Photo from Mount Royal, Frisco, Colorado.

"That is happiness; to be disolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep." - Willa Cather

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

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

Friday 30 November 2007

Exercise and Running in Pregnancy: Point-Counterpoint

I have had a lot of fun looking up counterpoints for the feeble arguments that have been brought up on this blog and at the runango forum.

I would like to start off by reminding you that three qualified physicians (Running Doctor, Olga and myself) all believe my exercise and weight gain is perfectly healthy.

And now for the evidence:

Point #1.
Running and 6 months pregnant is fine...not gaining any weight and still looking like you're maybe 3 months pregnant is not.

-Clearly if my size were appropriate for a 3 month pregnant woman, the midwives would be concerned. However yesterday my pubic bone to fundus measurement was within normal for 29 weeks.

-Though the effective size (ES) of the pregnant mothers who exercised under 30 minutes was greater than that of those who exercised between 30 and 60 minutes, the overall ES of the baby did not differ between the two groups.

ie, even though women who exercise more gain less weight, their babies' weights did not differ.
(Winter, 2002, American Journal of Health Studies).

-A current meta-analysis of randomised trials of vigorous exercise during pregnancy did not find a clinically important effect of exercise on birth weight.

(Bell, R. Journal of Science & Medicine in Sport. 5(1):32-6, 2002 Mar.)

Point #2
I had wanted to keep it [my pregnancy weight gain] to 30 pounds total... ended up with 42 I think...

-This woman gained MORE than recommended during pregnancy and no one dared give her a hard time, though what she did is KNOWN to be a huge risk for her child. Why isn't everyone jumping in and accusing her of not caring about her child? Because we're a society that condones excess weight gain despite the many health risks. Because poor her, "she couldn't help it", right? Well I think that's a bunch of BS. And here are some of the risks associated with excess weight gain during pregnancy:

- gestational diabetes (and all the related complications)
- hypertension (and all the related complications)
- increased risk of c-section
- child who becomes obese and ends of with diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, heart disease, etc., etc.

Point #3
She really really pisses me off. Seriously, it makes me want to weep for that poor child's life. Also, it makes me feel like crap. I could barely keep my kids in for 6 months and I did no running whatsoever and took it easy and this crazy b!tch runs 80 miles a week and doesn't eat and she'll probably go over her due date.

-Yes, this poster is right. Premature births are most often caused by genetic factors or cervical defects, which are not affected by exercise. Bed rest, for example has never been shown to decrease premature births from cervical incompetence. And exercise itself has never been shown to cause premature births.

Points # 4 & #5
82 miles plus the cross training you did is not moderate. 3 hours is not moderate. 3 hours is more than a healthy non-pregnant elite does in a day!

You're right that they do not talk about any effects on PR's child. But that doesn't mean you can assume it's a healthy behavior like you're doing. You don't know, and you're willing to take a chance on the baby inside of you with something that is an unknown?

Counterpoint #1
-31,000 women in their second trimester were involved in this study. Those who identified their physical activity level as vigorous were, on average, slightly older and more educated, and weighed less than women in the other two categories. However, there were no significant differences in the rates of low birth weight or fetal or neonatal death.

(Rose NC. Obstetrics & Gynecology. 78(6):1078-80, 1991 Dec.)

Counterpoint #2
-There is limited evidence which suggests that exercise is related to shorter labour and is a useful treatment for gestational diabetes. Exercise is also associated with fewer symptoms and discomforts of pregnancy. This relationship is temporal in that exercise earlier in pregnancy is associated with fewer symptoms later in pregnancy. The lack of evidence for any harmful effects of exercise on pregnancy outcome indicates that, for healthy, well-nourished women, exercise during pregnancy is safe and subject to few restrictions. This conclusion is reflected in the revised recommendations of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

(Sternfield B. Sports Medicine. 23(1):33-47, 1997 Jan.)

Point #6
I love how she mentions back when were hunters and gatherers and women barely gained weight while pregnant. Yes there is a healthy comparisson for our modern age. How many women died in pregnancy and during childbirth in those days. And how many children died before age 5 if they survived the first few months of life.

-Please review the reasons for decreased infant and maternal mortality summarized by Atul Gawande, MD below.
By the fifties, owing in part to the tighter standards, and in part to the discovery of penicillin and other antibiotics, the risk of death for a mother had fallen more than ninety per cent, to just one in two thousand.

Around the world, virtually every child born in a hospital had an Apgar score recorded at one minute after birth and at five minutes after birth. It quickly became clear that a baby with a terrible Apgar score at one minute could often be resuscitated—with measures like oxygen and warming—to an excellent score at five minutes. Spinal and then epidural anesthesia were found to produce babies with better scores than general anesthesia. Neonatal intensive-care units sprang into existence. Prenatal ultrasound came into use to detect problems for deliveries in advance. Fetal heart monitors became standard. Over the years, hundreds of adjustments in care were made, resulting in what’s sometimes called “the obstetrics package.” And that package has produced dramatic results. In the United States today, a full-term baby dies in just one out of five hundred childbirths, and a mother dies in one in ten thousand. If the statistics of 1940 had persisted, fifteen thousand mothers would have died last year (instead of fewer than five hundred)—and a hundred and twenty thousand newborns (instead of one-sixth that number).
(Gawande, The Score, Oct. 9th 2006, New Yorker)

And I will end with the following from the American Association of Family Practice: "Numerous case reports can be found of women who ran extensively throughout their pregnancies and who delivered healthy, normal birth weight infants. One example is Sue Olsen, ranked fourth nationally for 24-hour races. She ran a four-hour marathon when she was eight and one-half months pregnant. The following week she partly ran and partly walked a 24-hour race posting 62.9 miles.3 One week later she delivered a healthy infant. Although these reports lack comparison groups and are not generalizable, they lend support to the conclusion that healthy women with normal, uncomplicated pregnancies may exercise with few restrictions without adversely affecting their infants or themselves."

(Khanna, "The Effects of Exercise on Pregnancy" American Family Physician. April 1998.)

I can post a multitude of additional references for any of you who are interested.


The weak and unresearched arguments posted on runango and on this blog recently are doing a disservice to pregnant women who deserve to know that exercise (even vigorous) along with its often-associated lower weight gain are safe and healthy in pregnancy for the mother and the baby.

29 week prenantal visit

Just got back from seeing now our 4th midwife. SR and I like to get multiple opinions and meet all the possible ladies who might perform the delivery.

