Photo from the 2014 Ice Age Trail 50 Miler by Ali Engin. Permission to use header photo must be obtained through Ali Elgin.

"It's better to feel pain than nothing at all. The opposite of love's indifference." - The Lumineers

Friday, 28 December 2007

A time to remember







We were feeling a bit giddy last night after a combined job interview. SR is modeling some of my clothing as incentive for me to keep cleaning the house with him. The house is quite clean now. But we got a bit too horny to finish the task completely.



We interviewed for 3 month jobs that we are planning to take after SR graduates and before I receive my citizenship card for moving to Europe. The jobs are in a small town surrounded by hills and trails in the middle of nowhere. SR's job would be in a clinic with inpatients in an attached hospital doing emergency room work on the weekend when he chooses. Mine would be working in a clinic for the employees of a furniture manufacturer. The patients would be mostly Hispanic, Hmong and Somali in my practice. I get to go through a two week paid "Spanish Immersion." I'm really excited about that. I already speak Spanish, but could certainly stand to get better. And we get to pick our job hours. We're both planning to work part time so we have time for adventures with the baby this summer. Our first plan for the summer is to climb Mount Whitney.

For Christmas SR bought me cross country skate skis. Neither of us considered the fact that 7 1/2 months pregnant might not be an ideal time to learn how to skate ski. Here we are in the car just about to get stuck in the 14 inches of snow that fell rapidly in the area.



A really nice family drove along and helped push us out. We went skiing for over an hour on two separate days and I LOVED it! Of course I fell a fair number of times and the second day I kept having contractions and felt like there was a bowling ball in my pelvis. But it all felt healthy and good. I've reached a point in my pregnancy where I can use my contractions as a way to tell me I'm working hard enough. Yes, it is true. If I don't have contractions while I'm spinning, for example, I know I'm not pushing myself hard enough. Does anyone else know what I'm talking about? It feels so natural that it doesn't worry me. In fact, I feel like it's great preparation for labor.



Finally, we had a great Christmas. First we celebrated in town with the ex-wife and the kids. The ex-wife and her girlfriend are both great cooks so we ate very well and had a lot of fun. The next day we went to my parents' house. Seeing relatives at my parents' house and old friends at church was interesting considering the last time many of these people saw me was at the wedding to my ex-husband just a year and a half ago. And now here I was with some foreign guy, his 6 year old daughter and a big baby belly of my own. I can't say I ever thought I'd be that person. But no one could deny how happy we all look together. And my aunt and uncle said they had never seen me look so "healthy and robust." So people are generally really understanding, though they could easily be condescending or made uncomfortable by the situation.





Below is SR in his "Christmas sweater." Everyone wanted to know what the cross signified in Scandinavia. My relatives seemed to figure that everyone in Scandinavia wore those sweaters and were so intrigued. He gets a lot of credibility just by playing the foreign card. In all likelihood the sweater was from the Gap or American Eagle.



We have a lot to be thankful for! And as SR said last night, "This is a time I will remember for the rest of my life." I noticed tears in his eyes and we kissed.


Running Song of the Day: I am John by Loney, Dear

Thursday, 27 December 2007

32 week ultrasound

Hope everyone had a great Christmas and/or break from work! I had the best Christmas I've had in years and have pictures and stories to follow. I just had to post the exciting news from our ultrasound today. There was concern from one of the midwives about my 11 lb weight gain and my 3cm too small exam measurement (pubic bone to uterine fundus length). Well, we've got a 4lb 6oz baby boy in there now, with his measurements right on the mark for where he should be for 32 weeks and 5 days.

I hate to say "I told ya so," but again, if you eat well and exercise, it doesn't seem to matter how much weight you gain. And all the, perhaps obsessive, exercise doesn't seem to have adversely affected anything.

I promise I'll post more soon.

Running song of the day: Is it You? By Cassie

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Staying Fit & Healthy 7 Months Pregnant

Now that I'm 32 weeks along, my body is certainly different than it was when I was 17 weeks along and wrote the blog entry "Tips on Staying Fit and Healthy In Pregnancy."

