Friday, April 29, 2016

Fitness Friday - 4/29

It's been SO long since I've had the opportunity to write a Fitness Friday, so today is a VERY exciting day for me!! Yay!

Currently Training For:
  • Tour Lafitte 10 Mile Bike Ride
  • 4 Miler on the 4th of July
  • Disney's Princess Half Marathon & Glass Slipper Challenge
  • Rock n Roll New Orleans Half Marathon
If you read Monday's blog post, you know I've slowly made my return to the world of fitness over the past two weeks or so since Baby Brayden's arrival.

Yesterday, I was going to find a YouTube video I could do from home but completely changed my mind. I was also going to wait until I hit four weeks postpartum to begin my return to running, but I just couldn't stand it any longer. (I made it three weeks and two days...haha!)

So, I laced up my shoes and went out for a spin around the block (after securing Brayden with Jason first, of course)!

By the way, my OB's specific instructions were to resume exercise that's what I've done!

I had no preconceived notions with this run. It's been at least 9 months since I ran 3 miles straight through. It's also been since December that I even attempted to run, period. My first strategy was to take it slow, test what pace felt comfortable for me, and see how far I could make it before having to stop - the answer was 0.6 miles without pushing myself. I was worried I would have to start all over completely from scratch again, but I'm glad to say I made it at least that far. After that, I began a Jeff Galloway run/walk strategy of a 3 minute run, 2 minute walk until I hit two miles. My original plan was to stop at 2 miles but if you know me, you know I'm all up for a challenge - so I kept going at that run/walk pace, just to test out my 5K time.

(For the record, I was NOT running a 9:46...I have NO clue what is wrong with that app!!)

By the end of the run, I felt as if I had run the entire 3 miles through mud - my lungs were burning and my legs hurt. This body that spent 9 (wait, no 10) months creating another human being ran it's slowest 5K ever. Was I upset? Nope. How could I be? I'm practically starting over (almost) and will get back where I was, it's just a matter of time! Oh yes and guess what? I'm sore today...Hah!

Summer running? NOT looking forward to that!!

Tomorrow, I'm riding in a local bike ride with my sister-in-law called the Tour Lafitte. This is the largest bike ride in our area and has been going on for many many years. It also benefits Special Olympics. I've always been intrigued and wanted to participate, but was always in training for a running event. When Kayla called and asked if I was interested in a ride, I figured that this year was the year!

For this race, riders can choose between five distance options (64 mi, 50 mi, 40mi, 27 mi and 10 mi). We are going with the shortest, the family 10 mile option.

The one item I needed for this ride was a helmet. Jason had to go out last night for a few items so I told him what I needed. I'm not a serious rider here, so you can laugh all you want but my bike is a mountain bike from Academy and my shiny new helmet (thanks to Jason) is from Walmart! Hey, it will work in a pinch!

Did you also notice that runDisney introduced a new virtual 5K race series yesterday? Just when I was bummed over not being able to participate in ANY runDisney events for 2016, this was announced! After reviewing the details and not thinking about it for too long (because I tend to talk myself out of things sometimes), I bit the bullet and am now registered for the Virtual Running Shorts Series. A few local friends of mine are also registered, so it will be fun to complete some of these together!!

...I mean, look at that medal! How cute is that?!

Last but not least, to celebrate my return to running and my new runDisney venture, I decided to dig into my stash of these bad boys! It was about to expire so I HAD to eat it, right? :)

I hope you all have a great weekend! Anyone have exciting weekend plans? Any races planned?

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Another Day, Another Week!

Another week has come and gone in the life of our little family! Things are going well so far although Brayden decides to party every morning between the hours of 4 a.m. and 6 a.m., which makes for a sleepy mom and dad. Other than that, things have been going great! :)

Here's a glimpse at our week so far...

The flowers are blooming in my flower bed and I love it...although the weeds need to be pulled SO bad. I notice them every time I walk through and can't help but cringe. However, they will have to wait!

This past weekend, Brayden had his first major outing and visit to my favorite restaurant, McAlisters! So much fun!!

We also took his newborn pictures last week (when he turned 2 weeks old) and this is a "sneak peak" from my photographer was sent to me a few days ago. Adorable! 