Thankfully she said everything is going well. I gave her the exact details of my workout prior to the injury and she was not concerned. I told her I had injured my piriformis muscle 1 week ago and that I was sad I couldn't run. She said that finding alternative exercises might be the way to go at this point. She then said that she would refer me to physical therapy, though, in the hope that I can return to running if I feel up to it. And, Yay! I did manage to run 1 mile today, like my goal, and I felt good.

As far as the weight gain is concerned, she said I gained nothing during the first trimester, but that my weight gain in the second and third trimester was exactly on the curve it should be and she had no concerns as far as my weight. As I have discussed on this blog before, weight gain in the second trimester is the most important.

She actually recommended I keep the weight gain to a minimum from this point on since I have a small pelvis and she and I are concerned about cephalo-pelvic disproportion. I actually disagree with that on the grounds that I think the baby will end up the same size regardless of how much I gain.

I have responses ready for many of the comments I have received. It seems a bit ironic that all of this bashing should come when I'm not even running. Anyway, I need to look up all of my sources and then will write an educational post for everyone.

Running Song of the Day: "The Parade" by John Vanderslice

Thursday 29 November 2007

In the Runango Spotlight

Looks like the folks at runango just can't get enough of my blog.

And no this blog is not a joke. I am happy that their thread this time concedes, in part, that all of my exercising and 9 lb weight gain may not be unhealthy.

Here's an excerpt:
1. midwives are great and capable.
2. you CAN run while pg.
3. you CAN lose weight while pg, what i mean is lose body fat, while the baby gains....
4. she is seeing someone, she is a dr. her bf is a dr. she is being looked after by people that know her much better than anyone here.

I recommend the naysayers on the thread do some research into exercise in pregnancy before they make any more vapid generalizations.

And please read my post about the 6 month 5k. The woman I met there ran through her entire pregnancy, until the day before delivery, gained 12 lbs and delivered a healthy 7 1/2 lb baby that is now a healthy 12 year old. Shortly after she did that she went to the Olympic trials.

And then take a look at Paula Radcliffe. She ran successfully through her pregnancy and just won the NYC Marathon. She also has a healthy daughter.

If anyone can come up with an example of exercise combined with proper nutrition and low weight gain leading to complications then I will take your comments more seriously.

Wednesday 28 November 2007

Recovery day #6, 29 weeks pregnant

I ran 1/2 a mile today. It felt great to be stared at on the treadmill at the Y. Men especially stare at a pregnant woman running like they might at an animal in the zoo. And I'm more than okay with that as long as I can run again.

My goal is to increase my mileage by 1/2 mile a day, barring excruciating pain in the hip. Honestly, I am absolutely desperate to run again. I had a bout of depression this morning before the workout for no particular reason except the lack of endorphins.

I am continuing to bike, elliptical, swim and do yoga. But any of you who are runners out there know there is no substitute for running.

I'm already fearing my blood pressure will be up at the prenatal visit on Friday, despite the lack of appreciable weight gain. I was also planning to refuse the glucose tolerance test for gestational diabetes, just because I fancied myself so healthy. But without the running I'm not so confident.

At least I'm happy with the weight gain: 9lbs in 29 weeks. Honestly, I would not have wanted to gain more.

Okay, can you say control freak?

But bear with me. I think back to when we women were hunter-gatherers and know that's how we should live now. I read the shocking statistic that premature births have increased by 30% in the last 20 years! And what has changed? Our diet, our activity level and our environment. But the details have not been worked out in the medical literature. No studies to date can account for this rise. Everything points to infection, but why are women now more susceptible to these infections??

Anyway, I'm hoping to run a 5k race on Dec. 8th, but we'll see how the hip is.

Only had time for one song while running today and it was a good one:

Running song of the Day: "Floating" by Jape.

Monday 26 November 2007

No Running, No Problem

I attempted to run on Saturday with SR. Up a steep, windy path in the woods in the cold, feeling okay at first. But by the time I got to the top I was crying in pain from my pelvis. The muscles down there felt like a knotted mess.

Time for a break, we decided as I cried and tried to get my muscles to stop spasming. A longer break than one day.

It was bittersweet that on the way down, an adolescent boy and his father wearing coonskin caps asked "Did you just run up that whole path?"

"Yeah! And I'm six months pregnant."

The young boy was wide-eyed and speechless. I soaked up the good feeling with some sadness, knowing I might not be running for the rest of the pregnancy.

In the meantime, life has been surprisingly great. The key has been finding alternative exercises while the piriformis heals. Sea Legs Girl has become fittingly passionate about swimming. And biking is still a way for me to exercise outside. And whatever else I can find to do at the YMCA without running. And tonight I have yoga, which hopefully will realign my chakras, or at least stretch my piriformis a bit.

Sorry the image is in French (in many ways). But basically, chakras are places in our bodies that correspond to our spiritual and emotional selves. They need to be in balance to avoid physical or psychological injury. No, we didn't learn about them in medical school, so I can't say too much more other than it's a great concept.

We had a really good weekend, despite not running together. We saw my parents on Saturday night. We ate at a restaurant in Madison, WI, near where my parents live that serves all organic, all locally grown food. It's called L'Etoile.

That night SR and I stayed at a Days Inn. Pillow talk lasted for hours.

On the way home, we worked on the languages we're teaching each other. I'm so excited about our move to Scandinavia. I have these grand plans of joining a soccer and a track league and going to the University to get an undergraduate degree in literature, all the while being a doctor and a mom and a wife. In a country with such a nice social system, it should be cheap and possible.

I will end by saying that I can hardly believe how blessed I am to have SR's two wonderful kids in my life. Rather than thinking her life is weird, SR's daughter seems to be embracing the fact that she has so many adults around to love her. Despite being 6 1/2 years old, she is one of my best friends.

Here we are riding in Santa's Sleigh.

Oh, and I'm not giving up on the running song of the day, still hopeful I'll be back at it. Can you blame me for hoping it will just be a few days?

Running Song of the Day: "I was a Daughter" by Basia Bulat (from London, Ontario)

Friday 23 November 2007


Those of you who have been following this blog have probably been waiting with great anticipation for my first injury. I'll admit that there does seem to be something a bit loco about running 12 miles a day during the 3rd trimester of pregnancy. I kept thinking that with only a 9lb weight gain, I wouldn't be much more susceptible to injury.

Anyway, it was a beautiful cold Thanksgiving night. SR was still at work, so I ran out to the deserted trails with music and felt myself becoming part of the dark, empty night, when, basically, my hip just started hurting more and more. It's now to the point that I am having trouble walking. The only way I made it home was it was sooo cold that I think the pain was somewhat numbed.

