Willa’s Birth Story

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On Friday, April 13, at 8:30 a.m. our family officially became a foursome with the birth of little Willa Rose. I haven’t had much time to devote to the blog (because newborn + two-year-old), but I did want to document her birth story while it’s fairly fresh in my mind (much like her brother’s here), mostly in case she wants to look back on it later.

But first – while we’re on the topic of birth – I wanted to take the opportunity to talk for a second about birth plans.

Can we all just agree that these add a lot of unwarranted pressure on moms? I’m not sure exactly when birth planning became a thing (aside from, “Let’s make a baby!” and “Let’s keep it alive outside of Mom’s belly”), but somehow we’ve come to a place where there’s now a big emphasis on them. So much so that there are all these new pressures, expectations and emotions surrounding the whole birthing “experience.”

Maybe it’s a fear thing; we want to have some semblance of control in a situation that cannot really be planned? Maybe it’s a societal (read: social media) thing; we want to wear some kind of warrior-woman-Earth-goddess status as a badge of honor? Or maybe it’s a gender thing; like all we needed was yet another way for women to feel like they had to measure up?

Whatever the reason, it’s time celebrate and appreciate birth in ALL its forms. Go, us, for growing and bringing a new life into the world!

I bring this up because I, too, got sucked into the hype the first time around – but found that during my second pregnancy (with more perspective or…less patience?) it became annoying more than anything.

I originally hoped to go the unmedicated, vaginal route with Wyatt…but as the saying goes, “man plans, and God laughs.”

As a breech baby, he dictated the plan in the end. And when it was Willa’s turn, my body ended up ultimately calling the shots, as you’ll see below.

So despite my best intentions, both births were out of my control. I fought against the first one and felt feelings of guilt, loss and even frustration afterward. But the second time around I ultimately found peace and rolled with the punches.

I’d even go as far as to say that this most recent experience was amazing – and cathartic. So, lesson learned, and I hope other mamas and mamas-to-be can benefit from reading this!

Now, let’s get to the good stuff – the story of Willa:

Just as with Wyatt, we decided early on not to find out the sex of the baby until delivery day. It was such a memorable experience last time that we wanted the same anticipation and excitement around the arrival of baby number two.

With the exception of added fatigue (hello, toddler), my second pregnancy was, thankfully, fairly uneventful and very similar to my first. Willa’s time in utero was remarkably low-key, marked by swift kicks to my right ribs and nightly hiccups.

Most notable was that she seemed to be following in the footsteps of her big brother by hanging out in a breech position. Up until week 33 or 34 I had resigned myself to the fact that we were headed for another scheduled c-section (I had been hoping for a VBAC but knew it wasn’t a guarantee).

Unlike her brother, however, a third trimester growth scan revealed that baby had flipped into the head-down position. This was also about the time she also started pressing on my sciatic nerve. Any exercise – or even walking, for that matter – came to a grinding halt, which was interesting because right up until that point running actually felt great!

With a few weeks left, I was thrilled to make a game plan for a VBAC attempt. I say “attempt” because they call it a “trial of labor” in the hospital consent form. Regardless, it was exciting because I was really hoping to avoid another c-section – mainly because A) I didn’t like feeling so drugged up after the first one, and B) I was worried about a more complex recovery with a toddler at home (you’re not supposed to lift anything heavier than baby for the first few weeks).

But as soon as I re-packed my hospital bags and wrapped my head around a new kind of birth, my body decided to throw us for a loop in the form of rapidly rising blood pressure – aka gestational hypertension – around week 37.

So fast forward to week 38. and my c-section-turned-VBAC “birth plan” changed once again. After testing for pre-eclampsia (negative) and spending in Labor & Delivery being monitored (her heartbeat dipped on the doppler during a routine visit, but it turned out she was fine), I was given a deadline by my OB: baby needed to come in the next week.

Now all that was left to do was make a game plan for getting her out safely.

Option one was to induce, but since I had a previous c-section we were limited in the range of drugs we could use (basically just Pitocin to stimulate contractions). But since I wasn’t dilated yet and we couldn’t use any medicine to soften my cervix, my OB calculated pretty low odds of success. Option two was to schedule a repeat c-section.

