Not all that surprisingly I have less time to blog this pregnancy. As the mom to almost a year and a half old, at 20 weeks pregnant I am functioning as a “C student” at most things.
Currently, I’m going back to school, thru the Indie Birth school at the very beginning of learning about midwifery from a traditional direct entry perspective. I am still working online & in person coaching full time, and accounting and hike tour guiding part time.
My run mileage has been a little lower than my last pregnancy, but my mindfulness of what’s going on in my body is a lot higher. I am doing prenatal yoga when I can versus religiously. At 19 weeks I had a scare with PROM causing me to be even more intentional about not stressing run mileage or intensity. My fitness came back last time so quickly, I believe primarily because I did take the end of pregnancy easily. Slowing down allows the body to learn to relax and Open up for the dance of labor. Not forcing fitness, and tension, and stress in turn makes the return to it more smooth. At least that’s my experience.
My weight is still a little lighter than it was last time around, around 140 versus 144-146 this week of my last pregnancy. While the weight is or no importance to me, it is interesting to see the stark differences in the pregnancy and the last. Initially this time I lost weight the first trimester, down to 123 from my starting pre pregnancy weight of 128 or so… so I’ve gained more weight this pregnancy at this point, but my body starter lighter. This time I’ve dealt with migraines, on and off nauseous feeling the first 14 weeks, sickness with smells, and overall more “symptoms”. It’s hard to explain, unless you’ve felt the differences between pregnancies but it’s a shockingly new experience.
This time I’m working with a midwife friend, who has a more traditional approach. She is more willing to give me guidelines on activity levels, foods, and her personal opinions of things. It’s refreshing to have care that isn’t “regulated” by state guidelines, just 40 years of experience and intuition.
In summary, this pregnancy has been a whirlwind so far, paralleling our lives in this season. It’s sometimes harder than expected, it’s delightfully more fun than I could ever have guessed. It makes me want to be pregnant forever, another 10 times, and also never again all in the span of 5 minutes sometimes.
Pregnant again! Wow the last 15 months of our life with Cosmo has been a whirlwind. I’ve all but given up on social media, I’ve changed some of my side jobs (switched the winery position for tour hiking for a nonprofit and accounting ), and I hardly ever have time to write anything longer than a grocery list.
Here we are though, in the busiest season I can remember ( including traveling nonstop for years), and preparing for our worlds to be turned upside down again. Billy and I knew we wanted another child, and one close to Cosmo, so I never even considered natural preventative timing. My cycle, took about 7 /8 months to return ( paralleling the end of our breastfeeding journey, but when he turned 1 we started thinking more carefully about getting pregnant again. I ordered the Ava and boom as most things go when you gamble money (they refund you in full if you aren’t pregnant within 6 months) I was instantly pregnant. I was shocked, I expected to have to wait longer ( I was in heavy run training still having a normal cycle) but I didn’t expect to get pregnant the first time we intentionally looked at the calendar first! Hello, healthy body! I was so proud of myself to be in both the fittest shape I could remember being as an adult, and also the most fertile.
So Im “due” around the backend of January ( although hopefully we all know babies appear when they please), making me 12 weeks pregnant at the writing of this blog. Not too much has changed ( I skipped racing the 100 mile ultra I was training for ), but Im still getting active daily. I’ve committed immediately, to another home birth, and have already begun Spinning Babies daily yoga practice ( more for mental preparation than anything). I chose this time to go with a midwife who is the family member of a close friend, but feel grateful to have both my midwife from my last birth, and a midwife (hospital only ) covered by insurance who are both willing to monitor me at any capacity I request. My friend circle has shifted to mothers and women who support and have experience with birthing, so this pregnancy I feel very supported by my community. It’s comforting and also calming.
While Cosmo has my personality at the moment, loud, borderline abrasive and demanding, but a total charmer, I feel this this child is different. I get a calming quiet energy from internal and I feel a little more hormonal than last time ( shorter temper ) and mildly nauseous most mornings ( solved with something bread or cracker like ). I feel like this child will be more Billy’s energy and probably female. However, unlike my last pregnancy I won’t be persuaded to overly monitor it ( the gynecologist I started with, not the midwife I finished with).
