Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Back in action

kate 6 weeks

Chillaxin’ after a milk coma…

How is that six weeks can seem like forever and at the same time, pass in the blink of an eye? It seems like just yesterday I was dreading being “stuck” in the house for six weeks before I returned to work part time. Um, yeah, nobody forewarned me about how babies – even easy ones – are a LOT of work! And that while the nights seem long, the weeks go by plenty fast…

So I returned to work part time on Monday. It was difficult on Monday because I didn’t go into the office on Tuesday. Contrary to popular belief, it was actually quite easy for me to leave Katie on Tuesday because it’s only part time work! Wouldn’t the ideal situation be to work part time and still get paid for a full time salary? Wishful thinking….

Anyway, being back in the office was wonderful, as was seeing a lot of my friends and coworkers. I actually got a lot accomplished all the while feeling very overwhelmed because more and more work keeps getting piled onto my plate. While on the one hand, that’s great because it means I’m needed. On the other hand, I’m trying to squeeze in 40+ hours of work into 25 hours a week. Stressful! But when it all boils down, I’m happy to semi-return to something familiar, settle ourselves into a routine, and be fulfilled all at the same time.

Today also marked 6 weeks postpartum and I was officially cleared by my doctor to resume all normal activities. Which means it’s time to start personal training with Shannon. Yeah! Later this week, I’ll detail my plan of action for the next six weeks. I’d love to be at or very near my pre-pregnancy weight by the time I return to work full time in 6 weeks. I really don’t want to buy bigger clothes (groan….)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Catching a moment

I just read a great blog post about things you swore you would never do before you became a mom. I always knew at some point I would eat a lot of my “never would I ever” words (after all, we are all the “perfect parent” before we actually have kids, right?)  When I was pregnant, I used to get up at 5:15 every morning for work.  Especially near the end of my pregnancy, I used to long for maternity leave to start because it would seem like a vacation compared to working 40 hours a week and commuting to and from work and never sleeping due to pregnancy aches and discomforts. After all, how much time could it take to care for a baby? Don’t they sleep most of the time anyway?

Yep, definitely eating my words. It’s really exhausting. We just started going longer stretches at night, which has been a godsend. It’s like babies know that just when you can’t really take the exhaustion anymore, they decide to sleep longer. I’m pretty sure Kate has the upper hand in this relationship.

In other news, I’ve been back to running quite regularly this week. On Sunday, I picked up my annual new pair of running shoes:


Unlike previous years, I actually had a choice in color this time around: teal or pink. Naturally, I went with pink. Gotta live a little.

My second week back to running class proved successful. I ran 5 miles total, doing sprints uphill and then sprint intervals toward the end. It’s still difficult (which it should be!) but I can already tell it’s benefitting me cardio-wise. My “long runs" are getting longer (2.5 miles on Monday) and I should have no problem racing when it comes to my first 5k in March. And in even more exciting news, next week is my 6 week postpartum appointment where I will hopefully be given the all clear and I can start personal training for six weeks. It would be great to be back at my pre-pregnancy weight by the time I return to work. Speaking of which, I dropped 1.5 lbs this week so at least the scale is starting to move in the right direction!

All that said, just as things start to settle down, I start back to work next week. I’m so grateful that I’m starting back part time. Some days, the lack of sleep really catches up and I don’t have much patience. I’m not sure I would be able to function fully like this, and I want to do well at my job. Additionally, the husband accepted a new position at another company and I know those first few weeks of a new job are hell with longer hours and stressful to boot with a huge learning curve (pretty sure I remember coming home in tears the first week of my new job because it seemed so overwhelming. Now I LOVE my job and can’t imagine not doing it!) So part time really is going to be a huge blessing for us as we make another transition in the next few weeks…

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A triumphant return (and my babe is 4 weeks already!)

On Wednesday, I returned to that oh-so-fun treadmill boot camp at the gym. I was so excited and slightly nervous to go back. I really feel like I’ve been pushed back quite a bit in the 6 weeks I took off from running so I wasn’t sure how I would do. I ended up doing not too shabby – logged 4.35 miles in 52 minutes, which included 10 speed intervals and a REALLY difficult hill workout. Whew! But it felt so great to get back and have I mentioned it’s really nice to be able to push myself for the first time in 10 months? I’ll be back every week for sure… I love this class and it’s going to get me back into running shape quickly. The woman that teaches the class is also going to be my personal trainer once I get the OK at my 6 week follow up appointment.

Exercise has been great this week. I went for a 2 mile walk on Monday, ran 1 mile/walked 1 mile on Tuesday, and then running on Wednesday. Today I might do a workout video to give my body a break from running (feeling a little sore in the nether regions after class last night). Unfortunately my eating has not been great, so I haven’t lost any weight so far. But I haven’t gained any, either, so I guess that’s a plus. Fortunately all of the holiday goodies are out of the house now and I’m finally feeling a little more in control of my eating.

