thoughts on running

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After a 3 1/2 mile walk around our favorite lake, Nala and I are both pooped. We used to jog this lake almost daily plus the half mile between our home each way. Upon completion today, my feet and my back ache… and I have a triangle of sweat between my shoulder blades. Everything like before. Except for the fact that we walked.

It was a pleasant walk and as we went around all of the runners and joggers smiled graciously at me. I’m much bigger now than I was when I thought people were smiling at me for being active and pregnant before. In retrospect, nobody probably knew back then and I was just feeling happy enough on my own and projected it on to everyone else. But today was decidedly different…

As people ran by I didn’t feel envy. Their smiles were not apathetic but genuine in my mind. I imagined two scenarios for myself six months from now. One, where I’m running around the lake with my baby and my dog. Two, where I am still walking. I let both images sit with me for a while contemplating my true feelings on each. Would I be able to run by then? Would I beat myself up if I couldn’t?

Would I ever have toned legs? Did I ever have them before?? Near the end of the walk I felt fine with either scenario. Getting outside and moving my body is what is most important… not the label of being a runner. If it feels good I’ll do it. Slowing down these last few months has taught me to be content with whatever my body is capable of doing. She carried me far today. And we still have a full day ahead of ourselves.

Hospital Visit

 

Earlier this week, Melbs and I went to tour the hospital I’ll be delivering in, Alta Bates in Berkeley. The tour followed an hour long physician meeting— a monthly get together for all L&D doctors in the group to meet the patients who will be delivering in the next couple of months. Each doctor tries to be present for each of their own patients’ births, but in case that’s not possible at least we’ll now be familiar with the other doctors on staff.

The meeting itself was interesting. Each of the 5 doctors introduced themselves and then spoke about a stage of labor and delivery. Topics ranged from vaginal birth to C-section, to what to expect during your postpartum stay. All of the various procedures and protocol were demystified, and many rumors debunked.  I went in with so many questions, worrying how on earth we would ever know where to park when the time came, let alone find my way to the delivery room. The Q&A session was very comforting, and it was great to see so many other couples as far along into their pregnancy as we were.

After this, we toured the hospital. The first curiosity we squared away: everyone gets their own room! There was a collective sigh of relief from both expectant mothers’ and their partners once that was pointed out. This hospital has so many delivery and postpartum rooms it looked more like a hotel than a medical center. But I should clarify— 80% of all rooms are solo occupancy, while the other 20% have potential for sharing. If you’re put in one of these rooms the likelihood they would double you up with anyone is slim to null— but still, an important detail.

We also learned the process for checking in to our hospital stay:

1) Park in the regular parking lot and walk into the hospital together like a normal person. Parking will cost $20 for a 3 day stay.

2) Take the elevator up to the third floor (again, like a normal human being).

3) Check in with the security desk — which is staffed by a very intimidating person because babies are precious. Our name will already be on a list since we are registered with the hospital.

4) Walk a few feet to the triage counter where we’ll sign in and get my hoo-ha examined to see how far I’m dilated. They were clear to point out that only ONE person can accompany the mother to triage which begs… for women with doulas, who do they choose? Hubby or doula?

5) Depending on my status we’ll either go for a nice walk to the roof garden or Whole Foods and come back, OR I’ll be admitted to a delivery room… where we could spend the next several hours.

6) The labor and delivery room is small— a bed in the center for me, a couch for Melbs, and if you’re lucky, a tub.  There is a flat screen TV, windows to the outside world, and room to put LED candles if you wish. Absolutely nothing may be plugged into the walls, so we’ll be bringing the Jambox and our massive external phone battery. This is the room where all of the magic will happen. The tour guide/nurse said that the staff GREATLY appreciated LOW moaning to high-pitched screaming in these rooms.

7) Two hours after the baby is born, the whole family is moved to the adjacent postpartum ward and we’ll get a room with a bit more space for ourselves and for a handful of visitors. The nurse said there is no limit to the number of visitors you can try to stuff into your room, but highly encouraged us to say “no more than 4 at a time” as a rule. I’m sure she’s seen some shit. The whole time we’re here, the new baby wears an ankle monitor that will sound alarm if it gets too near an elevator or open door. We also learned that only two people (presumably the mother and father) get “full-access” to the baby while at the hospital. Although, when this was mentioned, one of the other mothers on the tour blurted out to her husband, “me and my mother” which ignited an argument which we all enjoyed hearing. ;)

8) Typically folks stay at the hospital a total of two nights, three if there was a c-section performed on the mother. There are mommy-and-me classes held in the morning for those who wish to learn more about infant care or breast-feeding, and you can have a lactation consultant visit you in your room if you’re having trouble in that area.

