Monthly Archives: May 2015

Kyler’s Birth Story

I am so excited to share Kyler’s birth story. It was everything I had hoped and dreamed it would be, and I couldn’t be happier with how it all unfolded. I’m not sure if I ever shared on the blog that we were planning a home birth. We actually only told a handful of people, not because we wanted to keep it a big secret or anything, but because I really wanted to be surrounded by positivity rather than other peoples’ concerns or fear.  Kevin and I were confident in our decision to have a home birth and I was working hard on trusting that my body would allow me to give birth this way. I had learned a lot from my previous hospital birth, and I knew if I could remove the mental blockages that my body would follow. This is why it was important for me to maintain a strong “bubble of peace” around me and our birth plans. So when asked, I would say that we were going through a birth center this time – which was true, they were just coming to us 🙂

As I have talked about in my weekly updates, I had a lot of classic “pre-labor” signs over the last few weeks of pregnancy that never turned into the real deal or progressed. However, things started to change on Thursday, May 21st, when I was 3 days past my due date. I woke up feeling off and was super emotional all day. I knew that I was barely overdue, but I had been pregnant for 2 1/2 weeks longer than I was with Kevin, so it felt like it to me. I was tired of these pre-labor signs and contractions that didn’t turn into anything, and I was REALLY tired of all the texts/phone calls/questions I was getting all day every day.

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At the same time I felt guilty for feeling this way because this is most likely our last baby, and I knew I should be enjoying the end of pregnancy while it lasts. Basically I was an emotional mess and I just wanted to hibernate and hide from people until the baby was born. Being super emotional is a signpost that labor is near, so I was hopeful it was coming soon. I went for an awesome 3 mile run and felt a lot better afterwards.

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On Friday, May 22nd I woke up and posted this on my Facebook, along with a message that said we would be unplugging until the baby was here. I felt instantly relaxed and at peace afterwards.

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At my friend’s suggestion, I went out to the store to get a big puzzle and ingredients to make lactation cookies. My plan was to keep my mind busy working on these things throughout the day which I knew would also help my body relax. While I was at the store I noticed I felt uncomfortable while walking around, so when I got home I went for a fast-ish 3 mile walk. I was having random contractions, but I also felt a lot of pains and pressure in my pelvis. The baby felt really low and looked it too – especially once I got back home.

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Little did I know this would be my last bump shot!

I worked on my puzzle for a while and then my husband and little Kev came home early. Since it was Memorial Day Weekend, he took a half day at work so he didn’t have to worry about traffic coming home. This turned out to be a VERY important and good decision! Once he got home I felt really relieved. I knew he’d be at home with me until Tuesday because of the holiday weekend, which was super comforting. I kept working on my puzzle and it occupied my mind and kept me relaxed. I felt a little weird in my stomach too, and kept having to make trips to the bathroom.

Right at 4:00 p.m. I felt something leak out of me while working on the puzzle. Having had a baby before and being super pregnant with one on my bladder, I figured it was just pee at first. But it was a bigger gush than that and something I couldn’t control. Then it happened again as I stood up and walked toward the bathroom. It hit me then that this was my water leaking, and that’s how my labor was going to start … again! Just like with Kevin. I’ve been told that labor begins with water breaking only 10% of the time, and I guess I’ve been in that minority both times now!

I wanted to give it a little time before I called my birth center to see if it happened again. It did and was pink-tinged this time, and along with it came some noticeably different contractions. I knew then that this was the real thing. These contractions were still mild but they were more consistent, coming every 7-8 minutes.  I was so thankful that my contractions kicked in right away, since I didn’t have any at all for 12 hours after my water broke with Kevin. I tried to stay relaxed, but I was worried about the fact that it was rush hour on the Friday before Memorial Day weekend – not good in my extremely traffic-fillled area, especially since our birth team had to travel to us from various areas. First I called the birth center at 4:20, and the answering service notified the midwife on call. She called me back about 10 minutes later, and I was super excited that it was Kelly, one of the midwives who I had the majority of my appointments with. I love all the midwives at my birth center, but Kelly has always had a relaxing, calming effect on me and I knew she’d be great with me in labor. She asked me how I was feeling and told me to call her back when things picked up a bit.

After hanging up with her I started calling everyone else on the list- I called our birth assistant, birth photographer and my friend Cynthia who would be taking Kevin for us.  I knew I might be calling them a little early but I wanted them all to have a heads up because of the holiday. I was so thankful Kevin had taken a half day, or else he would have been stuck in traffic for a lot of my labor!

In the meantime I continued to leak fluid and have contractions, and my hubby was mowing the lawn and then took little Kev out for a run. He knew that he needed to keep him busy because he could tell something was happening with me and was clingy. I decided to eat an early dinner to get some fuel in me, while still monitoring my contractions. When the boys got back inside my husband started getting Kevin fed, bathed and ready to go to Cynthia’s house. I wanted to go in my bedroom to focus on how I was feeling, so I kissed him goodbye and told him I would see him tomorrow when baby Kyler was here. I was so emotional saying goodbye to him, knowing that his whole world was about to change. I am actually getting teary eyed again writing this now. He was so sweet, telling me, “It’s okay mommy. I love you” and giving me hugs and kisses.

