Friday, October 30, 2009

Starting from scratch-ish

It's now been six weeks since Leah was born. I was explicitly told (multiple times) not to workout for six weeks.

So... I waited until today to run. I'm not counting the 1000m test jog last Friday morning because that was not a run.

I managed a 5K run this morning. Although it was not speedy I can honestly say it could have been worse, I haven't run in over 3 months. Yes, I am glad I waited to run. I've heard many stories about the altercations from running quickly after giving birth so I was pretty set on waiting for that. I think the waiting made it a lot more enjoyable to struggle through the short run today.

Here I am post run, thrilled that I did not stop to walk and did not feel the need to use the bathroom mid-run:

Hopefully this trend will continue.

I will admit I have ridden my bike a few times already but today was the first time I hopped on this week. Which means today was the first time I used my new DA 7900 (thank you Felt Bicycles!).

Lucky for me, Michael stayed home today and it was perfect weather outside. Otherwise, this is the set-up I use to ride my bike during Leah's nap time:

I've also gone to the pool a couple of times but I mostly just fight with the water so we won't call that swimming. I have not yet done any weights, abs, or yoga. The doctor was also real forceful in her rules about not using the abs which they sliced last month.

A year ago I was down in PCB getting ready for IM FL. That was quite possibly the best shape I've ever been in. As I was running and riding today I realized something, I am not in the worst shape of my adult life. The day I gave birth to Leah I weighed less than I did at the end of my freshman year of college. Six weeks later, after a c-section and the needed recovery, I am exhausted but I still managed to run and ride today. Plus, I've got a happy and healthy little girl at home. Overall, I'd say Life is Good :)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Is there an acronym for Cumulative Sleep Deprivation (CSP)? If not, I think there should be because I'm pretty sure it's common for all new parents.

Over the past few weeks Michael and I have been told we look pretty good, just a little tired and not completely exhausted. If this is what it feels like to be a little tired I am really hopeful we don't experience utter exhaustion!

There have been times in my life when I've been tired but nothing really compares to how I feel after 6 weeks without a night of uninterrupted sleep. College and Ironman training have nothing on this. Somehow this week I have managed to loose the keyring with my house key, almost lost my phone, and just called to cancel my credit card. I have no idea how this has happened, I somehow lost my credit card while returning it to my pocket at the grocery store.


After months of emailing WTC, I finally got the rest of my refund for IM AZ.

Michael and I were joking about how the race would go if I were actually going to attempt it...

Q: why were Michelle's transitions so long?
A: she had to feed Leah

The following would be the race plan for a mother of an 8 week old.

Pre-race: wake up, eat breakfast, feed baby right before heading over to get body marking. Apply body glide in usual locations and some new locations.
Swim: try not to drown. Ignore how tight the wetsuit is.
T1: get baby from husband, feed her in transition tent
Bike: must finish eat loop in 3 hrs, feed baby at special needs. Ignore the saddle sores.
T2: feed baby again, don't forget to put on 2nd sports bra for support
Run: meet dad at mile 20 for feeding unless it's a really good day and you can make it to the finish before baby needs to eat again. Ignore the hip pain.
Finish: collapse at the line and do 10 push-ups. Later tell people you were trying to make P.T. proud instead of admitting utter exhaustion.
Post race: get massage, put on dry clothes, tell dad to give her a bottle instead b/c you're toasted.

Of course, I'm sure it would be a piece of cake for any mother who is using formula instead (that's a joke! it's still a crazy idea).

Note: As I edited the above post I realized my blunder of the hour... typed CSP instead of CSD as my acronym. Confirmed, I am tired.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Go Daddy

1 am race morning, as we are sitting up with Leah:

Michael, "At least it's the sleep two nights before the race that matters."

Michelle replies with a laugh, "You didn't sleep last night either."


3 pm race afternoon:

Michael comments on his race, "You know you are tired when you don't even realize you put on shorts with a hole in them."

Michelle asks, "When did you realize you had a hole in your shorts?"

Michael, "About mile 70 of the bike."

Michelle, "Michael, this was only a half. The bike was 56 miles."


