Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Proof that Lil W is growing fast (and that I need more variety in gym shirts)

Total steps yesterday:  13,624
Exercise for today: 2 mile walk

This is me in mid August, or about 3.5 months pregnant:
The funny thing is that I felt like I was  huge
This is me in mid November, or about 6 months pregnant:

And this is me today, just shy of 8 months, when I officially decided that Lil W can come out any day now and I'm 100% over this whole pregnancy thing:

I feel puffy, and my arms look fat, and I'm getting pregnant lady face.  I get it - this is all part of the process and it's a positive side that Lil W is growing and healthy.  But I am huge and uncomfortable and even a two mile walk was exhausting today.  And looking at the pictures, I can see why - I feel like there wasn't a huge change between 3.5 and 6 months, but a giant change between 6 and 8 months. 

I'm happy you're almost here, Lil W, and happy that you've continued to grow and will hopefully be strong and healthy.  And you shouldn't come out for at least 2.5 more weeks.  But I'm probably going to curse the last month of pregnancy quite a bit.  Don't take it personally, okay?  I hear you're going to be worth it.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Updates from pregnancy-land

Total steps yesterday:  9,666
Exercise for today: 2 mile walk

I haven't updated in a while because, in my mind, this is more a blog about fitness than babies, and life has been short on fitness and long on babies lately.  Exercise for the past three weeks has been just walking - 2.5 miles at 3.5 mph for most of it, but today I slowed it down to 2 miles at 3 mph.  It's like I'm 8 months pregnant or something.

Yesterday was my birthday, and I celebrated by going out to brunch and then going to Target to pick out a lot of baby essentials that I still need - nothing too exciting, mostly just a bunch of newborn clothes so I don't have to do laundry for at least a day.  I then spent a few hours hanging on the couch with two of my best friends:

There is nothing warmer or more likely to induce a nap than being curled up under a blanket with a dog and a cat and a baby bump on top of you.

Anyway, I'm definitely feeling really pregnant now.  I've finally gotten the pregnant lady waddle.  It's uncomfortable to sleep and I toss and turn.  Or, I toss and attempt to turn and it usually takes 30 seconds to roll from one side to the other.  I'm super tired all the time, and by the end of the day it feels like I'm carrying around an extra 100 pounds, rather than the extra 35 I'm actually carrying.  Long story short, I've finally reached the point where I say, "Yep, I'm ready for this baby to come out now".

Which is good, since there are only a few weeks left.  While physically I'm ready, emotionally and mentally I feel very unprepared.  But I think I've decided that I can't really be any more prepared and I just need to roll with it.  I've also read a fair amount of advice for the first month and the only piece that resonates with me is someone who said, "You're going to be tired.  You can decide whether to be tired and angry, or just tired.  Choose just tired."  I'm going to try my hardest to remember that.  I don't do well on low levels of sleep, but I also don't want to spend the first month of the baby's life snapping at James, snapping at Zoe, snapping at everyone, so I'm going to attempt to stay positive.

On the note of staying positive:  things could definitely be worse right now.  I'm 99% prepared for Lil W to arrive, at least in regards to items needed for her.  Despite feeling pregnant, I'm not horribly uncomfortable most of the time.  My back doesn't hurt, I'm not on bed rest, and while I'm tired I'm not completely exhausted.  All in all, it could definitely be worse.  And in just a few weeks I'll have my body back to myself and it will be wonderful!

Although I do have this one little fear.  Since about 5 a.m. this morning, Lil W was bouncing around and kicking and bulging and otherwise constantly in motion.  She only quieted down after my lunchtime walk.  This has me worried that something about the motion of running / walking soothes her, which on the one hand is awesome, but on the other hand I have visions of her screaming at 2 a.m. and me strapping her to me with a Moby wrap and walking on the treadmill till she sleeps.  At least I'll keep my step count up?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Fighting for breath

Total steps yesterday:  13,682
Exercise for today:  2.5 mile walk

I'm used to being out of breath.  When you run as much as I do, it goes with the territory, and you learn to work through the pain and marvel as your lungs increase in capacity until you can run for 2 hours without thinking about it.  I've adjusted to being out of breath more frequently now that I'm sharing my body with a little parasite - since about 4 months in, even the shortest flights of stairs and gentlest inclines leave me huffing and puffing. I figured it was all just part of the deal when it comes to pregnancy.