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After that I went upstairs and starting timing my contractions again. I saw they were now 5-6 minutes apart, and stayed that way for a good half an hour.  At 5:45 I called the midwife back to tell her that my contractions were coming more frequently and felt a little stronger. I told her I was going to take a shower to see what happened. While I was in there, they got noticeably stronger and even closer together- happening about every 4 minutes. Kelly called at 6:15 to check in and when I told her that, she decided to start making her way down to our house. Our birth assistant did as well. Around this time Cynthia’s husband showed up and took Kevin back to his house. I cried again watching them leave out the window.

Finally, my husband was able to come upstairs where I was working through the stronger contractions. He was surprised to see how they were only 4 minutes apart and that I was really having to breathe through them- especially since it had only been a couple of hours since my water had broken. At first I liked to lean into the wall, or him, or onto the bed as a contraction passed and then walk around the room in between, but after a little while they started getting too intense to stand through. Instead I started sitting on the ball and leaning into the bed. Sitting on the ball made them even more intense, but it took the pressure off my legs which felt better. I was getting anxious for our birth team to arrive.

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Kelly our midwife was the first to get to our house around 7:15, and our birth assistant Marilyn arrived 10 minutes later. Once they had arrived I noticed my contractions spaced out a bit, although they were still strong when I did have them. I knew this can happen whenever there’s a change in environment in some way so I wasn’t too worried about it. Kelly and Marilyn gave us some space after they set everything up and took my vital signs, so that I could continue to focus and get my rhythm going again. Marilyn also rubbed some essential oils on my belly (Clary Sage and Geranium to intensify contractions) and behind my neck (Balance to keep me calm and focused).

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It didn’t take long for the contractions to move closer together again, and I think that was because I was so comfortable with my birth team. I went to the bathroom at one point and the position of sitting on the toilet really opened me up. I could feel the baby moving down with the contractions that were getting more and more intense and lasting longer, and I noticed I was losing my mucus plug which was a sign that I was dilating. I also had strong contractions every time Marilyn reapplied the oils to my belly. I started to wonder if I should be checked, since they didn’t offer when they first arrived. The last time I had been checked was at my 36 week appointment when I was 1 centimeter dilated and 60% effaced. I was hoping that all that had happened over the last couple weeks had progressed me some. I asked Kelly if she could and she said sure, but then I had a very strong contraction that made me reconsider. I knew that knowing the numbers could mess with me mentally if I wasn’t as far along as I thought I was. I decided to trust that my body was doing what it needed to and didn’t get checked.

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My birth photographer (who is also a doula and has had 5 children, including two home births!) arrived at 8:25, but contractions didn’t slow down this time. It was getting harder to work through them on the birth ball, and they felt like they were lasting forever. My birth team would come in and out to check on me every once in a while, but for the most part they left Kevin and I to labor together. They encouraged me to drink my coconut water and eat something, but my stomach felt uneasy. Marilyn (who is also a massage therapist) gave me an amazing massage and helped me keep my whole body relaxed, so that my uterus could do the work it needed to do. The pain was strong but it was manageable.

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I decided that I wanted to get in the tub to help manage my pain so Kevin started getting it ready. While I was in labor in the hospital I LOVED using the shower, and I knew the water would help me relax since things were getting more difficult. I asked Kevin what time it was and he told me around 9:00. I couldn’t believe that my water had only broken 5 hours earlier. What is interesting is that a while ago he had picked May 22nd as the day that our baby would be born. In between contractions we discussed whether we thought he would be born tonight or tomorrow. I guessed early the next day, but things changed quickly after that.

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However, pretty soon after I got in the tub I stopped smiling and talking between contractions. They were now about 3 minutes apart and felt a lot more intense, but the water helped take a lot of the pressure away which was nice. I could tell that the water was also helping my body stay as relaxed as possible. Things started to get very difficult very quickly. The manageable pain I had before turned into much more. I was hot and then cold, shaking and feeling the baby move down with each intense contraction. I kept telling myself to open up and let the baby come down. I started to cry around 9:30 because I felt overwhelmed by how fast this birth was going. I knew that feeling emotional was a sign of transition, but I couldn’t believe we were possibly at that point yet.

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Meanwhile, Kelly and Marilyn were busy preparing for the birth which they felt would be soon based on what they were seeing. They told me they thought I was in transition, and again I cried because I couldn’t believe I already was. They asked me if I wanted a water birth and I said I didn’t know. I hadn’t had my heart set on a water birth, I just knew I would love the water for pain relief. But once I was in the water I didn’t want to get out. I knew it would feel a lot more intense if I did and I wasn’t sure I would be able to handle it.