When I pressed (pleaded!) for a third option – buying more time for baby to come on his/her own – my OB cautioned strongly against it.

After plenty of tears (hello, hormones!) and time spent processing the situation, I decided that the best decision for me and baby would be to opt for a repeat c-section.

It wasn’t an easy decision by any means, and I won’t lie and say I wasn’t disappointed after getting my hopes up for a VBAC…but in the end, it just made sense to prioritize both my and my baby’s immediate health over being able to say I attempted a vaginal delivery.

Once that was settled, I felt as if a huge weight was lifted. We could start planning for the big day (Friday the 13th was wide open in the surgery schedule – go figure!). So once again I re-packed that hospital bag and hoped for the best.

Surgery was scheduled for 7:30 am, so Ben and I arrived at the hospital by 5:30 am to get prepped. Driving in the car that morning, we were still going through baby names; the girl name we were pretty much settled on, but we were still going back and forth between several for boys.

Walking into Labor & Delivery, the nurses greeted us with a warm, “Hey, you’re here to have a baby!” which felt as surreal as the first time we were there…since I wasn’t actually in labor. But once I was in our hospital room with my gown on, things got real – really quickly.

My IV was probably the most painful part of this whole process! It took my poor nurse four or five attempts, apparently because the high blood pressure was making my veins “squiggly.” Each time she inserted the needle and catheter, I felt a strong nerve-y ache (and the resulting bruises took as long to heal as my incision).

Once that was done, the anesthesiologist stopped in to talk about the epidural (side note: I had a spinal the first time, but apparently there’s a shortage of that medicine and/or they’re switching to epidurals for c-sections anyway…at least at my hospital). I was nervous because this was all new to me, but he walked through the process and answered my questions patiently.

Getting the actual epidural was interesting – I don’t know how you ladies do it while in labor! They raised the bed up high and had Ben sit in front of me and hold my arms as I hunched over a pillow and held still. Neither the numbing needle nor the catheter were painful, but I felt a weird twinge in one hip at a point – nothing unbearable, though.

It was neat being able to compare my previous spinal to the epidural, too. The spinal was one quick shot and took effect almost immediately (feels like your legs are warm and falling asleep), while the epidural was a much longer process – both in how long it took to set up and take effect. They did a test to see if it was working before wheeling me into the operating room – and then it was go time!

I’m not sure if it was a difference in drugs or just knowing what to expect (I was nervous both times; it IS major surgery, after all), but I felt much more coherent in the OR this time around.

The anesthesiologist cranked up my epidural, the nurses did their final prep and my doctor got to work almost immediately behind the drape. Ben got to come into the room a few minutes later and sit by my head.

With Wyatt, I remember more tugging and my body being rocked back and forth, but absolutely no pain; with Willa there was a lot less movement, but greater pressure as they pushed her out – maybe because the babies were in different positions?

There was also a point where I could start feeling sensations of some of the tools in my abdomen. I had a moment of panic, alerting the anesthesiologist, and he adjusted my medication quickly.

We also opted again for the clear drape during surgery. I’d definitely recommend this if you’re having a c-section! Don’t worry – you won’t see any actual surgery, but they’ll drop it when the baby comes out so you’ll get to see him or her immediately through a clear plastic window, which is wonderful.

In a matter of minutes, Willa was on her way out; my doctor held her up to the drape for Ben to call out the sex. A short pause later he said, “It’s a little…girl? IT’S A GIRL!”

After wiping her down, checking her vitals and swaddling her, we got to get in a few minutes of cuddle time as I was being put back together and sewn up. Those first few moments with a new baby never cease to leave me in awe of the miracle of life.

Once my doctor was done, we rolled over to recovery for about an hour and a half for monitoring. The best part of this was uninterrupted skin-to-skin; those fresh-out-of-the-womb snuggles are second to none – the drugs didn’t knock me on my butt this time, thank goodness, but I was definitely riding a ‘mom high!’

Once we were back in our room, Ben and I spent the next few days getting to know Willa, re-learning how to care for a newborn (thank you, L&D nurses!) and introducing her to family (big brother, most importantly!).

Recovery from surgery went so smoothly that they gave us the option of being discharged a day early, although we opted to stay in for an extra night to make sure I was back on my feet (plus Willa was fighting through some jaundice). But before we knew it, we were packing up to head home to begin our life as a family of four.