Most of us who race have had those days when we toe the start line with a little fitness than we'd hoped for. Sometimes there's an injury or a bit less training in preparation and we wish it had gone a little differently beforehand. But, when you make the decision to start you have to put the past aside and just go do the best you can for that day. You do what you can with the cards you are dealt.

There were some impressive race performances out there yesterday but there were two that Leah is most proud of; her dad and her friend Beaux. Neither one had optimal training this year but they both gutted it out yesterday and crossed the finish line. As you can see from the picture above, Leah had fun watching them.

Some of you may wonder why Michael would sign up to do a half Ironman a month after his daughter is born. Haven't you ever done something that sounded like a good idea at the time? In the grand scheme of things our stupid ideas are probably a lot less detrimental than some other options for stupid ideas.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


We've had a few people joke that we might spoil Leah.

Personally, I don't know if it's all about Leah. I am convinced that Michael wants all those toys to play with himself and needs an excuse to have them.

But... I can't help but wonder when your child is considered spoiled.

Maybe it happens when she begins to get personalized monogrammed onsies for one day of her life...

The Halloween one is not so strange since most kids have a costume they only wear for one day.

The Thanksgiving one is a little humorous but not to much of a stretch. After all, I've seen Thanksgiving bibs. If they make Hallmark cards for a particular day I'm assuming there are plenty of onsies on the market for said holiday.

The one that might seem a little over the edge is this one:

What... you mean to tell me everyone doesn't have an outfit solely designed for their first plane flight? How else is she going to look cute enough to get a peek at the cockpit of the 777?

Personally, I don't think it's considered spoiled until you have 12 matching bags with your initials embroidered on them. Yes, I do know a couple of people who have a few of those ;)

Too bad I don't get a t-shirt for all my firsts. If so today I'd be wearing, "Michelle's first text." Yes, I finally broke down and decided to send a text message. It was pretty lame, I sent Michael a message that read, "is this a text" His reply, "Yeah" Apparently he was a bit confused when he received it.

BTW, if anyone is interested, my mother monogrammed the onsies and made the dozen bags that have "MG" monogrammed on them. Let me know if you ever need something to spoil someone else.

Good thing we did not name our girl Laverne, that might have lead to a lot of monogrammed shirts.

Of course, this is all good. I've read in a few books that you can not spoil your child in the first 6 months. This comment is usually in reference to picking them up the instant they begin to cry or allowing them to stay in your bed but I'm going to assume it applies to everything.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Look You're a Cow

Someone once told me his memory was like a colander and mine is like a metal box. Of course, if he happens to read this I'm sure he wouldn't remember that he said that.

Michael (not the one who made the comparison) also seems to get a little frustrated by my memory. Back in the winter of 1996 he was joking around with my fleece glove on my belly and said, "Look you're a cow." I have no clue how many times I have reminded him of that, "At least I didn't call you a cow."

Now I actually do feel like a cow. If the regular nursing isn't enough to make someone feel that way, utilization of the pump(s) is. Yes, that's plural... to maximize pumping efficiency some of the pumps have a dual capacity. You simply pull from both sides at the same time. Kudos to all those women who have twins. Triplets just sounds insane!

Good news is, the milk seems to be working out well for Leah's growth. We had another pediatrician appointment this morning. Leah weighed in at 8 lb 11 oz.

Here's a quick size reference using the highly calibrated hippo mat comparison...

Leah at 1/2 week:

Leah at 4 1/2 weeks:
As we note from the pictures above, Leah is now almost an entire hippo mouth in size.

This puts her in the 40 th percentile for weight. This entire growth percentile humors me, after all some babies are born larger than Leah is now. I've heard there is comparison (competition/bragging) for these size percentiles throughout childhood. Personally I think it would be more interesting to plot percentage of growth over time instead of an absolute size scale. How is the daughter of a 5" girl ever going to be in the upper end of the growth chart, and who cares if she is?!

Of course, I do have a copy of the growth chart and Leah's measurements will be plotted on there. We need to be tracking progress in true enginerd style to set a good example for her.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Hold Me!