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At 9:45 I had an extremely intense contraction and felt a burning sensation down below. I told Kelly and she told me birth was happening very soon, so if I wanted a water birth I needed to decide now. I decided I couldn’t possibly get out at this point, so they added more water to the tub so that baby would be completely submerged when he came out which is necessary for a water birth.

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With my next contraction I had to hold onto both of Kevin’s hands because my body was bearing down and pushing without me even trying. It was the most intense uncontrollable feeling and I continued to feel the burning. I thought it had to be baby’s head coming out, but they told me it was actually baby’s amniotic sac bulging out. Apparently, I was leaking earlier from the outer membrane, and his inner membrane sac was still intact. In between contractions I was so uncomfortable and in so much pain. They told me to look or reach down to feel the sac coming out but I couldn’t do it – I just wanted him out. They monitored the baby’s heart rate and told me he was doing beautifully, and that I would be meeting my baby very soon.

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With my next contraction I just let go. I let my body push and just gave into the pain. It was the most intense feeling I have ever experienced. Kelly told me his sac ruptured on the way out, then all of a sudden I felt his head, shoulders, and the rest of his body emerge underwater.

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As soon as I saw him and they lifted him out of the water I felt the most amazing feeling of relief. He was all wrapped in his cord but his eyes were wide open and he was screaming at the top of his lungs. I could not believe my baby was here after such a quick labor and only one real push. He was born at 9:56 p.m., less than 6 hours after my water started leaking.

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I brought him up to me right away and kept repeating, “My baby, my baby, I love you, I love you, I did it, I can’t believe it’s already over.” The adrenaline hit me right away and I felt amazing.

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This is my “Oh my God, what just happened?” face

I immediately brought him skin to skin and tried to get him to latch on. He didn’t latch immediately like Kevin did, but he calmed down right away. It felt so good to be holding the baby in my arms that I had carried for over 40 weeks. His Apgar scores were 8 and 9, due to his color. He was a little blue but his skin started turning pink shortly afterwards.

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The adrenaline rush didn’t last too long, however. I started feeling weak and shaky, so they helped me out of the tub with the baby and onto the bed. I drank some coconut water and ate some fig bars to help bring my blood sugar up, and snuggled with my baby skin to skin while we waited for the placenta to be delivered.

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I tried again to get him to latch on and he was able to this time. The nursing helped bring on contractions that helped my placenta come out. They were super painful, and every time another one came I would get hot then cold and shaky.
Kelly said it was basically due to all the hormones that were being dumped into my body after the birth. The placenta took 26 minutes to come out, and when it did they inspected it to make sure the entire thing was there. It’s amazing to me that this organ is what kept my baby alive while he was inside of me.

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After that Kevin cut the baby ‘s cord, just like he did with little Kevin. Then Kelly and Marilyn helped get blood clots out of my uterus by pushing down on it (ouch), and they stitched up the 2nd degree tear I had from my one push delivery. After that I went to take a shower while daddy got to do some skin to skin time with his new baby boy. It felt so good to take a shower and get all cleaned up.

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After my shower I had some more time with the baby and he nursed again. Eventually they did the baby’s newborn exam, weighed and measured him, and took his footprints. While he was being weighed he had his first pee (which was awesomely caught on camera!), and then had his first huge meconium bowel movement shortly after that all over his daddy 🙂

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He weighed 7 pounds 10 ounces and was 20.5 inches long. He had a 13.75 centimeter head and a 13.25 centimeter chest. He was super wide eyed, alert, and perfect.

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Our birth team left around 1:00 a.m. after we took some photos together. It was so surreal to be at home and ready to go to sleep with our baby who was only hours old.

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With midwife Kelly (on the left) and birth assistant Marilyn (on the right)

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With our birth photographer Sahsha

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Last shot before the birth team left… just me and my boy.

The next morning we called our family and friends to share the news that baby Kyler was finally here. I couldn’t wait for Kevin to come home and meet his new baby brother. I missed him so much since this was the first night he had ever spent away from both Kevin and myself. Cynthia brought him back after giving him breakfast and he ran upstairs and climbed right on to the bed. He looked at Kyler for a minute and then leaned in and gave him a kiss. It was so sweet and he was so proud. He kept calling him “my baby” and saying “That’s my brother!” Heart melted.

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I feel so unbelievably lucky to have had such an amazing birth experience. After Kevin’s birth I had some doubts that my body would be able to do what it needed to do without help. This birth proved that I could do it. I also know that I had the most amazing birth team and support system, between my husband, Kelly, Marilyn and Sahsha our photographer. I couldn’t have done it without them. Even though it was much faster than I anticipated it would be, it was still peaceful, empowering, and amazing. I never felt out of control or scared, instead I felt strong and confident. I’m so happy I was able to bring Kyler into the world this way.

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Welcome to the world Kyler James. You are already loved so much!

Birth photos taken by Sahsha from Rubylee Photography:

Baby Kyler is Here!

