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The Little Owl…

Why do I have a picture of a cantaloupe? Because Spec now weighs this much. He has picked up a new nickname lately: “The Little Owl”, or “Owlie” in reference to his night owl ways, although it sounds like all babies are up most the night before they are born (and after!). Had an appt today I was a little nervous for since I have developed some low abdominal pain. I thought maybe I had pulled a muscle, as it has been sore to walk. I’ve been running, but a little slower. Luckily my doctor reassured me it is just normal pain as the Little Owl moves lower. That was good news. So, I can run and just deal with whatever discomforts come my way, but there’s nothing bad going on. I got another ultrasound so she could assess his size. I think I was secretly hoping she would say he is big enough that we would need to pick a date to induce so I would know his birthdate, but alas, he is actually a little small, but she said quite a good size for me, currently weighing in at 4 1/2 pounds, at 33wks and 4 days old. He is also head down still, as he should be, so everything seems to point to me just having to wait for nature to run its course, since he’s not too big and in position. This means I could have the dreaded wait up to 2 weeks after my due date. So, Owlie and I had a little talk where I promised him great things if he would agree to come out at 38 weeks. We’ll see if he listened…

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Prenatal yoga part II…

Not sure if you can tell or not, but this is a wonderfully soft and fuzzy Nightmare Before Christmas blankie that Stephanie got me for Christmas. It will definitely go to the hospital with me…the thing feels like a kitten it is so soft. Pancake agrees, and she had no encouragement to jump up and strike this pose…it was all on her own.

We had a nice quiet Christmas. I needed a little break, so it was nice to stay home this year. We don’t really do gifts, but Mike did get me some PJs that are pants and a button up shirt I can wear in the hospital. I made some pretty good yogurt and pear pancakes in the am (after a VERY cold run), and then a small turkey dinner in the evening. It was nice to have a day were I couldn’t do things even if I wanted to since everything was closed. I read a lot and napped in between cooking. We also went to town lake and got hissed at by a couple of swans.
Today I tried prenatal yoga again. I figured I am big enough and tired enough that maybe a lighter approach to yoga isn’t so bad. Kitty went with me. The teacher we went to had been recommended to me, but we discovered there was a sub today. I remain unsold on prenatal yoga. The class started really late, as they allow lots of time for people to arrive at the start of class, and THEN go wait in line for the bathroom. There was also the opening “My name is_____, I am ______weeks, and the following is making me miserable:______________.” I don’t get this, because to me if you are pregnant, it is fair to assume you have various discomfort issues, and the fact it is an easier class focused more on stretching already takes your misery into account. Next the teacher spent a lot of time on shoulder openers, which was fine, but class suddenly ended with 1 hip opener, which really would have been a better focus for the majority of the class. It also would have been nice for the teacher to offer options for those more advanced, as most yoga classes do. The class also ended early, which meant it was really only 45 minutes long, when I am used to an hour and a half. Ok, and here is where I sound a little twisted….going to stuff like this does make me feel less blob-y and wimpy. I know I sound judgemental here, but I see other people and think, “Oh, I guess I am not as bad off as I thought.” There were women there around 20 weeks or so, who seemed a lot more uncomfortable than I am. So, overall..I am still no prenatal yoga convert. I have dropped down a notch on my regular yoga classes to an easier class, and I feel this is benefiting me a lot more in keeping strong, and flexible. I would recommend prenatal yoga to someone really having a lot of pain, but I felt too healthy to be there. I am willing to try another teacher, so if anyone has a class they liked, let me know.
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Merry Christmas Spec…

