Wednesday, July 25, 2012


I'm not racing much lately, and I seem to be spending that extra entry fee money on things I don't really need. But this isn't a habit for me, since I'm actually a very frugal (cheap?) person, although it may be becoming one. I used to only buy large triathlon toys when something got stolen. So that happened a few times with bikes (and swim gear, and some triathlon clothing and shoes...), and my current bike is actually the latest replacement for a stolen. It's getting a little old; it's almost 6 years old now. But it has some new parts. Last year I couldn't pass up a great deal on a friend's Zed Techs. My old Zipps were about 10 years old, and doing just fine, by the way. Then I came across a barely used wetsuit and figured that again, my almost 10-year-old one is probably a little outdated. I try not to read too many of the tech articles about how much better current equipment is when I have my antique stuff still in use. 

This year, being a new mom and hypersensitive to the cat hair that was a second layer of carpet on our floor, I was finally convinced to buy a new vacuum cleaner. And it is awesome. I really never thought I'd love a household cleaning tool so much. It comes in handy to not only get up every last cat hair (and Joy hair -- post-pregnancy hair loss is no joke!!), but it's also become my most trusted baby soother and sleep inducer. I thought that was my big purchase for the year, since I'm not racing much anyway.

Hunter has never been one of those babies that falls asleep in the car. In fact, he seems to dislike the car seat. Since he's getting close to the maximum weight for our infant seat (yes already), I decided to go ahead and splurge on a new plush, cozy, luxury seat. If it makes him comfortable, I'm all for it. We will see today how he likes it.

Next on the upgrade list is something Jeremy has been pushing for for a while. And no,  not the ipad. He got that for his I-finished-my-last-Ironman reward. It's a king sized bed. Since the whole family has been sleeping in the same queen bed for several months now, and at least one of us doesn't have enough room (I'm not saying who (me) ), I caved. Now don't tell anybody that the pediatrician lets the baby sleep with us (but The One Who Feeds gets to decide). We should all be getting a lot more comfortable sleep as soon as that behemoth gets delivered.

I thought that was it for a while. Nothing else new. Then a PowerTap on a 650c wheel opportunity popped up. I'm actually a big numbers person. I like data and statistics and keeping my numbers in a log. This would be surprising if anybody saw how little I even run with a watch these days. But I've always had dreams of a PT in the back of my head. I couldn't resist, so I bought it. It's already here, but I'm anxiously awaiting one little part before it becomes functional. This is something that will get me excited about my bike again. And I'll have a good reason to be a number nerd.

I really haven't done a lot of upgrading in my 16 years of triathlon --I even borrowed a bike for my first 2 seasons -- so I was due for some new stuff, right? Soon I will be recovering from my watt-metered intervals on a spacious king sized bed atop a spotlessly clean carpet.

At least somebody has plenty of room...

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Birth Day

I started this blog a long time ago and wasn't even sure I'd ever finish. But I'd really like to remember every detail of my sweet baby's birth, and I might as well post it! So four months later, here it is, the story of how this chunky little monkey got here.

I'd been worried for weeks about the baby being breech and not wanting to turn, but somehow still had faith that he would in time, and I could have a natural birth. I was going to the chiropractor, lying inverted on the ironing board, and doing every exercise and trick in the book (or rather, on the website). The whole pregnancy had gone so well, even considering the awful nausea I had during the weeks from 6-15. I had a couple of temporary setbacks in my running, but generally had very little pain, and only some discomfort when I sat too long in one position or on the couch.

My appointment at 37 weeks and a few days showed I'd lost a little weight (I'd been sick), and the doctor started mentioning dates to do an external cephalic version on the little one. I was mostly sure I wanted to do it, but she let me go home and talk it over with Jeremy. She went ahead and had the operating room blocked at the hospital for the next Tuesday - that's a requirement in case an emergency cesarean is needed. When I got home J and I decided that we did want to try the version. There was a decent chance it would work, and although I'd heard it was excruciating, if it meant I could have a natural birth it would totally be worth it (and probably not all that painful in comparison). The cons included the chance that the baby wouldn't tolerate it well and I'd have to have an emergency cesarean, but I'd be cut open anyway if he didn't flip.

38 weeks - can't believe I was this big!

The next Monday I trekked back up to the doctor for one last visit before the version. I'd been working on him all week trying to ease his head down my left side. It would get to about 3 o'clock, but pop right back up when I changed positions. She checked my cervix to find that I was still about 1cm dilated, but still not effaced. I told her I was all in for the version and we'd see her the next day. I picked up some delicious rellenos at our favorite New Mexican place up in Ruidoso and headed home. I wasn't particularly concerned over getting some cleaning done like I'd planned; instead I just relaxed a good bit of the night. Somewhere around bedtime I remembered I needed to pack a bag just in case we had the baby and stayed in the hospital.