I am so happy to share that Kyler James Spaulding joined our family on May 22, 2o15 at 9:56 p.m, weighing 7 pounds 10 ounces and measuring 20.5 inches long. He entered the world 4 days past my due date after a quick labor of less than 6 hours. Everything went perfectly and we are all happy and healthy. Here are some photos of our newest little one, and our new and improved family of 4!

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Kevin is so excited about his brother, and loves giving him hugs and kisses. He tells everyone that Kyler is “his baby” and has been adjusting well – with mostly good and some not-so-good moments of course. I am so proud of him!

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I can’t wait to share Kyler’s full birth story. I have started writing it but I am waiting to receive all of our birth photos before I post it. Until then, here is a sneak peek… 🙂

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Baby 2.0 – 40 Weeks

May 18th, 2015. The day that’s been in my head since early September when I found out I was pregnant. My due date is here! I can’t believe it, and I especially can’t believe that I’m writing a 40 week update! It’s exciting and weird to think that I’ve cooked this baby for two full weeks longer than Kevin. I’m so looking forward to meeting him and seeing his little face for the first time!

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Baby

This week baby is the size of a jackfruit, whatever that is! He could be anywhere from 6.2-9.2 pounds (or more!) and about 19-21 inches long. At my appointment last Tuesday my midwife felt my belly and estimated that he was approximately 7 1/2 – 8 pounds. However, that was almost a week ago now so who knows! He’s continuing to perfect his lung development and grow his hair and nails- and he’s fattening up!

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Body

The good news is that my allergies/cold/whatever it was I was dealing with the last couple of weeks is SO much better, which has made me feel better overall physically and emotionally. This is also helping me sleep a little better. At this point, sleep is SO important so this makes me very happy!

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Onto the things that are a little tougher to deal with these days. This week it’s been harder to walk, due to almost constant pelvic pains and pressure. My joints also feel very loose this week, most likely due to the relaxin that’s building up in my body. My hips and pelvis feel like they’re constantly moving and popping in and out. My ankles and legs also feel a little like jello, which is making it harder to run (more on that later).  Along with that, I’m continuing to have a LOT of Braxton Hicks contractions – sometimes they seem to last forever and it feels like my belly is constantly hard. Lately they’ve also been coming with menstrual-like cramps. I also keep seeing signs of cervical effacement (mucus) – TMI 🙂 My former doula/Bradley teacher/friend has been so encouraging telling me these are all amazing signs that my body is warming up to slowly bring me into labor, rather than throw me into it too early like last time with a slow leak in my water. I keep thinking about that and it’s reassuring!

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I had a doctor’s appointment last Tuesday and everything looks great with the baby. He’s head down and in a great position, and as I mentioned above seems to be of average size, around 8 pounds. She’s not worried at all that this pregnancy is lasting longer than my first and is pretty sure things will start happening soon. She also agreed to write me a doctor’s note at my next appointment tomorrow, so that I can stop working now that I’m overdue. I’ll explain more about this in the next section, but I am SO thankful for that!

Mind

I’ve felt a lot better mentally since I know that tomorrow will be my last day of work. Everything has been ready for the baby for weeks now, so when I am at home I feel very relaxed and ready. However, having to continue to work has kept me extremely stressed. Teaching is not a job that you can really relax or stay off your feet while doing. If I am at work I’m expected to WORK, and it’s been very difficult to do that lately. I’m a reading specialist which requires me to be up and walking all day, working with groups of students/in classrooms all day, and keeping very busy. It leaves me exhausted and gives me BH contractions all day long. It’s also been difficult to get to and from work since I commute, and with traffic it takes 1.5-2 hours to get home some days. Not comfortable at this point 😦 Needless to say, I’m so relieved that I can stop working as of tomorrow. I have been feeling so much more at peace with the fact that my due date is coming and going knowing that I can stay home and relax until it’s time.

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Sitting in an empty nursery, daydreaming about this sweet baby boy 🙂

Things are amazing when I’m at home. I’m really enjoying quality time with my little boy while he’s still the only child. He’s been super sweet and snuggly lately and very attached to me. He tells me he loves me constantly and that he wants his brother Kyler to come out. I can’t wait to see him as a big brother- he looks like such a big boy to me lately!

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However, one thing I could do without are the comments and questions asking if baby is here yet. People have seemed to be so confused for weeks now why I haven’t had him yet, even though today is my due date. I’m trying not to let it get to me because I know they only care about us, but I don’t want to feel as though my body is doing something ‘wrong’ or failing by not giving birth yet. So instead I’m choosing to focus on the positive. I keep thinking about my baby, what he’s going to look like, and what his birthday will be. I wonder if he will be laid-back or not so much (like Kevin was as an infant). Will he be a little peanut who wears newborn sized clothes for 3 months like Kevin did, or will he be bigger? How will labor start and how will it all unfold? How will Kevin adjust to not being the ‘baby’ anymore and transition into the big brother role? So many unknowns, and while it can be nerve-wracking and overwhelming to think about, it’s also so exciting at the same time! I am so ready to finally lay eyes on this kid that never stops moving inside of me and have him join our family.

