Thursday, August 22, 2013

Feels like the very first time

Journey may not be my very first choice when queing up a playlist on my Ipod, but three days ago when I set out on my very first long run since being side-lined by SPD during the last 13 weeks of my pregnancy, that was exactly how I felt. I wanted to run on pavement for the first long run, (we live on gravel roads), so I drove the 7 minutes to the gym, parked my car and brought up MapMyRun on my phone. Along with a little Journey for the journey.

Setting out to just "run for fun" was a little hard to wrap my brain around, especially since I have been looking at some fall races starting in the next 6 weeks or so. But running for fun was what I knew my post-partum body needed, so I plugged into a fun, boppy playlist and hit the roads in the beautiful sunshine.

It felt so great to be outside after spending the last 3 weeks pretty much shut up in my house, learning my daughter, learning to breast-feed, crying at times, trying to "sleep when the baby sleeps", feed myself while feeding her, and wait, didn't I JUST change/feed/console/repeat the process?

In other words, it felt great just to be ME for a while.

I didn't pay attention to speed, (well, TRIED not to), but just listened to my body. And the bilateral side stitches. I listened to them, too, as they reminded me what it means to be a "beginner" again. I ran slowly, thinking about nothing and everything, setting a long run goal of 3 miles, and at one point even stopping to tie my shoe. I thought about being a mother at 29, chastising myself for constantly trying to put her back to bed, (but what else do babies do, other than eat/sleep/poop/cry, repeat?), I hounded myself to take more pictures, and I even cried a little at the thought of going back to work in 7 weeks. I mourned the loss of her delicate little newborn body as she is packing on the pounds, and in the blink of eye cheered at the thought that my dedication to breast-feeding obviously was paying off since she's chunking out. I experienced fear as I realized that every day that goes by, I will never get back, and every minute that passes she's changing and growing. I panicked at the idea that in 16 (or hopefully more!) years she will be dating, facing "grown-up" issues like sex, peer pressure, alcohol and drugs, and then, (ever the solutionist), promptly decided that the purchase of some sort of firearm would be in order. I happily recalled how in love with her my husband is, and then became jealous at how easily he can console her without the aid of breasts when she's sobbing, and all I can do is give her a boob.

I thought about how easily this 3 miles USED to be, and secretly was a little glad to find my shoe untied so I could stop for 30 seconds. I experienced self-deprecating thoughts of how slow my speed was, (even though I was TRYING not to pay attention to it), but quickly cheered myself up with "Don't worry--when I first started running, I couldn't even leave my driveway!". I studied the map on MapMyRun, trying to calculate "how much freaking longer??" and worried about my daughter. Is she hungry, is she refusing a bottle for her grandma, is she looking for me, is she wondering why her mommy left her?

As I rounded back down the cul-de-sac where my Edge was parked, I slowed to a walk to cool down, grateful that 3.5 miles was DONE! I then encountered this almost immediate feeling of "I can't wait until I can run again!"

Realizing that my excitement coupled with relief paralleled the constant ups and downs of motherhood and hormones, I became impatient to get back home my baby, when just 32 minutes prior I was so relieved to get AWAY for a while. My renewed sense of well-being helped me feel more confident in myself and my skills as a mom, when just 32 minutes before I was scared shitless to the point of almost having a panic attack when I had just finished feeding the baby for what seemed like the 100th time in 4 hours.

After pulling into my driveway and throwing my shoes off after coming through the door, I was saddened to see my baby sleeping peacefully, when 32 minutes ago I was desperate to get her to sleep. Missing her terribly, I crept into our bedroom and stared into her bassinet, secretly wishing she would wake up so I could just hold her. But alas, quietly she rested, growing softly, and I walked to the shower, sweaty, sore and guilt-free for the first time in 3 weeks.

Welcome back!!

I'm back!!

So after taking some time away from all this blogging stuff, I'm back and ready to share another (new!) chapter of my life--


Yes, we had a BEAUTIFUL wedding, Cancun was AMAZING, and I looked awesome in my dress all the while saving quite a bit of money working it here at home, hitting the living room 5-6 times per week. And after we got back, my husband and I were pleasantly surprised to find out that I was expecting! Making it my goal to keep up with my work-outs and to continue running throughout my pregnancy was easy; actually being able to DO it was a completely different ballgame.

At first, the lethargy and sleepiness was okay to deal with; daily runs, (albeit slow), helped to combat the fatigue that comes with early pregnancy, but then around Thanksgiving that's when the morning, (and by "morning", I really mean "all-day") sickness hit. There were plenty of afternoons after completing only 2 miles I would just cry that "my fetus is just a parasite, sucking away at me!"

My husband, who is an absolute SAINT, was always so supportive, encouraging me with "at least you're doing something", and "this should pass, just keep thinking positive". After the first couple of Dr's appointments, and some oral Zofran later, I began to feel a little better, stretching my runs a little further, and returning back to some speedwork. In February, at 16 weeks pregnant, I ran a 5K where I placed first in my age group, thereby returning some of the pep in my step. And after 3 more subsequent 5k's, where I nailed another 1st, a 2nd, and an 8th age group placing, I started having difficulty running which quickly progressed t difficulty walking due to severe pelvic and hip pain. Being a nurse, a chalked it up to "a pulled muscle", bought a pelvic support belt, and limped around work like that for over 2 weeks. At the urging of one of my good friends who works in our OB department, I finally went to the Dr. The diagnosis? Severe Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction. In a nutshell, all the Relaxin and other fun hormones of pregnancy had affected my joints in my pelvic region so severely the joints in my pelvis and hips had begun to separate.

I quickly jumped aboard the Physical Therapy boat, but as my pregnancy progressed and my daughter, (yes, we have a GIRL!), grew, the pain increased and my mobility decreased. I walked like a Weeble-Wobble, obviously running was off the table, and I could feel the little fingers of the depression that runs in my family trying to hook its fingers into my psyche. Daily bouts of crying due to either sadness or simply pain became my companion. I began spending more and more time in bed feeling bad, choosing to skip work-outs because, let's face it, when your husband has to help you turn and move in bed because your pelvis cracks and pops so bad it brings tears to your eyes, who wants to try to wrestle into a maternity fitness skort and waddle into a gym? But at least 3 days a week I wrestled my egg-shaped belly into that maternity skort, and waddle into the gym I did, completing 20-40 minutes on the elliptical trainer, (which I now cannot even stomach the idea of even looking at it!), and running through my PT routine to keep my body as strong as possible. At 39 weeks, my OB and I agreed for an induction, and when my daughter was born, I could barely contain my excitement for her sweet, bruised little face, and the very idea of getting up and seeing what it would feel like to walk without all that extra weight bearing down on my pelvis.

After coming home, the initial acute post-labor discomfort coupled with the kayak-sized maxi pads kept me from doing too much, but after I got the okay at my 2 week visit, I hit the gym for the first time for a 2 mile slow jog and weight-training session. That 2 miles could've been a half-marathon due to the smile on my face! After 15 weeks of no running, it felt AMAZING to plod along at 5.5-6.0 mph! That first week I logged 10 miles between the treadmill and my neighborhood roads! Though they were slow miles, my husband continued to remind me, "they're miles all the same, and 4 months of not being able to run them just goes to show how strong you really are".

I told you he was a saint!

So now, while I'm not shedding and saving for a wedding, my priorities have definitely shifted, and now my focus is trying to stay fit to be a mom. And now, while my little baby is sleeping, I am desperately tapping out this blog of introduction into this new chapter of my life, ready to share my journey into discovering what it takes to be an active mother.