Speaking of adorable, that face. I could just stare at him for hours!

...and speaking of staring...I spy a pair of doggie eyes on me! :) Little beggar! 

I also might have eaten a little pizza this weekend. My eating habits got so off track during my third's time to get them back where they need to be!

As happy as I am to have Brayden here, I can't help but be a little sentimental at the phase of my life that has now ended. Although I'm glad to have more space in his closet now, it was bittersweet to pack up my maternity clothing over the weekend. I AM keeping them never know what the future holds! :)

Madalynn spied an old friend on one of our walks last week. We haven't seen horsey-friend in a long time! 

This sweet little boy turned 3 weeks old this past Tuesday. I can't believe how fast time is flying by! On his three week birthday, we visited my work/American Cancer Society Friends and had dinner with my parents. It was such a jam packed day, he was worn out by the time it was all said and done!

He's such a snuggly baby, too...I just love it! 

I managed to get away for a few hours this week to shop for bridesmaids dresses. A friend of mine is getting married soon and I wanted to wait a few weeks for the extra baby swelling to go down before trying on a dress. Although it is a tad bit snug, I was able to order my "normal" size which made me super happy! I made the decision not to go with the larger size because it was a little too big and I know by the time I get to running again in a few weeks, the dress will fit even better!

Over the past few weeks, two birds have been building a nest in one of our plants off the back deck. I was finally able to see the fruits of their hard work - four speckled eggs! It's going to be fun to watch these hatch, grow, and fly off on their own! I just have to keep Madalynn out...crazy dog.

That pretty much sums up our past week! Hope you've had a great one! :)

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Legend Compression Ambassador

During the third trimester of my pregnancy, I was asked by the kind folks at Legend Compression to be a part of their Ambassador program. Although I wasn't able to participate in physical activity at the time, they still graciously accepted me into their group!

Now with my return to fitness postpartum, I am excited to have a new pair of compression socks to wear as I will soon begin training for next season's set of races.

I first wore these after my 5 mile bike ride on Saturday and I fell in love!

For starters, let's talk about compression and why it's necessary for athletes:
  • Helps promote circulation
  • Reduces muscle fatigue
  • Reduces soreness post exercise
  • Accelerates recovery and healing
Legend Compression Wear also incorporates graduated compression technology which helps improve blood flow and oxygen levels - this aids the athlete in running stronger, training harder, and recovering faster.

Do I even need to mention their super cute color options? Yes, I do...

I opted for the aqua pair as it's one of my favorite colors...and it didn't disappoint! Other available colors include black, blue, purple, pink, white, and yellow! 

 These also run true to size. As an 8 to an 8.5 shoe size, I received a size medium which fit perfectly!

Want to snag a pair for yourself or a fellow athlete?

Here's how!

Head over to the Legend Compression website, click on Athletic Wear.
Choose Performance Socks.
Pick your favorite color and a size.
Add them to your cart...
Then enter coupon code AmbFriend2016 for 15% off your order!

You can also follow Legend Compression Wear on the various social media sites listed below:
 Happy Running! :)

Are you a compression wearer? Do you like to wear compression while running, for recovery, or both?

*Please note, this post contains affiliate links. I also received a pair of Legend Compression Socks in return for a review - all opinions stated are my own.*

Monday, April 25, 2016

Why Hello There, Fitness! :)

Patience has never been a virtue of mine. I don't like to wait, especially when given a specific date/time and things don't happen in that time frame (think Brayden's birth date...he was four days late, thank you). So, when my OB's specific instructions stated to "resume exercise gradually", I took her at her word. About a week after he was born, we ventured out for a short walk here and there just to get out of the house, but it wasn't anything serious. Last week, a crazy and ridiculous rain storm that lasted for DAYS came through and hindered my postpartum fitness plans.

When the weekend hit and we were blessed with beautiful weather, I knew I had to take advantage of the opportunity and go for it!

Jason worked nights over the weekend, so we headed out for a walk on Saturday while he was still sleeping. Madalynn, Brayden, and I enjoyed a nice brisk 2 mile walk and by the time we returned, Jason was awake! 

