10 Ways Having a Newborn is Like Reliving Your College Experience

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From sleepless nights to getting schooled in all sorts of subjects, life with a newborn bears a striking resemblance to those good ol’ glory days of college. So I thought I’d share my top 10 ways having a baby is like starting freshman year all over again.

10. Mounting Expenses. Back then you spent your money on books, meal plan and extracurriculars. Now you’re draining your bank account on books, take-out and just about any gadget and/or invention under the sun that promises to help baby sleep.

9. Boot ‘n’ Rally. Popular among frat boys. Also babies.

8. All Nighters. The only difference? In college, you could sleep in ’til noon the next day to recover. With babies, there’ no sleeping in again. Ever.

7. Roommate Issues. It’s the luck of the draw. Some go with the flow and are easy to get along with. Others? Messy, loud and up at all hours.

6. Weight Gain. Packing it on, freshman-style, is a lot of fun thanks to beer and late-night snacks. With pregnancy, it’s more about the pesky final 15 that seems to linger postpartum.

5. Boobs. They’re endlessly fascinating to both hormone-riddled young men and babies, alike.

4. Knowledge. Talk about theory all you want, but there’s a big difference between book smarts and being able to apply that knowledge in the real world — or with a real human.

3. Hormones. Both teens and pregnant women are vying for front-row seats on the emotional roller-coaster.

2. Life Lessons. Just when we think we’ve got it all figured out, life has a way of showing you that you truly don’t know what you don’t know until you’re in the thick of it.

1. Growing Up. There’s a good chance you’ll be forever changed for the better after each experience.

Anything else you’d add to the list? 

July Goal Check-In

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Ever look back and marvel at how far you’ve come — yet realize how much you’ve veered off course?

That’s pretty much how I feel about this year’s goals at this point, but that’s the name of the game now: learning how to roll with the punches and adjust (and re-adjust) expectations. Chalk that up to another lesson of parenthood.

Regardless, one day at a time and one foot in front of the other, the important part is that we’re making progress, right?

Read more about the five goals toward which I’m working in 2016.

Here’s where things stand currently:

1. Health & Fitness

We’re still working on getting a daily routine down (naps, anyone?), but I have gotten good at making little workouts happen in the nooks and crannies of our days. Even if it’s just a walk with the stroller, a stroll with the baby carrier or some at-home body weight exercises designed by one of my favorite trainers, I try to get at least 30 minutes of activity on the regular.

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In the absence of a regular fitness schedule, however, I’ve realized it’s also come high time to revamp my eating habits. Up until now, I’ve been using breastfeeding as an excuse reason to be more lax than usual…

But now that Wyatt’s getting more mobile, energy is the focus so I’ve been supplementing with Forelle, a new meal delivery service here in Portland that specializes in raw, plant-based meals  using whole, organic and seasonal ingredients that are sourced from local suppliers. Clean eating feels good again, even if it’s only for a few meals a week!

2. Training

Now that we’re creeping up on six months where I have yet to get a full night’s sleep, I’m starting to re-think the plan for this fall’s marathon. Although mileage is now up to double-digits on weekend runs, operating in a state of chronic sleep deprivation is hardly conducive to smart training — i.e. the last thing I want to do is get injured in the process.

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The good news is that my average pace per mile has been dropping steadily as I’ve been increasing distance each week. The bad news is that I’m nowhere near the kind of mileage that’s considered preparation for 26.2.

Walk/jogging is an option, for sure, but there’s something to be said for training properly for a race so you can enjoy the whole experience. Needless to say, I’ve been mulling over my options, so stay tuned.

3. Community

This month we switched things up at one  of our weekly Team LUNA Chix Portland Run practices and held a scavenger hunt with some of our favorite fitness stores and studios in the area (shout out to Bar Method, Barre3, Burncycle, Lucy, MUV, Revocycle, Title Nine, YAS, YoYoYogi and Zest Nutrition). Between bags of bars, coupons for free classes and all kinds of raffle prizes, everyone walked away a winner!

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But what I really want to address this month in terms of community is the fitness scene here in Portland. What I love about it is that there’s much more camaraderie than competition — to each his own with workouts, so there can (and should) be room for everyone to play.

