Thursday, August 27, 2009

G Family Photos

This morning Dave M ( took some maternity photos of Michael and I over at the Wells Branch trail. We picked that spot because we've gone on hundreds of runs there together over the past decade. Plus, it's got some fun spots for pictures.

Thanks Dave for waking up before the sun to catch the shots.

Yes mom, we will print one out for Grandma

The English Channel

It's been just over 2 years since I watched Lynne swim the English Channel. We commenting on that Sunday morning as I chatted with her and Dave after a plunge in Barton Springs.

Our chat happened to coincide with the 30 hr cutoff time at the Leadville 100 mile trail race. We had a lot of friends out there for that race and Michael was there to help crew for Trisha.

These events had me thinking a lot about setting goals, watching my friends accomplish their own goals, and the mental strength of endurance athletes.

In our lives we all set goals, some are easily obtainable, some are meaningful challenges, and some of them are a long shot. It's the combination of these goals that makes us who we are. Those who truly achieve greatness have met goals that we know about but they have also faced challenges they could not complete.

Of all the friends whom I respect and admire for their achievements I also know of times when they have failed to meet their goals. Listing off failures is not the way to win over the hearts of your friends so I'm not about to do that here. What is important to mention is how and what they each seem to learn from those short comings. Learning lessons from the days you fall short of your goals is what makes you stronger. That strength is what allows you to thrive in situations down the road.

Although I try to learn from my own failures I must admit, I have learned much more from my friends. I say this because many of them have shown me how to truly thrive and learn from mistakes. I witness their actions and listen to their perspectives in admiration, they often seem to have a much better outlook than I do.

As you may have already guessed, Michael and I enjoy watching our friends along their journey to accomplish their goals. We've been lucky enough to make some great trips to support some of these adventures and I hope we continue to have such opportunities.

Of course, the times of not being present certainly out number the times of being able to watch from the sidelines. Good luck to all our friends doing Ironman Canada this weekend!

It's been said many times that endurance events are almost entirely about mental strength. I believe this is true, but merely knowing this does not imply you can figure it all out. The journey and the challenges you place before you are how you gain mental strength. We each have times when we thrive mentally. Conversely, we each have opportunities to melt mentally and make mistakes that set us back even farther. Again, it's what you learn along the way which makes you stronger.

This weekend marks week 36 of my pregnancy, full term. Baby G is due in 4 weeks but at this point she could appear and probably be relatively healthy at birth, it's a big deal. But it's a bit strange to think about the uncertainty of her arrival. I try to ready myself for the big event (labor) but I don't know when it'll happen.

Once again I loop back to the English Channel. After spending 2 yrs preparing for their swim, channel swimmers are given only an estimate of the actual date they will swim. Instead, they are assigned to a tide (7 days off chance). If the conditions are not right you might not swim during your tide. Instead you might just stick around in Dover, awaiting an empty spot in a later tide. Then one day, or maybe at midnight, you'll get a call to be down at the boat in a couple of hours, to swim. That's it, wait and wait to be ready at a moments notice. Kind of sounds like waiting for labor.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I Jinxed Myself

I think the above cartoon pretty much sums things up for the way I was feeling the other day. Clea and I attended a prenatal yoga class together. As we went around the room introducing ourselves and talking about how we were doing I could not help but think, "Yes, there are things going wrong but for the most part I'm all good."

So when it was my turn to introduce myself I said with confidence, "I'm Michelle, I'm 35 weeks, and I'm all good."

At this point the instructor piped in with the predicted response, "Wow, 35 weeks."

Oops, I forgot to insert the part about not looking big enough because I have disproportionally short legs in comparison to my baby hiding torso.

After class we went out to lunch and Clea mentioned that her heartburn had made her voice change. I keep hearing about this so-called heartburn but never quite knew what it feels like. Stupidly, I asked.

Low and behold, that feeling hit me while I was swimming this afternoon. I must admit, it was probably my fault for eating leftover turkey loaf for lunch but I figured I could use the protein. Well, that turkey loaf kept visiting me over and over again and even decided to make a guest appearance. Thankfully I was quickly able to run over to some grass before loosing part of the lunch.

Lessons learned:
(1) Don't ask about ailments and then comment how you haven't had that problem.
(2) Turkey loaf should not be eaten within 1 hr of swimming
(3) Prenatal yoga is 20 min of bonding (i.e. venting) + 1 hr of light stretching

Monday, August 24, 2009

Last weekend alone

Michael was up in Leadville this weekend to support some of our friends doing the Leadville Trail 100 mile run.

