Sunday, February 27, 2011

On the Road Again

Well, I did it. I went for my first postpartum run yesterday. I use the term "run" loosely. It was really more of a slow jog, my biggest struggle being my hip and muscle function. It always feels rather awkward those first couple of runs after baby. My legs feel a lot like lead and it seems odd and difficult to get them moving the way they had not so very long ago again. I managed to "labor" through about 3 miles on this old road seen here (<---) til I returned home.
I wrote previously about how much I loved to run. I do need to clarify that I love to run only once I'm past the stage of hating it! There was nothing to love yesterday, really. The view was lovely, but unfortunately I didn't even have any tunes to distract me, because my Ipod Nano was out of juice. It does take a while and some persistence to get to the point where running is enjoyable. "And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up." (Galatians 6:9) That applies to running, I do believe.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Ready to Run

So, this was the state of my running just about 2 weeks before we learned we were expecting our 4th child! I trained hard and completed my 1st marathon! It was 26.2 miles of adventure which I'll save for another blog entry. The race was on my 27th birthday. How cool is that?
Anyway, I continued my beloved sport all the way until about the 21st week of my pregnancy with Margot. The miles became slower and shorter til at last I felt I could jog no more. I've packed on an extra 20 pounds, so just as with my previous postpartum runs, I am anticipating a slow start. I will be doing well to even get in a mile, most likely. However, I cannot wait! I'm so excited to get back to one of my all time favorite activities.
Why do I love it so much?
It's one of the few times and places I have time to myself. It's an excellent time of refreshment for me. When I'm out on a run, I think, reflect, and pray more deeply than any other place. (minus the shower)
It energizes me. Days when I've gotten a run in during the wee morning hours go much more smoothly than the days I haven't. I feel refreshed and full of vigor.
It relaxes me. Much of the tension I have is released after a good long run. Exercise is such a great way to relieve stress.
It helps me to eat healthier. I crave healthier foods after a good run. In fact, if I eat a lot of "junk" before say an evening workout, I have a hard time not thinking about those choices and feeling sick. I actually start craving fresh, healthy foods while out on my long runs.
It is just plain fun. I love running in different locations and mapping them out. There is nothing like watching God's beautiful creation "waking up" in the morning. Races are a blast as well, sharing in the joy with hundreds or even thousands of people who love to run too.
Bonus: You sure do shed those extra pounds that are weighing you down, too.

Saturday is the big day! It's the day I have allowed myself to re-enter the running world. I'll let you know how it goes. ;)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Margot: A Story of Natural Childbirth