However, this past month I witnessed something happen to one of my favorite studio owners that made my blood boil. Rather than go into a rant here, though, I’d just like to take the opportunity to commend the people and places who pitched in and redeemed our faith in the Portland fitness community — namely Industrial Barre and PureBarre Bend — as well as those who stepped forward and asked how they could lend a hand to a fellow small business owner in need.

That’s how it should be, folks!

4. Career

My consulting work with Pulse Creative continues to be a juggling act, schedule-wise, but is so worth it. Aside from working out, it’s the other small piece of my day where I can feel like the old ‘me.’

And what’s nice, I’ve learned, from having less time is that you get to prioritize projects — i.e. partner with great people and do only work that you love. Which makes the time spent doubly enjoyable!

5. Life

Finally, as I mentioned last month and the previous month, life hasn’t been without its lessons since Wyatt came along. The latest of which is:

It’s no longer about you. 

Well, duh, you’re probably saying. Anyone over the age of five knows this. 

But after years of being able to do what you want, when you want and how you want — from things as simple as setting sleep hours and eating regular meals to more complicated things such as work/life balance, training for events or, heck, even a date night with my husband — it can be a hard pill to swallow in the adjustment as a first-time parent.

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And what initially felt like a tug-of-war to not forget about what makes me ‘me’ or what makes Ben and me ‘us’ has become, well, a more comfortable shade of normal. It may have taken a handful of months and some newfound perspective — or maybe it’s just that there’s a flicker of light ahead at the end of the newborn tunnel — but I see now that it’s less about losing something and more about adding pieces to the puzzle.

What that bigger picture is, we don’t know yet; we’re still very much in the thick of it. But the prospect of creating it together, all three of us, is pretty exciting.

How are your 2016 goals coming along? 

10 Fourth Trimester Life-Savers

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Back when Wyatt was just a bump in my belly, I shared a few favorite firstsecond and third trimester essentials that helped us make our way through pregnancy together.

But have you heard of the fourth trimester? It’s the concept that the first three months after birth are quite literally an extension of life in the womb for baby.

And I’m not gonna lie: At times, it can be a rocky transition for everyone involved. Not only does baby need lots of attention, but mama also deserves extra TLC during recovery and those sleepless nights and days spent getting to know the newest family member.

As always, everyone’s experience will be a bit different, but these are just a few of the things that I found helpful for easing into motherhood. And by ‘easing in’ I mean jumping with both feet into the deep end. 

1. Nursing Tanks

If you’re nursing or pumping, not only will you need quick access, but you’ll also need something pretty forgiving as you change size throughout the day. Consider the Gilligan & O’Malley Nursing Cotton Camis part of your new mom uniform; at $20 a pop, they’re as budget-friendly as they are baby-friendly.

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2. Support Tights

Another staple in your new mom wardrobe? A pair of tummy-friendly tights, which are both comfortable and versatile as your body shape-shifts in the first few months postpartum. One of my favorites were Blanqi’s Highwaist Support Leggings, which not only help provide some extra core support but also come in handy when you’re between sizes.

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3. Nipple Butter

Whether you use it for nursing or as a lube with your breast pump, Earth Mama Angel Baby’s Natural Nipple Butter is the best stuff out there — period. It’s from a local company, it’s all-natural and it works, so do yourself a favor and stockpile this stuff by the case before baby comes.

earth-mama-angel-baby-natural-nipple-butter4. Breast Pump

Speaking of your ‘ladies,’ if you’re thinking of breastfeeding and/or pumping you’ll want something to get the job done without too much…collateral damage, shall we say? After trying the Medela Freestyle, which was awesomely small and portable, I ultimately settled on the Spectra Baby S1. It came highly recommended from a girlfriend, and I found it to be just as effective, but a lot gentler.

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5. Pumping Bra

If you’re a woman, you’re no stranger to multitasking. And if you’re a breastfeeding mom, you’re no stranger to multitasking while pumping. Enter the Simple Wishes D*Lite Hands-Free Pumping Bra, which is adjustable in size to sustain a perfect fit over time as a nursing mother’s size changes. Brilliant!

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6. Nursing Pads

And while we’re on the subject of milk, when it comes in you’ll want to be prepared with some disposable nursing pads to keep from leaking through your shirts, on the sheets…you get the point. But after your supply evens out, I’ve found these washable breast pads to be more comfortable and better at wicking away moisture.

