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

Monday 28 January 2008

The countdown really begins

Time has been going by exceedingly slowly. I can tell the labor is getting close. Braxton hicks contractions are getting much stronger and more frequent. I've been doing an abnormal amount of nesting and cleaning (still not a lot for any normal woman, mind you). I had diarrhea on my run today (forgive me for the detail, but that's apparently a sign of impending labor). And there is a lot of pain and pressure in my pelvis.

But is this all just wishful thinking? Maybe just my attempt to find a happy meaning in random events?

I wasn't sure until the prenatal appointment today... After a long talk about waterbirth, our midwife measured the pubic bone to fundus height and found me to be a mere 31 cm at 38 weeks. Have you gotten a repeat ultrasound? She sounded concerned. I was measuring 2 cm smaller than two weeks ago.

But I think the baby dropped. I said, hoping I was right.

She did a pelvic exam and almost immediately said Wow! There's baby! He is low!

Apparently I'm at 0 station, 75% effaced and 1 cm dilated. Then she said she could feel the baby's sutures. But after all of the ooing and ahhing, she said it didn't necessarily mean I'd go into labor sooner. Bummer! But at least I'm part way there. And his head's in the right place.

As we walked out of the appointment, there was a strange mixture of worry and excitement on SR's face. It could be any time now.

In the meantime, I had a glorious run today. It's quite warm here. However, there was a lot of uneven ground, which makes for frequent ligament-type cramping. And, honestly, peeing six times in 4.5 miles is a bit excessive. But, hey, I still felt great afterwards. And, dare I ask how many 38 week pregnant women ever say they feel great? I am fortunate, no doubt, but also have to say that continuing to exercise has made all the difference.

And SR and I haven't forgot to enjoy each other's company while we wait for the little one... (Can't say I ever thought I'd read a book like this. But with SR everything is fun.)

(Yes, it does say Sex and the Perfect Lover)

Running Song of the Day: Clean Up Woman by Betty Wright

Wednesday 23 January 2008

Cover Girl

I was out enjoying the blizzard yesterday and someone decided to take this picture and put it on the cover of our local newspaper (the online version anyway).
Note that my right toe is turning outward, giving me a knock-kneed stride. Other than that, I guess you really can't tell I'm 37 weeks along.
If you're trying to figure out what my sweatshirt says, it is "Cincinnati." Never been there, but I'm sure it's nice.

Monday 21 January 2008

Pregnant Winter Running

I realized that the experience of running between 8 and 9 months pregnant is not something that has been written about much. But running outside yesterday didn't feel special or dangerous; it just felt good.
The temperature my last few runs has been between 0 and 2 degrees F. But when there is no wind, that's gorgeous. I love peeing on the bitter cold snow and watching it instantly melt away. Of course the trails are close to deserted. Most people seem to have a phobia of exercising in the cold. But nothing makes you feel more alive than your own pounding heart and a warm, big baby belly in the dead cold of morning.
About a week ago, we got 5 inches of new snow, but I managed to find a path to run on that had already been cleared. So contrary to my belief just one month ago, I am running regularly again. The hip has healed and the winter conditions are not insurmountable.
Yesterday SR was kind enough to almost double his pace and run with me. He has a garmin watch with GPS, so I learned I have been running 10 minute miles and a total of only 4.5 miles a day. It sounds like so little! But by the time I am at the end, I am generally waddling and out of breath. Yet during the run SR was talking about how we were both going to finish in the top 5 in our state's marathon next year. It is hard for me to believe right now that I will become that girl I used to be (and then run even faster) all in the next 7 months. But theoretical thinking is really motivating to SR and I'm starting to believe it is for me, too.

Wanted to note one strange thing that was happening two nights ago. I had just fallen asleep when I was woken up by a jab of excruciating pain in my pelvis. Then it kept happening. I realized the big little baby was jamming his head against the bottom of the uterus, using his feet and hands to propel himself. So my ribs were getting kicked, too. It hurt so bad I was yelling and had tears in my eyes. He stopped for a while when I layed on my side, but then woke me up again many times during the night. SR was half asleep, but the next morning he said "Gosh, I hope he's normal." Having two parents like us, normal is probably too much to ask.

Finally, I wanted to address a comment from lilsusha...

I too have been training for a marathon and recently found out I'm pg. My marathon is 13 weeks away and I'm about 7 weeks along. I think you ended up doing the 1/2 right? I don't remember reading your decision as to why. This is my first pregnancy--total surprise after 12.5 yrs of marriage and 2 adopted kids. AND my first marathon. Any insight or resources will be helpful.