I'm pretty sure it's the piriformis muscle.

So no running today. I'll stick to the bike, the elliptical and swimming. Hopefully I will avoid a big setback and I'll be running again tomorrow. We are again planning to go out of town for the weekend, which hopefully will involve running in a state park, but we'll see.

And now I'm asking for advice: does anyone know anything about pregnancy belts? From what I've been reading, they might make the runs more comfortable. But I don't want to end up with a hideous running accessory that does nothing more than cause chafing.

And for those of you who can run...

Running Song of the Day: I Love Ya by Nik og Jay (my favorite Danish band)

Wednesday 21 November 2007

I'm so pregnant

Ankle swelling (or pitting edema as we affectionately call it) has marked a new phase of pregnancy for me. Not only does this swelling make it more difficult to run, but along with it came swelling in other parts of my body. I suppose most notably, the labia, which means impressive camel toe in most of my running pants. While 13 year old boys may enjoy this, I'm not too fond of it on myself. Though it does make sex feel good in a new way.

And then there are these swollen veins below my eyes. I noticed them a couple of days ago and asked SR about them. Immediately he said "Oh, yeah, I had been wondering about those for a while now."

Well that just made me feel great. Obviously they don't look good, otherwise, he would have said a while ago "What beautiful puffy veins you have below your eyes."

Alright, so I'll stop being vain about the veins. But I will just say that I'm glad I didn't worry too much about the lack of weight gain, because now there are about 3 extra pounds of fluid on me. And running has become a more daunting task anyway since it has gotten colder out. (Yes, I'm still running 12 miles a day, plus biking and the rest of the workout). Oh, and I have the worst cold in the world. But I'll come out of the wine cellar now.

We did have a fun night last night. We watched a Nordic Christmas movie with the kids. Then when we went to bed SR and I sat and watched the baby move in my belly. It's almost alien-like how much he moves in there... and how much you can see from the outside. It seems unlikely he will end up being a calm child, but I guess you never know.

Happily, even with the big belly and all the swelling, sex is still great. We are still perfect together.

Oh, those green eyes. I have nothing to complain about. I am pregnant and in love.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Running song of the day: He Keeps Me Alive by Sally Shapiro (okay, she's Swedish, too. Guess it's Swedish music week.)

Sunday 18 November 2007

5k race marks beginning of 3rd trimester

What a great good way to start out the 7th month! I was soooo nervous about running a big race knowing I would be big and slow and, of course, probably have to pee in public again. But SR was so excited about us running the race, and deep down I was, too. This race is one of many things I would not have done without him there to encourage me.

Once we had warmed up and I was standing in line, listening to Sambassadeur on my ipod and talking to people about my "6 Months Pregnant Shirt" the world was an exciting place with nothing to be afraid of.

I started out really fast and felt good. But about 2k into the race, my thighs started to burn like I have never experienced. I thought I might have to walk. Somehow my pride kept me going. And then the pain of the full bladder took over. But the race was wide open with no bushes to hide in along side of the road. I considered peeing my pants. But thought that might be my pregnancy-induced dementia talking again so I snuck off behind a gas station, where I'm sure I was seen peeing by a good 50 runners. It is quite sad to not be able to get through a measly 5k without having to stop and pee. Yes, I did pee immediately before the start. Anyway, the 20 second stop behind a wooden crate rejuvenated my legs, too. I was able to finish strong without agony.

I got right around my projected time with 24:30. That was actually 6th for my age group, which I was happy about in such a big race. A good 2 1/2 to 3 minutes slower than my pre-pregnancy pace, but I'm okay with that.

After I crossed the finish line, my stomach was killing me and I was sure I would puke. I looked up and tons of people were looking at me with concern (I'm sure since they saw the shirt). I collected myself and walked off with a smile to find SR.

On my way off the course, a bunch of people came up to me to congratulate me. One guy asked me if I had seen the recent articles about running in pregnancy in the New York Times. I told him my friends (that's you, readers of this blog) had sent me the articles.

I spotted SR and he eventually said he got 3rd. Which I thought was amazing in such a big race, but he seemed disappointed with his time. I guess he just wouldn't be himself if he didn't always push himself to the limit. He did get some nice socks and and a glass with turkeys on it.

As we were waiting for the awards, many people came up to talk with me, the most notable being a 43 year old woman who had run in the Olympic trials a number of years back. She said she had run all the way through her pregnancy 12 years ago. She ran the day before she went into labor, but said the morning she went into labor she "only" rode her bike. I detected a kindred spirit, or at least possible support for my "crazy" theories about pregnancy and exercise. Anyway, she only gained 12 lbs during her pregnancy and gave birth to a healthy 7 1/2 lb baby, who is now a normal 12 year old girl. She said with clear pride, "I got home from the hospital and put on my old pants and they were too small!!!"

I told her it was great to hear that someone had exercised, not gained much weight and gave birth to a normal baby. She said, "I had a great obstetrician and my husband is an ER doctor, so I wasn't too worried." Then I told her I was a doctor in town as was SR, to which she replied "Why would you worry? You obviously know what you're doing."

Well, who wouldn't worry when the world around us is so overly protective of pregnant women? My dear mother agonizes daily about the bouncing from my running "pushing the baby out early."

And it's not like I don't care. I didn't sleep well the past two nights thinking "I haven't eaten enough fish lately. I hope the baby doesn't come early from that." I've even gotten to thinking that the baby is so used to the exercise now that if I let up something will go wrong. So we all probably have a little voodoo in our beliefs about pregnancy simply because it's something that we care about so much.

And speaking of fish (and something non-voodoo), there was a large study which showed that women on the Faroe Islands and Denmark who eat higher amounts of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids have pregnancies that last 5-6 days longer than those who eat less. And there is a dose-response relationship. That may not seem like much, but when you consider that most women do go to term, eating fish appears to have saved a significant number of women from premature birth. But anything in excess is risky: in Iceland, the women who consume the highest amount of fish have the smallest babies. And another study from Denmark showed that the highest consumers of fish oil had no protection from premature birth, but those with moderate consumption had longer gestation on average than those who consumed very little fish oil.

I will need to add more pics once our computer is working again. I'm at the hospital now :).

Running Song of the Day: Normandie by the Shout Out Louds (yet another great Swedish band)

Tuesday 13 November 2007

Turn all the words into poetry

What greater freedom is there in life than running in the woods on a beautiful fall day?