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Food

I did much better this week with food! We planned out all our meals and actually stuck to them. I ate better than the last few weeks and I think that’s why I felt so much better too (duh- makes perfect sense, doesn’t it!?) I’m not going to lie though, I’m really getting tired of cooking. Thankfully, my amazing husband has been doing a ton of cooking since he knows I’m tired and over it. I’m ready to start eating some of the amazing freezer meals I made, but I refuse to do so until baby is actually here! One of the best meals we had this week was pasta with spicy zucchini-tomato sauce. Perfect for using up summer produce like zucchini and tomatoes! We just added some white beans for extra protein 🙂

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Fitness

As I mentioned earlier, running got hard this week due to the increased pelvic pain and loose joints. I was still able to manage 4 runs, one 3 miler and three 2 milers, but I’m definitely feeling it. I expected it to get hard, especially because I’ve now surpassed how long I was able to run during Kevin’s pregnancy by over two weeks. I’m just trying to enjoy myself while I’m out there and remember that I am so lucky to still be able to do what I love and run!

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Still no Body Pump for me this week, and I’m pretty sure it’s going to stay that way until after baby. I’m just not able to make the 5 a.m. classes anymore during the week and I’d rather spend the weekend mornings relaxing with family than going to the gym. I don’t feel bad about that at all 🙂 The best part of this week was definitely yesterday morning, when my family went out to spectate and cheer on the runners at the Historic Half Marathon! I love this race and was sad to not be running this year, but it was awesome to see so many friends out on the course. We situated ourselves right before mile 12 on the last big hill to encourage the runners (the course is super tough!) While we were out there I ended up running a total of 2 miles and felt pretty good. Kevin was able to jump in and run with 4 of my friends and ended up running a total of 5 miles! Little Kev had fun giving high fives to everyone, which made a lot of people smile even while running uphill. It was an awesome experience!

  • Monday – rest day
  • Tuesday – 3 miles @ 11:04 pace
  • Wednesday – ​2 miles @ 10:54 pace
  • Thursday – rest day
  • Friday – 2 miles (untimed)
  • Saturday – rest day
  • Sunday – 2 miles (untimed)
  • Run – 9 miles
  • Strength – 0x

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Week 40 Summary

  • Weight gained this week: +0.6 lbs.
  • Total weight gained: +28.2 lbs.
  • Belly button status: Obviously poking out of my shirts now.
  • Linea negra status: Faintly there.
  • Stretch mark status: Still none, but I check every day!
  • Best part of the week: Cheering at the Historic Half yesterday!
  • Looking forward to: Tomorrow being my last day of work until late August!
  • # of days until my next appointment: 1!

Will I be writing a 41 week update? Eek!! I guess we will find out!

9 Races in 9 Months (again!)

When I was pregnant with Kevin, I made it a goal of mine to run one race for each month of my pregnancy. I was so happy to be able to complete this goal, and wrote this post recapping them all. This time around I decided I wanted to do the same thing. Running a race per month kept me motivated and gave me monthly milestones to look forward to as I progressed through my pregnancy. Since it’s officially baby month, I am happy to say that I have completed my goal! I ran a total of 9 races while pregnant from September to May – 3 half marathons, 1 10K, 4 5Ks, and one fun run with my little boy! Here are all of the races I did with the original recaps linked below.

09/06/14 – Arlington 9-11 Memorial 5K (33:19) *4 weeks* [I found out I was pregnant the morning of this race!]

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10/05/14 – Wilson Bridge Half Marathon (1:56:20) *8 weeks*

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11/27/14 – Fredericksburg Turkey Trot 5K (42:53) *15 weeks*

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12/07/14 – Blue & Gray Half Marathon (2:05:42) *17 weeks*

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01/04/15 – Frozen 5K (28:12) *21 weeks*

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02/16/15 – Myrtle Beach Half Marathon (2:14:04) *27 weeks*

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03/28/15 – Ukrop’s Monument Ave 10K (1:05:12) *33 weeks*

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04/18/15 – Stafford Hospital 5K (30:31) *36 weeks*

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05/03/15 – The Caboose Run – Kevin’s First Race! *38 weeks*

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I am so happy that I was able to make such special memories with my newest little running buddy Kyler, as well as all the friends that I was able to run with throughout my pregnancy. This may be the last time I ever get to run races while proudly rocking a baby belly, and I definitely think I made the most of this time 🙂

Baby 2.0 – 39 Weeks

I have officially written two more weekly updates than I did with Kevin! That is crazy to me. This week has definitely been a challenge physically and mentally, but I made it through.  Here are all the details about week 39!