Apparently there's an iPhone application to translate baby cries. We deemed it "not worth it," when we saw it's $30. It claims it can distinguish between I'm hungry / My diaper is full / I want attention / I've had too much stimulation / I want a pacifier.

The other day I was reading a book that said by 1 month you might be able to distinguish your baby's cries. Personally I find this hard to believe. I've been listening to Leah and the only way I seem to know what the cry means is by knowing when she be hungry or need a diaper change. Thing is, she's got my metabolism so if I guess one of those choices I'm rarely wrong.

After feeding and changing her it's a little more difficult to tell what she wants but this motion seems to be pretty obvious:

"I'm so cute! ...

Hold me (not the camera)...

or I'll start to cry (faster than you can take another picture)!!"

Believe it or not, she does cry. Luckily we have found a you tube video which she loves to listen too. Sometimes she even cries when being held. At that point we begin to sing:

We have deemed the iPhone application overpriced. How are we supposed to know if she's in the mood to listen to Red Hot Chili Peppers or The Sound of Music?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Austin Tea Party

Today marks an important day for Leah, she spectated her first running race this morning, IBM 10K. I think she was scoping out the competition. There were a couple of baby joggers moving at a good pace so we might have some work to do before her first race.

After the race we joined Clea & Stephanie for breakfast. They are both pregnant, expecting a boy and girl respectively. In the middle of breakfast Clea told me to look over at the table nearby, "Is that going to be you two in a few years?"

When we got up from the table I realized why it was so funny. Half the wall of tables had been pushed together for the huge gathering sitting near us. It was about 8 pairs of mothers and daughters, all dressed up, having tea and scones. We'll have to see what happens in the next few years... will Stephanie and I have tom-boy daughters who play with Leggos and run around outside? Or will we have two little princesses who play with barbies and enjoy shopping for outfits to wear at the next Austin tea party?

It's 34 days until IMAZ '09. My name still appears on the start list but I won't be toeing the start line next month. Although I have heard of people finishing marathons or Ironman two months after giving birth, I honestly don't know if I'd be able to finish and if I did I'm sure it would be a brutal recovery!

But... I am contemplating signing up for one next year. After all, we have this cute onsie for a 12 month old that Leah will need to wear some time next fall:

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Where the Wild Veggies Are

The night Leah wore her produce outfit and screamed at bed time her mother called her "Wild Veggie" and sent her to bed without an extra feeding.

That very night in Leah's room, a garden grew and grew... until the ceiling hung with fruit trees and the walls became the world around it. And a sprinkler system river flowed by with a private float plane for Leah and she flew off through night and day until she came to where the wild veggies are.

And when she came to the place where the wild veggies are they spit their edible seeds and flapped their edible leaves and shook their edible roots and gleamed their edible skin til Leah said "BE STILL!" and tamed them with her magic trick of staring at their tasty skin without biting once and they were all frightened and called her the most wild veggie of all and made her the queen of the wild veggies.

"And now," screamed Leah, "let the wild rumpus start!"

"Now stop!" Leah said and sent the veggies off to bed without any water. And Leah the queen of all the wild veggies was lonely and wanted to be where she was loved best. So she flew back through a day and into the night of her own room where her bottle of milk was waiting for her.


Yesterday I picked up our veggie box from the CSA. We've had a lot of eggplant this summer but I'm pretty sure this is the most we've received at one time. I like eggplant and apparently Leah does too.

We are now on the hunt for some creative eggplant recipes since we've been pretty boring the past few months. Does anyone have something good to share?

Or, I could make them into eggplant-o-lanterns:


This morning we made our trip down to Town Lake too meet friends for our run & walk at 5:45. Somehow our daughter seemed to think this was a good idea too. Although she's been feeding at 6am most mornings, she woke up at 4:10 (before the alarm) today, and was ready to go in time for our scheduled departure.

I hadn't actually given myself enough preparation time this morning. If it hadn't been for Leah waking up 3o min early, we wouldn't have made it in time. I'm starting to think my daughter is already more intelligent than I am. Or maybe she learned some valuable time management skills while in the womb. Either way, I'm convinced she's a genius and will be bored with us by age 3.

