • 7am yoga. I would get up, drink some water, and hit the mat for 30 minutes while Emmett laid on the floor and Graham watched cartoons.
  • (Mostly) keeping up with housework. It's not EASY but easier when you have all day.
  • Dinner by 6pm. When you have all afternoon to prep dinner, it's easier to get it on the table by 6.
  • Baby snuggles. Enough said.
  • Afternoon naps. But if I'm being honest, I only took consistent naps those first 4 weeks. Then the boys started alternating nap schedules.
  • Lunch dates with my mom.
  • Yoga pants.
Things that scare me about the transition:
  • Emmett's dislike of the bottle. Talk about working mother anxiety.
  • Evening crankiness. Graham gets super jazzed when he's tired. Emmett gets fussy. And I just get cranky. 7:30pm in our house is not fun, and it's about to get worse.  
  • The 100 bags I have to pack each day, including, but not limited to my lunch, Graham's lunch, Emmett's bottles, Emmett's diaper bag, Graham's gear bag, my laptop back, my pump, my gym bag...
  • Lack of sleep. Emmett was starting to sleep longer such that he would go to bed with me around 10 and only get up once. Now he's going to sleep earlier (yay!) but that means getting up around midnight and again around 3. And sometimes more frequently. I will have to get up around 5:45/6:00 to get myself and my bags ready. I'm already tired. It's about to get worse. Which might amplify the aforementioned evening cranky. 
Things I am looking forward to about going back to work.
  • Being with other adults. Thank goodness for my mom this maternity leave, because the loneliness of staying home with my littles was starting to become oppressive. 
  • Having a routine. Not that it's always the same, but I feel a little more organized when working.
  • Mental challenges. As opposed to the emotional ones posed to me by my children. Not that I never get emotional at work...
  • Dressing like a person who has some semblance of her act together. In other words, not wearing yoga pants.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year's Resolutions 2015

I'm not always one for setting resolutions, but this parenthood thing has proven to be quite challenging for me and last year I felt like I needed to make some changes. Last year I resolved to put things in perspective and feel grateful for the good things that I have in my life. I had moments where I was stressed about money until I realized I was stressed about not getting everything I want but actually having more than everything I need. I had moments where I felt like I had a kid who was way more challenging than most until I'd get compliments about him from teachers. I had moments where I felt like a terrible mother - and I still really struggle with this one - but I do love my boys and I give them everything I can. I had moments that stressed me at work but I have a job... and I even like it!  All things considered, I feel like I did a pretty good job upholding my resolution.

And now it's New Year's Eve, I have a beautiful new baby boy, I'm about to go back to work, and I'm thinking about what awaits me in 2015.

For starters, I have baby weight/inches to shed so I'm going to get on the fitness resolution bandwagon. I'm not trying to win any races but I'd love to get back to running. I'm nursing Emmett and the girls are particularly large and sore in the mornings - oh yeah, and I'm really tired.- so morning runs are out which means I have to get my butt back down to the gym at lunch. I've enjoyed not hauling workout gear to work every day, but it's a small price to pay for good health. I got a lot of yoga related gifts for Christmas this year including 12 classes at a local studio, so I'm hopeful I will somehow find the time to take advantage of said classes. If nothing else, I have a decent home practice that I'd really like to continue even after going back to work.

I still worry about being a good mother because I lose my temper frequently, so I'm resolving to find a little inner peace when Graham is really pushing my buttons. I refer to my previous resolution of doing yoga; it's not just about a stronger body, but about finding more patience and tolerance and being kinder to myself and others. Now that I'm stretched even thinner with the addition of a new family member, it's going to be even harder to keep my cool, but that means it's even more important for me to work at being more even keeled. Part and parcel of being a better mother is to put down the technology and give my boys my undivided attention. I don't know why it's so hard because Facebook isn't any more stimulating that playing Duplos, and yet....

I want to be a better wife, which I think is very much related to being a better mother. I need to spend more time with my husband without technology and I need to be more patient with him. Why is it that we are sometimes the worst to the ones we love the most?

And although most of my resolutions involve being more laid back, I also resolve to try to be more efficient in my professional life. While I want to be a team player and empower others to make decisions, I also want to hold my ground because I feel like I'm good at laying foundations and making things more structured and organized. It's a balancing act for sure, one that I've been working on for years. I'm about to transition into a significant leadership role and have some personnel challenges with which I will dealing, so finding this balance between structure and diplomacy will be crucial to my success.

I'm committed to making 2015 a good year for myself and family.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Photos from my phone

I needed to update my phone which meant I had to delete pretty much everything on my phone. It was a little sad that all of my photos of my sweet boys are no longer on my phone, but that just means there is space for more pictures as they get older and funnier. For posterity's sake, I thought I should post some of my favorites for all to see.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Early Life with Emmett (or: I have 2 kids now)

Everyone I know says having 2 kids is more than double the work, and while there are a number of challenges, I haven't found that to be true. Yet. (I'm still on leave) Emmett is a very sweet, even keeled little baby. He cries when he needs something and otherwise wants to eat and snuggle. I think the hardest part for me has been managing Graham. Graham LOVES Emmett to pieces. And I worry that his intense love will literally smother Emmett. I decided to keep Graham home from school 2 days a week and although I planned craft projects for him each of those days, we've had our moments. He refused to do our craft project. And he gets a bit jealous when I have to feed Emmett. I will admit that I have relied heavily on the TV and iPad to occupy Graham, which is a bit of a double edged sword. It's great while he's occupied but it's like crack: the more he gets the more he wants. So when it's time to turn off the screen, he flips out. 