Ok, so it’s not really his first Christmas, but he did

get some gifts. Although he has enough onesies to get started, I could not resist the little lebowski onesie. Mike would have never forgiven me if I hadn’t got it.
Once Christmas is over, I feel like the countdown really starts. The month of January is about all I have left…and it is totally booked full already. So much for resting. I’ve got a couple of baby showers to attend, not including mine, it’s Mike’s birthday, I’m taking a computer class, we’ve got a couple Spec classes, plus, while we have a beautiful baby room, I’ve yet to buy any of the daily use items….that will be a long list and a long Target trip, and I need to wash all his stuff…..and oh yeah, I’m trying to make a deadline at work. Yikes!!! It will all get done somehow. I am so glad for the couple of holiday days….ahhhh, a chance to sleep!
Speaking of, I had no idea that pregnancy makes it so hard to sleep. I heard all the late 3rd trimester discomfort horror stories, of being unable to sleep, but my last uninterrupted night of sleep was back in July. I know it will get MUCH worse with a baby, but I guess the irony is it would be nice to rest up now. Between getting up for the bathroom and reflux, I get up at least 3 times a night. Just another one of those, “no one told me about this” things I now know.
It is bitter cold here for Texas. I am running partner-less for a few days, and this morning took every ounce of motivation I had to get out there. It was cold, wet, and I’m not exactly comfortable these days, but I made it. Having Pancake with me helped. Tomorrow is supposed to be 27 degrees in the am. Ahhh I am such a wimp. Gotta remember…I need to run while I can. Each day at this point could be my last run for awhile.
Well, gotta get back to 24 hours of A Christmas Story….
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Ok, here is the fat suit part II, or 32 weeks, aka 8 months! Remember, it always seems like more to say months than weeks, at least to me. Still running. Did the town lake loop Saturday and Sunday this week. Still moving along at about 9 minute miles. Just a little longer to keep it up. Still feels good, other than those pain in the butt bathroom stops.

For the Spec news, he measures where he should, which is a little big for a small person like me. It turns out my doc will do one ultrasound at the end to assess his true size, so I should hopefully have a little idea ahead of time how feasible it will be to get him out! Melissa wrote a great birth story on her blog, about her home birth. Of course I’ve been reading up a lot on different births, and I’ve seen plenty while I was in nursing school. We had the option to do a one day home birth observation rotation, and I did not do it. I saw just about every hospital scenario though, and while student nurses don’t do a lot for the actual birth, we did do a lot of immediate baby care, and LOTS of time on the mother/ baby unit. I definitely see some of the points of home birth, but being a hospital based nurse, there is a lot about our western medicine that I find valuable. The nice thing I have is a physician that I know really well, and who knows me, and I trust that what ever her birth recommendation is, that is the best thing for me. Of course, I prefer no C-section, just to return to activity sooner, but we’ll just have to see what happens. I am trying to remain positive that I can handle whatever gets thrown my way, as I tend to lean towards resiliency.
Some good news is, we did get a Bob stroller. I feel spoiled….this was pretty high up on my “wish list”. I am actually going to take it on some practice loops around the block sans baby to see how I do. These things are much better than the jogging strollers of the past with the huge front wheel that stuck out so far. It’s really light too although I’ll be adding some weight with the car sear adapter and a heavy car seat, but heavy or not that stroller may be my only ticket to sanity.
Our couch finally arrived. While my styling skills do not do it justice, here it is. I am happy with it. It reminds me of Mad Men, and it is MUCH more comfortable than our soft squishy overstuffed couch. I’ll probably be spending A LOT of time on this in the upcoming months.

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Spec the runner…

One thing I already have figured out, is that Spec loves to run. I guess most pregnant women say their babies are active all the time, and I really feel that way. I question if Spec sleeps at all…except when I run. He goes right to sleep and stays asleep for a few hours. I don’t know if what a baby does in the womb keeps happening when they are born, but if so, I may find myself out late at night with a running stroller if that is what it will take to get him to sleep. And, you know you have a running problem when you spend more time researching running strollers than pediatricians 🙂

I would also like to make a shout out to Melissa. She just completed a 5K running program with some huge challenges thrown in. I personally am much more inspired by those with regular life challenges than the elite runners with no jobs, nannies, personal physical therapists, free running gear, etc, etc. When I freak out that I won’t be able to run after having a baby, it is reassuring to know it’s been done and under even more challenging circumstances that just one kid.
Sorry for yet another picture of my Christmas “tree”….I really like it though!
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Merry Christmas, Texas style…