Things have been a bit stressful lately with lost sleep and I even took a day off from running. But it is exhilarating to be back at it again. I hope everyone who is reading this has something they love to do, that makes them feel completely free.

Here is a song about a girl who likes to run:

She's a single face in the crowd
And she runs to the sound of her heart
She doesn't know why that she runs
But she runs

And her heart is emptier than light
And her soul is married to the stars
She doesn't know why that she runs
But she runs

Ah, yes. That's Running Girl by the great British band, Ooberman.

So with all the stress, the details of which I won't get into, I did a lot of thinking, especially about our precious son and came up with some rules to live by that perhaps he'll read some day.

Four tips for our son:

1. Whenever you perceive there to be a fault in someone else, look inside yourself and find two.

2. When something unfortunate happens in your life, find something good that can come out of it.

3. It is okay to cry because life is beautiful. In fact, if you don't, you are missing it.

4. You can't change what happens to you, but you can shape your destiny.

So running has been wonderful lately. And I unintentionally lost 3 pounds. It does concern me. But I feel great. And the belly is clearly growing. And I will be lighter for the 5k race on Saturday (oooh, I can feel the concerned comments coming).

SR opened up his blog again, happily. And I wanted to address a concern from Monica who commented on his blog.

When you think about all of the bouncing, jostling and shaking you're doing of a developing fetus, that just can't be good.

I guess I just don't see how bouncing up and down during running could harm a baby. He is surrounded by water and it really must feel like a swaying motion to him, like a cradle or rocking chair. SR and I joke that he will never be seasick. He always seems to nap when I run, so I can't imagine anything other than him being content in there during the runs.

And there's no call for comparing running to smoking, Monica2. Running and exercise in general is healthy during pregnancy, smoking is not for many MANY reasons (increased risk for placental abruption, decreased blood flow to the baby resulting in poor organ development, I could go on, but I think we all know how bad smoking is).

So, it's off on my bike to use the eliptical now, which I have been enjoying lately.

Gosh, I had a good day after waking up to SR whispering in my ear the sweetest words I could imagine. He knows how to make me happy. I love him.

Running song of the day: Between the Lines by Sambassadeur

Sunday 4 November 2007

Something maternity

Just got back from a hot date with SR at the hospital cafeteria. We both had our favorite menu item (the garden burger) and talked for hours about death, religious traditions, antibiotics, etc. And I got lotion rubbed all over my body in the call room, which doesn't happen every day. A perfect date considering the location.

In other news, yes, we did go shopping for maternity clothes. I have been averse to this idea for some time now. There is just something about maternity clothes that says to me I've stopped caring about how I look, and I'm proud of it.

My wonderful aunt sent me $50 to buy, as she wrote, "something maternity." And once SR saw this, he got quite excited about a shopping trip. You see, my aunt as well as my mom and her other sister fully embrace their femininity and have a keen sense of how to do just the right feminine thing at just the right time. Clean, potpourri-scented homes, pants with pleated waistlines, geraniums on the porch and meat loaf on a kitchen table of love are just a few examples. This seemingly genetic sense of womanliness was not passed on to me. And maternity clothes are just another accessory in the life of the perfect woman that I fail to have a desire for.

So as you can probably guess, I wasn't as excited about my new wardrobe as SR was. But finding pants I could wear to work comfortably was a necessity. We started at Macy's where they informed us they didn't have a maternity line. At which point I thought I would have an excuse to just buy large "normal" pants. But they pointed us in the direction of JC Penny's. Certainly not the epicenter of fashion in my mind, but there was no way out now.

While I was busy cringing, SR picked out about 10 pairs of pants and brought them to the dressing room. I will point out that it is virtually impossible to find size small or size 4 maternity pants. So six out of the ten he chose were immediately out. And one of the four left had vertical stripes on it. SR fondly referred to these as "clown pants" but was still hoping I would try them on.

Anyway, we did have a lot of fun. And we found a pair of jeans that I really do like. Here's the pregnoid me in mat-pants:

I just need to find some work pants now. There is apparently a Gap maternity line on-line that isn't too bad.

So we ended up not going out of town at all, being so wrapped up in maternity shopping and wanting curry from the local Thai restaurant. And to end the night, I cut SR's hair for about two hours while we watched Notting Hill (SR's favorite romantic comedy). The next morning we spent 3 hours in bed having sex and admiring each other. Not a bad couple of days off.

And I'm gaining weight faster than planned. But that is okay, though obviously it's making running harder. The pressure on the bladder and bowels is intense. Apparently Paula Radcliffe also ran like a mad woman through pregnancy. She has a diary on-line and there is a nice article I just found about her in the NY Times. Here's a quote:

“As far as I know, no one has ever done what she’s done,” Pivarnik said.
Here is an internationally competitive athlete, at the pinnacle of her career, who continued training during pregnancy at a level most runners who are not pregnant would find daunting. For the first five months, she ran twice a day, 75 minutes in the morning and 30 to 45 minutes in the evening. Then she cut back, running an hour in the morning and riding a stationary bike at night.

Okay, so I'm no Paula Radcliffe, but I'm proud to say they can't get away anymore with saying "no one has ever done what she's done," at least as far as the training goes. Though I'm sure she did run faster than me. Here she is now looking beautiful and happy:

And here's the link to the article:

And just for fun, I thought for the first time I'd post my stats for the week:

Running: 82 miles
Swimming: 4 miles
Biking: 20 miles
Daily yoga/core workout

Yes! Week 26 begins and I feel great!

Running Song of the Day: A Sorta Fairytale by Tori Amos

P.S. Just realized that two of my readers referred me to the above article after I read it & wrote about it! Thanks Lisa & Coty!

Wednesday 31 October 2007

Message from an eating disorder counselor

I have been reading your blog and a licensed counselor who treats women with eating disorders (and a competitive athlete), i have been really concerned about your eating/exercise habits during your pregnancy. remind yourself that there are others of us out there who are having difficulty getting pregnant and to see someone who was so lucky not take care of themselves is VERY hard to observe.

Thanks for the concern Allison. I have been doing my best to be the healthiest I can be during pregnancy!

Initially my fear was gaining too much weight. Anyway, with all of the exercising (shown in many, MANY studies to be healthy for mom and baby), that's not what's happened.

I gained the pound back from yesterday and more. It was probably just dehydration from skipping dinner.

My body is still in control... I have been waking up nearly every night hungry (despite going to bed full) and go eat something. So last night I preemptively ate more and that seemed to work.