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7. Robe & Comfy PJ’s

One of the best maternity investments I made in terms of cost-per-wear was this robe and nightgown set. I can’t say enough about how handy a lightweight cotton robe with pockets can be for keeping you warm when you’re up at all hours, as well as having handy pockets to stack bottles, pacifiers, burp-cloths, etc.

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8. Amazon Prime

Another invaluable investment? An Amazon Prime subscription, which is worth it’s weight in gold. From diapers to developmental toys and everything else in between, it’s a necessity in those early days when you need something — stat! — and can’t get out to the store. Simply search, click and it’ll be on your doorstep in two days.

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9. Meals

I cooked exactly two freezer meals and one batch of lactation cookies before Wyatt came, thinking that’d tide us over until I get back on my feet and had time to get in the kitchen again. HA! Little did I know we’d come to rely heavily on frozen foods, take-out, meal delivery services and the kindness of friends and family in those first few months. Have a friend with a new baby and want to know how you can help? Bring over a warm meal, and they’ll be forever indebted to you.

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10. Thank You Cards

I’m old-school and believe that any gift you receive deserves a nice handwritten thank-you. Save time — and your sanity — by stamping and putting your return address on a bunch of cards before baby arrives. That way you can write them as you go, ensuring you’ll get ’em out the door in a timely manner and also remember who sent what when the time comes.

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*Bonus: Netflix Subscription

Finally, no list of postpartum must-haves would be complete without the mother of all necessities during those first few months: a Netflix subscription. When you’re up at all hours night after night, it’s either stare at the ceiling while feeding or immerse yourself in a season — or three — of your favorite show (my choice was Orange is the New Black). So sink into the couch together and enjoy some quality cuddle time!

Mamas, what were your fourth trimester must-haves? 

June Goal Check-In

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If you’re around a new parent, inevitably, the conversation turns to sleep. As in, how much the baby is doing it or how little the parents are getting of it.

Because, as we’ve found out the hard way these past four months, sleep — or the lack thereof — is quite literally the linchpin of being able to resume any semblance of your former (read: pre-baby) life.

To paraphrase my recent conversation with our pediatrician: “On the spectrum of good sleepers to not-so-great sleepers…Wyatt is…closer to the latter.” At this point I like to think that he just prefers our company to the comfort of his crib.

But being up every two hours for feedings (and sometimes for stretches in between) means that we are still squarely in the survival-mode-holding-pattern of the “fourth trimester.” Which also means that goals are being chipped away at much more slowly that I’d originally anticipated. Such is the luck of the draw when it comes to babies!

So if you happen to bump into a new parent, try to refrain from asking them about their mounting sleep deficit. And maybe just offer to buy them a cup of coffee!

Read more about the five goals toward which I’m working in 2016.

Here’s where things stand currently:

1. Health & Fitness

These days, I’m lucky when I can squeeze in some movement, but I’ve learned that the trick is being able to work out with your baby whenever possible. Thank goodness for Stroller Strides and Body 401K; not only are these great resources for getting strong and breaking a sweat, but they also offer a community aspect that’s much appreciated when you’re feeling apartment-bound.

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Another tip? Sign up for something — anything — whether it’s a gym membership, a package of classes or ClassPass. They’re great for motivation, but more so accountability; if you’re shelling out a few bucks every month for classes, you’re less likely to skip out on scheduling workouts.

2. Training

Tell me, does one run per week technically count as “marathon training?” Hm, I didn’t think so…

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Yes, I’m going against my two decades of running experience (and, let’s face it, my better judgment) by assuming I can swing 26.2 after logging such little mileage. But I’m determined to make it work and am slowly building up my base for that October event despite little sleep, less time, some travel and a move later this summer.

3. Community

One of the nights I most look forward to each week is Mondays with Team LUNA Chix Portland Run. We’re thrilled to see a few new faces each week, along with our regulars who are crushing it this season and never cease to amaze me.

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In addition to the weekly workouts, we’ve got some exciting events in the works for the second half of the season — from fundraisers and clinics to scavenger hunts and social hours. Follow us on Facebook for details, and check out our Instagram and Twitter updates for the scoop on what we’re up to.

4. Career

My self-imposed maternity leave from Pulse Creative officially ended this month. Wyatt will always be priority numero uno…but, I’ve gotta say, it feels so good to get back in the game and flex those mental muscles again.