Yesterday, Kate turned 4 weeks old. Where has the past month gone? In some ways, it feels so much longer than 4 weeks… in other ways, not so much. She is going 4 hour stretches at night now and so the sleeping really isn’t too bad. We put her to bed between 9 and 10 p.m., and she is usually up between midnight/1 a.m. and 4-5 a.m., then back down until 7 or 8 a.m.  She has good days and bad days with fussiness (which gas seems to be the biggest culprit for that, or being overly tired and over stimulated from people holding her), but most days, she’s pretty laid back still and just kind of goes with the flow. She’s grown a LOT! We’re not quite sure how much she has gained – her 1 month appointment is next week – but she has grown almost 2 inches and her head has expanded 1.5 inches! She’s definitely putting on weight… I’m guessing she’ll be close to 7 lbs now by her next appointment!

4 weeks

Monday, January 9, 2012

Looking ahead

I was able to get to the gym on Saturday morning and ran for 1.5 miles and walked for 3/4 of a mile. I felt great until the last quarter mile in which my abs decided to rebel. Even though I did Pilates for a good while during my pregnancy, I still feel as though my abdominals have taken a hit and I lost quite a bit of core strength. Or I’m still adjusting to breathing heavily again, one of the two. Either way, an ab workout probably wouldn’t hurt to have during this time.

I turn 30 in May of this year. Last year, right after I discovered I was pregnant one month before my 29th birthday, I vowed to go to Las Vegas for my 30th. The plan was to leave the kiddo with grandma and grandpa, jet off to Vegas with my hubby and some friends, and spend a whirlwind weekend having a blast and living it up to celebrate the start of a brand new decade and farewell to my 20s (which were legendary, if I do say so myself).

It sounds magical, doesn’t it?

I still would love to do something like that, but I love vacationing in the first place and so, turning 30 or not, or baby or no baby, I would always jump at a weekend getaway.

I reflected on this plan while running. It would certainly be doable and I’m sure the grandparents would jump at the chance to babysit, but I also remembered this other thing I wanted to do that weekend, which is the Colfax Half Marathon. It was my first half marathon so it always kind of has that nostalgic place in my heart, and I didn’t run any half marathons last year due to pregnancy.

My run on Saturday was the first time I felt anything like my old running self – enjoying the moment, loving the movement, feeling challenged, motivated and inspired. I miss that more than I realized. When you become a mom for the first time, you’re thrown into a brand new identity that is filled with uncertainty, anxiety, lack of confidence in yourself. After all, you’ve never done this before. It’s a brand new thing, and it’s quite scary, even if you have the greatest support system in the world. You’re totally responsible for this little tiny baby who is completely dependent on you and THAT IS A BIG DEAL, people. At the same time, you are left wondering where your old life went, especially the freedom and independence and spontaneity that you once had. In this brand new identity, you are quite uncertain of yourself and if you’ll ever feel comfortable in this brand new skin, or if you’ll ever feel like yourself at all.

You do, of course… eventually. But as I have mentioned plenty of times before, running was and is a part of my identity, even this brand new one.  And I remembered that on Saturday.. and it felt amazing. With that in mind, it’s pretty obvious to me that Vegas is out, and a weekend in Denver with my closest friends and family, culminating with running the half marathon on Sunday, is definitely the way I want to spend my 30th birthday. I really cannot wait to cross the finish line and see my husband and daughter cheering me on.

And have I mentioned how excited I am to run with my daughter some day? She’s got super long legs already. She’ll probably outrun her mom.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Back to basics

It’s been a long time since I’ve had to lose weight. I maintained my goal weight for a year before becoming pregnant, and then spent 9 months (moderately… ok, not always moderately) eating for two. I never tracked my calories while pregnant; instead I just tried to eat the best I could. In reality, my diet could have been a lot better, but I’m guessing a big reason why I only gained 25 lbs in spite of my less than desirable eating habits is because 1) babies end up requiring 300 extra calories a day from you and 2) I exercised a lot. So on days that I ran, I could easily have “burned” upwards of 500-600 calories and that’s quite a bit!

But I’m no longer pregnant, and in spite of our best efforts, sadly no longer breastfeeding, and so here I sit with total control of my body for the first time in 10 months. Oh, guess what I discovered? You can’t eat like you did when you were pregnant and still expect to lose weight or even maintain. If you eat 5 or 6 extra large peanut butter truffles leftover from the holidays, you’ll quickly pack on the pounds. Mind blowing stuff here, folks.