Well, now the thing most likely to lead to me losing my breath is sitting.  Lil W and all of her accompanying growth are infringing on my lung space and it is not fun.  I'm tempted to jerry-rig a stand up desk at work just so I don't have to deal with fighting to breathe for the next two months.  It's not a huge deal, though I do complain to James about it a lot.  And that last sentence pretty much summarizes this whole pregnancy experience.

In other pregnancy news, I've been thinking lately about how much fun it will be to watch Lil W experience things for the first time.  She doesn't know what colors are, and I can't imagine how cool it would be to, say, see blue for the first time.  She doesn't know what a dog is (and Zoe doesn't know what a baby is), but introducing those two is going to be amazing.  She has no idea that there are amazing things like pizza and cupcakes to enjoy, let alone that running and swimming and biking exist so we have an excuse to carb load.

I read an article today that included this quote:  "One of the great things about children is that they have no other concern than to be simply interested in things."  What a wonderful thing that is.  I don't plan to relive my own youth through Lil W, but I can't wait to see what interests her.  It's going to be fun.

Sleep depriving, but fun.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Just to be the (mom) who walks 1000 miles...

Total steps yesterday:  12,535
Exercise for today:  40 minutes elliptical

I'm just going to leave this right here.

That's right - 7 months, 2.25 millions steps later, Lil W has officially traveled her first 1,000 miles.  Here's to many, many more miles ahead of her, with the sincere hope that many of them will be good.

By my rough estimates, probably around 300 of those miles were running, and 700 were walking, which means we've spent roughly  283 hours being active together.  That sounds like a lot, but when it's added up in 10 minutes walks here and there, the occasional runs, and lots of little incidental trips to places like the grocery store and frozen yogurt shop, it adds up.  It also goes to show how, with relatively minimal effort, you can travel a lot of miles in your life.

I first got my Fitbit right around a year ago, which I only remember because it was just before James and I went to New Orleans for a honeymoon.  In that time, I've walked or ran almost 2,000 miles.  I'm sure I would have done significantly fewer if it weren't for the Fitbit acting as an extra source of motivation.

Moral of the story:  get a Fitbit for Christmas.  And also, I should probably get new running shoes soon.

Now if you'll excuse me, I think the next step is falling down at someone's door.

Friday, December 13, 2013

State of the Union (between me and Lil W)

Total steps yesterday:  14,637
Exercise for today:  hour long Zoe walk

Welcome to 32 weeks pregnant, people.

I'm slowly whittling down my list of remaining things to do before the baby arrives.  This list once includes such lofty goals as "learn to knit blankets" and "buy a cd of baby noises to get Zoe used to them", and now includes "just make sure you have a car seat so you can get her home from the hospital, and you can figure everything else out later".  Priorities.

I've had the weirdest schedule at work this week, which always makes the week feel long, but has the added bonus of Zoe and I getting daylight time outside to take walks in the woods, a privilege that we've missed the last little bit.

It was a beautiful day for a long walk, and I think Zoe liked it too.  I was out of breath for a lot of the time, but that's apparently pretty normal this week.  Basically, things are growing and moving and this stomach is getting to the point where it's not big enough for the two of us.  I've never been more grateful to have my Snoogle pregnancy pillow - it's always been helpful, but right now when I need back support, bump support, and leg support, it's the best thing ever.

Also, I could spend hours (and okay, maybe do) staring at my stomach watching Lil W move around.  James thinks it's freaky, and I do too, but now any time I feel her start moving I can't help but stare.  As I type this, she's getting in to her active stage of the day, and it's always a fun, if slightly off-putting, time of day.

Remember ages ago when I started feeling uncomfortable bending at the waist, and it's laughable now because I was only about 17 weeks pregnant then?  Well, now I legitimately have a hard time moving.  On today's walk, I had to get around two trees that had fallen over the path.  The first was about knee high and I could step over it.  The second was waist high, so I couldn't climb over it, but when I tried to bend over to go under it my body just laughed at me.  That was fun.  I had to scramble a bit up the hill to get around the tree, and Zoe just sat there impatiently watching.  And you should see me try to get out of bed.  Thank god for strong triceps, because those get used in ways you never imagine.  In P90x, you have to do these push-ups at the end of one of the workouts, and they're the worst, but that's pretty much what I have to do to get out of bed these days.