While we were walking Trish and I were discussing the new Where the Wild Things Are movie. Hence the story above, a spoof just seemed like so much fun.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Today is our 8 year wedding anniversary. Guess that means we've officially made it past the 7 year itch. Wonder if it counts as the anti - 7 yr itch if you get pregnant during that time.

The other night we were at Walgreen's picking out a birthday card for Michael's mom. The one we got made me laugh so hard my incision hurt. So now we are ranking humor on the incision pain scale.

Neither or us had got an anniversary card for the other so I said we should look through the cards together and save money, "This is the one I'd get you, it made my incision hurt."

Neither of us had bought the other a card or a gift.

Yesterday I went to run some errands. I decided it was time to get some new bed sheets. I joked to Michael that I got him sheets as his anniversary gift. I just did a google search and found the modern 8 yr gifts listed as Linen or Lace. Wow, I'm even smarter than I realized.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

First Holloween

As Michael's daughter, Leah will probably consider Halloween to be one of the greatest days of the year. After all you get to go Gareling** for the entire night without anyone questioning you.

Michael has been known to go out on Halloween with children who are obviously too young to consume the abundance of candy they collect. This year tops that, not only can Leah not eat it all, she can't eat any of it.

I made a quick stop into Old Navy before my visit to Whole Foods this afternoon. Unfortunately there was nothing in the 0-3 month size.

But... I did get a kick out of this one:

Looks like someone at Old Navy forgot to do the math when they decided to print this on the 18-24 month onsie.

**the frequent tendency to search around and eat sugar products

Monday, October 12, 2009

Hospital Pictures

Do these babies look alike? Maybe they're related...

If you look at these pictures you might not realize they were taking 32 years apart. The plastic container holding the baby is the same, the frame for the baby holder looks about the same, and I bet the swaddle blankets are made of the same material.

The baby up top is about a half pound smaller than the one below.

Can you guess who they are?


Nap time...

I think Michael forgot to bring is sleeping mat.

Compost Vs. Baby

Last winter I set out to do two things for the first time: get pregnant and make compost.

I'd ignorantly assumed the compost pile would be much easier to deal with. Michael bought a tumbler at the Natural Gardener and we had plenty of food scraps to add in with the leaves from the trees.

To my surprise, the compost did not form as quickly as the box advertised. I thought the 'compost in as little as four weeks' was a bit optimistic but I assumed I'd have some in a few months. This was not the case. I've been adding trimmings all year, trying to even out the abundance of brown matter I dumped in there last winter.

I keep wondering when there will be a knock at my door, "Hello Michelle, we hear you can't make compost. I'm sorry, we're going to have to take away your chemical engineer degree, you've become an embarrassment to us all."

This weekend I had a bit of excitement, it looks and smells like it might finally be turning to that nasty brown mush I've been waiting for.

My other source of brown mush seemed much easier to make. I've decided it's much easier to make a baby than a compost pile, or it was for me. Taking care of her is an entirely different story.

Unlike the compost pile, Leah needs a lot of attention and we can't just ignore her to see if she does what she's supposed to on her own. Feeding a baby is much more exhausting than feeding a compost pile. The compost pile does not root for food and there is no such thing as cluster feeding the pile. Of course, the pile is also growing and getting heavier but I don't think it's any match for the good eater.

Leah has another pediatrician appointment at the end of the week. I'm wondering how much she's going to have gained. We're awaiting the day when new born clothes don't fit anymore.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

My First visit to the shop - Leah's tale

Today mom and I drove down to the shop for my first visit. On the way down she assured me I'd meet a lot of new friends and would see some cool things. I was a little skeptical at first, thinking this was a devious way of convincing me to go on her adventures with her.

As we walked in the door we were welcomed by a friendly staff who all seemed excited to see me. Not only was the staff friendly, the customers were running over to say hello also. I felt like a rock star.

I was happy to see the bike shop has more bikes than our dining room. I'd been getting a little worried about my parent's bike collection. I assume there will come a day when they leave me behind to hop on one of those two wheeled contraptions.