9) Finally, we can leave as a family!

10) Once at home, the doctors told all of the husbands that their primary job was to keep me away from visitors who try to enter our home. I actually laughed out loud when I heard this. Apparently I am going to need all the rest I can get and cannot be bothered by pleasantries and inquiries about our labor. What they didn’t say but I inferred is that I’ll probably look haggard and be such an irritable mess that it’s in my best interest to not engage with the public. They said, if anyone comes to your door they better have food and should be prepared to either be a) thanked and turned away immediately or b) handed your baby for a maximum 5 minute visit which does not include access to the mother. Again, I’m sure these doctors have seen some shit in their day!

After our tour we celebrated our newfound knowledge and peace of mind by going out to dinner in the neighborhood— something we aren’t doing enough of lately. We actually ran into some friends at the restaurant and had a nice chat about our impending parenthood. It was a nice way to end our educational tour. We both went home feeling a lot more prepared for the “big day”

29 Week Update

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At 29 weeks pregnant, things seem to be accelerating.  Mini Melbs is growing loads by the day and I am starting to feel his personality. This last week was all about bonding for me. I mentioned in my last post about the adventurous weekend we had together. In addition to dancing, we took a quick dip in a hot spring, got pummeled in the Pacific Ocean, and I buried him in the sand while sun bathing.

this was actually my friends' bump-hole but I had one similar!

this was actually my friends’ bump-hole but I had one similar!

Through all of these “firsts” together I felt like I was actually taking a little boy along with me and was hyper-conscious of his movement to see how he reacted. I spoke to him frequently and with each check-in I felt insurmountable LOVE. This is really the first week I’ve started to love him like a baby, and not as a figurative future child. I love him so much and I cannot wait to meet him!

Mini Melbs
He’s the size of an acorn squash, nearing 3lbs and 16 inches.

Symptoms 
– Feeling HOT. Like, uncomfortable and sticky-sweaty at the office hot. No bueno.
– Acid reflux is rearing its head. My doctor warned me it would come back but I didn’t believe her. Now, anytime I eat a large portion or something spicy I end up miserable for hours. Tums disgust me and I’ve read that there is an ingredient in Tums that can deposit itself into the placenta, so I’m taking papaya extra chews instead which seem to provide the same relief.
– Irritability. Unsure if this is pregnancy related or not. But my patience with others is wearing thin lately.

Eating
Food-wise things are much better this week. Bachelorette weekend road trip aside, Melbs and I are back to meal planning and trying to cram in as many nourishing meals as possible. Lots of chicken sausage, mixed greens, avocados, and polenta combos. Tonight we enjoyed garlic shrimp over a bed of sautéed zucchini and carrot noodles which felt like a splurge! At work, I’m mainly eating protein breakfasts and salads at lunch— but not skimping on the frozen yogurt, don’t worry! ;) I’m finding that I have less room for food in my belly these days, but my eyes haven’t gotten the memo. I’m sure it’ll just take a couple more days of acid reflux to change my portion sizes to an appropriate amount.

Exercise
Also doing well in the activity department this week. I’ve discovered a great 40 minute cardio/strength training combo (again, on YouTube) that I enjoy doing at home while the cat and dog watch from across the room with concerned faces.  I’ve also gone to yoga a couple of times this week which was a REAL workout for me. I was sweating within 5 minutes of arm pulses. I miss the Lake and want to start incorporating more outdoor activities into my week but walking 3.5 miles just takes so long compared to running it! Maybe this weekend?

Purchases
None!

Body Stuff
I am feeling HUGE. Not just for a regular person, but for a pregnant person too. With my wide-set hips, my baby-bump is low and wide. I’m bumping into things, forgetting how large I am, and have noticed my thighs touching when I don’t wear my Spanx. Ugh. Still no stretch marks on my belly though— just the super faint linea nigra still. Wedding ring is on but I take it off to work-out since I’m prone to swelling while I heat up. Belly button is mostly in, but often flat!