Before continuing on I'll take the moment to answer some of the questions I've fielded about this event...

1) Of course they stop, that's what the aid stations are for
2) Yes, they let girls do the race
3) That's correct, I meant to say 12,000 ft above sea level
4) Yes, they eat while they do this event
5) Why? Because it's a challenge and you get a belt buckle if you finish in time.

Okay, now that we have that clarified we'll move along to my last weekend alone:

For those of you who don't know my life story, you might not realize that I have never actually lived alone. I had roommates all through college and we bought this house before I even graduated from CMU. Technically I've never lived alone but Michael has made dozens of trips over the past decade so there's been a cumulative year plus of being alone.

Thing is, I don't seem to have much fun being home alone. It might have something to do with my extrovert nature but I think the inevitable troubles that arise when Michael is gone are the real issue. Things always break when he's gone, it's as if there's a curse on the house when I'm here alone. One of the most memorable break-downs was the night I was cooking dinner and the refrigerator suddenly started gushing water out the door, the water line had broken. Right before he left for this trip, I hit a rock driving up Mopac. I now have a cracked windshield and last night the garbage disposer broke.

Personally, I'm hoping this whole string of breaking will end when Baby G arrives and I am no longer home alone.

Okay, just in case you're curious, that is not my windshield, I just liked the picture. Mine is just one crack that is currently making it's way across the top of my windshield. It's not nearly as exciting as that picture but it'll cost the same amount to replace.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Knowing is half the battle

That PSA is about the only thing I remember from all the years of countless GI Joe episodes we watched growing up. Maybe my brother got more out of it... he was the one who ended up in the army.

But, his Army carrier is not the real topic for this post. Instead, I will be touching upon the upcoming battle: nursing the baby.

Why do I label this a battle? After some of the things I've heard and seen I think we need to give it some respect. Without a healthy perspective on this topic, a naive mother may enter the battle ground not knowing what she is up against.

Yesterday afternoon the Garel family had an appointment with a lactation consultant. We decided it might be worth the time to find out some information before Baby G arrives. At this point I feel the 2 hours was time well spent, we learned a lot about poop diapers, feeding, and other lovely new baby experiences.

Note: If anyone is interested in learning about these experiences first hand I will be happy to arrange a diaper changing schedule for you. But act fast, there are fewer diapers in the first couple of days and those ones sound too exciting to miss.

The consultant was there to inform us of what to expect and she didn't let us down. Upon arrival in her office she handed us a folder with information. She went through the contents and eventually got to the color handout of, "What we are trying to prevent."

I'm going to be blunt, it was a bit horrific to look at some of the pictures of bleeding, scabbing, cracking, and shape distortion which can result from a bad latch between baby and mother. After about 10 s of utter horror the consultant placed the paper at the back of the folder, "It's not a good idea to look at that one too long, it'll scare you."

Good idea, let's just put that one out of sight and pray we never need to use it as a reference chart!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Where's yours?

I just got back from joining the pregnancy and new moms meet-up group, we met at Genuine Joe's coffee on Anderson. There were about 15-20 ladies there, an almost even split between ladies who were pregnant and ones who'd had their baby in the past couple of months. There was also one token dad, who's wife dragged him along before their doctor's appointment.

As usual I got a lot of (now typical) comments from first time introductions to people, i.e. "You're due when? You're so small!"

It really does add quite a new element of humor when meeting a number of pregnant and new moms who make these types of comments...

When I began talking to the guy he was asking questions about our plan for the baby, etc. He then made the comment, "You have plenty of time to think about that, my wife is due September 18th."

"Not too much time, I'm due September 28th," I replied. That response just got a blank stare.

There were the usual comments from the other pregnant ladies talking about when they're due and how many people have told them they look huge. There were two girls due at the end of December who were complaining about others making comments about their size. Nothing new, I kept quiet for that conversation.

The part that got me laughing inside was the conversation I had with a mom who was carrying her son in a sling. I was asking her questions about it and she asked, "Where's yours?"

I pointed to my belly, "She's in there."

So we've got this down; I'm not huge, my baby probably won't be huge, it's now a game to see how long these comments last. The bigger question is, what will I be asked afterward, "Who's baby is that?" Or will I get the comment, "I didn't even know you were pregnant."

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Tour de room

Here you go, a tour of Baby G room:

My brother says I am nesting. Personally, I think it's more accurate to call it long overdue cleaning. After 9 1/2 years in the house I am finally scrubbing the wooden blinds, cleaning under the bathroom sinks, and wiping down the molding throughout the house. That might sound like nesting to some but it's probably more a result of my lack of employment and inability to fill my free time with 20+ hrs of hard training. Believe me, I would've been more than happy to ride my bike to Hutto today instead of drive there.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

When did you have her?

