Category: pregnancy (page 1 of 5)

Pushing It While Pregnant

Last month I ran a half marathon. I was 17 weeks pregnant*, feeling decently good, and in pretty good shape. But I really didn’t want to push it. My training runs, especially my long ones, had been slow. And after so many months of emotional upheaval over pregnancy/non-pregnancy, I was willing to cut myself a break. Then again, one of the (many) things that continued to be source of sadness for me was that I really like to be in good shape when I get pregnant—like, just ran a PR-marathon kind of shape. rocknroll2015

That wasn’t in the cards this time. I mean, I did get pregnant soon after I ran my last Boston Marathon, but then I lost the pregnancy. And in the months of sadness that followed, although I ran, it was half-heartedly. I felt like in addition to losing the pregnancy, I was losing my body (and my heart, and my mind, and my soul . . . ). So getting back into shape for this pregnancy was a minor goal of mine. Maybe I didn’t run a marathon the month or two before I got pregnant, but a half marathon a month or two after was just as good.

Still, I had modest goals for the race. Sub-2:00 is what I told myself. (My PR is 1:36.) I would run, but I wasn’t really going to race. And then, the day before the race, Micah said he was going to run with me. Which is fine. Actually, the other half-marathons we’ve run, we’ve run together, crossing the line hand-in-hand, more or less. But the thing is, Micah hasn’t been able to train well for a few years. And yet despite that, he’s still always the one pushing the pace. It’s . . . inspiring. And infuriating.

So on race-day we lined up together. He promised to let me set the pace. The gun went off, and so did we. It took a few miles to find our place amidst the hordes of runners, but by mile 4 the crowds had mostly thinned out and we weren’t bobbing and weaving quite so much. I was hoping to settle into something comfortable. Somehow, that didn’t happen. The pace kept feeling a little fast. Micah kept finding someone else that we really couldn’t let be in front of us. And every mile, I would listen as my phone told us our average pace. It kept dropping.

Every now and then, I’d alert him to this fact. He seemed unconcerned. I reminded him that he said I could set the pace. He said he didn’t realize I wasn’t. We kept running. By mile 9 I was pretty sure I couldn’t hold onto that pace for the rest of the race, but then, we were running next to a Macho Man impersonator and it was pretty much the best thing ever. (“Hand me a Slim Jim!” he’d grumble as we sped by the aid stations.) We couldn’t let him go. So we kept running.

I was pushing it. Going faster than I’d planned and giving it more than I intended to. Yes, I wanted to be in shape for the baby, but then again, the baby was also my excuse for taking it a little bit easy.

As we approached the 13 mile marker, I felt the baby kick. Micah said it was a sign we should kick it in. We finished in 1:43. Way off “goal pace.” Way faster than I had intended. But really, it felt good to push it, to not make excuses, to really see what I could do.

Before we left the finish coral, we thanked Macho Man for pulling us along in the last mile. Then we met up with some friends for a minute and walked home. Micah talked about how easy it had seemed, how quickly the miles had flown past and I tried not to kick him in the shin. I had actually trained and it wasn’t quick and easy for me! But then, I also wanted to hug him, too, for always always ALWAYS getting me to try my best, push a little harder, keep going a little farther.

It’s always a little nerve-wracking in the middle of it, but it always feels so good to see the result.


*I know some people are concerned about running during pregnancy. So here’s the DL: it’s good for mom, it’s good for baby. It strengthens the baby’s heart. And for those who worry about any bouncing the baby may be doing in utero: there is no evidence that there is any harm done to fetus through “bouncing.” Think of it similar to your brain: your brain is also suspended in fluid, and is completely fine as you run and jump and “bounce” it around. In fact, the baby may be safer than your brain, because there aren’t even any bones to hit up against. And even if you were to lose your balance and fall while running (or walking, or whatever), the concern is not for the baby so much as it is for the placenta. If you fall and bump your belly, the baby will almost certainly be fine, but it could cause a placenta abruption, which can be very dangerous. 