He sure looks good in Navy and Orange, IMO! :)

Such a gorgeous day!

After returning the clan home, I ventured out for an additional 2 mile walk on my own. I even attempted a light jog (think like 10 seconds at a time), but that wasn't comfortable so I stopped. The walk was really nice because I was able to take it at my own pace and not one dictated by contractions, bladder spasms, or heart rate issues.

It honestly feels really nice to have my body back (well, somewhat)!

This little girl was whining after my second return home, so we went out for a little venture of our own! She helped round out the last portion of my four mile walk. :)

On Sunday, I decided to take the bike out for a little spin. My sister in law mentioned an upcoming bike "race" that sounded interesting to me, but I hadn't been on the bike in a LONG while, so I decided to test it out! 

Overall, it wasn't bad at all....although my legs did burn which felt really NICE for a change! I managed to go 5.25 miles around my neighborhood at a a decent little pace (for me).

 If we end up doing the bike ride, I think things will go really well!

All I need now is a helmet and I'll be all set! :)

I cannot wait to get back to running, but that will take a bit longer - I'm still taking it one day at a time over here! :)

If you've ever been pregnant or taken a hiatus from fitness, how was your return to it?

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Brayden's Birth Story Part 3

Hello and welcome to the third and final part of Brayden's birth story. I didn't intend it to be this long, but I had a lot to say so there's that. :)

If you missed parts 1 and 2, check them out below:
 I left off from part 2's recap with us being wheeled to our postpartum room....

As we visited with family and friends, I couldn't help  but notice the strange way I felt. I honestly felt as if I had done some kind of crazy drug and was on a really strange high. Seriously, I kept telling people I felt as if I were on Mars. I also had to think twice about everything that came out of my mouth because I didn't want to say anything stupid. It really was the strangest feeling! I felt MUCH better after a few hours of sleep! :) I guess 38 hours of broken sleep mixed with the post-birth endorphins was coming back to haunt me!

My face also felt really swollen and after looking in the mirror, I noticed that it was. The area underneath both eyes were puffy and so was my face in general. Nothing a little makeup couldn't hide! :)

My church sent us flowers!

Jason's sister and brother-in-law also brought flowers and cupcakes for us to celebrate Brayden's day of birth!

The glove and baseball from my dad.

Brayden's stats and our room!

We visited with family and friends throughout the remainder of the day. It was really nice to have so many people come to the hospital and show their love and support for our newest little addition!

As a congratulatory dinner, we were given steak, potatoes, greens, a roll, and yummy cake. The steak wasn't all that it was cracked up to be but it was a sweet gesture from the hospital, anyway!

My little Mousketeer!

We ended up staying in the hospital an additional night because Brayden wouldn't urinate. It took him greater than 24 hours, but he finally urinated in the middle of our 2nd night in the hospital. We also allowed the nursery to take him so we were able to get some much needed sleep.

Our discharge date also fell on our 9th wedding anniversary! What a cute little present to take home with us! :)

I definitely wasn't used to being on the "other" side of things! 

We arrived home to a few surprises that were set up by our friends! 

The exterior and interior of our home welcomed us and our new little boy with a banner and balloons!

Our doggies even had a few new accessories of a bow and bandana! 

We ended our first evening at home with an anniversary dinner/welcome home with my parents! Although it wasn't glamorous by any means, it really was one of our best anniversaries to date!

Let's recap:
  • My water broke on a "green" or unripened cervix
  • A band around my cervix prevented dilation
  • Cytotek/Pitocin had to be started
  • A lip around my cervix slowed progress
  • Baby was in the posterior position
For those who are reading this right now and are wanting an epidural free childbirth, know you CAN do it. It's going to be hard but it is doable. Would I do it this way all over again if I had the chance? That I can't answer. The  world of childbirth is so unpredictable and there's never a way to tell how things are going to go. Had I known ahead of time of all the road blocks I would have faced, I can say that I might have done things differently...but I'm stubborn and once I get an idea in my mind, there's usually no changing my mind. If my body had cooperated and done everything like it was supposed to do (contractions on its own, dilate on its own, etc) I can say that YES I would do an epidural free (and hopefully medication free) childbirth all over again. The addition of pitocin made it that much harder, but's totally doable if that's what you desire and if you put your mind to it.