Since then, it’s been an adventure, but Mama is slowly but surely learning the ropes handling two while Dad’s at work!

It’s easier with your second in that you know generally what to expect – and that babies are more resilient than we give them credit for. But it’s also tougher in that there are few breaks between toggling back and forth between a newborn and toddler – basically two “babies.”

The only way I can describe the first month home with two kids two-and-under is pure chaos. But we survived, thanks to family for pinch-hitting with babysitting and friends who brought meals, and each week it gets a little bit less intimidating being at home and outnumbered.

Fortunately, Willa’s a very mellow baby, too – we have been blessed with a good eater and sleeper this time around – so she’s very forgiving when Wyatt needs some special attention from Mama.

And while it’s tough to carve out much time for myself, I’ve been focused less on how quickly I can return to working out and more on how to do so safely. Which means that nearly three months out I have yet to do much beyond walking, but I’ve been doing plenty of rehab work with my PT, as well as other post-natal health and fitness experts.

If you’re a new mom (or any mom, for that matter), I can’t stress enough the importance of re-building a strong foundation before you jump back into training. More on that soon because this topic deserves its own post, but if you have any questions in the meantime please feel free to reach out and I can answer based on my personal experience or direct you to someone who can help!

Because there’s one truth that’s constant regardless of how many kids you do (or don’t) have: if you don’t take good care of yourself, how are you going to help care for anyone else?!

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Race Report: Vernonia Half Marathon

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After a year and a half hiatus from racing, it feels SO good to be back in the saddle!

When my plans to race 26.2 last fall got put on hold (because sleep > running), I set my sights on what felt like a more manageable challenge: the half marathon (my 15th!).

My PR was 1:47 and change from a few years ago, so when I signed on with a coach to help me with my postpartum comeback and restrain keep me from over-training, I told him I was eyeing not only a PR, but also an even bolder post-baby goal of 1:45.

We started working together in early January with a mission to get me safely to the start line of the Vernonia Half Marathon on April 9. Training went smoothly; after figuring out my paces, we exchanged emails each week as I eagerly tackled my nap-time workouts on the treadmill.

It felt good to be on a schedule. It felt great to be running regularly. And it felt awesome to finally start pushing myself again.

Although I was nailing workouts, my coach was frank about setting expectations when it came to race day: Based on my tempo runs, overall paces and our conservative build-up of mileage (I started at square one, so my long runs maxed out at 10 miles by the time we got to race day), he warned me that a PR may not be in the cards this training cycle.

By that point, however, I was just happy to be toeing the start line well-trained and healthy, so I figured it’d be a good opportunity to set a baseline from which I could work for my next race. It also meant that I’d leave my watch at home and just run by feel.

Fast forward to race day, and I was battling a serious case of self-doubt. Would treadmill mileage translate to the roads? How would I handle the last few miles (which I’d likely be running on fumes)? Could I even get in the head-space to go hard? Hell, I wasn’t even sure if my race kit from 2016 would fit.

We arrived about an hour and a half before the 9 a.m. start because the course was point-to-point and there was a 20-minute bus ride to the start. Luckily, it’s a super low-key event (~150 marathoners & fewer than 400 half marathoners), so everything went smoothly and we soon found ourselves inside Stub Stewart State Park at Hilltop with a little more than an hour until the gun went off.

To say it was cold for Oregon in April would be putting it mildly; there were more than a few “penguin” jokes circulating as several hundred of us huddled in a shelter, hopping from foot to foot, in an attempt to share body warmth.

Several cups of water and trips to the HoneyBuckets later, Ben, Matt and I lined up at the start barely able to feel our feet. The race started without much pomp and circumstance; no National Anthem or so much as a countdown or warning before we were off.

The course took us uphill for the first mile or so before joining the Banks-Vernonia State Trail at mile two, so my plan was to A) warm up for the first mile, B) go out conservatively so I didn’t expend too much energy, and C) try to run separately from Ben and Matt because they were anticipating slightly slower and faster finish times, respectively.

When we hit the first mile marker and I was still next to Matt, I figured he was having an “off” day because I just assumed my first mile would be around a 9:00 pace due to the hill. But when he said we were at 8:20, I decided to double-down and go for it.