Disney Baby Giveaway!


A little while ago, we were invited to see some of Disney’s new looks for babies. Tigger was there. Manchild acted like they were long lost buddies, which was great because Tigger acted that way too. I mean, they even co-ordinated the orange stripes, so there you have it. Totally on the same wavelength.


Pooh was there too, of course. Just another long lost friend, I guess.


We spent an hour or so playing with the toys, enjoying the views from the hotel, getting our photo with our favorite celebrities (Pooh and Tigger, of course), and admiring the gear. Disney Baby has some really nice stuff these days. Not so much with the “just stamp a picture of Mickey on everything and call it good” these days. It’s much more subtle, much more fun.

I found myself coveting some piglet onesies for Little Miss and wondering if maybe some Monsters Inc. bedding could find a home in the boys’ room. I really liked the Finding Nemo stuff as well.

I’ve never really considered having a “theme” or even a motif for one of my babies. But if I had it to do again (and maybe I still do!), I might be tempted by an underwater theme with lots of Nemo elements, or a monsters look with some Mike and Sully scattered about.

(In retrospect, a monsters theme would have been great for Little Miss. Not only does she continually surprise us with her feats of daring, she really, really likes to roar. Oh, and she bears a bit of a resemblance to Boo.)


On our way out, we got a gift bag with some great gear: Little Miss learned to walk in the Disney-themed Crib & Crawl shoes (she wears them nearly every day), the Minnie Mouse sippy cups are essential diaper bag items, and the blanket and book made excellent baby shower gifts, just to name a few.

Because we loved the gift bag so much, Disney Baby has kindly offered to give one away to one of you. So, are you pregnant? Do you know someone who is pregnant? Then please leave a comment on this post by Monday Sept. 2 at midnight! I’ll randomly select a commenter and you’ll receive a Disney Baby gift bag in the mail!

Just tell me which Disney movie/character you would decorate your child’s room around. A woodland theme with Pooh and Piglet? A racecar theme built around Lightning McQueen? Classic Mickey and Minnie?

If you win, you’ll receive:
– A Hallmark Classic Winnie the Pooh book
– Pooh throw blanket
– A pair of Crib & Crawl shoes
– A Winnie the Pooh bib
– An On-the-go puzzle
– A pack of 1st birthday invitation cards
– A pack of baby shower invitation cards
– 2 Minnie Mouse sippy cups
– A singing Tigger rattle
– A bottle of baby wash
– A lullaby cd
– A white sachet with a onesie
– AND a Roller-pillar ball set
A lot of fun things and a lot of practical things. What’s not to love! Go ahead and leave a comment before Monday Sept. 2 at midnight! I’ll announce the winner Tuesday, Sept. 3.


Things to Cheer For

I bought a pair of heels for the first time in my life on Tuesday.

My mom turned 62 Sweet 16 for the 46th year in a row today.

My sister and her husband found a house to move into.

I made a reversible dress for my girl to wear at the wedding festivities on Saturday.

I managed to run some fartleks on Monday morning – big progress for my post-pregnancy body.

My dad started putting wood floors in the basement apartment he’s building.

I finally made an all-butter piecrust that I can be proud of.

Squish got some chocolate for finishing his dinner.

Manchild is learning to be a good loser.

And my BYU Cougars stomped on the Washington State Cougars in their first game of the season.

What are you cheering for this week?


Getting Back into Running After Pregnancy

Three runs in three weeks. None of them more than three miles or thirty minutes. It is easy for me to look at those numbers and feel a tiny bit discouraged. Perhaps I expected to jump right back in where I left off (my last run before the baby was born was a 4-miler). Perhaps I thought that now that I’m not carrying around all that extra weight, I could go farther or faster. Perhaps . . . I was wrong.

Which is fine. I needed to be reminded of what running after pregnancy is like, and that my body will, eventually, not only be able to do what it once was, but possibly be able to run faster and farther.