We reported to the hospital at 7:30 the next morning, and were greeted by a nurse that Jeremy knows from the hospital in town. It was nice to have someone almost familiar (at least she knew of me). I got into my gown and hooked up to the fetal monitor -- important in a version, since you need to know how the baby tolerates it. The contraction monitor was interesting to me. Apparently I'd been having some contractions I hadn't noticed. Funny how you can feel them much better when the computer screen is telling you you're having them.

When the doctor came in, she checked my cervix and told me I was 1cm but 90% effaced-- big difference from the day before. She said my contractions were strong enough that I could be starting labor. (I kept thinking, this is nothing compared to some of them I felt while running!) This lead to the discussion that I would probably not be allowed to go home if the version didn't work. The doctor had planned on letting me go into labor on my own, even if the baby was still breech, which I was very thankful for. I have never thought any kind of induction or choosing of my baby's birth day was the right thing for me to do, and the only way to know he is ready is to start labor. But at this point, given my contractions and effacement, she wasn't willing to let me get too far away. I was stressed even more by this; I didn't feel that I was in labor, and things were just not going as planned. I was given terbutaline to relax my uterus to make the version easier, and this, probably along with my anxiety, gave me the shakes. I was praying again that THIS time it would work and he would turn.

They tilted the bed so I was slightly declined, checked him out on the ultrasound, and the doctor started pushing on him as Jeremy stood on the other side of the bed holding my hand. J could see everything going on, from the monitors to the ultrasound, which helped calm me. It was very firm pressure that she was applying at the top of my uterus, the baby's head, and the bottom, around his bottom. I winced a few times, but it really wasn't terrible. After just a short minute or two, she had moved him to about transverse, when she suddenly stopped and asked the nurse to move the ultrasound or something. There was a little chatter going on, but I wasn't sure what they were talking about. She didn't immediately start back with the version, and after a minute or two she said the baby's not tolerating this well and she was going to stop trying. I probably would've lost all color from my face had I not been upside down. This means only one thing: the big C. She said she wanted to go ahead with the c-section right then and asked if that was ok with me. I had to look at Jeremy for his opinion and he concurred that it was the thing to do. I probably asked him 10 times if he was sure we had to do it. Then I started crying. In my head I was throwing a 2-year-old temper tantrum, saying, "This is so NOT FAIR that I have to have this. So many people are practically, if not outright, begging for c-sections, when I have done everything I can to avoid it and I'm stuck with no choice." I had plans to hold out going to the hospital until I was many centimeters dilated (having J check that for me), just so I wasn't put on the clock too soon. I wanted to go without an epidural, and certainly no pitocin, since I know those both increase your risk of surgery.

The nurse was still standing there watching me melt down, and she asked why I was crying -- was it because I was worried about what could happen during surgery? I'm not sure I gave her an answer because at that moment I just wanted her to go away. Obviously she couldn't possibly understand. She's a labor and delivery nurse, so this is no big deal to her. And by the way, no, I completely trusted my doctor. There are just so many negatives to having a c-section, for this baby, me, and my future babies. Jeremy told me that the baby's heart rate had dropped really low and he probably needed to come on out. Later I learned that it had dipped into the 50s and stayed there for minutes. Not good.

Within just a few minutes, the anesthesiologist had come in to talk to me, then they brought the bed in, and let me use the bathroom. I had stopped crying and started to realize that I was going to get to meet my baby soon. I texted my parents and sisters that "I'm about to have a c-section," just before I was wheeled down the short hall to the OR. Thankfully they let J, being a doctor, suit up and come in for almost the entire thing. I sat up and they leaned me over for the spinal, which really didn't hurt. I was mostly worried that I would accidentally move, and those horror stories of paralysis would be realized. Once I was all hooked up and laid back down, I quickly started to feel numb. Part of me was thankful for this, but wen my leg suddenly appeared, bent up in my view, I was a little surprised. It is such a surreal feeling. Everyone in the OR seemed excited and was asking questions about the baby, when I started to feel like I was falling in a hole. I told Jeremy, "I don't feel so good." I know that feeling, since I've passed out before, and it was imminent. After a couple of pleads with a weak little squeaky voice, my doctor noticed and called it to the anesthesiologist's attention. Apparently my blood pressure had dropped to like 70/40, or something close to death. Less than a minute of IV fluid later, I was back to normal.