So it’s back to basics. Counting calories. Trying to exercise as much as I can without going overboard. (By the way Karen, I also made the mistake of taking a peek at the nether regions and I agree with you… it ain’t pretty!) Thus begins my weight loss efforts. I figured I would have to lose some weight after pregnancy and I’m glad it’s only about 10 pounds. But it’s difficult to get back into diet mode and even more difficult when you’re juggling a newborn, trying to squeeze in working from home a few hours a week, and remembering to at least get dressed for the day and look like a normal human being. It’s hit or miss on how tired I feel every day. Right now Katie is sleeping in 3 hour stretches at night, but as of yesterday, I lost my 6:30 a.m. feeding and diaper changing partner to going back to his job (someone’s got to bring home the bacon around here!), so it’s all on me from here on out until I return to the office. I didn’t realize how much that extra 1.5 hours of sleep I was getting every morning helped.

The good news is, we’re functioning. And Baby Daddy lends a huge helping hand when he gets home from work in the afternoon so I was able to re-acquaint myself with our treadmill yesterday. I ran for 1 mile and walked for 1 mile. My lungs still burn, but not as nearly as bad as they did last week. I hope to get in an exercise video today, and tomorrow it’s supposed to be in the upper 60s so we will probably take the kiddo out in her stroller for some fresh air and a jaunt around the neighborhood.

So I’ll find my way back for sure… it’s just a little different this time around because free time is kind of a luxury these days.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Why yes, I do still exist

Happy New Year! It’s crazy to think that just over a year ago, I was making resolutions for 2011, and here we are already, two days into 2012. It also blows my mind that Katie nearly 3 weeks old already. It seems like just yesterday we brought her home from the hospital and I was dreading the thought of being stuck in the house for six weeks before returning to work part time for a few weeks and then transitioning to full time. Now I’m sad about the thought of only being home with her for another 3 weeks before going back!

She has grown a TON in the past 3 weeks. We measured her the other day – she has grown over an inch and we’re sure is close (if not at or over) 6 lbs by now. I remarked earlier that she looks like a normal newborn now, but let me tell ya, I am really glad I birthed a 5 pounder. My lady parts are still a little sore! More power to any woman who births a bigger baby. Ouch. Moving on….

Last Monday at 12 days post partum, I trekked back to the gym – partially to get out of the house and partially because I wanted to get moving. I was cleared to start walking at 10 days postpartum, so being the person who normally ignores advice that I am, I tried running a little bit on the treadmill. I haven’t run since 35 weeks, so it’d been six weeks at that point. My lungs hurt –a LOT. I had a second degree tear with delivery, so I have stitches that are slowly dissolving, and they itch like crazy while running. I stopped after .75 miles and just walked the rest of the time. I’m really ready to have my body back to normal. But I know that in this case, it’s better not to push it. I don’t want to be set back any further than I am, so I have been trying to get out for a walk every other day. Next Wednesday at 4 weeks pp, I may go to the treadmill boot camp class and walk instead of run, but we’ll see.

Life will start to fall into some sort of routine starting tomorrow. My parents have been visiting since last week, and we’ve had family filtering in and out of our home since Christmas. Everyone returns home tomorrow and my husband returns to work (boo, not looking forward to that! I love having him around!) so Kate and I will be on our own. Right now, she is up about twice a night to eat so it really hasn’t been too difficult. There have been some days where it’s overwhelming just to have to take care of something (what seems like) 24 hours a day, but once the postpartum hormones calmed down, things have been better. I crave routine and so does my kid apparently, so we’re two peas in a pod when it comes to that respect. And my husband is super helpful and has been so supportive of every little thing that it has made life probably as easy as it could be. But still, having a baby is a life changing thing. I can’t help but wistfully think of what I would have been doing over the past 3 weeks if I didn’t have a newborn. Would I have gone on several runs? Would Mr. Marathoner and I have taken a road trip somewhere, spent money carelessly, stayed up until all hours of the night? Maybe. But our new normal is a good trade off. We spend a lot of time just talking with each other. We rediscovered some board games from our childhood. We take delight in our mini excursions to get out of the house. For better, our lives have changed permanently and it’s a huge adjustment – after all, we had 8 years where it was just the two of us.

But even though the nights are long, the weeks seem to be flying by and she will be in a different stage of life and so will we. For now, I am content to be settling into a routine which hopefully includes working out more than I have been. I’m about 10 lbs above my “happy weight”, (I gained about 25 total with pregnancy), and I’m eager to get back into some clothes that I haven’t seen for about 7 months. I hope to start personal training after I get the go-ahead from my doctor in a few weeks… and my first goal is to be back into 5k shape come mid-March and the St. Patrick’s Day 5k!

What are your goals for the new year? Are resolutions just made to be broken, or do you take them seriously and try to hardest to achieve them?