Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 accomplishments

1. Got knocked up

It didn't come easily, but we did it! A sub-accomplishment of this is "gestated fetus for 7+ months." Baby C is due in a mere 53 days (!!??!?!??!)

2. Discovered honey in Greek yogurt is delicious.

I know I'm so far behind the times on this, but I can't get over how awesome it is to adjust the amount of sweetness in your yogurt instead of being slave to the disgusting fruit on the bottom masters. Down with weirdly flavored, weirdly colored yogurt!

3. Embraced walking as exercise.

Walking is awesome. If it's cold enough outside or in the basement (where the treadmill is), I don't always sweat enough to warrant a shower. Plus, I don't have to worry nearly a much about running-related issues, like chafing or stomach upset. Walking does take for-ev-er, but that just means I'm getting to watch more trashy TV. And I get to tell myself that what I'm really doing is heart-rate zone training to build a nice cardiovascular base for when I eventually return to running. Yeah... that's what I'm doing.

4. Didn't run a marathon

For the first time in 4 years, I did not run a marathon. Or a half marathon. I took almost half the year off running in order to get pregnant and have been keeping my distances short in the months since the fetus took up residence in me. I have kept up some modicum of running fitness during pregnancy but I'm currently barely in 5K shape (and I'm running a 5K tomorrow... yikes). I obviously want this to change in a few months, but for right now, I'm just where I need to be.

5. Did grown-up things.

We got our back yard landscaped (thanks, parents, for that birthday present!). We had the majority of the house painted. Carpets cleaned. Fixed lots of little things around the house. Since I've been a renter all my life, it's been a hard adjustment to actual caring for a house. Nick's much better at it, and he's rubbing off on me. It's good.

6. Did crazy amazing hikes....

...while pregnant! Our long weekend in Rocky Mountain National Park and our incredible trip to Italy had me doing hikes that were far outside my comfort zone. Doing those hikes allowed us to see some incredibly gorgeous parts of the world. We're so fortunate to have had those opportunities, and also fortunate that my pregnancy has been drama-free enough to allow us to do those trips at 8 and 16 weeks along.

7. Got a dog.

If I hadn't gotten pregnant this year, Kiwi would be at the top of the list. She's just the best dog ever.
Nonchalant dog does not care about how awesome she is.
Best ears ever.
Little tiny puppy face and tiny puppy paws. I die.

This year gets an A+. Mostly for the honey in yogurt discovery. Obviously. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Bradley Method classes- My Review

My midwifery practice requires that couples attend childbirth classes. I had read a bunch about the natural childbirth techniques out there and decided that Bradley Method sounded like it aligned with my preferences.

Background: The Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth, also referred "Husband-Coached Childbirth" was developed in the 1960's by an obstetrician, Dr. Robert A. Bradley. He wasn't a fan of how women were treated during childbirth, since he began practicing at a time when women were given all sorts of drugs during childbirth. He developed some ideas by doing trials with patients and wrote a book. It expanded from there, with classes and a certification process for instructors. The "husband-coached" part is because Bradley felt uncomfortable being the person who was thanked for delivering a child and supporting a woman during birth- he wanted husbands to be actively involved.

His book, "Husband-Coached Childbirth," is ridiculous. I read the original (1960's) version and really, although the summary of all his writing is that women are powerful and capable of giving birth, the book itself is so outdated. He still seems to view women as silly gooses who need to be overseen by their husbands. I don't know if the more recent editions of the book have updated that language, but I have to hope they have!

Classes: Our classes spanned 10 weeks. There's technically 12 weeks of content in the course, but our instructor condensed it a little, but I never felt rushed. Our instructor was a mother of 3, with 2 of her children being homebirths. Awesome! There were 2 other couples in the class. One was planning a homebirth and the other was planning a hospital birth. Unfortunately, this meant that some of the Bradley stuff that was very anti-intervention felt like it was pointed at the one couple who was going for the hospital birth. I felt bad for them.

Class subjects include pregnancy exercises, nutrition, stages of labor, relaxation techniques, breastfeeding, and a lot more. I learned so, so much. I went in feeling like unmedicated homebirth was something I'd like to do, and I left feeling like it was something I absolutely CAN do. The class was incredibly informative and empowering. Nick also learned a lot and thought the class was very valuable. We really didn't know much about labor and what's actually happening to the uterus during labor, so just learning the mechanics of the whole thing, and watching a lot of birth videos, was so helpful.