Do I think epidurals are "bad"? Absolutely not. For me personally, I just did not want one. If you birthed a baby period, I think you're superwoman no matter how the baby was born (vaginally, c-section, meds, no meds, home birth, standing on your head, etc)!!

Also, my natural childbirth class instructor compared giving birth to running a marathon. After thinking through the logics, I understand what she meant by that because just like ticking off the miles of a marathon, your body "counts down" during childbirth so to speak as well. When she found out I've run more than one marathon, she brushed the thought of natural childbirth off like it was no big deal..."oh, you so got this"! Again, I understand where she was coming from, but marathon running is fun to me...childbirth is not...and it was definitely no walk in the park. I told my running buddy that I would rather run a 100 mile ultra through the dessert over doing that again! However, this whole experience did give me the urge to run another marathon! Goofy's Challenge, anyone?? :)

Alrighty...whew...if you made it through all of that, thank you for following along! :)

Jason and I are so incredibly in love with the newest member of our family and are excited to watch him grow! For all the well wishes, prayers, and congratulations on facebook, twitter, and instagram, I thank you!! You'll never know how much they meant (and still mean) to us!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Brayden's Birth Story Part 2

When I left off with Part 1 of Brayden's Birth Story, I mentioned that I was in for a long night. I sure didn't realize just HOW long of a night....

**Warning, there are a few pictures below that show a little blood. If this makes you queasy, please do not continue reading this recap!**

Around 9 p.m., I received my final dose of cytotek. I was also supposed to receive another dose around midnight, but they were concerned about a few of the baby's heart rate patterns, so they held it. My night nurse was amazing...she was all about natural childbirth and helped me out like you wouldn't believe. I was allowed to walk the halls for a while, which really helped get my contractions going. She also hooked me up to a portable monitor they called "Monica" which allowed me to roam my room without having to be attached to the machine by the bed. (Imagine an EKG type setup on your baby bump with a portable device around your neck.) She also detached me from the IV fluids for a few hours so I could really move around freely. Did I mention that I loved her? Cause I did...

In our conversations, she told me that she actually delivered her sister's fourth child at her sister's home because the midwife didn't make it in time! WOW! I knew I was in good hands! :)

At midnight, I was checked again and informed that I was 80% effaced and baby was low in the pelvis! YAY! We were making progress!

Around this point, I knew I needed a little sleep because the par-tay was about to begin at 3 a.m. when the Pitocin was set to be hung.

At 3 a.m., I was woken up by a different nurse, one I'd never seen before. I remember mumbling something about how wonderful the Monica device was and she agreed. She also checked me again and informed me that I was 1 1/2 cm dilated and my cervix was "thin". I also remember her telling me that I had a "band" at the opening of my cervix and to bear with her while she attempted to stretch it. Yes, you read that right and yes, it was just as painful as it sounds. However, she gave me a bit of good news...since baby was low in the pelvis and I was already completely effaced, I should dilate "fast" and baby would be here in no time. Uhhh...yeah ok.

It was also at this time that the Pitocin began. They started it off at 1 ml per hour which was not bad at all and completely manageable. At 4 a.m., the pit was upped to 2 ml per hour and this was the point where I had to get out of the bed. I attempted to walk the room (definitely a no go), so my next strategy was to find a comfortable laboring position (which wasn't really possible). Comfort and labor do not go hand in hand....who would have thought, right?!

Now, hear me out on this one before you stop reading this recap. In my natural childbirth class, we were instructed to have something to focus on...whether it be calming music, scripture, a saying, a picture...anything to help distract our minds from our current situation. Prior to my whole childbirth experience, I knew I wanted to make my environment one of worship and praise. How better to get through pain than focusing on the one who makes life possible to begin with? Thanks to Amazon Prime/Amazon Music, in the weeks before my due date, I created a playlist and entitled it "Karen's Labor Music". Hah! The melodies of "You Make Me Brave", "Oh, How He Loves Us", "Through It All, My Eyes Are On You...It Is Well...", "No Longer Slaves", and many more played though headphones on a continuous four hour loop through the remainder of my labor process.