The next six miles or so took us along a paved trail, through scenic woods on an abandoned railroad bed. And since we had a gradual downhill until mile seven, everyone was taking full advantage of it.

Things were going well until somewhere after mile eight when we hit an open section of the course and the wind picked up; even though the final stretch was flat, the previous downhill had taken a toll on my quads. That, combined with a lack of mile markers at this point made for a total mental battle as I fought fatigue and wondered where I was on the course.

Not wanting to tempt the GI gods, I had also avoided any kind of fuel for the first hour or so. But after mile seven I paused at each water station to take a few sips of Gatorade. Somewhere around mile nine, I felt the first gut flutter and around what I think was mile 12, I pulled over to take a quick nip of Gu to help get me to the finish.

For those final few miles my brain was squarely at the intersection of “I-just-wanna-walk,” “the-faster-I-run-the-faster-I-am-done” and “uh-oh-my-gut.” But words of encouragement from my coach and fellow mama runner friends kept me pushing along.

When we turned off the trail and into town I knew we had to be close to the finish. In a matter of minutes, we turned in to the Banks High School parking lot and made our way to the track where we had one lap to complete the race.

Per usual, that last lap felt like the longest portion of the race. I didn’t allow myself to look at the finish line until we rounded the first curve, then silently cursed because it was, indeed, a full lap.

As I rounded the last curve, I saw the clock read 1:46:XX. With one final kick, I crossed the finish line, found Matt, then headed straight to the bathroom; thank goodness for ample facilities at this race!

Matt had finished in 1:42, an impressive PR. Ben ran a 1:49, which was fantastic for the amount of training he didn’t do did for this race. And my official time was 1:46:06, which was good enough for a new PR, a 4th place finish in my age group and a top 20 finish among women.

Immediately my mind went to what I did well (in order to replicate it) and what I can improve upon (i.e. remove a negative variable) next training cycle: Having a coach was beneficial in so many ways, as was the consistency of my training and speed-work. But I definitely need to focus on improving my nutrition going forward — not only fueling during the race, but also the days/weeks leading up to it.

And although I’m still in shock about the outcome, the wheels have started turning about what’s next. My coach assured me that 1:45 is doable with more mileage under my belt, which is tempting. But I’m also mulling over going shorter and faster; I’d love to finally beat my 5K PR from my high school track days.

But just as life evolves, so does a runner’s relationship with the sport. And as good as it feels to nail a new PR and chase after the next one, I’m also realizing that there’s much more to it now than just the numbers.

I run because it makes me feel alive. Running makes me feel like I’m unstoppable. It makes me feel as though I’m capable of anything.

But now I also run because I’ve got an example to set for Wyatt. I want him to see his mom setting goals and working hard to achieve them. I want him to learn that it takes dedication to reach our goals and that we can do hard things.

And my ultimate goal is that he’ll be inspired to chase after his own dreams, running or otherwise.

October Goal Check-In

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The end of October is always a little bittersweet, isn’t it? As exciting as it is to really settle into fall and celebrate Halloween, now we’re suddenly barreling towards the holiday season and a brand new year is just around the corner.

And has anyone else seen all the holiday commercials already?! I’m the first to admit I’ll be cranking up the Christmas tunes before too long…but October 26 was just too soon to start seeing ads about Santa and stuffing stockings.

All that aside, I’m still focused on sticking loosely to my 2016 goals before setting new intentions for 2017. So here’s an update:

1. Health & Fitness: In terms of a typical week, I’m now trying to move at least four or five out of the seven days. With a baby’s schedule and Portland’s rainy season to factor in, this means taking whatever I can get whenever I can get it: Namely stroller jogs, treadmill runs, cross-training on the Nordic Track (yes, you read that correctly; it was left behind by the previous owners of our house), plus a smattering of free weights.

And as much as I miss the accountability of a training schedule, it’s been refreshing to exercise for general fitness for a change. If there’s a day where a workout just doesn’t work out, it’s a relief at the moment to be able to take it in stride versus fretting about getting behind schedule.