Congrats, lilsusha on your pregnancy!!! I hope it goes well, that you can keep running and that you are filled with amazement of your own body :).
There were a few reasons we decided to do the half (had SR's parents visiting out of town the week of the full marathon, wanted to run the half in our own city AND I still felt like running a race competitively at 5 months. I felt like I wouldn't be able to push myself like I wanted to if I ran a full marathon.) But if you would rather run a full marathon, go for it! Just be extra careful with the hydration.
I haven't found too many resources about running or marathons during pregnancy to be honest. Perhaps you have already found/followed my link to "Running for Two" which is another pregnant woman's running blog. Also, I put together a list of studies, defending vigorous exercise in pregnancy, which can be found in my Nov. 30th entry, Exercise and Running in Pregnancy: Point-Counterpoint . If any readers know of other resources, please speak up!
Best wishes. I hope you can keep running in pregnancy. If you do stop, make sure it's your decision. Even if your prenatal care provider recommends you stop, make sure you understand why so you can make the decision together. Good luck with the marathon! Let us know how it goes.

Running Song of the Day: Angel in the Snow by Elliot Smith

Monday 14 January 2008

Learning to be a mother

As the body changes, so does the mind. I used to have the body of a runner and that of an intern used to staying up all night on call. And for six years I didn't get a single period. Having a baby was far from my mind. And that was just one year ago.

This is a picture of me about a year ago, not able to keep my apartment organized and really not caring. Already in this picture, though, I was in love with the guy you all know as SR. He just didn't know it.

And it was at that time I was asking myself Am I capable of loving SR's children, too? Who would I be to them?

And at first it was easy to just have fun with them and be that girl who lived next door and loved their dad and played with them. But, without being really aware of it, or in control of it, they became more to me and I became more to them.

And SR's son is making that clear to me now that he understands there is a baby in my belly. He enjoys sitting in the baby car seat, making baby noises and even washing me in the shower at the YMCA because he simply wants me to love him like he knows I love that little baby in my belly.

So, I'm finding myself becoming a mom. And not just to a little baby.

My mom came to help set up the changing table and we talked a lot about things I would need before the baby comes. She actually seems to think I'm all ready. But there are so many things you can't prepare for, of course. And when it comes to being a step-mom, not even my mom can give me much guidance.

So we'll fill our lives with baby clothes, a diaper pail and a changing table made in Taiwan, hoping these things make us ready.

But what it takes to be a good mom is time and a heart that's not afraid. I guess I've changed a lot in the past year and I don't regret it one bit. I hope more than anything now that I can be that mom and wife I always wanted to be when I was younger. At the same time, I don't want to lose my idealism or my flakiness or my love of running. And as long as I'm listing my goals, I do hope I can learn to clean, too.

Running Song of the Day: Go Places by the New Pornographers

Thursday 10 January 2008

I felt you in my legs before I even met you

Emotions have been running amok the last couple of days. I am in a tranquil place right now, though, after a run, bike & swim. But earlier this morning, I spent an hour crying happily, losing control, not believing how amazing life is.

I guess it began yesterday morning when I was looking through SR's old pictures, which happen to be on our computer. There is a whole life there before he knew me, which is hard for me to admit. It is strange that no matter what I do now, I can never have an effect on his previous life. Sometimes I believe that just by looking at his old pictures, his old life will become my life, too.

I stare at these pictures, wishing I could introduce myself to this guy who doesn't know me and seems to have no idea how much I love him.

It is weird, though. Is it possible that we did sense each other before we met? Is that just magical thinking?


Then the thing that sent me over the top today was watching home videos of waterbirths. They made the delivery feel so imminent. I can imagine it happening at any moment and holding our son in my arms. So I am sold on the idea of doing a waterbirth and recording it after watching these: (watch the second one) (there's no denying this one's beautiful)


Running Song of the Day: Nineteen by Tegan and Sara (okay, it's really not that good of a running song, but it is a good song)

Monday 7 January 2008

Running a race 8 months pregnant

I was coaxed into running a 5k Saturday by SR and another friend. Even though there is really no pressure when you're running a race with "8 Months Pregnant" written on your back, I was nervous about getting sick, having contractions, falling, reinjuring the hip, having to urinate in public, etc. I didn't sleep half the night before, partly because of nerves, partly because of excitement, partly because we had to go to bed so early.

We both knew there was no way I'd get out of running this one, though. The three days before the race, I had run 3 miles on the treadmill each day without any pain in my hip or fatigue. It was my (probably last)chance on Saturday to show young women that the could stay in shape and keep running all the way through pregnancy.

I heard of a woman who was a few years ahead of me in medical school who ran until her delivery date. I remember thinking she had to be crazy. Ironic, I know. But I think of her now and realize she was doing what her body wanted her to do. Pregnancy is not a time to give up taking care of yourself or give up any thought of staying fit. You can potentially feel the best you've ever felt, all the while doing what's healthy for the baby. Remember this is what our bodies are meant to do! And there is no excitement like that of having a child growing inside of you. And the bigger he gets, the more amazing it becomes.

Back to the race. Here I nervously down my coffee before we leave.

It was a very warm day for us, with temps around 30 F. I stood at the starting line with a friend who was running for fun. She told me she was going for 28 minutes. I told her I'd be happy to get that. She did give me a look like "Yeah, good luck getting that 8 months pregnant." Anyway, I thought we'd run together, but about 30 seconds into the race, I realized I could go a lot faster. I took off passing people, getting a mixture of encouraging comments and pissed off looks as they saw the shirt. My first mile was in 9 minutes, but I kept feeling better as I went: I ran the second in just over 8 minutes and the last in just under 8 minutes, coming in at around 26 minutes. It felt so amazingly good to run fast outside again.