Looking Forward To
Tomorrow, Melbs and I are going to “meet” the labor and delivery staff at our hospital in Berkeley. In addition to my own OB, it will be great to make acquaintances with her partners and the nurses on staff, who will undoubtably be a part of my L&D experience. This will be my first visit to a hospital since becoming pregnant. We have some classes scheduled there for later this Summer, but I’m really looking forward to scoping things out mañana.

all the ladies this weekend <3 photo by marcielynnphotography

all the ladies this weekend

Yes, it’s sorta weird.

Hello, from the other side of a whirlwind of July social-showers! This month, I’ve hosted/attended a handful of fun, milestone events for friends. Earlier this month we celebrated a good friend’s impending September baby at a gorgeous shower, and today, I’m still recuperating from wonderful weekend away with the ladies to celebrate a close friends’ up-coming wedding… in other words: A BACHELORETTE PARTY!

This was not my first pregnant bachelorette party, but it was certainly my most pregnant. As such, I tried to create a nice weekend that was a  perfect combination of shenanigans and relaxation — not just for my own benefit but because I was in good company! 3 out of 10 girls on the trip were pregnant (26, 29, and 32 weeks respectively). Despite some of us needing more down-time than others, I think everyone enjoyed a pretty solid weekend of hot springs, beach time, fancy dinner, and yep, a little clubbin’!

here we are before our "big night out" @ 29 weeks

So here’s where the title of this post comes into play. After our “fancy dinner” out on the town, the two other pregnant gals decided to retreat back to our rental house for some more R&R while the rest of us carried on to the a dance club to keep the festivities going. Yes, I totally trooped it out. I mean, what was the big deal? I can have a fun time sober! I like to dance! And I loved the other ladies I was with and wanted to keep spending time with them. But I must admit…

…it was sorta weird too.

Here’s the deal. I LOOK pretty dang pregnant these days. And the dance floor was packed with sweaty twenty-somethings who I was pretty sure could tell I was “bumpin” so to speak. Did they think I was a bad mother, hanging out in a bar? Could they tell I was only drinking water? I hope so! Were they grossed out by me? Was it like being at a club with your mom? I was sort of self conscious to put it mildly. Despite this, I was able to to bust some serious moves and had a GREAT time dancing and laughing at my friends who were getting a lot of attention from an adjacent bachelor party. I was happy to watch from a safe distance and egg people on, until one of these party-goers decided he wanted to dance with me.

ME?! Was he twisted?

He started dancing close to me, innocently enough. Probably sensing my hesitation he asked, “HEY! CAN WE DANCE?!” To which I shouted back… “Eh… I’m married. And pregnant. And sober…” which in my mind was the ultimate trifecta of NO YOU DON’T WANT THIS, MOVE ALONG! But instead he replied, “AWESOME!” and put his hands on my waist. The look on my face was pure panic.

In less than 2 seconds, my girlfriends came rushing to my side, barricading this 25 year old frat boy from me (and MM) with brute force. Once we were all “safe” the guy came back to apologize to me in earnest. “I’m sorry,” he said. And with a genuinely inquisitive look on his face he asked, “it is weird to dance with pregnant people?”

Huh…!

Was it? Struck by the question, I wasn’t even sure what to say. After a moment I replied, “Yeah. I guess it is sorta weird.”

And not for the reason I originally thought. It wasn’t because I’m huge, and unsexy, and awkward. It is because I am currently my unborn son. Strange as that may sound, we are physically one body. I am his shell, I am his mother, I am his protector. And some stranger was near him. I could care less about some guy wanting to dance with me. But no stranger  dare come near my child.

The story played out later among my girlfriends that even at 7 months pregnant, I still “had it” for which I should feel proud. But in my quieter moments, I congratulated myself for another reason: that I had somewhere along the lines turned into a mother. That that little twinge of excitement around garning attention from men had been completely replaced by the motherly instincts. This doesn’t feel right. My son is here, and we’re leaving. 

From then on, I laughed from the side-lines and then we found a more mellow creekside dance floor, where it was just my group of girlfriends on the dance floor. We danced in a big circle like it was 1999, unabashedly enjoying each other’s company and relishing in our friendship. I felt truly grateful to be with them and even happier that I “stayed up late” for the big night. We made great memories, and one day I hope these friends-turned-aunties to my son will tell him what a cool mom he has. :)

all of the girls at the beach, earlier in the day. best friends ever.

Firsts: The Nursing Bra

illu-nursing-bra

A couple of weeks ago I decided to suck it up and order some new bras… but not just any old bras! The bargain shopper I am, I wanted to buy the sort of bras that would last me through 6 months postpartum as well. You guessed it, nursing bras. The clip-down kind. I’ll let you google that on your own.