It was unseasonably warm that winter day, the 28th of January. I expressed to my loving husband, Steven, my need for him to be around that day. I was physically and emotionally drained waking up on the 12th day past my "due" date after yet another night of tossing, turning, contracting, and wondering if all of the false labor would ever turn into the real thing. He was so kind to do much of his work from home that day so I could relax. I enjoyed an afternoon outside watching my energetic kids playing happily with one another. My contractions were regular, far apart, and nothing too uncomfortable. I basked in the sunshine, checking facebook messages from caring friends and family.
Steven went back to his office to finish up some things there, and the kids and I went back inside for nap time. I checked my phone and had a message from my midwife, Melody, suggesting I lay on my left side and do kick counts for 30 minutes. I was to lie down and count how many times the baby was kicking. It was refreshing to feel that she indeed was kicking, and more times even than I was looking for! Another development was my contractions. They were really picking up in intensity as I was just lying there. I didn't take them very seriously because they often did that in recent days, especially when I laid down to rest. I got up after a while to call Steven to check on his status at work. I was starting to wonder if tonight would after all be "the" night.
My husband came back home around 6 o'clock and I felt the need to lay down once again on my side while he was talking to me. All of a sudden, I had an intense contraction that was much deeper than the earlier ones. I was nearing the end of it when it happened. I felt an unmistakable pop inside myself and exclaimed, "My water broke!"
I quickly rolled off of the couch to my hands and knees and urged Steven to please get me some towels quickly. He ran and grabbed all he could find and we stuffed them underneath me. I then crawled over to the tile entryway nearby. Although my contractions were still relatively far apart, I felt the need to get to the birth center soon because my previous labors had gone fairly fast after my water was broken. I made my way to our bathroom to get cleaned up and called my mother to let her know I would be needing her to head to the birth center soon to help with our older children. We all then rushed here and there for a bit, anxiously, grabbing last minute things and getting the kids and myself ready to go.
We all piled in the minivan and set off on our 30 minute journey to the birth center. We had not eaten dinner yet, so we made a "quick" stop at a Sonic drive-in that was on the way. I say "quick" because it turned out to be anything but. We pulled in to the spot. It took a while to gather our thoughts and orders, and when it came time to pay, we had a dysfunctional credit card machine. It was a Friday night, so it was busy, and the payment process dragged on for what seemed like forever. Finally a manager came out to help and witnessed one of my "best" contractions yet. He said, "whoa! You look like you're about to pop!"
We replied almost in unison, "she/I already did!"
He said, "Oh, man! You need to get her to the hospital! Hold on. I'll get you taken care of!" I've never seen a Sonic employee run so fast!
It got all cleared up and we were finally on our way again. I relaxed the whole way; timing, looking at the beautiful night sky, and praying to my Lord to protect my sweet baby and myself in the moments to come. I prayed that it would be quick, but more importantly that He would preserve the healthy life He had created in me.
We arrived at the Birth Center around 7:30 or 8 o'clock. The amazing crew of midwives and students checked me right away in the upstairs exam room and I was a good 5 or 6 centimeters dilated. I wasn't even fully effaced like I had been with my previous labors. I expressed concern over that and they told me I didn't even need to be fully effaced to deliver. That was a relief.
We hiked back downstairs to visit and walk around a bit through these earlier contractions. I spent my time listening to my Itunes with them, talking, laughing, and even dancing! It all must have helped because when we went back upstairs to continue labor my contractions were now 1 to 2 minutes apart and very intense. I was brought into the beautiful, relaxing, lavender colored birthing room where I stood, rocked, and swayed through contractions.
More importantly, I prayed through contractions. I praised and thanked God for the miracle he was working in me. I thanked him for creating my body to give birth, and asked that He would give me the strength to endure the pain I was and would soon be feeling. I prayed for my little girl and her safety.
My back labor was intensifying thanks to baby who decided she wanted to come out face up! The amazing birth team jumped in to help. Melody and Rosetta both put counter pressure on my hips which was a huge relief to my back. Anyone who has felt back labor could probably attest to a feeling almost as if your back is breaking! It was intense, but God continued to answer my prayers and carried me through. My sweet husband held my hand the whole way through as my darling 7 year old, Sierra, looked on with awe and wonder. My sister and best friend, Katie, was in the background the whole time taking beautiful photos (seen here) of the whole experience.
We checked again and this time I was a nine! I made a trip to the bathroom with the help of my husband and felt tremendous pressure "bearing down" on me. The pain became so intense when I returned to the room that I begged to lay down for a minute. They instructed me to lay on my left side, so I did. The moment I laid down I had an almost unbearable contraction and informed them that I needed to push.
So I started pushing as they rolled me onto my back and out popped her beautifully formed head! Another contraction came and I pushed once more with all my strength and she was here and on my chest! It took a moment to realize she was there, in my arms! I held her and cried out for joy and looked into my 7 year old's tear-filled eyes as she told me at the bedside, "Mommy, these are tears of joy! I've never had tears of joy before!"
It was beautiful.
We named her Margot Elizabeth. Margot means pearl, and she is a precious pearl and we pray she will keep her way pure. Elizabeth means "devoted or consecrated to God". We pray she will indeed be just that.