Here are the most notable changes

- Big belly


- SI joint subluxation that prevents running


- more rapid, shallow breathing

So as you go through pregnancy, you may find your exercise routine needs to be adjusted. But never use being 7 months pregnant as an excuse to give up exercising or to gain excess weight, or you will be the sorry one!

I agree with what I have written previously about pushing yourself every day to exercise vigorously and to go to bed at least a little hungry every night (unless you have been specifically instructed otherwise by your doctor on either issue). 32 weeks is a critical time to keep up these routines so you will continue to feel good, have a successful labor & delivery and have a quicker recovery (and most importantly, be a happy, healthy mom). It would be so easy now to give in to the forces of nature that tell you to be fat and lazy. Once you give up, I imagine it would be nearly impossible to start up exercising strenuously again. So don't give up!!! This is easier said than done. Every day it is more of a struggle for me to push myself, but I feel great after I have.

Here is what has worked for me since I have been unable to run:

Daily exercise routine:

- 1 hour elliptical

- 1 hour swimming

- 1 hour spinning (and if I don't feel contractions in the upper abs during the sprints, I know I'm not working hard enough)

- 30 -60 minutes of yoga


Diet plan:

I was having lots of trouble with hypoglycemia a couple hours after eating a breakfast loaded with carbs, so I decided I needed to alter my diet and I have been feeling great since then:

- No high fructose corn syrup

- nothing with sugar added

- no breads, pastas, rice or deserts

- nothing with unknown added ingredients

I have been eating a lot of fruits, vegetables, juices and dairy products for carb sources. Eggs, cheese, beans, nuts and fish are ideal for fat and protein.

Of course what works for me may not work for everyone. But I have kept my weight gain to 11 lbs and I feel wonderful. My physical therapist actually just told me that she gained 14 lbs with two of her pregnancies and felt really good afterwards and then gained 18 with one and "had 4 pounds of fat to lose afterwards." So I guess we should all find a barometer to tell us when we are gaining too much weight. My barometer is my legs (if they rub together when I exercise, I have gained too much).

And just because you're 7 months pregnant, don't be ashamed to wear a bikini, even to the YMCA. Sorry... here's one more pic from the trip:

I don't know how people get one piece suits to fit them when they are beyond 7 months. And plus, the bottoms are easy to slip off when you need to emergently run to a toilet.

A couple more recommendations I have are:

- if you are able to, work just part time

- if you are having back problems, headaches or you are near term and know you have a breach baby, see a chiropractor who specializes in pregnant women

- have sex as much as you can. It will make you happy, help you sleep and bring you and your partner closer together. But if you are too tired from work, lack of exercise, excess weight gain or poor nutrition you won't want to have sex and you will have entered a vicious cycle. Don't let it happen to you!

Finally, I have to admit that I don't think I would be able to keep my spirits up like this if it weren't for SR and my love for him and the beautiful life inside of me.

Best wishes to all the pregnant or one-day-to-be pregnant ladies out there reading this. I will end by saying, if you can keep running past 6 1/2 months, do it!!! If not, see above advice, and don't get down-hearted.

Running song of the day: No One by Alicia Keys

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Salty Summer Skin



Our vacation in Florida was beautiful and way too short. But we managed to get one more in before the baby. It is good to have time together like that, especially since we've only been dating for 9 months! And we're soon to be a mom and dad together.


Thankfully the hip felt great! We did a lot of biking and swimming.



If you can't tell, there is a bike next to me.


Of particular note was biking on the Pinellas Trail, which dodges the Applebee Country of St. Petersburg, FL. Inevitably I had to pee in public multiple times. SR loved this, but as far as we knew he was the only one who saw. I wish every pregnant woman in the world could find someone who makes them feel so beautiful.
My hypoglycemia and nausea made us turn around after about two hours. SR was so understanding and biked back at lightning speeds to get the car and we met somewhere in the middle.