The curtain came up. I smelled cauterized skin. MY cauterized skin. I kept asking Jeremy what was going on. Without giving specifics, he told me it would be a little longer. Part of me wanted to see what was going on, but like I said, I've passed out before, so the other part didn't. More pictures of my innards would've been entertaining to me, but alas. I had heard I'd feel lots of pressure during the cutting and pulling baby out, but I felt nothing. The minutes dragged on, and finally J got out the camera phone. The doctor found a baby butt and heel, and out he came backwards.

They didn't tell me right away, or maybe they did and I didn't hear, but the cord was around his neck twice. No wonder the poor baby couldn't move to the vertex position. He was stuck with only about 6 inches of slack. I held my breath until I heard his cry. He was taken over to the warming? cleaning? something table, where I could actually see his pink little body and his bright blond hair. I was craning my neck to get every glimpse possible, and finally after an eternity, Jeremy brought him over to me. He was vocal right from the start; he gave me a little speech as soon as he met me. I'm not sure if it was a complaint or just a story telling me what he had been through. But nice to meet you too, little one! My arms were strapped down, so all I could do was kiss his tiny little face.

It's a grainy picture, but exactly how I remember him when I first met him

They said he looked long and skinny, and while I was being sewn back up, they weighed and measured him at a tiny 6lbs, 10oz, and 19 inches long. He was perfectly pink in no time; it didn't bother him that he was at 7000ft of elevation. Something was bothering me, though. I thought it was from craning my neck, but apparently an air bubble got up in my abdominal cavity and caused a terrible pain in my right trapezius muscle. And that was all the pain I had during delivery (afterward was a whole different story).

The doctor, who I am so grateful for, for her knowledge and skill, spent a while actually suturing me, instead of using huge metal staples, as I found is the norm for cesarean closure. Jeremy was following the baby to get the round of tests and whatnot, and I finally got to join them in the recovery room. I was ready to actually hold my little baby for the first time! I got my hands on him and tried immediately to nurse, which proved to be very difficult while lying completely flat in bed. I kept sneaking my bed up just a touch until Jeremy said I would be ok to sit up. For some reason I was dying for a coke. Nothing else, just a coke. I hadn't had anything to eat or drink --ok, I'd sneaked some water before the version -- in probably 15 hours. They don't make you pass gas before eating anymore, thank goodness.

I'm lying so flat I can barely even see him in the recovery room

Eventually we got to our room, and I got to call and text everybody and just sit and hold my baby with Jeremy. Hunter figured out how to nurse quickly, but he was so sleepy, it was hard to stay awake for the effort. The first few hours were wonderful. I had no pain, no reason to move in bed, and I had my new addition right where I wanted him-- in my arms with Jeremy nearby. When I saw the food I was served, Jeremy and I decided that he would venture out for something more palatable and found me the best chicken salad sandwich I'd ever had, plus a smorgasbord of desserts. And another coke.

Night came and things seemed to get more difficult. I became more aware of my complete inability to use my abdominal muscles. I'm honestly not sure exactly what was cut, but from my research it seems the fascia of the rectus abdominus was the real loser. I couldn't feel my legs for hours, and when I was finally able to stand, I stood like a hunchback. I wanted to at least be there for the baby's diaper changes, but standing that long was too hard for me. The night nurse was awesome; she helped me use the actual toilet when my catheter came out. She was right on time with painkillers, and she otherwise left me alone. The lab guy, who put his little toolkit on the baby's bed was a real nightmare. I could've stuck my own veins better than that. And I would've chosen a time other than midnight and 6am to do it.

I kept the baby in my bed most of the night (otherwise he was in Jeremy's arms). J warned me that the nurses wouldn't be ok with that setup if they caught me. They didn't. I just couldn't imagine putting my tiny baby, who just came out of his warm snuggly home of 9 months, into a cold hard plastic box. The next morning, I started to feel real pain once the good painkillers had worn off and the IV was out. But when I was given the option of possibly going home that afternoon, I took it. Nothing quite compares to home, and if the IV was going to be out, what's the point of staying in the hospital? We saw the OB who released me to my doctor husband, and waited around to finish discharging. Thirty hours after he was born, Hunter got to leave the hospital. It's a small hospital, but I still couldn't fathom why, after multiple calls to the nurses station, I couldn't get anyone's attention to come walk me out, like they said was required. So we took off. A nurse chased us down, wanting to walk us out, but never offering poor hobbling, hunching me a wheelchair. I should've had Jeremy carry both me and the baby.