Helping my clients communicate not just what they do but why they do it and connect with their audience continues to be both fulfilling and rewarding. And going back to my journalism roots with a few freelance pieces (be sure to grab the October issue of SELF magazine!) has also been fun.

5. Life

Finally, as I mentioned last month, life hasn’t been without its lessons since Wyatt came along. The latest of which is:

Sometimes all the hard work in the world won’t produce the results you want. 

You see, I was raised under the belief that anything’s possible if you put in enough work. That’s how I developed grittiness (some would call it stubbornness?) when it comes to going after goals.

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I still believe that a certain amount of that is good. But after experiences to the contrary during pregnancy, childbirth and parenting (more on that in another post), I’ve learned the difference between sheer tenacity and blind perseverance.

Another lesson? The really hard — and really amazing — part of parenting is that it’s less about trying to live up to an unattainable standard and more about being open to what works for your family.

After all, to quote another conversation with my pediatrician: “Happy families make happy babies.” And who doesn’t have that as a goal for their offspring?

How are your 2016 goals coming along? 

May Goal Check-In

 

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You know how when you start running, it can be pretty uncomfortable, discouraging and fill you with self-doubt? Well, that’s also how the initial few months with your first baby can feel.

Am I doing this correctly? I have no clue. Is this normal? Who knows. Is he happy? I sure hope so. 

But then you push through, eventually hit your stride, and that’s when things finally start to click. That’s exactly how this past month felt.

Not that we’ve got everything figured out — far from it! But we’ve started to get into a good rhythm as a family and find some semblance of a life outside of diapers, naps, bottles and mountains of laundry.

Read more about the five goals toward which I’m working in 2016.

Here’s where things stand currently:

1. Health & Fitness

After last month’s initial excitement of being cleared to work out again, my goal for May was to address any weaknesses from the last year of bodily changes, as well as help protect myself against future issues — i.e. “mommy slump” from feedings or back pain from picking up a rapidly-growing kiddo.

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Enter the wonderful Angi McClure, who runs a program here in Portland call Body401k. She’s not about quick fixes; her work focuses on in vesting in body longevity because, let’s face it, we’re in ’em for the long haul, so the least we can do is take good care of ’em.

I worked out with Angi while I was pregnant, and I know a lot of the work we did helped me stay strong while carrying Wyatt and recover quickly after. So now that I’m getting back into my fitness routine, I’ve resumed sessions because it’s one thing to be cleared to work out and it’s quite another to proceed properly while learning how to navigate the ‘new normal’ of your body.

Another awesome component of postnatal fitness? Stroller Strides.

If all goes to hell, at least I can count on this workout each week. Not only do I get to bring Wyatt along to a butt-kicker of a workout, but it’s also a fantastic way to commiserate connect with other moms in the area.

2. Training

My first official post-baby race (Wanderlust 108‘s 5k) is under my belt, and what can I say? It was rainy, it was cold, the course was hilly and I was huffing and puffing the whole time.

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But thanks to the encouragement of several of my Team LUNA Chix Portland Run teammates, I got it done. No PR’s, no course records — just the satisfaction of knowing I finished, I have a baseline from which to work, and things can only get better from here.

That said, my grand plans to start building mileage this month in an effort to work into training for this fall’s Portland Marathon was an epic fail. I did manage to get a few miles in each week, but I’m currently thinking I’ll have to re-set expectations when it comes to that race.

3. Community

We had a busy but successful month with Team LUNA Chix Portland Run, thanks to our inaugural “Community Week” in which we teamed up with other local businesses and groups to highlight all the great things going on here in PDX.

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We ran, we yoga’d, we bootcamped, we shopped and we volunteered, all in the name of helping to get the word out about what we do, as well as show some love for a few of the great stores, studios and charities in the area.

Up next? In addition to our weekly workouts (Mondays, 6:30 pm at Duniway track), we’re working on organizing a scavenger hunt, as well as more events with our favorite people and places in the fitness community.

Check out our Facebook page for details, and follow us on Instagram and Twitter for updates on what we’ve got going on each week.

4. Career

As I mentioned last month, I ended up extending my maternity leave from my company, Pulse Creative, through May. Mama intuition told me that Wyatt needed a full three months of being my sole focus, and I’m fortunate enough to have clients who are very understanding when it comes to balancing family with work.

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Having my Wanderlust gig, however, did allow me to ease back into things by leading the warm-up at the event’s 5K. And I even squeezed in a few client calls and informal proposals to get a few things in the queue for when I start to ramp back up in June.