But back to Emmett. I love the baby snuggles. But sometimes it's hard always holding a baby. Luckily, as I mentioned, he's easy going, so I can put him down. And the older he gets, the more ok he is being set down. He's a good sleeper; he's up a couple times a night to nurse but usually goes right back to sleep (or at least only mildly fusses). He's kind of a noisy baby for not being a crier; he makes lots of squeaks and grunts that are just too cute. I'm just loving this easy-going, adorable little baby!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Emmett's Birth Story

It all started this summer when I was measuring small. The doctors panicked a little and sent me for ultrasounds. This happened several times. In fact that's how they discovered Emmett was breech. That's also how they decided my amniotic fluid was low. In that last month it was quite low. Then normal (but on the low end of normal). Then low the week before my due date. I had several non-stress tests, which we of course passed with flying colors, so the doctor's let me keep going. I was stressed out and sick (stupid head cold), and I just had a feeling that at my last scheduled appointment on 10/22, the results would not be favorable. So I called it quits at work on 10/21. Wednesday morning I went for a walk with the dog and then to my appointment where I learned my fluid was at 2cm (not good). Because I had passed a NST on Monday night and fetal heart rate was good, doc told me to go home, eat a good meal, gather my stuff (and my husband), and head to the hospital. So that's what I did. We picked G up from school, dropped him with my mom, and got checked in at Saint Mary's.

It was all very familiar since I also was induced with Graham. I'm a little sad I never went into labor on my own, but it did make for a calmer trip to the hospital. I was only 1 cm dilated and maybe 50% effaced, so rather than start pitocin, I was given a round of cervidil, which is a topical treatment on a suppository meant to soften the cervix to make conditions more favorable for induction. Though it's not meant to start labor, it can (especially if this is a second delivery). It was put in at 3pm on Wednesday and then we waited. And waited. And waited. And then were told it had to stay in for 12 hours. In the evening I was advised to take a sleeping pill and get some rest before the induction, so I did. I got a few hours before waking up around midnight feeling very uncomfortable; I had started to go into labor!

At 3am on Thursday, they removed the cervidil and the nurse suggested I get up and walk around before starting pitocin, so again I took her advice. The contractions started to become more regular and when my cervix was checked around 4:00 I think I was about 4cm dilated! Pitocin was administered around 4:30am and that's when it got real! At the time, it felt like a long labor, but in reality things moved quickly. At every check I was more dilated and effaced. I was doing good with my ujayi breathing and using the birthing ball to get through contractions. But as baby kept dropping it became more and more painful. At one point, I felt a pop during a contraction and my water broke. At the check where I was 5cm dilated, I felt like things were moving too slowly for the amount of pain I was in, so I decided to get administered Stadol, which in retrospect I don't think helped. Contractions were still painful and I felt totally loopy and sedated between contractions. At around 8am, I decided to throw in the towel and ask for an epidural. I cried because it hurt and I cried because I again felt like a failure not being able to deliver a baby without medication.

Here's the catch: the anesthesiologist was in a C-section and unavailable until 9am. Again I cried not knowing how I could possibly make it another hour. And it turns out things would just get more and more painful in that hour, which I spent on my hands and knees on the bed while Jeff and the nurse rubbed my back and assured me that not only could I do it but I WAS doing it.

At 8:45 I used the bathroom. At 9 I decided I needed to pee again and as I sat on the toilet it was if my body was taken over by some other force and it felt like the baby was going to burst out of me. So I think I yelled, "The baby is coming now!" The nurse and Jeff each grabbed one arm and they whisked me to the bed. The weird thing is, I suddenly felt calm and the contractions stopped hurting, despite the fact that I was surrounded by chaos as the nurse was yelling for the doctor who on rounds and the baby nurses came in to receive my boy. I could hear Jeff breathing heavily and quickly as he became overwhelmed by this turn of events. Apparently at this moment, the anesthesiologist came in and proclaimed, "I guess I'm no longer needed." A resident told me not to push; they were concerned about me tearing and they were still trying to find my OB. Once she arrived, she told me she was going to do an episiotomy and said I could get baby out in just a couple pushes. "Really?" I managed to mumble. I still was feeling a little disconnected from my body and from the reality of the situation; probably the combined effect of the Stadol and the relief from the contractions. Yes the "ring of fire" stung like hell, but truthfully it felt better than the previous hour of labor. Sure enough, just a couple pushes and only 20 minutes after I announced that baby was coming, out he came.

Suddenly I was snapped out of my stupor. When Graham finally came out after 4 hours of pushing, I sobbed because it was finally over. When Emmett came out so quickly, with no epidural, I exclaimed, "I DID IT!!!" I felt overjoyed because my sweet Emmett and his full head of dark hair arrived at 9:21am on October 23. I felt grateful (in hindsight) that I had to wait that excruciating hour for the epidural it turns out I didn't need. And I felt relieved that despite the last month of worrying about having a too small breech baby with complications due to low fluid, I had this totally normal, healthy averaged sized boy in my arms (and no longer pushing on my tailbone). Like with Graham, I was instantly and completely in love.  

My mom brought Graham over to the hospital and Jeff brought Graham in to be the first to meet his new brother. He was nervous and very concerned about why I was in a strange bed, wearing a strange hospital gown, and with an IV port in my hand. But he did great. My mom and dad were next to meet him, followed in the afternoon by my dear friend Jess and by Marsha and Harold.