Here is our “tree” , my beloved century plant.
Derek and Melissa both commented on the buckeyes on my last post (I also forgot to mention Derek ran White Rock too today…great job Derek!). Here is the recipe. Yes, it is deceptively simple, but I promise you, you will get raves. In a mixer combine a cup and a half of peanut butter, 3-4 cups of confectioners sugar and 1 stick of butter. I used whole foods creamy peanut butter and their organic butter. It will be slightly crumbly. Line a cookie sheet with foil, and make little balls with the peanut butter mixture. Chill them in the fridge for a couple hours until they are firm. Melt one big bag of Nestle semi sweet chocolate chips. Don’t do fancy chocolate…as you can read in my previous post. Dip the balls in the chocolate leaving a little of the peanut butter uncovered…it’s supposed to look like a buckeye nut. Toss ’em in the freezer a few minutes to firm them up, and then when you feed them to friends, watch them ohh and ahh, over the simplest Christmas cookie ever, that tastes like a peanut butter truffle.
I am really starting to stress over going back to work full time with a baby. The more I read, the more putting a 12 week old in full time day care seems like a bad idea. Maternity leave in America is kinda a joke. At least I work for an employer big enough to give me FMLA, as some folks don’t even get that. 12 weeks just seems like less and less time. And, to address the biggest misconception a lot of people have about maternity leave is you do not get paid. It is unpaid leave. It is not a 12 week paid vacation! At least I get the 12 weeks off though. I have read some employers only give 6 weeks, which is really not much at all. Anyhow, I just don’t see how a baby can go overnight from having all his needs met at home to being plopped in a crib at a day care for 8-10 hours a day and not get pissed off about it. On the plus side, the daycare is right there close to me, so I can go visit Spec. I guess time will tell how this whole thing goes. Maybe Spec will be a mellow baby and not care too much. But I can’t imagine that I won’t feel horribly guilty. This is just one of many little worries that keep me from sleeping, all of which I am sure every new mother worries about, so I don’t think there is anything ususal about that….doesn’t make it easier though.
In the mean time, I will just enjoy eating Christmas goodies and planning my 2010 races that Mike and Spec can come watch!
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What to do on a cold winter day…

Today I kicked off a weekend of making holiday goodies. Most will go to work with me, and only a few can stay here. Today I made Buckeyes, which are sooo easy, but everyone who has had them loves them. These are an internet photo, as I packed mine into the freezer and realized I forgot to get a picture, but they look the same (the chocolate on these is maybe a little neater). I also wasted $10 of organic Whole Foods chocolate because it doesn’t melt right…it was way to grainy to use. My guess is they don’t use emulsifiers, so it separates, but once I went and I got Nestle’s chocolate, it worked fine. Tomorrow I am making butterscotch peanut butter krispie treats…another embarrassingly simple recipe, but everyone goes nuts for these things…and pumpkin bread. I also indulged in a treat today at the Cherrywood Christmas bazaar…a chocolate dulce de leche and seasalt bar. I am such a sucker for the sea salt and caramel combo. Even though it is everywhere now, it’s so good and hard to pass up.

I started a very wet and cold morning with a run with Pancake. We’ve been going into the little neighborhood behind Mueller lately to admire the peacocks. Apparently a few years ago someone dumped one there and others have slowly drifted in. Now they have chicks every year and I would guess there are about 10. My arm has just recovered from Pancake seeing them last week, and lunging while I held her by her leash, but I couldn’t resist running by them again. There are also a couple guinea hens in the same ‘hood, and they actually ran at us to try and shoo us away. There are also a couple colonies of wild parakeets in Austin, one being right by my house, so I saw two huge clumps of the parakeets at Mueller today. They are much bigger than pet store parakeets, and it is always cool to be running along, and all of a sudden a flock of bright green birds is in front of me. This little 6 mile run is officially named the Bird Loop from now on. It’s kinda become my Greenbelt replacement run that I try to do once a week with Pancake. Although very wet and gray out, it was fun, and felt good to still be moving at 31 weeks. Next week will be 8 months pregnant which makes the end seem close, but remember that pregnancy is really 10 months and that whole 9 months thing is a terrible lie!
Next I rushed to yoga, as the Saturday run/ yoga combo has kinda become my “long run”. A total butt kicking class that will leave more sore tomorrow. Yoga is getting harder and harder, and I haven’t succumbed to another prenatal class yet. Since yoga uses your entire body weight for the strength moves, I guess it makes sense that as my pounds pack on it would get harder. While I look forward to being more able bodied again, it will be strange to not have Spec live in me. I am sure all pregnant women go through this, but I’ve gotten so used to him, and having a giant gut, it seems natural in a sense. It just seems normal now to have someone in me constantly moving around.
As I mentioned, I went to the Cherrywood Christmas bazaar today. There are so many of these cool craft bazaars in Austin now, with the whole “these are not your grandmother’s crafts” craft movement. There was a lot of terrific stuff and it is only this weekend, so if you are bored tomorrow you should go….I cannot go to anymore of these because of the baby stuff. I cannot resist artist designed onesies. Spec has onesies with a skull and cross bones, a walrus, a carrot with eyes, a whale shark, and a t-rex. He’ll enjoy the more traditional stuff he’s already got as gifts too, but it’s just so hard to resist the hipster baby stuff.
Mike and I finished off the day with P. Terry’s burgers and the 37th street Christmas lights, which are barely happening anymore. Old Austin, RIP.
Steve and Meghan are running the White Rock marathon tomorrow. I’ll be anxiously looking for their results. Good luck, sisters…..
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Alien Spec…