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Baby

This week baby is the size of a watermelon… Ahh! He is probably at least 7 pounds and 19 inches. By now baby can flex his limbs, but he’s running out of room to do that! His movements have definitely become less pronounced, which my midwife said is common once they reach a certain point and are getting squished! While he continues to grow, his brain is also developing rapidly in there. Woo hoo!

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Body

I said this week was challenging physically- oh boy, it definitely was! First, I am still dealing with allergies that leave me so stuffed up and congested. It’s miserable to deal with at any time, but especially at 39 weeks pregnant. It makes it difficult to breathe, talk, work and sleep. I actually ended up taking off last Tuesday because I was up almost all night with these issues, and so unbelievably exhausted that I couldn’t fathom actually going to work and dealing with people. I ended up getting a lot of sleep and rest and it was VERY needed. Since then I have felt a little better day after day, and my nighttime sleep has been getting a lot better too. However, despite getting more sleep I’m still pretty tired. I find myself dozing off on the couch, like in the photo below that Kevin captured 🙂 I guess my body is just trying to rest as much as possible to prepare for the big day.

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I’m still experiencing a lot of Braxton Hicks, along with some cramps that have gotten pretty uncomfortable at times. I know my body is warming up between those and the lightning crotch I’m still experiencing- it feels like he’s knocking on the door down there! This is why most of the time if I’m sitting at home it’s on my birth ball. It’s just the most comfortable place right now. Even little Kev wanted to join mommy and bounce on his own ball 🙂

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I’ve had some headaches that I just can’t shake despite drinking a ton of water, getting rest, and even taking Tylenol and using essential oils. I was worried about it at work this morning so I had the school nurse check my blood pressure and it was fine (108/80). I think it must be hormonal, but I hope it passes soon because it’s not fun. Other recent symptoms include on and off nausea, LOTS of bathroom trips (#1 and #2) and I lost part of my mucus plug this morning. Sorry for the TMI, but hey, it’s a pregnancy update and I’m a week away from my due date. Oh well. Just keeping it real!

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I think I would feel a lot better if I didn’t have to work. I find myself wanting to hide out in my office because it’s such an active job and I’m constantly walking, carrying materials, and teaching all day long. It’s hard being on my feet for that long. I also want to hibernate to escape from people’s comments and questions. Sigh… but the county I work for says I must work until delivery unless I have a doctor’s note with a legitimate medical reason excusing me, which I don’t. I’ll just hang in there until the end I guess!

Mind

I fully believe and understand more than many people that pregnancy can and usually does last beyond 40 weeks. I know all the benefits of keeping baby in longer and fully agree that it’s what is best (in most situations at least). We even experienced some minor difficulties with Kevin being born 2 weeks early when it came to being able to breastfeed well and mucus/breathing issues- let alone the fact that I still don’t think my body was truly ready for labor, and my water just broke prematurely. I know all of these things and I know I’m not even due for another week- however, the fact that my baby was already a week old last time is eating at me a little bit and making me feel crazy. I have no reason to be impatient. I’m healthy, have no medical issues, and everything is good with the baby. But it’s hard when you only really have one previous experience to base pregnancy/childbirth on. I have had a feeling for a long time now that this baby would come later than Kevin, and that’s turning out to be right! I just need to accept it, relax and let my body do what it needs to do.

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Luckily, I did have things happening this week that kept me busy. Probably the best part of the week was spending the entire weekend relaxing and taking it easy with my boys to celebrate Mother’s Day. We’ve gotten literally everything ready for baby at this point, and this was the first weekend that wasn’t packed with to-do lists and projects. It felt amazing! I was totally spoiled by my boys and it was a lot of fun.

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Food

I did not do very well cleaning up my diet this week like I wanted to, haha. I wanted all the food! However, unlike the last few weeks, it did show on the scale this time. I gained about a pound and a half after not gaining anything for a few weeks. Oh well! I’m almost to the finish line! The best was when Kevin knew I had a rough day and came home with all the ingredients to make me something special. He ended up making a peanut butter pie, and it was delicious! I munched on that throughout the week. Aside from that I did crave fresh fruit and anything cold (probably because it was in the 80s all week long- what happened to spring?).

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Fitness

My running was pretty much the only thing that made me feel great this week! Funny how that works! My two favorite runs were the family run we did on Saturday and my solo 4 miler on Mothers Day. I felt strong and happy on both of them. One thing I did skip out on this week was Body Pump. I just wasn’t feeling motivated to go and at this point I don’t think it’s really necessary to force myself. Instead of dragging myself there on Sunday morning like usual I slept a little later and then took myself on a great run. There will be plenty of time to get to Body Pump another day, even if it means after baby 🙂

  • Monday – rest day
  • Tuesday – 3 miles @ 10:46 pace
  • Wednesday – ​2 miles @ 11:11 pace
  • Thursday – 1 mile w/ kids at running club (untimed)
  • Friday – rest day
  • Saturday – 2 miles @ 10:28 pace
  • Sunday – 4 miles @ 10:37 pace
  • Run – 12 miles
  • Strength – 0x

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Week 39 Summary

  • Weight gained this week: +1.6 lbs.
  • Total weight gained: +27.6 lbs
  • Belly button status: Obviously poking out of my shirts now
  • Linea negra status: It’s there, but a lot more faint than it was with Kevin’s pregnancy
  • Stretch mark status: Still none, but I check every day!
  • Best part of the week: Mother’s Day 🙂
  • Looking forward to: Finally meeting this baby. Come on Kyler!
  • # of days until my next appointment: 1!