I am choosing to skip most ultrasounds ( I did one to confirm single pregnancy and I plan to do one more at 20 weeks or so to confirm healthy organs ), I’ve done bloodwork to determine sex ( will know soon and to rule out chromosomal abnormalities). Providing neither the bloodwork or organ scan come back with unexpected results we will proceed with a home birth again.
Life is chaotic and busy, but we feel calm, content, and curious. Maybe this child will continue to bring these qualities to our home.
As I often get asked and rarely have time to answer ways to work with me are:
In person fitness instruction ( contact me firstname.lastname@example.org )
We’re a week away from C being 6 months old. It’s wild to think in half a year our lives have changed in so many ways. He’s talking now (hi & hello quite selectively usually accompanied with a wave) and crawling (he’s been scooting/dragging/army crawling since right before 5 months but now he’s properly crawling with coordination and speed as of last night Sept 23) …
I just can’t believe we have another talking moving human in the house, it takes things that once seemed important and resets their value (or lack of)… and makes things that once were a priority and makes them a faint echo…
I actually emailed our school of choice to start the waitlist process for Pre K yesterday (yes good schools are that hard to get into in Hawai’i)… and I had teachers there validate I wasn’t the only one!
Billy and I are good, still adjusting to segmented sleep and juggling both working, working out, and baby life.. it’s a dance for sure but I can’t imagine anything more fulfilling.
Not much to say, just writing a few notes so it doesn’t all become a distant memory.
In a few days we will have been parents for 4 months now officially. I can not believe that much time has passed, it feels like yesterday that I laid down in bed and announced my water had broken.
The concept that time flies, has never been more real that it is now. Yet, everyday as parents is a new adventure. Cosmo is such a talkative, cheerful, giggling baby, we are so lucky.
So what’s new in the last month!? Just a few days ago I reached my “trying to conceive body weight again”, and I’ve started doing some harder efforts while running, feeling close to normal minus the slightly heavier than “ideal race weight” body! Cosmo is almost fully crawling he currently has a pretty solid drag and scoot, rolling himself across the floor only takes a moment. (We plan to baby proof electrical outlets this weekend. ) We traveled to the east coast for him to meet grandparents/extended family and all got a nasty cold (not Covid we checked multiple times) and survived that, although seeing Cosmo be sick was so heartbreaking. My heart goes out to parents with children that aren’t healthy the majority of the time.
So we’re here, running a lot, working a lot, laughing a lot. It feels like time is all misplaced and I’m finding a new interpretation of how a day can pass in a moment, and a week in the blink of an eye… but here are a few words to hopefully remember this beautiful season of chaos.
I hope that Cosmo knows how loved and cherished he is. 💕 We feel so lucky to have him!!
What luck, I just had when I realized Fathers Day & our 2 year anniversary landed on the same day, Summer Solstice. It makes remembering them both easier every time we glance at the summer skies.
They are both tomorrow, but first a few updates on how life has changed. I’ve been working a lot with online and in person coaching, as well as at the winery around the corner. Moments turn to days, which in an instant seems to have blurred into nearly a month passing since my last writing here. I’m enjoying the busy season, but am looking forward to setting more time aside to intentionally reflect and remember these beautiful moments.
Cosmo is simply a delight, I can’t imagine a sweeter son. Every few days it seems he gets a new skill, pushing up, smiling to his name, rolling over with more ease, or giggling when he knows you’re playing with him. I think our birthing choices have paid off in spades, creating a baby who is almost always relaxed, easy going, and comfortable. That or he got primarily his father’s genetics. 🧬 🤞 At his 10 week visit he was at 15 pounds, nearly double his birth weight. We chose to do a delayed vaccination program, so he got some of his 2 month vaccines then, and will get others at 3 months. It was a joy that his pediatrician was so supportive of our choices, and had nothing to say but positives about how healthy and responsive he is with our current methods.
My postpartum fitness journey is going well, with the busier season of work, breastfeeding, and just in general with life…. I have kept the miles easy, the last few weeks around 55 miles a week, still focusing heavily on strength training, with some indoor cycling as needed with weather or scheduling. Surprisingly to me, it has felt easier and more natural that I thought it would, and while I’m keeping things slow, I’m extremely pleased to be this fit already less than 3 months postpartum!