Anyhow, I wore my first nursing bra today and felt exactly the way I felt in elementary school, wearing a training bra for the first time. Could people tell? Did I look different? Hey this is actually sort of comfortable! Dang, I feel like a woman! It was my own secret and even forgot myself that I had it on until I returned home and had a good laugh at myself in the mirror.

Boy, times sure are changing.

28 Week Update – The Third Trimester!


This trimester stuff is confusing. At 24 weeks I was pretty sure I was in the last trimester of my pregnancy. I mean 6 out of 9 months is 2/3 right? Wrong. What I neglected to recall was that pregnancy is TEN months! And counting backwards from a whopping 40 weeks, we’ve only just begun that 90 day countdown.

So here we are. We’ve arrived gracefully (for the most part!) and healthily into our final stage of my first pregnancy. I can hardly believe it.

I hesitate to make any over-arching statements around my pregnancy at this stage lest I jinx myself, but at the same time if things go downhill from here I’d like the following thoughts on the record.

My pregnancy has been wonderful. These past 7 months, whether I knew it at the time or not have been some of the most insightful, exciting, and introspective of my life. Nothing, nothing compares to the warm feeling of knowing there is a life inside you. On top of that warmth is knowing that this life was created by you along with the love-of-your-life. And that special-miracle person you made will be yours forever— or at least until they move away and marry… and go through the “life” process on their own, the cycle of life continuing… but again, all thanks to you.

Sure, there is sacrifice involved. I hate to use the phrase “giving up your body” but sometimes I do feel that way. My body is not in my control to the extent that I prefer and that has been the most challenging part of this journey so far, as chronicled many times in the previous 92 blog posts. But I am comforted in knowing that I’m still okay… that I can allow myself to “let go” of that control and be just fine, perfectly healthy and happy and loved. My body is a baby-making machine— and so long as I am able to return to a somewhat recognizable shape within the next year, I’d be happy to sacrifice my mid-section to house a few more tiny people in the future.

Alright. Onto the nitty-gritty.

Mini Melbs
Is 2.5 lbs this week and around 18 inches long. His lungs are developed such that he could likely breathe on his own if he were born today. He can suck on his toes, and boy can I feel him! None of my prenatal apps include this tidbit, but I am fairly certain MM can also scale Mount Everest at this stage. Often, I awake in the middle of the night with what feels like a rodent climbing the insides of my uterus: click click click click… all the way across my abdomen. Serious creepy, yet oddly comforting too.

Symptoms
This week I played the part of student moreso than office worker, sitting in management training for long hours, sandwiched in between even more tedious commutes. Come Friday morning, I couldn’t fathom sitting down. My tailbone ached, my bladder ached, my eyeballs hurt. My eyesight is legitimately worse than usual these days, I’m not making this up! But worst of all, my attention span has regressed to that of an 8 year old. Call it baby-brain or whatever, but dear mother of god, there is no way I can pay attention to anything for more than 10 minutes at a time.  And often times, MM is just moving that frequently which is very distracting. I can see my belly rolling in my peripheral vision and wonder if anyone else is noticing too.

Eating
Gosh, I’ve been eating like shit this week and there are no baby-cravings to blame it on. Just standard, busy working American life. I haven’t had time to grocery shop for “real food” this week and we’ve been eating whatever is convenient— take-out or frozen things for dinner. And not being at my usual office (due to training) has hampered my standard green-lunches. One of my favorite healthy-eating mantras is eat for how you want to feel. And boy do I feel shitty right now. Bloated, fluffy, lethargic… a mirror into last week’s menu.

Exercise
On a more positive note, I’ve worked out 5 days this week which is good. I’ve finally found some excellent work-out routines on YouTube that don’t make me feel like a senior citizen doing calisthenics. My work-outs happen whenever I can fit them in: before or after work, or mid-day if I’m at home. As long as I break a sweat, I’m happy. I alternate between a 20 minute cardio routine, and some 10 minute strength training videos. I am actually feeling quite strong these days. Just a shame I can’t “see” it!

 Body Stuff
Still no major swelling. My wedding ring is still on and slides off easily unless I’m in the heat. My ankles remain intact which I remind people to look at constantly (I know, I’m a moose. But would you look at these skinny ankles?!) No stretch marks on my belly, and still the faintest linea nigra on my lower belly. Sometimes I can’t tell if its an indent from the seam of my pants or what, but pretty sure its linea nigra.