And the white sandy beaches were ours for the taking. There were so few people on St. Pete's beach that we could swim naked. According to one local, the economy is so bad this year that no one is vacationing in Florida. That's probably why our flight and hotel cost of total of $500!


The ocean was gorgeous to swim in. We were like children of heaven: so light and close to the earth, looking at each other and kissing with salty lips.

Okay, so we weren't in the ocean in that picture, but you get the idea...

Of course, now being 7 months pregnant, I needed lots of sleep and food, despite not running.

Somehow I still managed to lose a couple pounds, which is sadly probably the loss of muscle. But I stopped the out-of-control weight gain that had been going on for the past two weeks.

We said good-bye to Florida. And quietly four warm, happy days were swallowed by a wave.

Running song of the Day: Summersong by The Decemberists.

Sunday, 9 December 2007

The Two Blonde Goddesses

I went shopping with Sealegsmom yesterday for baby things and found myself nauseated by the world of pastels and cheap baby stuff, most likely all made in China. Nothing against China, but is nothing of good quality made anymore? And if so, where do you find it? Not at Babies R Us, I guess.


Am I the only one who wants to puke when they look at these "bambino paradises"?


All that being said, there is a lot to do (and by that I mean buy) before the baby comes. SR is worried that all of my nausea is a "rebellion against motherhood." But it's more complex than that. There are many baby things I have found that I like, but there is something scary about arranging the details of little C's life. What if something goes wrong? It seems the more I buy, the more attached I will be and the harder dealing with a loss would be. But SR made the great point that it would be devastating no matter what we buy.

Beyond that, though, it would be nice to get used things and wait for the baby shower. And there is an inherent danger in saying "I like dinosaurs" and then ending up with dinosaurs coming out your ears after getting all the shower gifts. But, there are some items I have found that look really nice.

- Jardine changing tables

-Bundle me by JJ Cole

-Diaper bag by JJ Cole

-Baby Bjorns

-Graco carseats

-Arm's Reach Co-Sleepers

-Deuter Kid Comfort II (baby backpack)

I haven't found the ultimate baby jogger and would love recommendations if anyone has experience with them.

Oh and speaking of running, the hip is much less painful now! I am going for more physical therapy and another chiropractic adjustment this week and I can't wait. Perhaps we will get to run a bit in Florida next weekend. And it seems my running fate is now resting in the hands of two beautiful blonde sisters who live in my town: my chiropractor and my yoga instructor. The goddesses of health and femininity in my world. They have taken a genuine interest in me, for some reason, and I am grateful that they are committed to healing me and getting me running again. Granted SR calls them "boobular and ditsy." But with their help I continue to bike, swim, elliptical and do yoga every day.


Oh, and speaking of boobs, we had an exciting incident last night! I'm sure you're wondering where I'm going with this. Well, after we had sex, I actually started to leak milk. I'm thrilled about this since it means I shouldn't be unable to breastfeed.


Finally, I am so happy for SR. He won another 5k race yesterday. I unfortunately didn't see it since I was out of town. But I know it was around 0 degrees F. And now he's done with his hard rotations for a while, so we'll be able to spend more time together. We're both so happy about that. It's time to get ready for baby, now, I guess!


Running Song of the Day: To the Sky by Maps

Saturday, 8 December 2007

30 Weeks Pregnant

This week has been a bit disheartening, but as far as we can tell, everything with the pregnancy is going well.

But you know things are no longer perfect in your world when your chiropractor says "In all my years of practice, I've never seen anyone with it this bad!"

The "it" is sacro-ilial subluxation (which is what was causing all the pain in my piriformis). Lots of women get it during pregnancy. The reason the chiropractor said it was so "bad" is at the beginning of my appointment, my left leg was being pulled up a whole 1.5 inches shorter than my left. In the last few days it's caused me constant pain in the SI joint, to the point where I'm having trouble sleeping. What a bummer.