Remember what it was like with Manchild? No? I will tell you: for the first year of his life, I was lucky to be able to run more than once a week. Some weeks I didn’t get out at all. But then we got a jogging stroller, we started training for the Hamptons Marathon, and when we ran it in September (when Manchild was 17 months old), we ran a personal best.

So it came back, and then some.

And remember what it was like after Squish? No? I will tell you: I didn’t get out more than once a week until he was 4 months old. I started training for the New York Ragnar Relay, then the Dash for Donation Half Marathon in Ohio, and discovered I could run sub-8:00 miles.

So it came back, and then some.

And now we have a new baby and my body and my time are, once again, in flux. I’m slow. I feel floppy. I can only sneak in short runs between feedings/during naps. But I still have 8 months before Boston Marathon 2013, and if history repeats itself, I’ll be able to get it all back, and then  some.

Midwives Help People Out

It’s true. They do. Midwives have helped two of my people out, and I’m ever so grateful that they did.

I don’t really know if it is possible to repay someone for helping you deliver a child (obviously, they get paid, but there is still an emotional debt), but I do try to support midwives and midwifery when I can, which is on the first Saturday in October at the annual Miles for Midwives 5K in Prospect Park.

This year the Miles for Midwives 5K will be my first race post-pregnancy, and it will be Manchild’s first 5K. I think the two of us may stick together as we circle the park.

Now that summer is coming to a close and it isn’t sweltering out all the time (just most of the time), it seems like it might be a good time to set some new goals, find some fall races, and look forward to enjoying the beautiful autumn while cruising through fallen leaves on training runs. I think Miles for Midwives might be a great race for just about anyone to run. So go sign up here.

Let me know if you do so we can exchange high-fives at the finish line.

How to Get Through Labor

I may have spent an inordinate amount of time learning about labor when I was pregnant with Manchild. I consumed birth stories as if they were candy. I checked out half a dozen books about labor and birthing and how to prepare for it. I practiced breathing techniques and relaxation exercises.

Amazingly enough, when labor came, I felt prepared. I used the techniques I learned about. And when all was said and done, I felt good about how things had gone and how I had handled it. I’ve made a list of the things that were most important to me as I have labored with my kids. I certainly don’t have all the answers or know all the techniques, so please pitch in with anything that helped you keep it together in what is arguably the most terrifying, painful, fraught experience of a woman’s life.

1. Take care of yourself. This is sometimes hard to do. But if you need to pee, and your strapped to a fetal heart rate monitor and it is causing you distress, tell them you need to go and can you please finish the monitoring in a few minutes? For me, that moment this last time around came when I’d been in labor for a couple of hours with my midwife at my house, but I hadn’t been checked yet. I knew there wouldn’t be a lot of checking, partly because I was GBS positive and we wanted my water to stay in tact, and partly because it just wasn’t necessary: my breathing gave away how I was progressing. But I was still unsure I was making progress. My contractions weren’t as regular as I thought they should be. So, finally, I decided that for my own sanity, I needed to be checked. And my midwife obliged and set my fears to rest.

2. Try different things. So maybe you thought you’d like to lie in bed and relax and practice hypnobirthing through labor. But after a while, it isn’t working as well as you’d hoped. Try a different position. Or sitting on a birth ball. Or using a squatting bar. Or sitting on the toilet or a birth chair. All of these things have come in handy for me when I’ve been in labor. Until they didn’t, and then I moved on.

3. Come up with a system. I knew that once I closed my eyes and started breathing deeply, Micah would be right behind me with a hot water bottle pressed against my back. It made a huge difference to me, knowing that he was there and helping me as well as he could, and also that I didn’t have to do anything to let him know what to do. It was automatic.

4. Visualize. Sometimes I’d try to imagine a flower blooming, or to see my breath flowing through my body and helping me relax. But the thing that helped me most this time was to imagine that my belly was a balloon I was blowing up and it was getting lighter and lighter. “I’m a balloon! I’m a balloon!” I would think as I was breathing. And this would lead us to my final thought . . .