Since I don't like being left behind I asked Thomas to measure me for one of the bikes. Unfortunately, my diaper makes it impossible to get an accurate stand over height measurement. I'll have to wait until I'm potty trained for a correct measurement, I've put that on my to-do list for my second birthday.

I told Drew I like the new shop jersey and asked when we'd be getting one in my size. Apparently there is no such thing as an infant tri-top. I'm working on my get-rich-quick plan to design one. With all the new babies at the shop I'm sure they'd be a hot item.

The mechanics were very nice although none of them wanted to hold me. Mom said that was okay since they all had dirty hands from working so hard on all the bikes. Thankfully the other members of the staff were nice enough to give me some attention.

I liked the shop a lot, I think I'll go back. I hear the Jack guy is really nice too. I'm looking forward to meeting him very soon.

- Leah Garel

Trip to the shop - Mich's tale

Today was a big day, we had our first mommy and me adventure. I took Leah down to the bike shop for a visit. I think this was more beneficial to me than for Leah but I'm sure she had fun too.

Although Leah is pretty well behaved, especially when others are around, it's still tough to get out. There are a lot of logistics for making a trip out with a newborn and it's a bit strange to adjust to it. Everyone tells you that, it's true... you just don't know what it's like until it actually happens to you.

We got to see a lot of familiar faces and some new ones too. By coincidence Paula brought Catherine into the shop so we had our first play date.

A 3 wk old and an 8 wk old are pretty darn rambunctious when they get together:

Peri, Suzanne, James, Amy, & Rich also happened to stop into the shop while we were there. We got some fun photo ops and a couple of videos to commemorate the momentous trip.

Rich just returned from his honeymoon, following his wedding on Sept 26th.

Yes, we have made our way out into the world but I'm thinking it'll take a while before I'm ready to be bold enough to feed her in public. For now I'll just pump some extra milk and bring a bottle along just in case she has a need to feed.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Practicing early

Leah is up against some tough competition in her future. Our friends over at Jack and Adams seem to be producing babies at a rapid rate. 2020 might be a competitive year for youth triathlons in Austin.

It's never too early to get started training. After all, if you're not out there your competition probably is. Leah logged about 500 hrs while in the womb and unlike her mother she is not taking six weeks off.

Leah wakes up from a nap...

First a bit of stretching:

Time to get starting with her daily calisthenics:

A bit of arms, a bit of legs, and she's already for a day of baby life.


Although Leah is pretty happy most of the day, she does not like taking her clothes off. As her parents we are not upset by this. Actually, this characteristic lightens our concerns for the future even though it does make things difficult when changing diapers and giving her a bath.

Here's a little video from her first complete bath. We had to wait until earlier this week, after her umbilical cord stump finally fell off.

Monday, October 5, 2009

2 week checkups

Leah's was on Friday but mine wasn't until today, due to some scheduling conflicts.

It seems the 2 week checkups are a way to comfort the mom and give new parents a chance to practice their new scheduling needs. After our struggles to leave the hospital we overestimated the time needed. We were an hour early to the pediatrician appointment but only 15 min early to my OB appointment. After rushing to get there in time to wait (mostly due to being too early) I was a bit thrown when both doctors seemed rather nonchalant, "Doing well, any questions?"

"Uh... yes, I have many questions. Most of them are stupid but I've been told there are no stupid questions so I'm going to pull out my list and ask you all of them. I need to make this appointment feel worthwhile. Since this will be my only adult human contact for the day I am going to take advantage of it."

There was a bit of debate about the color of Leah's poop. Michael (the color blind guy) thinks it was green. Personally, I think it was a more light brown and my mother said it looked like mashed up carrots.

Good news, any color is just fine. Even a dark brown would be okay if she was getting a lot of iron. I'm thinking of sneaking some new foods into my diet to assess the effects. I'd been avoiding beats for a bit to be sure she was not passing anything red. I'm tempted to go eat a few to see what happens. I vetoed Jack's idea of eating loads of black licorice while pregnant (he said she'd come out with black spots) but somehow my own experiments seem okay.