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Post-Baby Race Wish List

Now that I am almost 39 weeks pregnant and still running, I’m starting to let myself think about some races I’d like to do after baby. I was hesitant to do this before now and still am to a point, because I want to have realistic expectations and not put too much pressure on my future postpartum self. I know that what I am able to do in terms of running and races after this baby is born pretty much depends on three main factors:

  1. How long I am able to run during pregnancy (or how close to delivery)
  2. When baby is born
  3. What type of birth/recovery I end up having

With Kevin, I ran until the day my water broke. I had a smooth labor/delivery and I was cleared by my midwife to start running again at 4 weeks postpartum. There was exactly a month between my last pregnant run and my first postpartum run. Obviously my body had been through a LOT during that month, but my baseline fitness was still there so I was able to start up again and run 3 miles straight pretty easily. In my opinion and knowing myself as a runner, there’s a big difference between taking 1 month off from running during pregnancy/recovery and 2-3 months, or more. I was lucky last time with how it worked out, but I wasn’t sure it would be that way this time. The only thing I know at this point is that I’m almost 39 weeks pregnant and still running- which is good! But what I don’t know yet is when my baby will actually come. It could be as early as tomorrow or as late as June 1st when I am 42 weeks. I also don’t know how birth will unfold and how quickly I’ll recover this time. This second pregnancy has been harder on my body so I imagine recovering from a second baby will be more challenging than the first. So many unknowns still!

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Family run at 38 weeks & 5 days pregnant

Despite not knowing what will happen, I have some late 2015/early 2016 races that I would love to complete and I think are pretty realistic for the most part, especially considering my goals and expectations for them are very low. Here is my post-baby #2 race “wish list” 🙂

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Hartwood 10 Miler (August 16th, 2015). This one is a HUGE maybe. Obviously, the farther I get in pregnancy the least likely this race is to happen because it’s in mid-August. I just love this local race and have done it for the past few years. If I end up running it, it will be solely for fun – no watch, no expectations, and most likely a run/walk approach. I’m not making any decisions until after I start running again post-partum to see how I feel. As of last week at 38 weeks pregnant I was still running 5 miles semi-easily, so I don’t think it’s impossible to build back up after baby – assuming I have a smooth labor/delivery and recovery. But I also don’t know if I’ll even have the desire to do a race like this that soon after baby. We’ll see!

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Wilson Bridge Half Marathon (October 4, 2015). This one is a lot more realistic! I did this race last year for the first time and absolutely loved it. I did my first post-partum half marathon 5 months after having Kevin, and this would be about the same timing. Again, I would be doing this half just for completion and not to push myself at all.

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Richmond Half Marathon (November 14, 2015). Very excited about this one! I have never run this race before, but last year I went down to support my friend Amanda as she did the full marathon. I loved the energy and the organization and everything about this race. This year a bunch of my friends plan to go down to do the half and I am going to join them. Like the Wilson Bridge half, I don’t plan to put any pressure on myself in terms of time or a goal. It is a much flatter race than the Wilson Bridge race though, so it will be interesting to see how the results vary.

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Myrtle Beach Marathon (March 5, 2016). Yes, I plan to go back to Myrtle Beach to conquer the full marathon that beat me the last time I attempted it. I told myself I would never want to try to ‘race’ the Myrtle Beach Marathon again after my DNF, and that the next time I tried it I would do it for fun, without a watch or any expectations. I don’t think there’s a better time to do a marathon with this mindset than after having another baby. This is the same approach I took when I did my first full after having Kevin (The OBX Marathon) and I had an amazing experience. The difference between this one and OBX is that I ran that race at 14 months post-partum, and this one would be around 10 months post-partum, which may make it more difficult. My plan to prepare for this marathon is to take more of a laid-back approach- not doing speedwork or anything and just focusing on growing my long run, walking and running if necessary. I will also have to be mindful of breastfeeding during it all too, so it will take some figuring out, but I’m excited to go back and run this race for FUN without any stress. I definitely have unfinished business to take care of 🙂

Those are the big races I would love to complete within my first post-partum year. I would love to do some shorter races too, like 5 and 10Ks, but those aren’t set in stone yet and won’t be for a while. My plan after the Myrtle Beach Marathon is to take it easier for a couple months, and then start training harder  that summer for a fall marathon, where I’ll have more of a time goal in mind. By the time I run a fall 2016 marathon I’ll be closer to 18 months post-partum and my body should ready to ramp it up and go for it! I am excited to see what I can do, especially since I was able to get new PRs in all distances (5K, 10K, 15K, 10 mile, and full marathon- all but that pesky half marathon!!) after having Kevin. Here’s to becoming a stronger and faster mother runner!