Finally, a few realizations, the very act of pregnancy and child raising seems to breed community. I am in awe of how my neighborhood acquaintances have become close friends, babysitters when we need, and just the kindness that surrounds us from nearly all directions. While there will always be those that are negative or jealous, the overwhelming response has been kindness, understanding, and love from all directions, even those we wouldn’t have expected it from. We are so blessed. 💕
A few moment pass and suddenly weeks have flown by, if any unsolicited pregnancy advice I got was right it was that these would be the best moments of my life and they would pass to fast. Every day it seems Cosmo is bigger, in fact he’s now in the 95% or higher on all the growth charts. The illusion that he’s growing overnight may actually be a reality at this point.
I started to actually train this week (it’s Tuesday, so starting yesterday)… No real news to report other than starting to move is hard, stopping the motion once I’m warmed up is even harder. I did 3 weeks at 20-25 miles of run/walking, completely comfortable with some lifting and very small amounts of cycling too…. Not exactly sure what kind of volume I’m working up to, but definitely feeling confident enough to increase it a little this week (tomorrow is 8 weeks postpartum)
Sleeping is going well, at least better than I think I expected. People seem to enjoy worst case scenario shares to pregnant women, my advice ? Ignore them, people by the lot are nasty creatures and overwhelmingly pessimistic. We wake up 2-3 times most nights, and he has a bit of a witching hour if you will around bedtime. His witching hour ranges from a few moments to a few hours long, but overall it’s not as bad as I worried it may be.
I’m not saying all is perfect, but it’s better than I hoped and dreamed. My body feels weak, but strong considering where I’ve been recently. I’m over the moon with my body’s progress. And I’m so grateful to have a local run & lift community to train with often!
I meant to write a blog at 4 weeks, but a family visit came and went, a new job popped into my life… and well I’m a week behind my intentions with a ton of new news.
Starting off with the star of the show, Cosmo is huge. Ahead of all predicted growth charts he’s jumped from the 75% to the 95% trending aggressively to prove breastfeeding is working better than I could have ever imagined for us both. Finally, it is pain free and enjoyable, hang on mamas and just bear thru that first engorging unbearable time, it is worth it! Hydration and lactation support pills seem to be my best friend, Next to my pump and my ever patient husband. Billy has really stepped into his role as a father, so seamlessly, countless moments have passed that I have said I don’t know how anyone does this single. My hats off to all the single parents, and those single by circumstance as well. You are all heroes and have my applause and appreciation.
Today is a good day, as it was my first (two runs)? I was out walking my dogs, And Cosmo in the stroller, short on time before a client, and suddenly my legs had transitioned from a power walk into a shuffling jog… before I knew it the 4 of us were running of sorts minus stops for nursing, roadside sniffs, and puddle breaks… so when Billy got home I snuck out for a quick forty minutes to run 3 miles before walking almost another mile home to ensure my zealous heart didn’t betray my fragile pelvic floor and legs.
Before these runs, I’ve spent 3 weeks lifting and also cycling starting at 3 weeks postpartum. To build strength and some basic conditioning back is my main physical goal before even establishing any postpartum run goals. I do have some floating around in my brain, but those secrets are between Billy, a few of my closest friends, and myself. I’m not ready to be public, but I’m sure that will come soon. A massive shout out to Aliphine Tuliamuk, Amanda Basham, and Jenn Shelton for being a few months ahead of me in the postpartum journey, and extremely helpful to me in this transition.
So until further posting, we’ll be here, juggling minimal sleep, I’ll be aiming to continue breastfeeding until it doesn’t work for us, and now we will be running together. Thanks for hanging in for the journey.
How has it already been 2 weeks tomorrow ? Every precious moment seems to be gone in an instant, he’s even outgrown his newborn clothing already. Luckily, each moment next seems to be equally as sweet, and regardless of how large he grows I only seem to love him more each day.
It would be a lie to say everything has been easy. It would be false to pretend there hasn’t been many moments of wincing at the engorged breasts, or questions about my own competency when I couldn’t figure out the meaning of a cry… It would be idealistic to act as though it all has come smoothly and without trial and error.