First a few new pictures...

Michael finished up all the painting and I've put up some animals, airplanes, etc:

Michael just installed the car seat in the CRV, we picked the color for Jack:

Over the past couple of days I've had some interesting conversations about Baby G's future arrival.


Yesterday I was telling some friends about the way they are likely to hear about her birth; Internet updates. Although it's much more personal to get a phone call I am also a realist, Michael's phone will be posting twitter and Facebook messages long before my list of people to call is ever retrieved from the hospital bag.

Julia, "Did you know about the belt you can put on your stomach to send a message to Twitter every time the baby kicks."

Michelle, "Good thing I don't have one of those. Baby G would be sending out so many messages that nobody would be able to follow their friends. I can't imagine what Billy would do."

Billy is one of our friends who is lost in Twitter land. He tweets so much that one day we almost considered calling him to be sure he was okay, it had been almost 12 hrs since we'd seen something from him.

For those of you who don't have Twitter or Facebook (Kelly) you can check the blog, I'll post something on here as soon as I have the energy to type. Yes, there is wireless at Seton. Michael noticed the wireless access points when we were touring the hospital. He is currently storming out of the room because someone reading this blog might assume he's a dork for noticing that. What was that term... Enginerd?!


This morning Michael & I went down town to run, walk, lift (he ran, I did the others). Before leaving the house I tossed on a shirt, "Darn, my favorite dri-fit t-shirt is getting too tight."

As I was tossing on another one I've had for about 10 yrs Michael replied, "Uh, isn't that a little weird that you are upset that it's getting too small at 7 months of pregnancy? I think it should already be too small."

"I'm 8 1/2 months, give me some credit."


As I was walking toward the 0 marker a pack of Gazelles flew by and one slowed down to chat for a minute. "How's the baby?" she asked.

"She's fine," I happily replied.

"When did you have her?"

"I still have 6 weeks until I'm due."

A confused look took over her face as she looked again, "But you're so small!"

As a side note, this girl is about 1/2 inch taller than I am, weighs about 100 lbs, and has 2 kids. I was just about to mention that she probably looked this small too because she is also so petite but I decided not to take my chances of being wrong on that assumption. Of course, she'd just been wrong when she assumed my kid had already arrived.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Not quite my usual running form

As promised... a video from last night.

Before you get too impressed with the fact that I was actually running at 33 weeks into my pregnancy I'm going to be honest and tell you it only lasted about 5 min.

For those of you who might question my logic too my doctor, chiropractor, massage therapist, or anyone else, "I declare my right to run when trying to escape from the wrath of the paparazzi." Clearly I am being chased by someone who wants to video tape the pregnant lady and see what it looks like when the baby falls out due to the impact of running while pregnant. Too bad I'm saving that type of craziness for Rich and Kelly's wedding, they're getting married 2 days before my due date. Rich is convinced it'll be a top hit on YouTube if there's a baby born during the ceremony, I don't think Kelly agrees.

Michael said the most humorous part of this run was watching the people stare in the 'dog off leash' area. I wonder if they could tell I was pregnant or were actually staring at Michael as he ran through with a huge Camelpak on his back.

Some of you may notice the forward tilt in my form. My pelvis has shifted due to Baby G's location, a mass sticking out the front of me. This has lead to quite an unusual feeling while running and becomes a bit uncomfortable after a few minutes. Therefore, I've spent a lot of time water jogging and have made a few 5 min runs in the middle of my walks.

I'd been running on the road and trail for the first 7 months but halted my ground travels after a troublesome run / walk last month. Although I noticed a decrease in top end pace overnight, I did manage to maintain a fairly 'normal' aerobic pace for those 7 months. The big difference was my increased bathroom use and general discomfort. I have a mental imagine of how I should look while running and that was no longer easy to maintain.

Keep in mind, this is me, not everyone. Some people stop running a few months into their pregnancy and some continue to run until the day they give birth. Some slow down a lot and others don't slow as much.

For me the question becomes, "Will I be faster and stronger afterward?"

Thursday, August 13, 2009

My new friend: the UPS guy

We've lived in our house for 9 1/2 years and I think I've only seen our UPS delivery man a handful of times. So far this week, I have seen him every day. Michael's family has been busy sending us some of the key items for Baby G. One of the bigger items is the rocking chair from his dad. When he visited a few weeks ago he insisted that we NEED a rocking chair and we NEED to be sure it has good cushions.