5. Life

I’m pretty sure having a child is going to teach me many life lessons, the first of which are:

  1. You cannot control everything.
  2. You cannot do it all.

The way in which Wyatt was born did a pretty good job teaching me no. 1, and life with a baby is schooling me no. 2…every. single. day.

I’ve learned that there are two keys to surviving the first few months with an infant: delegation and outsourcing. Family and friends have been literal lifesavers for me and Ben, whether they’ve dropped off food, stopped by for a visit, shared war stories, helped with a feeding or stayed up practically all night to help us get a few hours of sleep (thanks, MOP!).

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But it’s other little luxuries like having someone come in to tidy up your looks-like-a-bomb-went-off apartment every few weeks or a few precious hours here and there with an extra pair of hands, thanks to this awesome flexible childcare service, that help make a job that’s 24/7 — with no breaks, sick days or vacation — a little more sustainable.

Which leads me to the third, and perhaps the most important, life lesson I’ve learned so far from Wyatt’s past few months on this planet:

Happy moms make happy babies. 

My pediatrician told me this early on, but it wasn’t until recently that I fully understood what he meant — i.e. it’s important to be able to take a step back once in a while and make a little time for myself to regroup.

Not only does this give me better perspective as a mom, but also does wonders for me as a person when I have those oh-my-God-what-did-I-get-myself-into moments where I feel totally overwhelmed and impossibly unprepared.

Because, as I’m learning from my more seasoned parent friends, that feeling never quite goes away!

How are your 2016 goals coming along? 

Wyatt’s Birth Story

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On Wednesday, March 2, at 1:26 p.m., we welcomed little Wyatt into our world. It’s taken me a while to get around to writing about the story of his birth…but after four or five (or more) tries, here it is!

I have to preface this by saying I was not looking forward to having a c-section. And that’s putting it mildly. In fact, after learning mid-way through my pregnancy that the baby was breech, I tried everything in my power to get “it” (at that point, we didn’t know what the sex was) to flip naturally – from swimming and inversions to acupuncture and moxibustion.

After all, my original hope was to try for a natural birth. But after an unsuccessful version there was simply no other option because our hospital won’t deliver breech babies vaginally.

It wasn’t so much the surgery aspect that freaked me out, though; it was the fact that I’d be awake for all of it…and that I’d be confined to an operating table, unable to move, while everything was happening around me.

Plus, I had concerns about it not feeling like an actual “birth” without the labor aspect. Would I still be able to create that bond with the baby that happens when you get to enjoy those first few moments of skin-to-skin contact?

I do believe everything happens for a reason, however, and it turned out to be a pretty positive — I’d even go so far as to say fantastic — experience. So future c-section mamas, take heart!

At 39 weeks and two days, we were scheduled for surgery at 12:30 p.m., so we needed to show up at the hospital to check in at 10 a.m. I was a bundle of nerves that morning, so Ben suggested we hit the gym early to work off some of my nervous energy. There’s nothing like 30 minutes on the elliptical to get your mind right.

After a quick shower — no breakfast because you can’t eat or drink anything after midnight the night before surgery — it was already time to head over to the hospital. Time was passing too quickly, and walking into the labor and delivery ward was absolutely surreal knowing, “Well, we’re going to have a baby in about 2-3 hours.”

After we got settled into a spacious room with a nice view of Northwest Portland, the nurses quickly went to work prepping me for surgery. There was a lot of activity, but the three things I remember most were getting my IV, meeting with the anesthesiologist to go over what would be happening and being put in a paper suit hooked up to what sounded like a blow dryer to warm me up before surgery.

I closed my eyes and tried to enjoy the warmth, but it wasn’t too long before it was time to get down to business. I remember thinking that I should be walking as they were wheeling me in my hospital bed down the hall toward the operating room.

As we went past the waiting room, I got to say hello to Ben’s folks and pause for a quick photo op. It was a relief to see family and get a final few words of encouragement, plus it was a nice distraction!

Despite doing everything I could to mentally prepare myself beforehand, I was dreading the next 10-15 minutes. There’s a great explanation of it here, but basically Ben wouldn’t be allowed in the OR while they got everything set up and started.