And I do have to wonder why so many of my readers are so concerned when I've received nothing but positive feedback from my healthcare providers and reassurance that the baby and I are healthy. I have the impression from them that I'm doing perfectly as far as exercise and weight are concerned (and I've seen 3 different midwives).

All that aside, I wish you success getting pregnant! I have never been so happy in my life and I know very well how fortunate I am. I still see this pregnancy as a miracle after not having a period for six years! I actually got my period back after eating fish nightly for a couple weeks. Could be a coincidence (since I fell in love around the same time), but I do wonder if this shouldn't be recommended to athletic women who don't get their period.

Happy Halloween, everyone!

P.S. Olga, I've been eating papaya like a crazy lady, but my urine hasn't turned red yet... what gives? :)

Email from Sea Legs Mom

Yes, got an email from my mom today that made me feel more than slightly guilty. She is concerned because I told her the midwife I am seeing advised me to gain 1lb a week from now on:

I can certainly see that you are at a crossroads and will have to make some changes. I was not at all the perfect expectant mother, I should have exercised MORE. But, I always put you first, and made sure that you had an abundance of nutrition. - Sea Legs Mom

This made me feel terrible. What started out as what I perceived to be a healthy challenge (not gaining much weight), has turned into a source of concern for everyone around me, myself included.

So I ate quite a bit the last 5 days. And didn't weigh myself, thinking the weight would just come on naturally. But I was almost a whole pound lighter today when I finally stepped on the scale.

Never in my life did I dream I would have this problem. Usually weight is so easy for me to put on. But with my busy schedule and the terrible heart burn (and, yes, a crazy lingering fear of gaining weight), I guess I just can't do it.

Honestly, I have no fear that the weight will come, though. Things have just been a bit crazy lately with our work schedules. And SR and I have hardly seen each other. I actually had to skip dinner last night so we could go to bed together early before his 4:30 wake-up time.

He is over sleeping at the hospital right now. I miss him.

Thursday night and Friday we are going to a nearby state park. I can't wait.

I will leave you with a quote I heard yesterday on NPR (from a wise woman with a beautiful, androgynous voice):

There is nothing more than a human story. - Maya Angelou

Running song of the day: Gabriel by Najoua Belyzel

Saturday 27 October 2007

24 week prenatal visit

Hi everyone. Yeah, I guess there are a lot of you now! I just wanted to give a quick update from the prenatal visit. According to the midwife, all is going well. I even specifically asked her about weight gain. She said I had done well in gaining 2 pounds since the last visit 5 weeks ago and that I was "right on track to gain the right amount." She even commented that I must be a runner since I look so fit. Anyway, she mentioned that she herself would like to lose weight. So no concerns from her point of view. I actually think SR and I were more concerned about the only 7lb weight gain so far. She reassured us that the weight would come on more rapidly in the later months.

And she recommended papaya for my heart burn, which I had never heard of before. Coincidentally I had been eating just that the past 3 days and had felt much better as far as the heart burn was concerned.

Oh, and I adamantly told her that our little boy was not going to be circumcised. There is no medical reason for it. And, to put it bluntly, there is more sexual lubrication that way (no, I didn't say that out loud). She said she was so happy we had made that decision, and made it obvious that she was opposed to male circumcision.

An interesting day. And some challenging patients at work.

I just want to make one comment to possibly clear up some confusion about me and the blog: I am, at 126 lbs and 5'5", certainly not anorexic. Nor would I ever want to be. I've never wanted more than to be healthy and strong and fit. It would be hard to take me seriously as a physician if I had an eating disorder.
I'll leave it at that and go on posting as normal on the blog. Thanks for asking me not to close it. I feel terrible that SR's is no longer open to the public since we really enjoy blogging and communicating with people this way.

I want to respond to all of your comments individually, but I've just got to get to bed now. It's going to be sad tonight sleeping without SR. But we did just get to have great call room sex, so I'll be alright.

Friday 26 October 2007

Pregnancy and Western Culture

Wow. Thanks to everyone for your responses. And I'm feeling so good today after sleeping 9 hours and having amazing sex before going to bed. I can't say I have ever felt so healthy and womanly in my life.

And I've found a fun forum that talks about SR's blog and mine quite a bit. Here is the link to it, if any of you are interested.

It is really fun to see people talking about the blogs, whether or not they agree with everything/anything. As Meghan said:

I... appreciate the fact that you are willing to challenge the status quo, and you aren't bashful about it.

And I hope you will realize (if you have not already) that the reason I challenge the status quo is for the health of the baby, myself, and hopefully other mothers some day.

Meghan, I want to thank you for your thought-provoking comments. You have really energized me and have given me many things to talk about.

I sometimes wonder if the highly cautionary angle our culture takes towards pregnant women is a remnant of the Victorian Era philosophies that pedestalized women as helpless creatures and that birthed sexism in our culture in earnest. - Meghan

When I learned that women who have an incompetent cervix (risk for early labor due to cervical dilation) were told to go on bed-rest and have their cervix's sutured shut (cerclage), I didn't think too much of it until I did research into the subject for a med school clerkship. Neither of these practices are based on data. In fact both of these practices have been shown to be equal to doing nothing in terms of outcome for the baby. It scares me to think of what is done to patients in our society just because of tradition and not knowing what else to do.

And you do have to wonder about the traditions of western culture in general. Should we really believe in the traditions of a culture that values hour-long commutes in big cars, guns and an Applebee's over sex, physical activity and outdoor life?

H.D. Thoreau had it right when he went to live on Walden Pond. He just forgot about the sex part.

My point is, exercising all day long, in the beautiful outdoors surrounding us, gaining little weight, and (of course) being in love, do make me feel so healthy and alive. I truly feel bad for mothers who are afraid of being active during pregnancy and hope our way of thinking changes. Of course, the weight gain thing is what gets me into trouble with my readers.

Meghan also brought up "African subsistence cultures". And what I can add to this is that the people of hunter-gatherer societies have by far the healthiest appearing cholesterol profiles. This is because they are active all day, walking and running long distances for food. And surely they are healthier for it. But, it is also true, that the real advances in neonatal survival come from nutrition, the availability of c-sections and antibiotics. So the western world does better in terms of neonatal outcomes. But the ideal would be to combine both of these.