And I haven't run since Sunday, since I can't find my running belt (aka have been too lazy to look) but I kind of think I might be done.  I'm still active and moving, but walking might be more my pace right now.  I'm at peace with that.  Sunday's 5k was a great, great run, and I'd rather end on a high note than feel forced to stop because of a bad run.

Though I reserve the right to change my mind.

Also, just fyi, tomorrow is going to be a really big, important day on the blog.  Stay tuned for an exciting announcement!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Fitness challenges

Total steps yesterday:  12,098
Exercise for today:  3 miles elliptical

I've taken a few days off running, and I think it's the right choice.  My body is happier, which is what I figure I should be aiming for right now.  I still think I'll run 1-2 times a week while I can, but this weekend's 5k run made me feel really accomplished and at peace with starting to slow down.

Also, I've misplaced my running belt and until it turns up I'm resigned to walk and elliptical my way through workouts.

Have you ever taken part in a holiday fitness challenge?  I have the last two years with my fitness friends, and it's the best for keeping me on track.  My older sister actually first introduced me to the idea of starting New Years Resolutions a month early, which helps a lot to keep you focused through December.  Adding in other people just makes it fun.  And this month it's been good because it's forced me to work out when I don't want me.  My goals this month are modest - hit at least 70,000 steps weekly, exercise 5 days a week, and no snacking after 8 p.m. (snacking does not include dessert in my opinion).  So far I've been very successful and definitely forced myself to exercise when I wanted to be lazy.  I always feel better once I'm done.

Also, I'd just like to point out that I have less than 20 miles to go before I hit 1,000 miles with Lil W.  It's going to happen and it's going to be big.  Much like I am right now.

Monday, December 9, 2013

3.1 miles for 31 weeks

Total steps yesterday:  12,169
Exercise for today:  rest

Ah, this weekend was amazing.  I went to New Jersey to run a 5k with some friends, and ended up having an awesome baby shower as part of the festivities as well.  Now I feel at least somewhat better prepared for Lil W's arrival - if nothing else, she's going to have a ton of cute outfits to wear!

And then we ran our 5k.  Running is so weird for me lately, since sometimes I feel great and powerful and other times I feel terrible and demoralized.  I went in to Sunday's run with the mindset of just rolling with it and enjoying the experience, regardless of whether or not I could actually run it.  In the end, I had zero issues. I ran it in probably around 35 minutes (I was timing but forgot to stop the time when I finished) and felt good and strong the whole time.  It helps that I had an awesome group of ladies to run with.  Here we all are after successfully completing the race in very chilly temperatures.

One thing I love about this picture is that I don't feel gigantic in it.  I've felt really huge lately, so it's nice to see myself next to six other super fit women and not feel like a cow in comparison to them.  I might be 30 pounds heavier and 2 minutes per mile slower than I used to be, but I can still hold my own, and that feels good.

As I talked about last week, I'd tentatively planned to make yesterday's run my last pregnancy run.  But it felt so good that I'm not sure if I can give it up just yet.  So I'll continue my love / hate relationship with running for a while yet.  I might slow down just a bit to see if I can eke out a few more weeks of jogs.  I might even make it to 8 months!

The drive home from NJ through a snow / ice storm was pretty slow going yesterday, but wasn't the end of the world.  I spent a long time thinking about Lil W as I drove.  She tends to be more active in the late afternoon / early evening, so her little bumps and jabs kept me company for the last few hours of the drive.  I don't know what it is, but she's so real to me lately.  I feel like this whole pregnancy she's been more of an idea than a reality, but now it's starting to register that there's a real little person in there, one with her own personality, patterns, and idiosyncrasies.  I can't believe that there are only two months left before I get to / have to share her with the world.  I'm getting very excited to actually meet this little girl.

In the meantime, though, I'm going to enjoy these last few months of just James and me.  It was so good finally getting home to him and Zoe last night.  I'm of course excited for the new addition to my little family, but I'm pretty lucky with the family I already have.  I want to enjoy that while I can.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

My birth plan, or lack thereof

Total steps yesterday:  12,847
Exercise plans for today:  attempt at a run

So this is going to be a lengthy and very pregnancy related post - feel free to skip out on it if you're not interested.