At 6 a.m., my night nurse came back in and upped the pit to 4 ml per hour. After an hour of enduring the pit at 4 ml per hour, I knew I couldn't take it at a higher rate. As my night nurse came in to say goodbye and my day nurse (the same as the one from the day before) came in to say hi, I told them both my thoughts - I couldn't handle the pit any higher. They both told me not to worry - the rate was as high as it was going to go and it wouldn't be upped anymore. Whew.

Anyone know how they titrate that rate? Is it based on the mom's tolerance or MD's orders? Also, is it given at a higher rate when a woman has an epidural since she can't feel the contractions? Just curious!

I was also incredibly happy to see that my nurse had changed the settings on Monica from "Early Labor" to "Labor"....just the thought that things were progressing really helped my mental state!

My "most comfortable position" was on the birthing ball at the end of the bed with two pillows stacked on the bed. My head remained face down in the pillows while I breathed through each contraction as we were taught in our childbirth class. I vaguely remember seeing a text from my dad around 6 a.m., but I didn't have the energy to even read it. (I now feel horrible about that.) Around 7 a.m., my dad arrived at the hospital because he was worried something drastic had changed overnight. He also came into the room with McDonald's biscuits (a weakness of mine) and I couldn't even stomach the smell. I don't think he expected to see me in the state I was in and I remember him patting me on the head to ask how things were going. I looked up at him, pulled a headphone out of my ear, told him "this sucks", then put my head back down. I also remember seeing the McDonald's bag and I asked him to take it out of the room because of the smell. I felt bad that he was there so early, but I know the anticipation of meeting his first grandchild was getting to him and he couldn't stand it. :) I was NPO anyway, so I couldn't have a biscuit even if I wanted one, but just the thought of food made me want to vomit.

Around this time, I woke Jason up as I just couldn't do it anymore on my own. He had no clue of the state I was in and immediately set up on the chair behind me to help me through my contractions.

We carried on this way throughout the rest of the day. He informed me at one point that he ate off of a breakfast and a lunch tray in-between my contractions but I was so out of it, I don't even remember that!

At 7 a.m., I was at 2 cm and around 10 a.m., I was at 3 cm. So much for things "going fast", right? Hah! Every time I got up to move and a contraction hit, I grabbed on to the IV pole, but my head on my hands, and breathed through it.

After a mid-day potty stop, I attempted to get on the hands and knees laboring position which was a NO back to the birthing ball I went. I remembered a friend telling me that this was how she was most comfortable but it definitely didn't work for me.

Around noon, I became incredibly nauseated and couldn't hold the few sips of water I drank that morning anymore. Lets just say I was very thankful for those little blue hospital nausea bags. :)

My OB came to my room around 1 p.m. to say hi and check me. Poor thing...I threw up on her, too. Well, not technically ON her but it happened nonetheless. She offered Zofran to me and I accepted it. My day nurse also informed me that I had Stadol on order once per hour if I wanted it. YES, at that point I definitely needed some relief! I received my first dose of Stadol at 12:45 p.m. and for the first time in hours, I felt some relief from my contractions and was actually able to doze off a little. I woke up at 1:30 p.m. and asked for another dose which I received at 1:45 p.m. My nurse checked me again and that dose of Stadol helped relax my body so much, I jumped from 5 cm to 8 cm in 1 hours time. At 2:30 p.m., I woke up again and the contractions returned with vengeance. I began feeling the urge to push. After being checked, I was at a 9 cm, but wasn't progressing to 10 cm because of a lip located on my cervix.

For the next hour I laid in bed in misery, resisting the urge to push. The only way I could describe it to Jason was as if you ate rotten Mexican food and had the worst urge to have a bowel movement but were stuck in a car for an hour with no restroom and you had to hold it in. This is where I'm not happy that my room was so close to the waiting room - my family and friends had to hear my misery right along with me.

Jason went out to get my dad or mom to come give me some encouragement. My dad came in and prayed with me but didn't stay long as I could tell he was upset by my state.  A bit later, my mom came in to check on me and all I remember her saying is, "You know you can get the epidural"! My response..."no no no...get out of here with that!" Hah! I made it that far, I wasn't about to turn back!