As far as heavy work done by Guatemalan women, I did spend some time working at a free clinic/ER in rural Guatemala, and I will just point out that their activity is not cardiovascular. And there is a very high rate of diabetes in their culture as well as malnutrition, and I am certain it is worse than it used to be say many hundreds of years ago, due to the redistribution of food and crops on the planet. And neonatal survival is nowhere near as good as that in the developed world. I did quite a bit of research on this when I was there. I don't necessarily think their culture should be used as a model for healthy maternal-fetal outcomes. Though certainly they are less sedentary (and less protective of their "delicate" women), and our culture could without question benefit from that.

Now, as far as weight gain in pregnancy is concerned, 1. Weight gain of less than 0.27 kg/wk was associated with increased odds of spontaneous preterm birth in all racial or ethnic subgroups.
(Stotland, Obstetrics & Gynecology. 108(6):1448-55, 2006 Dec.)

2. Weight gain less than 8kg increased the risk for a small for gestational age baby and weight gain more than 14 kg increased the risk for a large for gestational age baby and hypertension.
(Tsukamoto, European Journal of Obstetrics, Gynecology, & Reproductive Biology. 133(1):53-9, 2007 Jul)

3. The risk of cesarean section did not differ between weight gain of the 25- to 34-pounds and 16- to 24-pounds. There was an increased risk with a weight gain of more than 34 pounds, though.Lower than recommended weight gain in the second trimester only (sorry I don't have the exact numbers) was associated with lower birth weight and shorter length of gestation. (Sekiya, Gynecologic & Obstetric Investigation. 63(1):45-8, 2007)

The thing that these studies didn't address was whether or not the women who gained less had troubled pregnancies from the beginning (I did know a friend who never felt hungry when pregnant and there were problems with the baby all along). They also don't address the nutritional status of the women who gained less.

So, I looked into it a bit more.

4. A small study from London, Ontario (a town one of my readers knows quite well) with women who exercised AND gained less than recommended during pregnancy showed there was no increased risk of adverse outcomes. They were very careful in this study to make sure that all expectant mothers had adequate or above recommended nutrient intake.
(Giroux, Applied Physiology, Nutrition, & Metabolism = Physiologie Appliquee, Nutrition et Metabolisme. 31(5):483-9, 2006 Oct.)

This was just a pilot study, though, so perhaps we will learn more soon.

And a few more studies, just to show you what I found. I tried to just include studies of women who started at a normal BMI (such as myself and I'm sure many of my readers)

5. The weight of the women who had excessive weight gain in pregnancy was significantly greater at each time-point of follow-up after delivery than the weight of those who gained within or below recommendations.
(Amorim, Obesity. 15(5):1278-86, 2007 May.)

6. There is no correlation between weight gain and risk of still birth. They looked at 48 women who had had a still-birth twin pregnancy and matched them with 96 mothers who did not have a still-birth with their twin pregnancy. There was no difference in the amount of weight the mothers gained.
(Rydhstroem, Gynecologic & Obstetric Investigation. 42(1):8-12, 1996)

So, what would I recommend to patients? Well, the gain of 16-24 pounds has been shown to be safe (as has around 20 lbs [.27 kg/day]), with weight gain in the second trimester being most important. And so it is what I would tell patients. In my (perhaps crazy) mind, I think that if you exercise AND eat well that you can get away with gaining quite a bit less (as the London, Ontario study is starting to show), but as this study is quite small right now, I can't recommend this to patients... yet.

Thanks again for all of the comments and well-wishes after the fall! The little one is kicking as I write, so I don't think the fall had any adverse effects on him. We've got a prenatal appointment this afternoon. I'll let you know if we learn anything interesting.

Running song of the Day: Sideways by Let's Go Sailing

P.S. Just wanted to add that I'm still at a total of 7lb weight gain as of 24 weeks. Yes, I know it's less than it should be.

Thursday 25 October 2007

running accident

Had quite a scare today... went out for a run in the beautiful fall sun, feeling good after eating a really tasty big breakfast. I was coming down a hill in the woods at a pretty good clip, listening to some music when I tripped over a root and landed right on the belly. My elbow only broke the fall a little. I would be lying if I said it didn't hurt, but that's not why I started to cry. I was so scared. I layed there just waiting to feel the baby move, tears coming down my face. And I felt nothing, just my own pulse. There was nothing worse I could imagine than something happening to the baby. I prayed and cried. I didn't want to get up, but knew I should get to the OB department at the hospital to make sure everything was okay. I was a good 6 miles from home, but I ran back fast (for a pregnant lady). I waited for about 10 minutes to be seen by a nurse, all the while waiting for a sign from little C, but there was nothing. She took my blood pressure (which was low) and seemed to be eternally postponing the doppler. I just wanted to hear his heart. Then I was laying there waiting for the doppler to be brought in when I felt him kick. Oh, thank god! And she put the doppler on my belly and there was his heartbeat, perhaps the most beautiful sound I have ever heard.

They actually wanted to admit me for observation, but I refused. I have been feeling him kicking quite a bit since then and no cramping. I actually discussed the incident with a colleague and he agreed that it was almost certain everything was okay. SR agreed, too, that it didn't really seem necessary for me to stay.

Anyway, I am a happy mother-to-be again. And I will have to be more careful around that root.

And I just wanted to address a comment I got, too, about a previous blog post:

Sea Legs Girl said:
"The fear is probably a bit irrational, but in my mind, most moms are fat and out of shape. Ever since I was a little kid, I just associated pregnancy with becoming fat."

Michelle said: Way to insult and alienate every mother in the world. Just because YOU have a psychological issue, that doesn't mean it's OK to lump every women who has ever birthed a child as being fat, out-of-shape.

Certainly what I said wasn't meant to be alienating. #1, I am being honest: I don't want to get fat (and I think that is pretty normal), #2, Acknowledging the fact that many of mothers are overweight is telling the truth and is not alienating. I'm not saying anything about anyone's character. It is like saying, lots of women who smoke get lung cancer. I don't want lung cancer, so I'm not going to smoke. Obesity is also a disease (which I see repeatedly every day) and I don't want to become overweight, so I will watch what I eat and watch my weight gain during pregnancy.

That being said, I did a lot of looking at research today and was surprised to find a correlation between low weight gain during pregnancy and low birth weight as well as pre-term delivery. But I've got lots more info about that. I just wanted to get everyone interested in reading the next post.

For now, suffice it to say that I just ate a chocolate chip cookie that was the size of my head.

Running Song of the Day: Gotta Have You by the Weepies

Monday 22 October 2007

When obsessions start to hurt you

After the house guests had all gone, there was a small amount of fallout created by my recent insanity. I think SR and I have both been a bit overworked and under-rested. And my refusal to exercise less and eat more finally crossed the line into craziness in SR's mind.