I've worried about a lot of things during the course of this pregnancy.  Some are legitimate.  Some are not.  I've stressed about safe strength training and whether or not my body is ready to quit running.  I've stressed about how James and I will provide for our baby.  We've collectively stressed over whether it's more important to teach Lil W Latin or Spanish.  And I've stressed again about whether or not my body is ready to quit running.

One thing I've kept waiting to stress about is my delivery.  I've pretty meticulously researched every step in this pregnant journey, and have formed opinions and blogged about my feelings in regards to a lot of the life changes I've gone through in the last few months.  And I've tried really hard to do the same thing in regards to forming a birth plan.  In the end, though, is it such a bad thing if I just don't have one?

In my research, I've read a few stories of real labors.  I've read a few articles on what to expect.  I've talked to friends who have had terrible labor experiences, friends who have had amazing labor experiences, and friends who call their labor both terrible and amazing.  I've had friends who have had C sections and felt like failures because of it.  I've had friends who have had C sections and couldn't be any happier about the outcome.  I've stopped short of watching videos of real labors, despite having that recommended to me, because that's frankly not really something I feel I need to see.

I have a few general guidelines / expectations, but even those are fairly limited.

1.  Assuming the general health of me and the baby, I want to be lucid and have all decisions made / procedures started explained to me before they happen.  I feel very blessed to have doctors who I trust, but I'm also a 29 year old about to be mother, and I feel like the least they can do is communicate to me what's going on.  I'm not inclined to fight their recommendations, but I want to know about them as they happen.

2.  I plan to labor at home for as long as comfortable, largely because I want the freedom to move around.  I'm a big believer in walking out the pain, and I don't like the idea of not having the option because I'm strapped in to a bed and attached to an IV.  That said, unless the pain is significantly less than I anticipate, I do plan to get an epidural.  I've read stories from moms who were uncomfortable but the pain wasn't unbearable, and if that's me I'll skip out on the epidural.  But most likely, I'll have them sticking that thing in me as soon as it gets too bad or the contractions become too frequent.

3.  Oddly, this one is the most controversial birth decisions that I hear negative feedback on:  James doesn't plan to be in the room for the labor and delivery, and I support him in that decision.  If he changes his mind and wants to be there, I'll support that too.  At this point, he wants nothing to do with it, and  I'd rather he be home, taking care of our dog, doing any last minute cooking / cleaning, and otherwise keeping himself occupied until Lil W arrives.  This decision has spurred some bizarre comments, mostly revolving around me needing to force him to be there.  Honestly, I believe that if it comes down to it and I desperately want him there, James would do it in a heartbeat.  But for now, I'm at peace with his desire to not be there, and I don't think either of us would benefit by me forcing him to be somewhere he doesn't want to be.  It's a very short period of my life, and is basically just a transition from pregnancy to parenthood - James and I can live without each other for the hopefully not more than day it takes for Lil W to arrive.

4.  Hopefully, though, my mom will be there, and one of my good local friends has also expressed a desire to be there if she can.  Not sure how it will work out with my mom coming out - we've talked tentatively about her coming out around the due date, so as long as Lil W isn't super early, she should be there.  And said good local friend will always be around, except for a trip from January 18-22.  So as long as Lil W doesn't arrive in that 5 day span, I'll have at least one person to keep me company and sane during whatever the delivery holds.  That's more than enough to get me through.

5.  I really, really, really don't want a c-section, but that's exclusively related to me knowing that it will take me longer to recover from that / longer to return to running.  If my health or the health of the baby is ever in question, I obviously wouldn't hesitate to go the c-section route, but I'll avoid it if it all possible.

Beyond those general thoughts about what labor will look like, I have zero preferences.  I'm content to wait and see what happens.  If we have a second child in the future, I might have stronger opinions based on my experience this time around.  As is, I'm going in knowing that I'm pretty unprepared, and that there's not much else I'm going to do to more accurately prepare, and that it will all work out in the end.  One way or another, and barring something extreme, I'll be coming home in 6-11 weeks with a newborn baby.

Now, thinking about what life will be like after that point is a whole different story / research project.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The end is nigh. Maybe.