And my physical therapist said that as long as relaxin, that pregnancy hormone, is in my system I won't be able to run. She then proudly said she ran all through her pregnancy, even the day she gave birth. Of course I thought that was wonderful. That's just not going to be my story, I guess. She even said that the effect of the relaxin may last as long as I breast feed. Well, that's just great. I have to admit I doubt that to be true, though. I mean even if it is still there, the baby will be out, so running should be tolerable again, just like it was at the beginning of the pregnancy.

But why do I have such a bad case? The chiropractor said it's because my abdominal muscles are so strong that the baby had nowhere to go. I don't think I buy that, though I do get joy out of believing I have such tight abs. I doubt that could work against me if they were that strong, but there are many things I don't understand about the pregnant body. The physical therapist said I was "genetically very flexible" and that's why my ligaments loosened up so easily. We'll I think that's bs since I started out as the least flexible woman in prenatal yoga. Whatever the reason, they both encouraged me to continue exercising as much as possible as long as it wasn't painful. But both said I wouldn't be able to run until after pregnancy.

When I told all this to SR, he seemed more heartbroken than me. We have a running in the sun vacation in Florida planned for next week. And he was planning on doing a running series this winter, but now doesn't know if he will. I am amazed by how much even our physical ailments affect each other. And I felt terrible last night because one of the kids jumped on me and I started crying. And it seemed like everything spun out of order in their world as well as in mine and SR's.

All that being said, I feel 10x better tonight after a beautiful SI adjustment by the chiropractor (which I had found the exact steps to in a study and shown to her). And I am wearing one of those sexy SI pregnancy belts.

Let me just take this moment to say that if any reader out there has trouble with SI subluxation, go to a chiropractor! 2 adjustments of the nature described in one study (if anyone wants the details, let me know) have a 91% success rate at relieving the pain for the rest of the pregnancy.

So who knows, maybe just a few more adjustments and I'll be running again... looking unlikely, but at least my left leg is only 1/2 inch shorter than my right now :).

Running Song of the Day: Don't Lose Yourself by Laura Veirs

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

The SI joint and the Superhero

The world here is covered with sheets and chunks of ice. I don't think I'd be running outside in it even if I could.

My back/pelvic pain has now localized to the SI (sacroiliac) joint and it is quite painful to walk and is even getting painful to lay down. There is a hormone released in pregnancy called relaxin that loosens the ligaments, especially in the pelvis, to get ready for child birth. This is truly a beautiful thing (if it weren't so painful). I have previously alluded to the fact that my pelvis is very small and my hips have always been basically the same circumference as my waist. That seems to be changing: my legs are actually measurably farther apart!

The only thing I've found that makes my pain better is moving around. Swimming is the best thing. So I've been swimming, doing the elliptical, biking and doing yoga every day. I feel better after I'm done exercising, but then by night I am in pain again. The best analgesic is having sex and after that I can fall asleep :).

So what is the plan? Well, I've done quite a bit of reading into SI joint instability in pregnancy. The first treatments are physical therapy and manipulation. So tomorrow I'm going to a chiropractor (for the first time in my life and I am SCARED) and Friday I'm going to physical therapy. This is all covered by insurance, thank goodness. (As an aside, if you get diagnosed with this condition, called "pelvic loosening", in Denmark you get medical leave for the rest of your pregnancy with full pay. Unfortunately that's not the case here, but I think I can work without a problem.)

Hopefully I'll be running again soon. It sounds like both physical therapy and manipulation are highly effective. I can't wait to let you know how they turn out.

In the meantime, the ice and snow have not stopped SR from running. On Sunday there was a 5k race downtown here. I was a gleeful spectator, but was worried as people slipped and fell all over the place. The ice-covered path hardly affected SR. He won the race by about a minute over the second place finisher with a time just over 17 minutes.

He looked so strong and happy at the end. Sometimes it seems like he is not another human like the rest of us, but a superhero. Just before he crossed the finish line, two young girls were saying "Wow, look at that guy! He's so fast!"

"That's my husband!" I said smiling and laughing. Okay, so we're not married yet, but who cares, he's mine and I'm perhaps the luckiest girl in the world.

Running Song of the Day: Something Pretty by Patrick Park