Meanwhile, they rolled my hospital bed into the OR, and I fought the overwhelming urge to RUN. Instead, as instructed, I climbed out of bed and up onto the operating table, which was (again) surreal. Those tables are surprisingly tiny!

My doctor was amazing, though — she held my hand and talked to me as I hunched over a pillow and got my spinal. I had been worried about how I’d react to it because I’d never had one before and heard some horror stories, but everything went very smoothly. First came an injection to numb the area (they said it’d feel like a bee sting, but it wasn’t that bad) and then an injection into my spine to numb me from the chest down (I didn’t feel anything).

As the spinal kicked in, however, it did feel a lot like that pins and needles sensation when your legs fall asleep. And as it took full effect, I could still feel pressure and movement (again, surreal!) but absolutely no pain.

From there, things continued to, again, move swiftly. In order to create a pleasant atmosphere and try to add some warmth to what can feel like a very sterile situation, my OB told me in advance that I could make a playlist for surgery prep. So I chose some Motown music to play in the background as the doctors and nurses chatted and got to work.

They draped me with a surgical screen, which was a little claustrophobic because it hangs so close to your face. But there’s a small window in front of your face — yes, really — that you can open to see what’s going on.

The cover to mine kept flopping open, and even though my bump was in the way, seeing anything specific was not in my revised birth plan. So, fortunately, a nurse kindly taped it shut until the big reveal. I was really glad we’d waited to find out the sex because the anticipation and excitement outweighed my nerves at this point.

By the time Ben walked in, he said that surgery was already underway. I’m not sure if it was the medications or the adrenaline, but either way it seemed like only a minute later that they were tugging around a lot (a really weird feeling, but totally tolerable) and then announced that we were about to have a baby!

Again, surreal. 

There were another few tugs, which were forcible enough to rock my whole body back and forth, along with one strong push on my abdomen. I heard a nurse say to Ben, “Alright, are you ready, dad?”

“I’m ready.” he said, as the doctor had her assisting doctor give one final tug to pull the baby out of me.

“We have a baby!” Ben exclaimed, and as the doctor flipped Wyatt over he said, “It’s a little boy!” The doctors joked around about the grumpy face he was making after leaving his cozy confines from the past nine months and held him in front of the screen so I could see.

From there, they cleaned him up and took a few initial vitals before bringing him over to me so I could check him out and sneak a quick snuggle. He was so tiny and soft…all six pounds, nine ounces and 20.5 inches of him.

After that, things were pretty blurry as the pain meds kicked in. This is both good and bad – good because I felt no pain from the surgery, but bad because I would have liked to have been more coherent in the first few hours (and days!) after our son was born.

Ben said I was completely lucid with everyone, and I remember bits and pieces of conversations and moments…but didn’t retain information or have much of a short-term memory. Like when I asked the next day if we’d had the baby yet. Oops…oxycodone is no joke.

I do remember initially hanging out in the recovery room getting to do some skin-to-skin to bond with Wyatt, but the following days of recovery were fuzzy between the drugs, the sleep deprivation and the sheer excitement over growing our family by one tiny human.

Ben pitched in like a champ and was not only on diaper duty but also brought Wyatt to me for feedings because I wasn’t mobile right away. They did get me up and out of bed the day after surgery for a shower, and the pain at my incision was present but not overwhelming.

The worst part of the next few days was probably the frequent fundal massages! If you’re not familiar with ‘em, Google the term. Every nurse was apologetic and as gentle as possible, but my whole abdomen was super tender.

Aside from that, the hospital stay was really enjoyable. The staff was kind and helpful, the food was great, our room was comfortable and, as a friend told us beforehand, the best part was that time simply does not exist in there; you just get to enjoy your new addition and forget about the outside world for a few days.

All good things must come to an end, though, and by Saturday morning we were packing up and watching the mandatory newborn care videos. A lot of good those did, though, as we ended up taking out first ER trip a week later when I was worried Wyatt had caught my flu bug!

He shot us more than a few suspicious looks (his go-to face, as we’ve now learned) as we dressed him in his first outfit – a newborn one, which he was swimming in at a mere six pounds at that point (babies lose up to 10 percent of their body weight before they leave the hospital). We secured him in his car seat, loaded him up in the car and were off as a family of three…

Despite the fact that we are his parents, I couldn’t help but feel that we weren’t qualified to be taking this little man home with us. Sure, we did fine in the hospital under the guidance of the doctors and nurses, but being the sole people that he’d now be relying felt like an enormous responsibility (and, quite frankly, still does).