I saw SR just before the finish. He had gotten second, losing first by just one second to a really fast high school boy. He was disappointed, but we were both so happy to be able to run a race together again.

Try not to focus too much on the camel toe.

So life has been good. Other than exercising and working a lot, I have been basically living the life of a hibernating bear, only I'm doing the eating and sleeping all at once. It truly amazes me how much food and sleep I need. If I don't sleep at least 9 hours, I feel miserable.
Honestly, I wish the baby would come now, but in reality we will probably need to wait another 5 weeks. In the meantime, I'll keep up the exercising as long as I can and look forward to my nightly pregnant lady rub from SR.
Running Song of the Day: These Boots Are Made For Walkin' by Geri Halliwell (yes, the Spice Girl singing on the Rugrats in Paris soundtrack)

Thursday 3 January 2008

Braxton Hicks

Keep running but be careful! Do you still feel the contractions? I looked on webmd (info for dummies) and reviewed some data about Braxton Hicks something or other and the commonality of it. - Lisa

Thanks, Lisa, for all of your encouraging comments and bringing up Braxton Hicks contractions.

Yes, it seems these are Braxton Hicks contractions I am experiencing during exercise. These are also referred to as "false labor" but interestingly begin as early as 6 weeks into the pregnancy and are not perceived by the mother until about the 28th week. Exercising is known to increase the frequency and intensity. I can't find a good definition of them and I think that is because it is still not understood what their purpose is or how they are related to "true labor".

So I did a bit of research on them in the medical literature. All I found was Braxton Hicks contractions have never been shown to have an adverse physiologic affect on fetuses in normal pregnancies. In fact, they seem to increase heart rate variability and breathing variability, which can only be a neutral or good thing.

It was also believed by John Braxton Hicks who described them in 1871 that they improve blood flow to the fetus and "adapt... the position of the foetus to the form of the uterus." (what that last part means, I am not sure). Here's JBH:

It is further theorized today that these contractions soften the cervix, increase the strength of the uterus and thus the more you have, the easier and less painful your labor will be. None of the last part is supported or refuted by any data. But, what the heck? Anything that might make labor a little easier and has no adverse effect on the baby is worth a shot.

Is Braxton Hicks not the perfect name for a saxophone player? I'm sorry, I just thought it was so funny that this jazz man shares a name with false labor.

Wednesday 2 January 2008

Running again (34 weeks pregnant)!

So I'm not quite running 12 miles a day again, but I am running without pain. Yesterday I ran between 3 and 4 miles. Sadly it was on a treadmill. It is below zero with the windchill here. Last year it was a small thrill for me to run 10 miles in subzero temperatures. I just need to get acclimatized and find my heavy winter running gear. But then there is the fear of falling on ice that may keep me from running outside at all. My plan is to do some running outside this weekend and see how it goes.

There are pros and cons to running this late in pregnancy.

1. feels great

2. good way to stay in shape

3. great training for spring races

4. can be done outside in the winter

1. higher potential for injury than other exercises (possibly jeopardizing spring races)

2. doesn't get my heart rate as high as spinning (I get up to 200 at times during spinning class! That may seem high, but as I explained to one of my spinning friends, "my heart rate gets that high so the baby's doesn't have to.")

3. run with strange posture because of belly (further increasing the risk of injury)

I think if I run moderately (perhaps a few miles every other day), that will be a good compromise.


I was overwhelmed by the many and wonderful gifts we got from friends and family. Including a brown corduroy hat and green leather shoes. It forced us to come home and set up a closet for the little guy with all of his things neatly arranged. He may not have a room, but he at least has a closet (he will be sleeping in the bed with us and in a co-sleeper next to our bed). It was so much fun for SR and I to picture him in the little clothes and imagine what he would be like. I have to admit that I do find it strange how SR often acts like this is a first baby for him, too. I'm not sure if that's just for my sake or if he really wasn't as involved in the planning for the other two kids. Either way, there is no way anyone could say he is not a great dad to his two kids now.

The above picture is from after the shower with my best friend, B. She actually has two kids (girl and boy same ages as SR's kids) and recently got a divorce, so she and SR had a lot to talk about.

----NEW YEAR'S----

Okay, so the highlight of the week for me was laying in bed after we watched the midnight fireworks. We were staring at each other and smiling, thinking about how different this New Year's was from last.

"I'm so glad you're here." said SR

"I'm so glad to be here with you." I said, still incredulous that he could feel the same way about me as I do about him. Coyly I said, "But I could be any girl and you'd be glad I was here."

And he started to get tears in his eyes. "But you're my dream girl. You're the one thing in my life that makes me believe in divine intervention. Some force bigger than us must have brought us together."

I could feel the tears in my eyes, too. He is right.