Stridebox: March

Screen Shot 2014-10-12 at 9.11.18 PMIt’s finally time for another Stridebox review! Stridebox is a $15 monthly subscription box that contains samples of all things running related- nutrition, gear, and fun extras. I’m a little behind on these posts (clearly), but my husband and I have now tried everything that was in my March box, and we are ready to review the items we received.

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When I received this box, I recorded a video of myself opening it and talking about some of the items like I did a few months ago. However, I couldn’t get it to upload to Youtube like last time. I’ll keep trying and insert it later if I can, but for more, I am video-less 😦 Anyway, here are the items we received this month and our review of them all!

Bonk Breaker – Energy Chews (Orange Tangerine): I was excited to see these in my box because we recently were able to try Bonk Breaker Energy Bars and loved them. I wasn’t super excited about the flavor though. I’ve mentioned this a lot before, but I don’t like oranges or orange-flavored things. I gave them to Kevin and he liked them a lot. He said they are pretty comparable to Honey Stinger Chews, which are our absolute favorite, and they weren’t overly chewy or difficult to eat. He said he would buy them again- and I’d be interested to buy them in a different flavor to try! Retail: $36.00/16 pouches ($2.25 each).

Untapped – Pure Vermont Maple Syrup: When I first saw this in my Stridebox I was a little confused. I had never heard of using maple syrup as running fuel, but it does make sense! I tasted it and then Kevin had the rest of the packet before a run after work for a boost of energy, since we hadn’t had dinner or anything yet and he needed something. It tasted just like the pure maple syrup we buy for pancakes and waffles and was delicious. Kevin said it did give him a nice boost at a time of the day when he’s usually tired and sluggish – once he was able to get over running with the taste of maple syrup in his mouth! Retail: $9.95/5 packets ($1.99 each).

Health Warrior – Chia Bar (Mango):. I was interested to try this energy bar made with chia seeds, dried fruit, cashew butter, rolled oats, almonds, and more. I have tried a few products lately that are made with chia seeds and have really enjoyed them. Chia seeds are a great source of omega-3s, fiber and protein – great for runners and especially for me as a vegetarian! I loved the small size of this bar, it was the perfect amount to eat right before early morning Body Pump. It digested super easily and kept me full until breakfast a few hours later. I would definitely purchase these on my own and would love to try some other flavors too, like apple cinnamon, chocolate peanut butter, coconut and berry! Retail: $23.50/15 bars ($1.57 each).

SOS – Hydration Drink Mix (Citrus): Kevin got to this one before I could! SOS Hydration Drink Mix comes in a little packet and is supposed to improve focus, stamina,and physical performance as well as keep you hydrated. He didn’t read the instructions that suggested drinking it before or during a run though, and instead had it after a super hot and sweaty run. He said the citrus flavor was good and it dissolved well in water, but it was a little salty tasting, I’m assuming from the electrolytes that are in it. It wasn’t his favorite drink mix he has tried. Retail: $7.99/10 packets ($0.79 each).

Honey Stinger – Energy Bar (Peanut Butter & Honey): I was super excited to see this bar in my box! I love Honey Stinger products, and actually used to eat this peanut butter and honey bar before most of my long runs a few years ago. Eventually I got sick of them (like my Clif Bar phase) and hadn’t had them since then. I read on my Stride Guide card that they recently reformulated the bar for better texture and taste, and I have to say I love them all over again! It tasted delicious and kept me full and fueled. I also like that this product (and all Honey Stinger products) are made with a good amount of real honey in addition to other natural ingredients. I think that’s what makes them so easy to digest and gentle on my sensitive stomach. Retail: $4.50/tube

Arena Sciences – Ice Cooling Towel: Okay so I haven’t actually used these yet, because it just started getting warm enough here to need them. I think they will be amazing this summer when I get back into running after having this baby! Retail: $4.99/5 towels

Stridebox – Stretch Strap: This is a cool little piece of equipment to add to my running gear stash! This strap can be used before or after a run to stretch more effectively, improve flexibility, and can lead to a better range of motion. I am guilty of not stretching enough, but having a strap like this is encouragement to do it. It came with a little card that had suggested stretches, but I wasn’t able to do them all because I am 9 months pregnant and some were just impossible! I’ll try them again after baby 🙂  Retail: $10.00.

Running Sticker. I always love this cute monthly addition to my box!

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Overall I thought this was a good month for Stridebox. It had a nice variety of products and most of them were great! I received my April box a month ago but haven’t even dug into it yet! I told you I’m behind. I need to get busy! Hopefully I’ll be back soon with my next review 🙂

Previous Stridebox reviews:

Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with Stridebox (I wish I was! LOL). I purchased this subscription myself and all opinions are my own.