Behold the glider...

I felt the need to take the picture with my first book gift. When Trisha joined me for our Tues morning water jog she presenting a copy of Do Princesses Wear Hiking Boots? I've never seen this book but thought it was quite fitting.

One of yesterday's activities included packing the bag for the hospital. I guess the theory is, if you pack it early your baby will be full term before you go into labor. I packed a pile of items into one of my nine blue MG bags (yes, we have a lot of matching bags) and tossed it in the car.

As I was packing the bag I realized a few flaws in the Mayo Clinic packing list

1) Lip Balm - although needed it will be a nasty mess if I put it in the car with our current temperatures.

2) Phone number list - not really needed any more, our cell phones have a long list of phone numbers in them. Plus, with facebook, Twitter, and my blog I'm pretty sure Michael will find faster ways to notify hundreds of people when Baby G arrives.

3) Clothes - aside from my confusion of what a "mid-maternity outfit to wear home" means, I also note the lack of mention of clothing for your SO. They mention clothes for you and the baby and seem to forget that my husband might want to some clean clothes too. Of course, he'll get to leave earlier... to go home and download more video and pictures.

Which brings me to mentioning another new item of the week... the video camera. We've been holding off on getting this, to be sure we get the coolest and newest one on the market. Michael decided it was due time to get one, especially since he wanted to have it before heading up to Leadville next weekend. Stay tuned, useless videos will appear on this site shortly.

Another belly shot (33 weeks)....

Monday, August 10, 2009

Mommy Poll

Today is 7 weeks before my due date. Although I am seemingly close to becoming a mom I was quite surprised when a lady at the gym said, "You look like you're expecting very soon." This comment is quite the opposite of what I usually hear, "Where is baby G?"

Anyways... Michael and I gave up are initial plan of waiting until Baby G arrives to get presents for her. Over the past few weeks we've started to collect a number of items and have been preparing her room. It's been pretty exciting :)

I've realized I don't know what I need. When people ask what I still need I am never quite sure what to say. In the early stages of pregnancy I was warned about all the advice I'd receive from other moms, friends and complete strangers. Funny thing is, I actually haven't noticed that too much. Believe me, I'm not upset about the lack of belly touching or advice from strangers but I thought it might be useful to ask a few questions.

Also, over the past few years the cord blood banking has been a hot topic. We haven't quite figured out what to do about this and it seems like most other parents felt the same way when they were deciding.

So, I've decided it's time to ask a few questions of the mothers out there and see what they have to say. I thought it might be useful to myself and my other friends who are pregnant for the first time or will be in the future...

1) Did you bank your child's cord blood? (do you have an insightful reason why or why not)
2) What was the most useful item you had as a new parent?
3) What was the least useful / dangerous item you had as a new parent?
4) How long did you wait to work out again after giving birth? (what did you do first)
5) What was the most useful information you received from another mother?
6) What was the best thing your S.O. did for you before / during / after labor?

Thanks for the feedback!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Birthing Class

Michael is on the phone to a friend right now. Here's what he replied when the person on the other end asked how birthing class was:

"If a girl who has not been pregnant yet attending a birthing class I'm pretty sure she'd never get pregnant. There were a few times during class when I was thinking glad that's not me."

Wonderful... thanks Michael, that's very supportive! ;)

We'll just refer to birthing class as the 'scare the pregnant lady when it's already too late' class.

A few examples...

The discussion about tearing. Let's be honest, there's no way you can possibly sugar coat this. My brother informed me of the tearing the day I told him I was pregnant, he'd waited until then to scare me. The nurse yesterday did a much better job painting a horror picture but I'll just let the others hear about that on their own terms and hope it isn't 4th degree tearing for me.

Then there's the result of the tearing... 6-8 weeks of bleeding. Holy $@&%!!! that is a long time! Trouble is, I also found out I'm not allowed to be swimming, water jogging, etc during that time. I knew I was not supposed to run for that long and assumed the idea of a bike saddle wouldn't be to inviting but I had not considered the risk of bacterial infection to the wound. Officially, I am not supposed to do any exercise until I am cleared at my 6 week OB visit. I'll find out a little more about this in a couple weeks, maybe yoga and walking will be fine.

Another memorable part of the day was the tour of the hospital and the trip past the nursery. As all the parents were looking in on the two babies currently in the nursery a collective, "Look at how small they are," came from their mouths. I turned to Michael in disbelief, "They look huge, how am I going to fit something that big out of me." Seriously people, those babies did not look small!