However, it all together has felt like a dream. Watching Billy fall in love with Cosmo, caring for him, and learn how to better that care has been the most beautiful bonding experience I could ever imagine. Allowing him to cater to my small, and large, and sometimes what feels like to me never ending needs has been both humbling and the most intimate experience of my life next to the labor we walked thru 2 weeks ago.
Finding a balance for any family is a dance, and I can’t even fathom how single parents, or parents of multiples survive. I guess we only know our reality so we manage to walk thru what is handed our way. Hats off to all my single parents and parents of multiples in my life. You are all amazing. As we find our own balance I find myself washed in gratitude that Billy is the man he is, patient, calm, willing to adjust and alter and learn on the go. I feel so grateful for our relationship and him, that I feel almost in a state of bliss or a permanent glow.
So here we are, I suppose stumbling forward as any new parent does… with hopefulness for a smooth and healthy future. We find ourselves in a constant state of questioning to learn more, and attempting to bask in every moment knowing it is fleeting.
And in the middle of the last few weeks we held another Hawaii Mountain Running race the Go Big 50km. Cosmo had a big day out, luckily I had two extra set of hands, a friend Alec to drive our truck, and Kalea a friends daughter to help with Cosmo. Billy ran a great race, hitting several PRs and so did all the other racers who came to try to get personal bests Or qualify for the 50k world championships. https://youtu.be/Race Video 1 Race video 2
To say I was nervous about how the race day would go is an understatement. I didn’t know if I would have already had Cosmo, if I’d be in labor that day, or if I’d feel up to race director duties. Luckily it all worked out well, he was 10 days old on race day, and I felt great. So far I’ve only gone on a handful of short walks to get the dogs out and Cosmo so sunshine… but I’ve had to resist doing more since day 1, so I’m super pleased with my recovery. At first, I felt like it was post road 100 miler, with bone aches, stiffness, and a small tear that felt painfully similar to 100 miler chafe. But after 3 days I’ve felt like myself again, just a little low energy from a new sleep pattern. Luckily, a few clients have let me return to coaching, and my podcast can be recorded while nursing. Working though minimally, makes me feel more normal in my new life rhythm and I’m so grateful that Billy is home for a few weeks to help with Cosmo so I can do it with minimal stress.
So how do we feel? Overwhelmingly in love, both with each other as lovers and as parents with our newest edition. Excited, for our future and the lessons it will hold. Hopeful that we can exceed our parental goals and handle it with grace.
On the night of the 30th of March Billy and I had just laid down to sleep, when my water broke at 9:30 pm. Within a few minutes mild contractions had started. I planned to go back to sleep knowing it would be a long process.
So I texted my friend Katja a doula on Oahu and my midwife to let them know updates, changed the bedsheets, and tucked back in bed. By 10 pm I was texting my midwife to let her know contractions were 2-3 minutes apart and I was unable to speak any non 4 letter words thru them. It looked like Cosmo was in a hurry.
My midwife was on the way and arrived within an hour, naturally of course things started to spread out a little and I apologized and tried to send her home. She refused and said I was in active labor and we had a lot going on, she was committed to being there for it all. I’m so grateful she refused to leave because the night was extremely painful and having so many options for positions to labor, suggestions for how to move to process it kept me calm thru the pain. She also had great Hawaiian chanting music & a flute playlist that really helped distract me when all of the hours of playlists I had planned left me with disinterest within a few seconds.
Unfortunately, my bodies reaction to the pain was nonstop vomiting. So that was exhausting to be in pain, trying to hydrate, coping with alternating pouring sweat and shivering within 2 minutes of each other, and then also vomiting nonstop. However, Billy was amazing and really good at picking up my nonverbal cues so all I had to do was ride each wave, try not to break his hand or wrist squeezing them in the process and hope I didn’t give him a burst eardrum from the screams. Ironically, I had told my midwife when I coped with pain I was usually very withdrawn and silent, but as birthing would have it, it was an adventure into finding a new side of myself.