Stephanie had given me the very thoughtful gift of a gift certificate for a 3D ultrasound. Yesterday I went for the appt. Now, all the babies’ features pretty much look the same in these things, so there is nothing that is real unique to Spec in this picture, but it is fun to see how he is positioned, and watch what the movements I feel really are. At my last Dr appt, she said he was already head down, and I guessed he was in a left position. I was correct. His butt and spine run along my left and his legs extend into my right. Any movement I feel lower is his hands and arms. I also questioned how much the tech was telling me that they just say to everyone, since this is all for fun, and not diagnostic, of course they try and make the experience fun for you (some comments were pretty easy to guess that everyone else got the same info “Oh, these are the best images I’ve had all day!”) One thing I do wonder how accurate it is, is she said I have tons of amniotic fluid, and that he’s got a lot of room still. If that is true, that is good news, that he still has lots of space to grow without me getting any bigger. I am pretty inclined to think that is correct, because I have more or less been the same size for several weeks, yet he is still growing. They ask you if you already know the sex, and since I did, the tech did a 3D penis image and took a shot which I found creepy and weird. Do people put that kinda thing in a baby book now? Anyhow, it was fun to see him, and there is now a possibility I am down to single digits in weeks until he is born. Of course he is allowed to go a couple weeks post term, but if he wants to come at 38 weeks I would be happy!

It got crazy cold this weekend, and while yesterday was a little chilly for me (but pretty), today was warmer and a nice winter run. It was hard not to feel a little longing for the races this weekend since it was the Texas Endurance runs (previously Sunmart) and Decker half marathon. I tried to enjoy the fact the trail was empty this am, and it was cold enough to feel invigorated, but not so cold as to be uncomfortable. Still able to run, no real pain, just slower without trying to be slower, and the constant bladder discomfort that never goes away. It will be weird to run without bladder pain. I’ve had it now for 4 months, and have kinda got used to it. I still will be glad not to have it!
Still slacking on my holiday efforts. There is a lot going on this year, and I’m just not that into Christmas. Hopefully next year will be different. In addition to Spec preparations and appts, we have our new furniture being delivered in chunks, so I’ve not wanted to decorate the house, having it in a constant state of moving things around. I guess the best things about the holidays, is this year it serves as a distraction helping time go by faster. Hopefully February will be here soon!
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One year ago…

Here is a picture from a McKinney Falls hike about a year ago. On this exact weekend last year, I was doing “Deckmart”. The Sunmart 50K on Saturday followed by the Decker half marathon on Sunday. It’s on of the tougher running weekends I’ve done, but I had so much fun. It sure did hurt though! That was 31 miles Saturday followed by 13 hilly miles Sunday. Now I am lucky to do 7. It’s so funny how things can drastically change. But, I am thankful that I am running less for a good reason and not a bad one!

I am in the phase where sometimes pregnancy seems like it will be over soon and sometimes it seems like I still have a really long ways to go. About 2 months are left, but first babies often like to come late. Please don’t do that to me Spec! I still continue the pattern of getting uncomfortable for a day, thinking my running my be over, then rallying back the next day and feeling better. I just have to hold on a couple more months! At my last Dr appt, she seemed ok with running, since I am forced to stop about every 2 miles to go to the bathroom, and it’s not like I just race through a 10K as fast as I can.
I am looking forward to redoing my training though. I used to be much more specific with what I did when I was running faster. I did shorter races and really pushed, and ran shorter quicker runs for training. When I switched to ultrarunning, it was all about getting in lots of miles, and I had a drastic slow down, I’ve never been able to come back from. I know having Spec, plus a full time job will force me to do quicker more efficient training runs, whether I want to or not. Maybe not a bad thing. It might help me regain some speed, and really carefully plan what I am doing. I hope to be able to run a Boston qualifying marathon time, and improve my 50K time by this time next year. It will be all about the local races for at least a year or 2, but luckily we have a lot here. Not much longer…