We found this really cool old house converted into an Indian restaurant in the Twin Cities during our weekend away and we were sitting waiting for our roti and curry when he says:

Do you think perhaps you have become a bit more obsessive lately?

And I then knew that my fight to be the thin pregnant woman in perfect shape was no longer a fun game to him, but something that was getting in the way of our happiness.

And, in truth, it has become near impossible to slow or stop the weight gain. Half way through my runs I am getting so low on blood sugar that I feel close to fainting. Then I finally make it home and immediately get on my bike. Anyway, my body is saying no to exercising on little food. And despite all of my attempts, I continue to gain weight.

So a compromise needs to be reached. Exercise is one of the healthiest things we can do for ourselves and our growing babies. And I am still sure that our bodies send us signals to gain way more weight than we need to or than is healthy. So the trick is finding that healthy middle ground.

SR then stated Most women have obsessions during pregnancy, but usually they involved things like buying baby clothes and preparing the baby's room.

And this is true, but I don't believe spending money nesting in this way is productive. How many outfits does a baby need? And what is wrong with a simple bedroom? And of course the answer to these questions is obvious. But there has also got to be something comforting in a pregnant woman acting "normally."

But in my mind, the best thing I can do for the baby now is to stay healthy and happy. And to value the precious relationship SR and I have.

One of the so many things I love about SR is that he is not afraid to confront me when I am being crazy.

Anyway, the dinner was soooo tasty. And the next day we went running in a beautiful hilly state park with the fall colors in full splendor. And with no one around I could pee every 5 to 10 minutes. And I was a happy pregnant woman again, with less stress and a full stomach :).

Wednesday 17 October 2007

A pillar of salt

Life is never boring around here. And almost never includes enough sleep. Last night I got home late from work and SR and I had a long conversation about religion. I tend to see the positives of pretty much any organized religion (involvement in the community, spiritual inquiry, empathy) and SR thinks those aspects of religion are ruined by wars, closed-mindedness and exclusionary thinking. Of course there are extremes in anything people have strong emotional feelings about, that is our human nature. We actually mostly agree, it's just we emphasize different aspects of religion. Anyway, it was soooo late at the end of our talk and SR has to get up way before the sun to see patients in the ICU. But we stayed up longer anyway, because we are still so in love. And need to touch each other. I kept thinking last night about when we were in a nearby state for a weekend back in the spring. I'd never felt a feeling of connection so strongly with another person. All we did was run and talk and make love and sense our closeness. It seemed as if we could at any moment burst into flames and become ashes rising together in the atmosphere without bodies or reasons or thoughts. Just love for each other. And that is religion and that is spiritual. And if it's not, then nothing is.

I used to need organized religion so much. It felt so right to me to share beliefs with people. Lately, I have been thinking of the REM song a lot, "Losing your religion" (a great love song) and though I feel less of a compulsion to go to church, my religion is anything but lost.

Anyway, life has been really good the last couple of days. SR and I went running and I beat my time record for running the 12 mile route I've been doing for the past 2 months. And no pain! It was a beautiful day.

And we got to have wonderful call room sex the night before that. It is still so thrilling and beautiful.

In other news, a week ago, SR's ex-wife's partner's water broke at 29 weeks. They, of course, were quite stunned and scared. She was admitted to the hospital where SR and I work. SR and I went to visit them. Anyway, I ended up doing a lot of explaining to them about what it means to have your water break, why the baby doesn't "go dry", what the treatments are and how well they work. For whatever reason, a doctor had not been around to see them yet at that point. I guess SR's ex said to him 2 days ago "I really like SL Girl. She did such a good job explaining things to us in the hospital. I see now why you are perfect for each other."

I must say that made my day. I guess I can be kind of an awkward person in real life, especially around the ex. But I'm glad she was able to see a better side of me.

So the ex's partner had the baby yesterday at just under 30 weeks. The little 3lb girl was intubated initially, but is now extubated and in the NICU. We're all hoping for the best and honestly the prognosis is good.

I can feel the question already: Was she a runner, too? No, she wasn't. The water breaking prematurely is associated with infection and, interestingly, the western diet. Women's water breaking prematurely happens a lot more frequently now than it did say 30 or 40 years ago. And the details of that need to be more fully worked out, but I won't get into that anymore here.

Well, time for the run now. I've had a number of people tell me in the last week how healthy I look, so that is quite reassuring to me... and hopefully to those of you who are worried about my weight and exercise. And, by the way, I do appreciate the concern.

Running Song of the day: See the Sun by Dido

Thursday 4 October 2007

Race Pictures

Here are some pictures, finally, from the half-marathon. Things have been hectic here with working every day in addition to the daily run, bike, swim and core workout (I don't know how long I can keep this up!). But it's sure keeping me from putting on weight. Yes, I do have obsessive-compulsive traits.

Anyway, above is a pre-race shot outside of our cream-colored duplex. The race had an early start, so we biked there in the dark.

Here are two post-race pictures displaying the sweaty shirt. The number is kind of hiding the pregnant belly.

And finally, my favorite shot, which you may have already seen if you read SR's blog (

Saturday 29 September 2007

Tale of the 5 month pregnant half marathon.

What an incredible morning! The race went really well. I kept up the same pace pretty much the whole time and only had two bathroom stops (okay that is a lot for the 1 hour and 46 minutes it took me to finish). It would have been a lot more than two, though, had I not realized I had a bladder infection yesterday and had SR order me some Nitrofurantoin stat.

If you ever need to restore your faith in humanity, you should wear a "5 months pregnant" t-shirt to a half marathon. Men and women alike were so supportive. And despite was SR had predicted, the women seemed proud of me and not jealous or judgemental. And there were many fun comments directed at me...

Did they charge you twice?

Bet that kid's going to be a runner!

The rule is they take 1/3 off your finishing time.

Man, if you beat me, I'm going to feel like shit; you're carrying a whole other person. To which I responded "Glad it's inspiring you just like it is me."

I saw SR after the half-way turnaround and he was in third, looking very strong and fast. He managed to stay in third the whole race. We were quite happy at the end and embraced for a long time, partly because we were so cold. And then I ate 6 large sugar cookies and half a bagel.

I couldn't believe how good I felt the whole race! Somehow I didn't overdo it, but still managed to go fast enough to feel good about my time.