The class also talks a lot about how to avoid interventions during hospital births. While this doesn't apply to our situation, it is applicable to all medial interventions. Asking "why" and looking into other options is not something I do well. I trust medical professionals to be doing what's best for me, and this class made me think that I need to be my own advocate and not just blindly do what I'm told. Example: my hematologist told me not long ago that I'd just be anemic the rest of the life. I sort of accepted that. Maybe I shouldn't have.

In summary, the Bradley Method classes made me excited for birth! I am not fearful, I am looking forward to bringing our little one into our lives by letting my body do what it is designed to do. I can't wait! (~65 days and then we're PARENTS. o.m.g.) I'll definitely update after the birth with how I think Bradley Method helped me get through birth. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Running and Braxton Hicks

First, some images from our recent 5K. My dad ran with me again which was awesome. This one was far harder than the last one we did at the beginning of November. I'm carrying another 5ish lbs. in the middle of my body, so no wonder running is getting hard. I finished ahead of my last time though, in a smoking 26:35. Many thanks to my dad for keeping me going when I really, really wanted a walk break. 

If it looks like my dad is dragging me to finish, it's because he is.
If I flap my arms enough, maybe I'll fly. Also, so much slouching.

Something I didn't mention last week in my pregnant running post was contractions. At that point, I hadn't felt any, or at least I didn't think I had. I probably had been feeling them for a while but I hadn't given them much thought. Now that my belly is getting huger, I've started noticing painless tightening, known as Braxton Hicks contractions. Per the ever wise Wikipedia, BH are tightening of uterine muscles and are thought to aid the body in preparing for labor. I've been having these off and on, and I've noticed they seem to be associated with running. Mine aren't painful or even uncomfortable. A full bladder and a lot of activity are two things commonly associated with BH, and that is definitely true for me. From a totally scientific poll of the internet, running seems to exacerbate them for others as well.

The consensus is that BH are a normal part of pregnancy (hence why they have a name). Mine go away immediately after I stop running, although if I slow to a speedy walk, it takes a lot longer. I'm staying very well hydrated. I'll bring this up to my midwives again at my next appointment. I mentioned I was having BH last time and they were not worried. I was bragging about them YAY MY UTERUS TOTALLY WORKS AND IT'S GONNA GET THIS BABY OUT SOMEDAY and they were not impressed. Oh well. Until then, I'll keep listening to my body, slowing down and enjoying the days when running is enjoyable. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Pregnant Running

I am incredibly fortunate to be able to run, comfortably, up to this point in my pregnancy (28 weeks! 80 days to go, but who's counting. Not me. Totally not freaking out over here). I plan to keep on going as long as my body lets me, although I know there is an inevitable slowdown coming, and I am totally ok with that. My "running" currently consists of walk/jogs a couple times a week and sometimes a "long run" that's a continuous 3 or 4 miles on the weekend. No one will accuse me of being an overachiever.

Pros of running while pregnant
Low expectations- It doesn't matter if I run 30 seconds and then start walking. I have zero expectations for myself. Last night, on the treadmill, I was doing "intervals" where I ran a quarter mile then walked a bit. I managed to press the stop button on the treadmill in the middle of the run and I took that as a sign that I should just walk the rest of my planned distance. That was a-ok with me.
Anyone else remember this from Mad TV? Anyone else remember Mad TV?

Energy surge- For now, at least, I get a pretty good energy surge following a "run," even if it's a run/walk.

Quality TV watching time- I am pretty sure I'll forever associate this pregnancy with Gossip Girl. It's my go-to show for treadmill workouts. Nick would never dream of watching it (he hears bits of it from time to time and asks me if it's really as melodramatic as it sounds. Yes, totally is.)

Food intake/timing barely matters- Obviously I need to eat well during the day if I'm going to run in the afternoon. Before, that meant that I needed an afternoon snack at 2pm, no later, or else I'd be nauseated for an afternoon run. Now, I eat whatever, whenever, and go about my day.