5. Smile and Laugh. Imagining that I was a balloon was kind of funny to me. After a couple of contractions I couldn’t keep myself from smiling about the silliness of it, and that helped me relax in preparation for the next one. Every now and then Micah or I would say something completely obvious or slightly ridiculous about the situation, which also made me happy. It helped to keep things light. And, if that failed, there was always the thought that this is really happening and in just a little while I’ll be holding my baby! If you need something to smile about, that’ll usually get you.

Okay, your turn. What helped you get through labor? What would you recommend to someone who was afraid or who wanted to prepare as best she could?

How The Babe Was Born

We’ll start the story on Sunday night. That is when I started having contractions that I thought, but was not sure, were getting stronger. After weeks of Braxton-Hicks contractions, this was very exciting for me. Pain! Intensity! Relaxation techniques! I was so happy! But the contractions were not really getting stronger, or longer, or closer together, and as much as I had hoped that I would wake up in the middle of the night with “real” labor, I was disappointed when it was 7:00am Monday and I had slept soundly.

Still. I was having contractions. So I texted my midwife and let her know I thought something might be up. Maybe false labor? Or maybe it was just slow to start? And then I did my Perfect Pregnancy workout video to try to get things going if they were going to go. And then I took the boys shopping and made bread in case I didn’t have a chance to do those things later. We also inflated the birth ball, which not only made a great distraction for the boys, but came in handy throughout the day when I’d have a “good” contraction and need to rock and relax a bit.

By the end of the day I was really confused. My contractions were still strong-ish, but not progressing. I’d have 3 in 30 minutes, and then wait another 20 for another one. By this point Micah was really trying to get everything in order despite the fact that I was like, “I don’t know what’s going on here.” He cleaned and organized our room and then got to work on some last minute things he needed to do for clients. I texted my midwife again to let her know how things had been going. And then, at 11:00, we went to bed. I was hopeful that I’d wake up in the middle of the night, but tried to prepare myself for another disappointingly sound night’s sleep.

And then, at 1:50, I woke up! I was somehow under the impression that I’d had 3 really intense contractions in a row, so I sat up and waited for the next one, just to be sure. I went to the bathroom in case I really just needed to pee, and then sat on the birth ball for the next 30 minutes and several contractions before waking Micah up and telling him I thought maybe he should call the midwife. Which he did. She was at our place by 3:00am. I was rocking on the birth ball, breathing deeply through contractions and reading Bossypants in between. Oddly enough, it wasn’t funny. Not a bit. And before too long I gave it up. I just rocked on the ball and breathed and relaxed while Micah held a hot water bottle to my back.

By 4:30 I thought I was feeling pushy. Or did I just wish I was feeling pushy? I hadn’t been checked at all, so part of me thought I might only be at a 4 while the other part of me thought I was probably at an 8. So finally, I asked my midwife to check me: 7-8. Okay. That’s good. But then things slowed down. It felt like forever between contractions. I was suddenly so tired. I lied down on the bed for a couple of contractions. I told my midwife I was feeling a little discouraged. I wasn’t progressing. This baby was never going to come. She had an idea to help things get going. I sat down on the birthing stool and with the next contraction she pushed the rest of the cervix out of the way. We waited for the next contraction and she made sure the cervix hadn’t slipped back. And then we waited for the next contraction, which is the one where I was going to push her head out. It was about 5:30. And that is when we heard the boys’ bedroom door open.

I kid you not. I was sure I had at least half an hour before they woke up. By that time Abby would be there and ready to take them out if needed. But maybe they had a 6th sense.

So Micah ran and told them the baby was coming. They needed to stay in their room. He introduced the birth assistant, and then he booked it back to our bedroom, where I was on my hands and knees waiting for the contraction. The contraction came. I very loudly pushed with all my might until her head was out. And then I rested. Until my midwife said I could push the rest of her out whenever I was ready. I wondered if maybe, since I had gotten the baby this far, maybe she could get herself the rest of the way out? But it was rather uncomfortable just waiting there, so I gave it another (very noisy) go. And then there she was, crying on the floor beneath me.