Through all of that, the urge to push kept getting stronger and stronger. I told Jason if the doctor didn't get in the room, he was going to have to delivery the baby himself. Hah! Thankfully, my new 3 p.m. nurse came in to say hi and asked if I wanted her to stay with me and help me through the contractions. She also turned the pitocin off, which actually helped those final few contractions be more manageable. You have NO idea how much of a help and comfort she was to me. Simply having another member of the healthcare team in the room with me made me feel so much better. She was also a former Lamaze coach, so that helped a lot as well!

In the meantime, this giant light was lowered from the ceiling and a blue table was rolled into the room!

I remember hearing my nurses mumble something to each other about Brayden being in the posterior position. Unfortunately, I knew what that meant...posterior is what they call a "nosey" baby or "sunny side up". Babies are supposed to be born with their heads tucked and their face down - when Brayden moved into the birth canal, he turned face up. This means when they pass through the birth canal, their necks are craned back with their chin up. It IS possible to delivery babies vaginally this way, but it's much more difficult on the mom, baby, and healthcare team.

If it had to happen to someone, it was going to happen to me...of course.

Almost go time!

Friends and family waiting to hear his first cries! :)

Around 3:30 p.m., my Doctor arrived and we began attempting to push. After several unsuccessful attempts, she stopped and mentioned a few other options - either an epidural to help me labor down some more on my own or a c-section due to the baby's posterior presentation.

Here's where my respect level for my Doctor rose to an even higher level - she didn't even give me a chance to answer. She said no, she didn't want to do that to me since I had labored naturally for so long on my for the next hour and a half, she sat there with me while I pushed, tried new positions, pushed, and pushed some more through each contraction.

Eventually, I remember her saying that she could see the head and I jokingly asked if she could just use the vacuum to get the baby out. I had reached the point where I felt as if I just didn't have anything left in my tank. Her response? "Oh girl! I ain't going nowhere near that vacuum!" HAH! Brayden's heart rate remained incredibly stable through it all and he never once had any problems during the delivery process.

At exactly 5 p.m. on 4/5/16, Brayden Paul made his grand entrance into the world!

After he was born, my nurse warned me that she was turning the Pitocin back on to help with the delivery of the placenta. The thought scared me to no end. I looked at the IV pole and noticed that the rate was now at 75 ml per hour where as it was at 4 ml per hour before (when I could barely stand it). I remember making a comment to the nurse about the new rate and how crazy it was that I couldn't feel it at all!

The nurses also convinced Jason to cut the cord and I was VERY proud of him! We'd talked about it all through my pregnancy and he always refused (blood and guts freak him out), so I was incredibly shocked when he said yes. Yay Jason!!

I vaguely remember the next part but I know I laid there a bit longer while I was being stitched up. They also gave Brayden to me for a little skin to skin contact. I've heard that you forget the pain once you see your baby's face...well let me tell you - I didn't forget and I still haven't forgotten! Hah!

I had to laugh at the shape of his head. Poor kid....sunny side up baby!

About half an hour after he was born, Jason and I were given a little alone time with Brayden. We didn't spend much time alone though because we were so excited to introduce him to all our friends and family who were anxiously awaiting his arrival!

Our parents holding Brayden for the first time. So sweet and special!

Before long, it was time for his bath and we had to give him back. He did not like and still does not like baths! Hah!

About 2 hours after his delivery, our room was packed up and we were taken to the postpartum area. Oh yes, my labor and delivery nurse from the night before was back for another shift and came in to say goodbye to me. She gave me a huge hug and told me that she was proud of me. I thought that was really sweet of her!

While being wheeled to my postpartum room, I commented to my nurse how grateful I was for my Doctor. She agreed and said that not many Doctors would have done what mine did with me. Most would have taken one of the alternate routes like mine mentioned during delivery. So. Grateful.

Not only was Brayden born on 4/5/16 at 5 p.m., but he was also born on the Astros first game of the season which they won 5-3 against the Yankees! I think 5 is Brayden's lucky number! :)

This is getting incredibly wordy, so I'll complete the third and final part of his Birth Story Recap tomorrow! :)

Thanks for sticking around and following along! :)

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