As the sun rose, I began to find a rhythm or really a new level of handling the pains. I stopped having any concerns about Billy or Roxanne’s well-being and tapped into survival mode, I knew that the average first time labor was about 12 hours so I was holding hope to “just be average” for once in my life. As 9 then 10 am passed I started to feel the urge to push, and I remained hopeful that things were progressing quickly. I became almost completely nonverbal, minus the uncontrollable screams and a few questions to Roxanne if she thought I should go to the hospital. At this point, if I had been at a hospital I would have easily caved for any drug offered. Instead, like a good ultrarunning coach or a damn good midwife, she offered me some CBD cream, gave me some black & blue cohosh to help soften and told me to try to not vomit it (at this point I was only sipping bubbly water then vomiting it shortly after), and told me I was strong and capable and she believed in me. Essentially leaving me with no excuses, if she was convinced Cosmo was safe I knew I would have major regrets for hospital interventions and the trauma that system causes to mom and baby. She also offered to give me a cervical check in the birthing pool, she had tried in earlier labor and one other time but both times I had felt uncomfortable with anyone but Billy touching me so as soon as she went to start I denied it and she obviously honored that. She never made me feel any pressure to do any traditional “medical” other than consistently checking Cosmo heart rate to make sure it was both doing fluctuations and consistently within a healthy range. It was around this mid morning when I regretfully realized I hadn’t started my Garmin. I wanted to log the labor as a workout and see what kind of data I came out with, I believe I was mid contraction and glanced at my watch realizing they were lasting over five minutes and less than a minute apart, and my heart rate was close to 190 from the pain. What cool data that could have been. Regrettably, I didn’t start my watch then, because I believe another contraction hit and my urge to push was beginning to take over my body.
By half past 11 am, I was uncontrollably and unconsciously pushing with every contraction. It was completely wild to witness, which is what I felt like I was doing, it was almost an out of body experience of which I am so grateful. If I had been in control of my body, I don’t think I would have possessed the willpower to push as hard as I was, my body had completely taken charge of the process and my mental and emotional side were just along for the ride.
At this point, I was still frantically trying to find the best location to labor, the birthing pool had seemed ideal in planning, but in reality for me it felt too distanced from Billy. In retrospect, I could have asked him to hop in with me, but again I wasn’t in control of anything that was occurring it was a wild trip that I can only guess it could compare to a heavy dosing of psychedelics (I personally have never done a heroic dose of psychedelics to confirm this assumption). I for some reason preferred the couch lying on my side or standing holding onto his neck it was the positions that enabled me to feel closest to Billy, therefore safest I didn’t have it in me to explain my needs but I think he unconsciously knew my dependence on him and wouldn’t even go to the bathroom without checking to see if I could be alone for 30 seconds.
My midwife, commented only a runner would want to birth on her feet after being awake and in pain for so long. If I had had the capability of speaking I would have commented that I wished it was my feet that hurt this time after the all nighter… Ultimately, after primarily pushing from the couch for over 3 hours I asked Roxanne if she thought a position change would speed things up. I was scared that I’d go beyond the 30 minutes to 4 hour range she told me was the average for pushing, and as I was well past the 12 hour first labor average I was plenty ready to settle for average at something. I knew from my doula education and basic common sense to push while lying down forces the baby to go up against gravity, one of the main reasons I didn’t want to be trapped in a hospital for this experience. We agreed the birthing stool was probably the best location, the pool having become cold by this time with my many hours of intense labor. So somehow with never ceasing contractions I made the longest 3 foot journey of my life from the couch to the stool in our living room. A never ending streams of screams, was broken by a brief smile when Roxanne told me to touch his head. It was all I could do to unclamp my fingers from the edge of the wooden stool, but the most gratifying experience. Billy, knew I needed his touch and probably quite painfully resigned to his fingers being clamped between my palm and the wooden stool. As I pushed almost without ceasing Roxanne warned me the ring of fire would begin, but at this point the idea of more pain was a mute point my body had exceeded any capacity to distinguish more pain from where I had been for what seems like eternity.