Better sleep and less restless legs- I had mild RLS prior to pregnancy and it's gone crazy lately. I find my symptoms are milder on days I've done something active. The promise of better sleep is a huge motivator to get my butt off the couch these days.

It's good for me and the baby- Of course. Sometimes the only thing that gets me going is knowing the benefits that working out, even for just a little bit, carries for my health and my little fetus's health. 

Cons of running while pregnant
Funky aches- Nothing feels the same right now. My arms and legs are chunkier so I'm getting chafing in all sort of unusual spots. My boobs are huge and move in ways I'm not accustomed to (to be fair, they were so little before, they really didn't move at all. It was nice). My ankles and shins have been aching weirdly during most runs and occasionally during walks. My midwives said it's most likely just changing body mechanics, but it sucks. The aches resolve immediately after running.

Extra weight- This is the cause of the funky aches. And the chubby arms and legs. And slowness. Being many, many pounds heavier than my normal running weight is... challenging.

Slowness- It's not fun to go out for what used to be a "quick 4 miles" and now takes almost an hour. Nothing is quick anymore. 

Needing to pee- I go to the bathroom immediately before a run and by the time I've hit "start" on the treadmill, I need to go again. I know this will only get worse, so I'm just trying to power through it and try and remind myself that I am capable of going more than 40 minutes without peeing. Really.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Alexandria Turkey Trot Recap

I apparently only blogged about this race last year, but I've participated in it 5 out of the last 6 years. I did a different trot in 2010 so my streak isn't perfect. Boo. My paces for previous years are: 2009- 11:28, 2011- 10:12, 2012- 8:37, 2013- 8:18.

Last year, I ran this race just before my big (second) marathon of the year. This year, I ran it as my second run of the week. Times have changed. This year, it was also much warmer than last year and there was another fun addition (aside from my extra tummy girth)- my dad joined us! Yay!

Sorry, Dad, this is the picture I chose. So glad I come from a family of models.

My dad's a really good cyclist who also runs when his plantar fasciitis isn't bothering him. He was a very good sport to join us this year even though the drive is pretty long for him (45 minutes to our house, then another 45 minutes to the race). I ate a banana, 2 eggs, and Kashi cereal before the race because I figured the long-ish drive would give me plenty of time to digest. That was partially true, but I was still a little uncomfortably full while running. 

I've mentioned in the past that this race is a pain for parking because you have to park on surface streets and you're never super close to the race start. We parked with an ok amount of buffer before the race start, but then things fell apart. It's always good to have a concrete plan for your group before you all go off in different directions. Lesson learned: Nick, my dad, and I all have different priorities for pre-race to-dos Mine: pee. Pee again. Drop off my sweatshirt so I don't have to carry it all race. Then, pee once more. Nick's: Stay warm. Drop off coffee cup at car so he doesn't have to carry it all race. My dad's: Pee. 

We lost each other when we split up to get our bibs. My dad went to find bathrooms, I went off to find my dad, and Nick looked for both of us. This was all happening about 20 minutes before the start of the race. After many, many curse words and much fretting, I finally decided to go back to the car. This was about a half mile away, so I needed to jog to get there and back in time. Waddly pregnant woman running at her top speed (10 minute miles!) + loudly cussing = a really, really attractive sight. Luckily, I found Nick at the car, ran back to the start as quickly as possible, used the (more convenient) volunteer bathrooms (sorry, volunteers... it was that or {seriously, not kidding even a little} squatting on someone's lawn) and Nick was able to somehow find my dad in the crowd of 5000. He was wearing a yellow jacket, which definitely helped. 

The race itself went well. I was already a little tired from my 1 mile warm up, plus there's always a million people to dodge at the beginning of the race, so things did not get off to a speedy start. I think the first couple miles were slightly over 10 minutes per mile. My overall goal was to finish under 50 minutes (10 minutes/mile) so I knew we needed to pick it up a bit in the second half in order to accomplish that. We did, for a finish time of 49:32- 9:55 pace. I was very pleased, but very tired. 5 miles is the upper limit for distance for me lately. Post-race goodies included granola bars and Larabars. It's a Thanksgiving tradition.

I posted this photo on Facebook after the race and got a lot of "Congratulations!" not realizing I hadn't previously mentioned my pregnancy on there. Oops. Better late than never? Also, hellooooo belly.