Purchases
I think my “Baby Gear” post the other day was pretty thorough! But one more thing arrived! This really adorable giraffe decal.

popitay store on etsy

popitay store on etsy

Best Moment This Week
Getting ready in my own bedroom. During my pregnant fury, I completely migrated my bedroom-closet out of the nursery and into my own shared bedroom. It meant giving up a lot of stuff, and packing away almost all of my normal clothes and shoes but it felt so good to get dressed and do my make-up in the same room my husband was drinking coffee in. Who knew I’d been missing out on quality time in the morning with him??

Looking Forward To
My friends’ baby shower tomorrow! I have a good friend who is 3 weeks further along into her pregnancy than I am (also with her first!) and tomorrow is her shower. It’s been so wonderful having someone to compare notes with, and how is just slightly ahead of me at every stage to see what I have to look forward to (or not!). She and her husband have opted to keep their baby’s gender a surprise, which if you recall I’m totally into so it’s also neat to sort of experience what that’s like, second hand through her.

Also, today is my “little” brother’s birthday and we’re celebrating by going to a baseball game— but shh don’t tell him. It’s a surprise ;)
I am realizing more and more each day how grateful I am to have a brother. More specifically, to have grown up with a brother so close in age. It’s because of him, and what an awesome little guy he was was to grow up with that I am SO EXCITED and feel prepared to raise a boy of my own. He has always been so full of life and adventure, so curious about the world, and gosh darn it, such a mamas-boy! that I can easily picture loving life with a little man around to dote upon.

Wish me well into my third and final trimester! And pray for my placenta, which serious has some moving to do these next few weeks. Thanks!

Baby Gear Update

This was a big weekend for crossing off baby-related purchases. We’ve almost completed our “big ticket” baby gear list and I couldn’t feel more relieved. Yes, I know there is still plenty of time and that baby won’t need any of this stuff for a while… but whatever makes mommy happy right?

The Stroller – Uppababy Vista
Stroller review on YouTube <– this really sealed the deal for me. We went with the tangerine color for each piece because it’s unisex and we’ll be using it for baby #2 (and maybe 3?!) someday. And if you know me, you know I love bold colors. This set was a splurge and took me a couple of months of hemming and hawing, but I’m confident we made the right decision here. Plus, we got 20% off the carseat and 15% off the stroller set thanks to a tip from another pregnant friend who purchased the same stroller the day before (score!!).

Uppababy Vista Stoller with bassinet and Mesa Carseat

Uppababy Vista Stoller with bassinet and Mesa Carseat

The Glider – Little Castle Swivel Glider & Ottoman
This was a gift from Melbs’ parents. We are so thankful for their generosity and love that this set will be in our family for many years to come. After I’m done nursing and rocking our babies, we can bring it out from the nursery and into our living room for all to enjoy. Again, more orange! In the nursery, this will definitely be a “statement” piece against the grays and blues.

Little Castle Glider & Ottoman

Little Castle Glider & Ottoman

We came home to a giant box on our porch last night and I had grand visions of doing an un-boxing video for the in-laws but wouldn’t ya know it… I stepped out for a dinner date with some other moms-to-be and came home to Melbs already unhinging the door to the nursery and setting up this sweet duo inside. The best I could do was snap a picture of the “after”. We’ll move the crib to the other side of the room to make room for more gliding but you get the idea.

Super comfy

Super comfy

Rocking Horse – Vintage Lion
Okay, so this isn’t really a need-to-have, but who could resist? I always dreamed of having a solid wood rocking horse for the nursery and we set out to see if we could find one. We did one better, finding a wooden LION instead! Aside from the bold colors in the nursery, I’m going for a loosely-themed safari animal motif (giraffes etc) and this lion is just perfect! Melbs lugged this prized treasure around for over an hour and I hope Mini Melbs laughs at this photo of his super-dorky dad one day.

Handmade "Rocking Lion"

Handmade “Rocking Lion”

Clearly, we’re having a great time with all of this!

All that’s left in terms of “big ticket” items is a dresser/changing table which will match the crib. We have a second carseat, compliments of a friend who gave us her gently used, top-safety rated Chicco, and I’ve decided to wait on buying a jogger until the baby is closer to 6 months old.

So basically, we have everything we need but the baby! 13 more weeks…!

Off to an OB appointment now. If anything exciting happens, I’ll let you know. ;)