I confirmed with her that he would arrive soon, I knew my body was going to shut down I had been trembling uncontrollably for at least 6 hours and pushing over 3 hours. That’s when she realized his hand was next to his head, he had been sucking his thumb in the womb and it had delayed his process coming. A few more warrior screams and his head and hand were out, a brief moment to untangle the cord from his shoulder and his body tumbled into Roxanne’s hands and he was instantly on my chest. His time of birth was 3:03 pm March 31st. Within a moment he was pink, and we were settled in a more comfortable position on the couch while we awaited the placenta. Roxanne’s assistant who had arrived the last hour to help with the final stages brought me orange juice, I called my mother to tell her the surprise, and then passed the phone off to Billy as I felt a small few contractions (can they even be called that after the lower lever of discomfort they caused??) and the placenta was out, with only one small lingering piece Roxanne carefully extracted.
Within a few moments, Billy was next to me on the couch we were eating oatmeal and honey kindly prepared for us. Then he was cutting the cord, and having a moment with Cosmo, while Roxanne escorted me to the shower and then tucked me in bed as gently as a newborn baby myself. Billy and Cosmo joined us, she did his newborn exam to beat all of our bets he was 8.1 pounds larger than we all guessed, and he passed all reflexes with flying colors. His only flaws were some bruising on the skull from his long time of playing tag with my cervix.
Then, like magic our entire house looked like a professional cleaning team had come thru, every linen was washed, dishes were done, the house was spotless and we were both tucked in bed before 5 pm. Roxanne, let us know the house was ours and with a hug from my new fairy godmother she flitted out of the house leaving us to our dream.
What a beautiful season of transition this pregnancy has been… although in honesty it hasn’t been without growing pains both literally and emotionally.
What I expected during pregnancy has never really come to fruition… being all out physically ill, miserable, tired, all of the symptoms. In fact, I would classify most of my discomfort as very mild, unless I’m tired then I find myself getting a little bit whiney at times. Luckily Billy, is patient and loving and kind and rational, so I can’t imagine going thru this season with anyone else. Well I can imagine it, but I’d prefer not to!
What I didn’t expect is the growing pains of emotional transition. I didn’t expect friends to react so violently to the news that I was pregnant and instantly change their reactions about well everything towards me. I didn’t expect for my choice to attempt a home birth to create such a strong negative reaction from people who had other birthing experiences. To be clear the only judgment I have against hospital birth, is that on practitioners who don’t push education and clarify for consent. I support any birthing person, who does what they find most empowering and safe for them and their child. I didn’t expect to deepen friendships with people I barely knew or only knew thru the internet (hi Jenn & Gina). I didn’t expect for theses new friendships to come in so strongly, that unfortunately there had to be a cleansing of the old. Some of these transitions were my choice, some were merely rejections from friends I thought I would have for life. What an unprecedented twist that took, growing pains and not necessarily in my abdomen but my heart.
Today is my “due date” and as the evening wears on, I write these moments of reflection… I’m sure some emotion comes thru, it’s impossible to lose a piece of the past without some form of grief.. but I choose in this time to find gratitude for the overwhelming support I have had from people I did and didn’t expect it from… and the losses that come with this joy, unfortunately they only revealed more of the truth about those people that I really wanted to accept.
Since this was one of the posts I shared (not the creator) that was so decisive it ended a relationship… and I stand by it… I’ll share it again here, so anyone non supportive can choose to exit now.
So there it is, a photo catapult to ending a relationship. Biological facts. If this triggers or upsets you, I invite you to read Ina Mays Guide to Childbirth or if you aren’t the reading type, perhaps watch the movie “The Business of Birth”. Or just do a few Google searches on home birth success rates for low risk pregnancies. America has one of the most unsafe birthing rates for any developed nation globally, and while yes medicine is amazing and life saving when needed… that is the opposite of “low risk.
Part of this pregnancy, was a journey to education that actually led me to become a doula to gain Continuing Credit Hours for my ND and learn as much as I could about the process in general. It’s been insightful, educational, and enlightening about the medical model of making birth well a business in America. I support anyone doing what they feel safest and happiest doing and I have no hang ups about transferring to a hospital if I feel the need or have any medical concerns. However, for people to judge the mother based off what they think is safest for her child, is to leave the mother out of the equation of birth, and to me that is fundamentally incorrect.
So here we go, to new seasons and to a hopefully a healthy “overdue” baby, sometime in the next day or 3 weeks!