“Oh, honey! Thank you!” I said. “You have a lot more hair than I thought you would.” I scooped her up and wrapped her in a towel and held her to me as I knelt there on the floor. I said many more things – apologies, thank yous, expressions of relief – and then my midwife and her assistant helped me on to the bed. Micah and I settled down and began examining our little daughter. The sun was just starting to come up, so we had turned off the light and opened the curtains a bit. We tested out her name and asked, “Are you sure? What do you think?” as we had been doing for the past few days.

A few minutes later the doorbell rang. It was my sister who stayed with the boys while we cleaned things up (you know, delivered the placenta, cut the cord, that kind of thing) and then the three of them came in to meet the little girl. They watched while she was weighed and measured. Seven pounds, one ounce. Twenty inches long. She bore it all without so much as a peep.

And then things began to wind down. The midwife and her assistant prepped supplies and gave me instructions for the next 24 hours. Abby and Micah got the boys ready to go for the day. They dressed the baby, too, and we all had a good laugh about her funny little outfit: pink and white striped leggings with a floral onesie on top. We pulled out our phones and our cameras to start spreading the news. And then, a little after 8:00 the apartment was quiet again. The midwife and her assistant left. Abby took the boys for the day. And the baby, Micah, and I crashed on the bed for the rest of the day.

Baby Love

Our little bundle of joy arrived this morning at 5:39am. She’s an adorable little girl who, so far, has slept a lot, cried a little, and made us all so happy with her funny faces and tiny little self.

I’ll post more about the birth later this week, but until then I’ll leave you with some photos of the little lady (and her adoring brothers).

Waiting at the Start Line

They don’t tell you when the start is. Not exactly. They give you a range, of course. About nine months. You have nine months to get yourself ready. And then . . . well, it’s up to you to figure out when the race actually begins.

You start to see the signs that it might be soon, so you get everything ready. Clothes picked out, food arranged, child care managed. And then . . . well, you wait. You’re at the start line, and you’re ready to go. But  . . . nothing. Was that the signal to go? Hmmm. Maybe not?

And then . . . well, you wait some more. And you obsess over the signs they told you to look for. Was that contraction more intense? Are they getting closer together? This is the same thing that happened the last time, but . . . nothing. Nothing more.

And so you keep waiting. And you wonder: how long can this go on? The race is actually going to start sometime, isn’t it? At times you feel resigned that all your preparation will go unused: you will be pregnant forever. At other times you are hopeful. The closer it gets to that mythical date, the more likely it is that the signs are real.

But still. You wait. And you wait. And you wait. And you wonder: is that contraction more intense than the last one? Were those two closer together?

It’s enough to drive a lady crazy.

Note on the Balance of Good and Evil

Five and 1/4 years ago, I was right where I am now. Not sitting on my couch in Brooklyn typing on my laptop, but 38 weeks pregnant and reading news coverage of a senseless shooting that was both so distant (on the other side of the country from my Hawaii home) and so near – because pretty much every one I knew at the time was connected with the nearby college and who’s to say that something so tragic couldn’t happen anywhere, anytime, even at a tiny university on the North Shore of Oahu?

Manchild was born the next day.

And so I am thinking about it again – this crazy world we live in, and how to actually live in it when it feels as though nothing is safe. Not schools, not movie theaters, not even our own homes.

It has never bothered me to bring children into this world, however, such as it is. It is a scary proposition, yes. It is terrifying to think of the many ways my heart could be broken (or I could break theirs). But I like to believe that somehow I will be able to add to the goodness of the world by bringing children into it.

And that, I suppose, is how I can keep myself from going all sorts of crazy trying to anticipate all the bad things that could happen: by focusing on the good, and how my family and I can add to it.

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