I certainly put my foot in my mouth when we were talking to my future boss in the urgent care... He had told me he was a "serious runner" during the job interview but he didn't pick up on the fact that I was a runner, too. Anyway, after the race I asked him how he did and when he told me his time, I said "Wow, I'm 5 months pregnant (showed the shirt) and I beat you!" He looked pretty disgruntled after that. But SR and two other residents were laughing heartily. Oh, well.

One of our best friends, Justine (pet name), took second overall despite the fact that he had started out with a good lead. I guess the pacing bikes led him down a wrong street for about a minute and then he couldn't catch up to the first place guy. He seemed pretty calm about it, though. And happy overall because his first child was just born on Thursday.

Yes, it was a great day.

Pictures of the race will follow shortly.

Friday 28 September 2007

contract negotiation and polyuria

Wow. Just went out for a brief run; just 4 miles to keep the legs loose for the 1/2 marathon tomorrow. At mile 2 I stopped to urinate at a local grocery store and then on the way back, 100 meters from our house, I had a crisis and peed in my shorts. I'm going to be more than slightly embarrassed if that happens tomorrow :). But how can one possibly have to pee every 15 minutes?

In other news, I went in to sign a contract for my job that begins next week. I am quite excited to start, I must admit. But the pay was different than I had been told. The contract said $80/hour, but I had been told $103/hour. When I told the gal who was having me sign the papers that the pay was too low, I suddenly realized how crazy I must sound: a 28 year old girl saying $80/hour is not enough. The pay discrepancy between jobs in the US is incredible. I will never make even close to that amount of money in Europe and that is okay. Anyway, my persistence paid off as the contract is being changed.

SR and I both had the morning off after that. This involved putting on some music and him having his way with me. We got to lay in bed for like an hour afterwards. He was laying there touching my face while I had my eyes closed and when I opened my eyes, there were tears in his eyes and on his cheeks, but he was smiling. Gosh, I am in love, as you all must know by now.

Tonight we are going to some local fest and I get to meet many of the former medical residents, who have apparently all heard the tale about SR "getting this _____ surgery chick pregnant." How scandalous.

So it's the 20 week point in the pregnancy today (1/2 way there!) and still only 6 lbs gained. I am quite happy. And it's gorgeous outside, so I'm going to get on my bike.

Running song of the day: Red Umbrella by Faith Hill (lyrics are cliche, but man does she sing melodic songs)

Wednesday 26 September 2007

I want to play the game. I want the friction.

Just got back from a beautiful 12 mile run. I know I should probably be tapering for the 1/2 marathon this Saturday. But I'm not planning on winning the race, so I don't see a compelling reason to give up this daily joy. I did design a fun shirt on-line for the race, which you can see there to the left. Yes, it is true that part of the fun will be to fly past the notoriously slow middle-aged men and have them catch a glimpse of the shirt. However, if I need to urinate as much as I did today on the run, I don't know that I'll be passing anyone.

It is well-described that being pregnant slows women down when running, but the reason for this is elusive to me. A big component of it, at least for me, is the constant urge to urinate and the pain of gas in the bowels. I'm sure there's more to it than this, though.

Last night I got home and SR had framed and hung up tons of wonderful photos of us together and us with the kids. We joke about what a good man-servant he is, but I must say he took it to a whole new level, considering one was even a photo collage. We went upstairs to look at the photos in the bedroom, one of which we are along lake camping with the sun setting behind us. We were playing around and laughing and before I knew it my running shorts were at my ankles and, you know. Yes, life is good. And he is a good man-servant. :)

Running song of the day: Time is Running Out by Muse

Tuesday 25 September 2007

Death, education and love

I want to respond to a comment from the inspirational ultra marathoner, Olga:

One day I hope to find someone to be happy with. Right now I keep asking same question: I broke my husband's heart by telling him we need to split, and I have no regrets. The thing is, we never were friends. We were lovers, parents to our kids, co-workers...but never friends, never much to agree upon, to share an opinion about. Now seems like the whole "home-country" world is blaming - it is always a woman's fault for not been able to "bend" and keep the marriage. It is ok for a guy to see other women, yell, give commands, make decisions. It is not ok for a woman to step away from it, especially if the kids are involved. Looking back at SR's blog when his wife just left him - it feels miserable for him then. But it lead him to you. I have one of my best friends who left her ex-husband, and her new husband was left by his wife. Both men (ex and new) were basically dumped. Both had gone through pain of adjusting. Both happy now. How can I show the way to my husband that he will be happy one day, if he just lets go right now?

Dear Olga,
This is a difficult, complex question and I love it. I can tell we are going through similar things with our ex-husbands, despite having different types of relationships with them.

I 'm thinking back to the book Anna Karenina. In the book Anna left her husband to be with someone she had fallen madly in love with. I remember being so happy for her in the book and I so badly wanted to feel love as strongly as she did. But in the end, everything goes wrong for Anna. Her life falls apart and eventually she is hit by a train and killed. What a terrible ending. Tolstoy is a great author and a deep thinker. But in the end, the point of the book was that women will eventually regret leaving their husbands. I was so angry at the end of the book and was amazed at how strongly I disagreed with Tolstoy. My ex-husband had also read the book and how poignant it was that he agreed with Tolstoy and not me.

The reason I bring this up is, Olga, we live in a a society of guilt. And then add to this the all-too-prevalent belief that women should be subordinate to men. I spent much of my young adulthood living in France, and the belief that women are intellectually and emotionally inferior to men is still evident even today. One of the most influential thinkers in France was Jean Jacques Rousseau (a sexy name I'll admit), who did not believe the French government should waste money educating women. And I think this goes a long way to prevent healthy relationships between men and women.

So we have two big issues to deal with in terms of other people judging our lives from the outside. And then there is the even bigger issue of hurting someone we cared about.

But I'm telling you Olga that we are lucky. We are educated, self-assured women and we have been encouraged to value our own ideas. I do believe that only women who have this can find truly mutual love. And, of course, you need to find the right man. But if you keep your eyes and heart open, Olga, I truly believe you will find him. And it will be so worth the wait!

The other thing I will add is that guilt is an unhealthy emotion. It is as unhealthy as any disease. And probably as unhealthy as jealously. I can tell you realize this, though, since you don't have regrets. We have to realize when we have the power to make someone's life better and when we don't. And when we don't, we need to focus on what we can do. So you ask how you can show your husband the way to be happy again, and I honestly don't think you can (or should feel like you need to). Our exes need to find happiness again on their own, and when they do, they will be much better off for it.