2. Training: Speaking of schedules…just last month I mentioned there wasn’t a race on the horizon, but that may soon change because I’m mulling over a potential spring marathon. It’d be a change of pace from my usual summer training cycles focusing on fall races, and this time I’m also considering working under the general guidance of a coach to train smart and stay healthy while ramping up mileage.

3. Community: Our 2016 Team LUNA Chix Portland Run season has officially ended, and we celebrated with our annual party at Title Nine Portland on October 24. In addition to a fantastic group of community members joining us this year, I’m proud to say that we also managed to raise nearly $3,000 for Breast Cancer Fund.

As for next year, we’ll be changing things up a bit, so stay tuned for details! We’re opening applications for team leaders for the 2017 season in early December, so if you’re interested in getting involved with a dynamic group of women who are making a difference in the Portland area, along with getting in some great workouts and making new friends, like our Facebook page for updates.

4. Career: This has been an area where I’ve been feeling reenergized as of late. First, Fit4Mom Cedar Mill hosted a very cool “Mindful Mamas” event this month where we worked out together and then sat down with a life coach to talk about time management and priorities. Lesson learned: Make sure what you’re spending your time on is truly aligned with your goals.

Second, I signed a new boutique fitness client in the Portland area, and we’ve been hard at work on messaging, positioning and PR planning. I love working with business owners who understand the importance of connecting — not only with clients to help them get fitter and feel healthier, but also with the community to give back. So inspiring!

5. Life: Finally, I need to do a whole in-depth post on the glory that is ‘sleep training.’ But for now, I’ll just say this: If you’re having any trouble getting your little one to sleep — whether it’s through at night or just for regular naps, it’s a total game-changer. I’d go as far as to say it’s the best baby-related investment we’ve made because it provides the confidence to do what you need to do to help everyone get some more zzz’s.

The woman we worked with was simply amazing (parents, ping me if you want an intro), particularly because she specializes in minimizing the amount of crying during the process. I had heard horror stories of people having to camp outside of baby’s door enduring hours of screaming, but our experience was quite different. We had a total of 12 minutes of crying in protest the first night before Wyatt slept 12 HOURS.

There’s a lot that goes into it — both in terms of preparation and consistency in order to develop new habits, plus (duh) you’ll still have the usual hiccups now and then — but, overall, it’s been nothing short of life-changing. Chronic sleep deprivation (seven months, in our case) can leave you in a pretty dark place, so it’s pure joy to finally come into the light at the end of the tunnel.

Ready or not, here we come: Are you excited for the final stretch of 2016?

September Goal Check-In

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Last month’s check-in was about re-prioritizing and not beating myself up about it. So in September I committed to following through on that — not just in words but with action.

So here’s how the past 30 days panned out:

1. Health & Fitness: Ah, glorious sleep. Not that we’re getting a full night’s rest yet by any means, but the fact that I’m only having to get up once or twice is a game-changer. Which is why regular workouts are slowly making a reappearance; more zzz’s means actually having energy again!

2. Training: There’s no competitive racing on the horizon just yet — but that doesn’t mean I can’t scratch the itch just a bit in the meantime. I’m officially on the lookout for some shorter distances (5k/10k) to start testing my legs after the whole having-a-baby hiatus.

3. Community: It’s that time already; we’re winding down our 2016 Team LUNA Chix Portland Run season — but not before celebrating at our last practice on October 24th! We’re also planning ahead to next season and talking about how we can get even better and make a bigger impact.

4. Career: Figuring out my roles as “entrepreneur” and “mom” continues to be a balancing act. I did, however, get some great advice from a colleague: Be the best at what you’re doing in that moment. When doing it all isn’t an option, you do what you can when you can.

5. Life: An infant’s schedule is a moving target. But Wyatt and I have gotten into a pretty good daily routine, and having just that little bit of predictability feels wonderful. Next up, sleep training to nail our nap time routine and middle-of-the-night wake-ups!

In the process of mulling things over this month, I also came to a few realizations about the intersection of endurance athletics and motherhood (which is also, arguably, an endurance event in and of itself!):

#1 – It’s not about you. Whereas my old training days were divided into two segments (Before the Long Run & After the Long Run) there’s no longer time to prep and wait for the perfect moment, let alone take an ice bath and chill on the couch with a protein shake and legs up after. The opportune time for running is whenever you can — and you’re grateful to be able to make the most of any amount of mileage.