Down the mountain we headed with our tiny little baby, taking him to his first home. And life has not been the same since.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Another spectator's report: IMCDA

While this was far from my first time spectating an Ironman, it's definitely a different ball game with a tiny baby to take care of. In summary, Jeremy had a good race, and we were very proud of him (and happy it didn't take him longer ;)). 

 If you've never been to Coeur d'Alene, it's a beautiful, cool, woodsy place just outside Spokane, where we stayed. To get there we either had a 1500 mile drive, or Hunter's first plane trip. We chose the latter. I find flying with a baby to be less stressful than driving with one who is not completely happy in his car seat. He got his own boarding pass on Southwest, and stayed wrapped in the Moby, asleep, except when that one flight attendant decided to stand over me until I took him out (my question is, isn't it much safer for him to be wrapped and next to my body??). When he woke up, I had no problem nursing him right there in my middle seat. On one 2.5 hour flight, we stood in the back of the plane, chatting with the flight attendants, for most of the time. 

Our hotel in Spokane was about 30 minutes away from the race site, so Friday morning, we got up and headed over to check the place out. Jeremy was prepared with swim booties and a neoprene cap, just in case. Turns out 57 degree water is not cold enough for him, so he went without. We drove the bike and run courses; since I did the race the bike course has completely changed. It was bit intimidating to me, even with the mountains we have around NM. It was beautiful, but open, so the wind would be a factor. Plus you could see just how much longer you'd have to climb that hill (a long long time). The night before the race we went to a real restaurant, then spent the night in a CDA hotel, which, at a fee of twice our Spokane hotel, was less than half as nice. But it was super close to the race and worked out really well for a sleepy baby at 4:30am.

We bundled up and headed to transition that morning, and found parking about .5 mile away from the action. Just before heading out to the lake, Jeremy realized his Garmin was dead, so the other two of us headed to the car to charge it, with the instructions to hand it through the fence during T1. Getting ready for a morning nap, we watched the start, then nursed in the Moby and waited to see that Daddy, who looked a hypothermic grayish pale color after the swim--but was smiling-- and completed our one assignment of the day.

A short bike loop kept us out and about little longer, then we headed back to the car for snack. Apparently I'd overdressed one of us; H got all cranky when I blasted the heat in the car until I took his fleece off. This apparently is his "mommy just because you're cold doesn't mean I am" look.

Just after unbundling the poor overheated baby, I realized that H's mommy-designed outfit wouldn't be making its public appearance after all. Thank goodness J had dressed him in it and actually seen it. 

We napped and played in the car, walked around the city, and avoided cowbells for several more hours, seeing Jeremy come by on the bike a few times. Nabbing a loud but ideal spot to watch him come into and out of T2, we stood in the shaded run out area under the towering trees by the lake. My efforts were noticed with a "good job to you too, mom" by another mommy spectator wrangling her older kids. It felt nice to be appreciated after deciding that NOBODY cares if you have a sleeping baby (get that cowbell away from me).

J came running by, looking happy, and stopping for a couple of kisses. I put H in the stroller to walk down to a better cheering spot (carrying him and pushing a stroller through crowds on the sidewalk = not easy), and he immediately fell asleep. We headed to a shady spot in a small park, where I walked circles to keep him asleep. At this point I really needed to use the bathroom, and found a porta potty, but just couldn't bring myself to take him into it or to ask the nice young guys playing hackeysack to watch him. So off to the coffee shop we headed, where a handicapped bathroom answered my prayers. We hung out there for a while, since we could see the race going by just outside of the windows.

At some point I realized that we were on the finishing stretch of the run, and not by the half way turnaround, so we headed down a few blocks. Just in time, as we walked up, I heard "1383!" yelled by the special needs volunteer, and looked up to see that running form I've gotten to know so well. He said at this point he was having a really hard time. I know that point in the race, and I've definitely had it while so close to the finish line but headed back out for another loop. 

Hunter and I started having a really hard time too. He was so tired, overwhelmed with all the noise, and he just couldn't sleep. After a bit longer in the coffee shop, and some crying (by both of us), we headed for the finish line, not really knowing when Jeremy would get there. I knew he'd slowed on the way out on the second loop, but I also knew the tracker was wrong for that segment, so i wasn't sure just how slow he was going. He surprised me by picking it back up for the final 6.5 miles, and we were thrilled to hear his name as he finished, and soon after saw him appear on the other side.

PRs are always good, and I feel like he had somewhat redeemed me and my race there 9 years ago.  Hunter seemed super proud of his daddy -- a little bit exhausted, but very proud.