At my appointment we found out my recovery symptoms are quite normal post c-section. Apparently it's not uncommon to wake up sweating in the middle of the night. Due to the sudden decrease in estrogen levels hot flashes are quite common. Joy, I get to go through menopause now and in 20 years. Hormones are just so much fun, if we didn't have them we would miss out on the experience of crying for no reason.

As for my poop, the color of it isn't important, I'm more concerned about the frequency or should I say lack of frequency. Again... normal. Just in case you were wondering, removing your intestines, washing them, and placing them back inside you does not make them happy and more functional. Personally, I am wondering how this will effect my runs. For years I had to consider bathroom stops for evening runs. Maybe that will be less of an issue now. Wow, there could be another positive side effect to the invasive surgery.

I was cleared to drive again but reminded that I can not swim or exercise until I am cleared at my 6 week check-up.

"You need an appointment in 4 weeks. I've got 8:15 on Nov 2nd," says the receptionist.

I quickly try to fix this, "Since this appointment is actually 2 1/2 weeks after I delivered can I get an appointment on the Thursday before?" Michael begins to laugh because he can see right through this.

"No, just because this one was off doesn't mean we want to make the next one off too."

I don't agree with that statement but decided it was not worth the effort to argue. Once we get into the hall Michael laughs, "You didn't want to miss that weekend?!"

I turn to Michael and Leah, "I'm going to tell you now so you have 4 weeks to accept it... If I'm feeling fine 6 weeks after the surgery I'm not going to wait. I'm going to ride my bike that weekend." After all, I already have plans for a ride and pancakes that weekend.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Learning to share

Most of us have heard some saying about learning life's important lessons in kindergarten. I'm of the opinion that you shouldn't put off the things you can get done today. Leah is years away from going to school so I've decided it's time to start teaching her some important lessons. She probably won't understand them yet but it never hurts to try.

Our first life lesson is sharing...

Leah has been very lucky, she has many friends who have already begun sharing things with her. Before she was even born there were people sharing their old toys, clothes, books, and blankets with her. She had so many people sharing things with her that she got doubles of things and started to give some items to others.

Toys are great but there is something more meaningful that Leah can share; the liquid gold, milk. My leaky faucets are still going strong so we've got enough for Leah to be a good eater and too share some with others.

How do we know she's got plenty to eat? Leah weighed in at 7 lb, 1 oz on Friday. As the pediatrician walked into the room he told Michael he was putting together the Weight Watchers information packet for her. Leah gained about 18% of her body weight in 2 weeks, that's a larger percentage than I gained in the 9 months I was pregnant. No wonder she only eats, sleeps, and poops.

We know she's a good eater and we know there's extra food so we decided we might be able to share. Turns out there are 7 milk banks in the US and one of them happens to be in Austin. I called up the Mother's Milk Bank, went through my initial phone screening, and got my package of sterilized containers in the mail. Hopefully the good eater and I will be able to store up a large enough donation for the bank.

The Mother's Milk Bank of Austin is a non-profit organization whose mission is to accept, pasteurize, and dispense donated human milk to premature and ill infants:

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Life is Good

Leah during the day:

I'm amazed at how content Leah is when she sleeps during the day. Nothing seems to disturb her relaxation time. Doorbells, phones ringing, visitors poking her, and dogs barking are all ignored when she's in the mood to sleep.

But once the sun drops and she's in the mood to get all the attention things change. At that point someone better be holding her or mom and dad will hear about it.

Leah at night:

Seriously, even our cute baby girl gets a bit ugly at night.

Thankfully, we may have discovered the miracle chair last night (thank you Donna). Michael's coworkers have hypothesized the chair makes her believe she is being cuddled. Yes, we have fooled the 2 week old. Lets just cross our fingers we can repeat this feat for another night.

Leah is 2 weeks old. I've been told the first 2 weeks after a c-section are the hardest. I'm expecting Leah to sleep through the night tonight and that I'll wake up in the morning pain free, with no more bleeding, functional intestines, and feeling back in the area of my incision. It might be a long shot but I can always dream big.

If you see me running at town lake tomorrow you'll know I ran into Miracle Max. mmm... chocolate coating makes it go down easy.