Total steps yesterday:  12,095
Exercise for today:  1 mile run, 2 miles elliptical

Well, it's been a long, long road toward 31 weeks of pregnancy, and running has been a big part of that road.  But, alas, I think the end might be here.  Or almost here.  I have a 5k race on Sunday and  I'm determined to push through that, but once that's over, I might call it.

I'm going to try a few things first, though, especially since my last run on Thanksgiving felt really good.  But today I was dealing with some major foot and calf pain on my run.  The last few runs I've been on I've felt a bit numb for the first mile, but have been able to push through.  Today I just couldn't.  I made it to a mile hoping the pain would go away, but it didn't, so I quit and switched to the elliptical.

There are a few possible culprits.  First, I probably need new running shoes.  But with only two months left in pregnancy, I don't want to spend the money on shoes that fit my pregnant feet / support my pregnant body if those shoes won't be right after Lil W arrives.  Especially since good running shoes that fit my needs cost a lot.  I'd rather switch to walking and the elliptical for the next two months and save that money for baby items. 

I've also been getting a ton of leg cramps at night lately, no matter what I do to avoid them.  This is apparently pretty normal in pregnancy, with no totally clear cause.  But it makes me wonder if having my muscles cramp throughout the night isn't exactly conducive to them feeling strong and supple during daytime runs.

It's also possible that basic math is working against me.  30 extra pounds + stomach throwing me off balance + loosening ligaments = painful running.  And if that's the case, there's nothing I can do about it and I will accept my lot in life.

Or I could just be having an off day.

So, my tentative plan is to try another run on Thursday with the treadmill set to 0% incline - normally I have it on a slight incline and I figure that's probably not helping sore legs, so I'll dial it back even further.  I'll see how I feel.  If I still hurt, I'll probably do a run/walk combo to get through my Sunday race and will count that as a glorious capstone on an awesome 31 weeks of running. 

But then I'll have nothing to blog about.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Bad blogger / exerciser / all around human being

Total steps yesterday:  6,094
Exercise for today:  3 mile run

It's funny to me that when I'm busy / at work / have a tight schedule, I'm a much better blogger than when I have four days of nothing to do.  I'd planned to blog on Thanksgiving, at least briefly, but then got caught up in cooking and didn't have time.  I at least had an excuse that day.  The rest of my weekend looked like this:

Friday:  Get up, make coffee and breakfast, sit on the couch all day watching a Chopped marathon until about 3:00 when I took a nap.  My total steps for the day were just shy of 3,000, and I only had that many because I have a dog who occasionally needs to go outside.  Even she spent most of the day napping on the couch with me.

Saturday:  Get up, run a few small errands, go see Hunger Games with a friend, then sit on the couch watching a Chopped Marathon.  No nap, though, so I consider that a success.  And I got something like 7,000 steps that day walking to the theater, so it was a small improvement.

Sunday:  Grocery shop, clean the apartment, do some laundry, otherwise be productive until 4:30 or so when I (wait for it) sat on the couch and watched a Chopped marathon.  You would have thought that I could have taken at least 30 minutes of each of those weekend days to go to the gym - I could just as easily watch a Chopped episode on the treadmill as I could at home, but that was apparently too hard.

I also apparently couldn't fathom the idea of both blogging and watching television at the same time, and thus didn't blog at all.  Or we can all acknowledge that my blog would have consisted of me talking about foods that I don't recognize and sharing pictures of a sleeping dog and accept that it's probably better I didn't write anything over the weekend.

But.  I did officially hit the 30 week mark of pregnancy, which means I'm 75% done.  Lil W is a kicking machine, weighing in at about 3 pounds, and I've decided that she's about ready to make her arrival.  I mean, not literally - we're still two months or so away from that joyous event.  But she seems a lot more real the last few days, even if her reality is mostly expressed through kicks to my bladder.  Such a good girl.

Anyway, I'm getting back in gear today with a treadmill run at lunch, food being relatively on track, and slightly fewer hours in my day to watch television.  I don't really have any regrets about the lazy weekend.  In theory I might have felt better if I were more active, but in actuality I sort of loved the laziness.  And I recognize that it's good to enjoy this downtime while I have it.  Though I think Lil W will happily watch cooking shows with me once she arrives.