I know there are millions mothers who have given birth over centuries but that does not make it any less terrifying. After all, how many times have people said child birth is the hardest thing you will ever endure. Not knowing is a little daunting. I have an estimated 50 days too freak out about this ;)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Our veggie box was stollen twice

This season Michael & I are part of a CSA for a local farm: We get to pick up a big box of veggies every other Wednesday night, which is great. The bad part is that we're always the last ones to get out of work and pick up our box. Therefore our veggies sit outside in the summer heat the longest and sweat up the refrigerator drawer pretty quickly.

But... yesterday we had some other bad luck.

After lunch Michael called me to tell me someone had stolen his veggie box. At first I thought he'd already picked up our veggie box and it had somehow been stolen. Thankfully, that was not the case. He'd brought a co-worker to grab lunch and left the empty veggie box on the grass for 10 min. When he returned someone had stolen his empty cardboard box. Although they are nice cardboard boxes it seemed humorous that someone would actually take it after a mere 10 min on the lawn. No biggy, we're still allowed to get new veggies even if we're irresponsible and don't return our old box.

Unfortunately, we seemed to have a string of bad luck with our veggie box yesterday. Michael was again the last person to arrive for his box. But the last lonely box was nowhere to be found. Seems that someone had picked up a box when they weren't supposed to. So now my veggie drawer sits almost empty, a lone bag of carrots and a few onions are the only veggies which remain. No worries, we get to pick up a box at the Saturday pick-up, right before heading off to our 6 hour baby class (I'm sure I'll have something interesting to write about after that).

For now, I guess I'll just have to use this as an excuse to head over to Whole Foods to get myself some more vegetables and / or a nice big grasshopper (why favorite veggie drink).

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

My mom might be tiny but I'm perfect

We had our 32 week check up today. following yet another encounter with a pregnant lady who told me I'm small.

After eating a lot of food and drinking a bunch of water I managed to tip the scales at 0.8 lb more than 2 weeks ago. Trouble is, this was a 1 pm appointment and the one in 2 weeks is at 7:45 am. Therefore, it might be difficult for me to actually gain weight for that one but I'm not going to worry too much, I'm starting to feel a bit better about my small stomach.

Actually, for the record, the OB told me I was, "measuring tiny." Thank goodness today was the ultrasound because it verified Baby G is not measuring tiny. Her head circumference, the amniotic fluid, and her torso are all looking good. To our surprise, her estimated weight is 4.5 lb, putting her at the 42 percentile. But... that's 4.5 lb +/- .5 lb which sounds like quite a large margin of error to us. Personally, I believe this whole your child is in such-and-such a percentile is a load of crap. Is it really going to matter if my daughter has a bigger noggin than the girl next door? Not unless it's so abnormally large that other kids make fun of it.

Our overall conclusion: Baby G is doing well and likes to sleep after her mom's workouts.

Here are a few pics from the ultrasound:

First, "I'm definitely a girl" pic...

Second, "My nose is smaller than my dad's" pic...

Keep growing Baby G, we'll see you in a couple of months :)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Don't swallow watermelon seeds

Here are a few pictures from this morning for those of you who are interesting in watching the progress of my growing belly.

First is the usual picture:

Michael then wanted to get a picture of me in front of his masterpiece:

Since my co-workers keep telling me I don't look pregnant from the back I had to get this shot to see what I think:

As for other parental type activity... we just got back from our baby CPR class.

Before leaving for class I changed from a t-shirt and shorts into a maternity shirt and skirt.

"Are you trying to look more pregnant?" Michael joked.

"Don't make fun of me. So what if I am?!" I answered.

Yes, we learned some useful things for infant and child CPR. For me, the biggest thing I took back from the class was the same old message; seems that I don't look as pregnant as some others. My feeble attempt to look more pregnant was useless. Of course, it is possible all the other ladies are 9 months pregnant with twins and triplets, I don't know for sure.

Earlier today I was talking with one of my pregnant neighbors. Her reaction to hearing when I'm due, "You're so small." To put this into perspective, this message was coming from a skinny Asian girl, who's 12 weeks behind me.

That's it, I give in, I'm waving my white flag. I am no longer going to bother telling people I'm pregnant. Instead I am just going to advice them not to swallow watermelon seeds because it obviously makes you look quite bloated. Maybe people will reply, "Holy cow, that was from swallowing a watermelon seed? You almost look pregnant."

Tomorrow is our next OB visit, we get our 32 week ultrasound. Stayed tuned, that means actual pictures of BIG Baby G instead of these boring belly shots.