#2 – Celebrate consistency. I used to need something to be training for, building toward and looking forward to…but now I recognize the sense of accomplishment in just getting out there and moving regularly. In fact, sometimes that’s even tougher because there’s much less accountability and motivation without a race-day deadline looming.

#3 – Go with the flow. ‘Nuff said. This is pretty much the mantra of any parent because you’ve always gotta be ready to change course and problem-solve on the fly.

#4 – Throw expectations out the window. Again, pretty self-explanatory. Some days you’re on your game, others you feel like a total failure, but it’s the effort that counts most when you’re looking at the bigger picture.

#5 – Define ‘success’ in your own terms. Run your own race, whether it’s completing a marathon or chasing after your kiddo. We’re all here just trying to do the best we can and feel good about it at the end of the day. So cut yourself some slack, and remind those around you to do the same!

Is there anything you’d add to the list?

August Goal Check-In

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Hello again! After a few weeks of radio silence (aka first break from blogging in three and a half years), I’m finally coming up for air.

Truth is — and this is hard to admit — I’m feeling pretty overwhelmed at the moment.

While I typically pride myself in being able to divide and conquer (attributed, no doubt, to all those years putting out PR fires), I just haven’t been able to feel like I can get my head above water lately.

But the first step is admitting you need help, right?

So I took a hard look at things over the past few weeks, re-prioritized goals and am narrowing my focus when it comes to where I’m spending energy. Which means that my monthly goals have changed, and this check-in will look a bit different going forward for the remainder of the year.

As in, I’m going to quit beating myself up for not nailing my original goals this year; instead, I’m going to get real about how things have changed and celebrate what IS working.

For starters, training has taken a backseat. With everything else going on this summer (i.e. travel, moving and still trying to get Wyatt on a schedule), I simply don’t have the mental or physical reserves needed to get into marathon mode.

I did go back and forth trying to figure out how to train just enough to be able to complete 26.2 because I’m familiar enough with the distance…but ultimately came to the conclusion that doing something just for the sake of doing it won’t be as fulfilling as committing to doing it well later.

There will be more marathons. Just not this year.

Next — and it’s only taken me six months to realize this — it’s pretty damn near impossible to get any work done while home with a baby. Veteran moms, I’ll pause for a second here for you to stop laughing…but I had learn this on my own!

I don’t have full-time SAHM status, so the search is on for a part-time nanny to allow me to carve out regular work hours each week. That lovely #momguilt kept me from acting on this sooner, but I believe it’ll set a good example for our kiddo(s) and allow me to be a better mom in the long run.

And, finally, after fighting the good fight when it comes to infant-(lack of)-sleep, Ben and I are waving the white flag and hiring a sleep trainer. This is a delicate subject, likely fodder for another blog post, and although we’ve made some progress on our own it’s time to enlist help from a pro to get a decent night’s sleep.

In terms of what has been going as planned, Team LUNA Chix Portland Run is knocking it out of the park. Despite our usual location being closed for construction, our community rallies each week — and we managed to hit our season goal for fundraising for the Breast Cancer Fund this month. Boom!

Work-wise, I have yet to dedicate as many hours to growing my business as I’d like since Wyatt came along, but I’m fortunate enough to have a pretty awesome roster of repeat clients who want to collaborate on upcoming projects. So it’s there for the taking, as soon as I get the nanny situation sorted out.

Workouts are nowhere near what they used to be in consistency, variety or intensity, but I am getting back on track after our move and making it a point to explore our new ‘hood. With baby-in-tow it’s just easier now to take a stroller jog or hit up our makeshift home gym when if he’s sleeping.

Being in the ‘burbs has definitely been an adjustment after years of city living — i.e being a block away from everything before, whereas now the closest stuff is a 15-minute drive — but the trade-off for a little more breathing room was a no-brainer.

So rather than gunning after my original goals, I’m finding peace with discovering the new normal and what progress means for me, personally, as well as us as a family this year.

In fact, that seems to be a pretty fitting mantra — both literally and figuratively — when everything’s in flux, as it is now, and my Type A tendencies have me white-knuckling the ride:

When one door closes, another one opens!

Have your goals evolved this year? And how are you defining success as they change?

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? 

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?