But babies are born each day, and people figure it out. And we’ll likely make a lot of mistakes along the way, but we’re excited to see where this ride called parenthood takes us.

So far? It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster. We’ve had highs and lows when it comes to deciphering his cues, getting the hang of breastfeeding (still a work-in-progress), troubleshooting gas and reflux issues and navigating life on very little sleep and even less free time.

Foolishly, I thought that perhaps my endurance background would prepare me for the marathon that is the first few months with a newborn, but I learned a valuable lesson: There is no training plan when it comes to an infant.

Not only are they their own individual little people with distinct personalities, but just as pregnancy and delivery can be a total crap-shoot, it’s the luck of the draw when it comes to what kind of baby you’ll get, too.

Fortunately, though, even in their toughest moments they’re still lovable (and adorable). Although I may be eating those words when it comes to the toddler or teenage years!

Interested in learning more about my journey back from baby? Read about a few of my favorite tips here.

 

Body After Baby: 10 Tips for Easing Back into a Fitness Routine

PostpartumFitness

A fellow active mama and I were chatting over coffee after our Stroller Striders class the other morning. While reminiscing about our racing days and talking about training plans that have since been derailed, we came to the consensus that the whole”bouncing back” after pregnancy concept is a load of crap.

Sure, recovery is one thing. I credit an active pregnancy with being able to get back on my feet fairly quickly after my c-section.

But fitness and performance? That’s another thing entirely.

So in an attempt to set the record straight on the “body after baby” business, I figured I’d share a few of my real-life tips on upping your activity ante post-baby:

1. Go on the offense. I learned firsthand that it’s not so much pregnancy that will sideline you; it’s the fact that you’ll be sitting around for six weeks afterwards recovering, nursing, not sleeping, etc. So start early and often — bank whatever training you can muster while pregnant to keep from going into too much of a deficit after baby’s debut.

2. Wait for the all-clear. As eager as you may be and as great as you may feel, do not disregard your doctor’s orders. Wait until bleeding stops, incisions are healed and you’re given the go ahead from your doctor to resume regular activity. I’ve heard way too many stories of mamas pushing it prematurely only to end up with injuries and other setbacks.

3. Start slooowly. Don’t expect to come out of the gate right where you left off! This was a tough pill for me to swallow, but I made the decision to relish walking and enjoy not working out for six weeks. Think of it as an extended rest and recovery from training — and use the time to stretch your legs, get some fresh air and fight off cabin fever.

4. Take the pyramid approach. When you’re training for a race, you taper down so you peak on the day of the event, right? Well, labor and delivery is the same concept, except in inverse — you slowly decrease intensity and modify exercise as you get more pregnant and then build back up afterwards.

5. Enlist help from a pro. Sometimes it takes an outside voice of reason to make you take it easy, build a solid foundation and help keep things in perspective. And take it from me, it’s well worth the investment to rebuild that core because you’ll need it as baby grows in fits and spurts!

6. Embrace the suck. Know going in that it’s not going to feel great. And expect to end up in a frustrated funk when you realize just how off-balance and generally unfit you feel after having a baby. So set your expectations accordingly, and you’ll have more patience for chipping away slowly at that #mombod.

7. Tag team your little one. A fit mama friend revealed this brilliant approach toward weekend workouts. If you and your hubby are both trying to squeeze in some major training, one person gets priority on Saturday morning while the other person gets dibs on prime workout time on Sunday.

8. Enlist your new workout partner. This took me a while to feel comfortable with, but around two months in, I joined said Stroller Striders class with Wyatt. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em…er, if you can’t leave ’em at home, bring ’em along to your workout!

9. Set a major goal with mini milestones. Time flies when you’re tending to a little human, so set some dates on the calendar to get yourself back in the game. For example, my first post-baby race was the recent Wanderlust 5k, which helped get me fired up for Portland Marathon training.

10. Be kind to yourself. Finally, if you do nothing else and take no other advice from me, give yourself a break. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned as a new mom is that we’re all just trying our best to get by, so a little kindness with the self-talk goes a long way. After all, life has changed dramatically and your priorities have shifted, so your best bet is to take the new twists and turns in your fitness journey in stride!

What are your favorite tips for getting back on the fitness bandwagon post-baby?