Friday, October 31, 2008

Yes, I'm Hungry Too...

Poor Hoku. She's been moping around the house, clearly aware of her new role as second fiddle. This morning she followed me around with those sad eyes until I remembered that she hadn't yet been fed. Moana had been fed, twice, already. No such luck for the dog... or the cats... or their parents.

Eventually everyone did get food today. It's just that priorities have changed around here this week so some of us get fed with more urgency than others.

On this plan, I'll be back to my race weight in no time at all! ;)

Aside from the lack of nutrition, things are going well around here. I Love. Love. Love being Moana's mom. I can stare at her all day long, even while she's just sleeping. She makes the best faces and just has all these perfect little body parts that are so fun to inspect. This really is better than I ever imagined it would be. I'd heard from others what a cool thing it is to bring your new baby home, but this is one of those things you just have to experience for yourself to really get it.

And truth be told, there was a small part of me that thought maybe I wouldn't ever feel the way I was 'supposed' to... I don't know how clearly this came across before, but I really disliked being pregnant. That's putting it mildly. I hated it. And I had this internal fear that since I didn't love being pregnant, that I wouldn't love my baby. That's a scary thought. I mean, *really* scary.

But for me it was totally unrelated. The way I felt about being pregnant has nothing to do with the way I feel about Moana. I am overwhelmed with joy that I have her, and in the instant she was born I forgot all about how awful it was for me to put my life on hold while being pregnant. Having her on the outside is totally different and 200% better than having her on the inside. What a relief! :)

And I was also afraid that I wouldn't like breast feeding. I mean, it's kind of an odd thing, being this milk machine. I figured I'd try it, but I think in my heart I thought I probably wouldn't try that hard because I wasn't sure that breast-feeding was for me. But now I feel totally differently. Part of that is definitely because Moana is so good at it- she has incredible instincts and knows what to do and when to do it. I don't fight at all to get her to latch on- she just has to be somewhat in the vacinity and she figures the rest out for herself in about 2 seconds. It still hurts like hell when she latches on, but I just use those breathing techniques I learned during labor for a few seconds and then it feels ok. And the satisfied look Moana gets when she's done is so precious. I swear, there must be whiskey in my breasts...

Scott has proven to be the proud dad that everyone who knows him knew he would be... watching the two of them together just melts my heart. It also really makes life easier knowing that I can fully rely on him to take care of her at any time. We make a good team. :)

So I know it sounds like all is perfect here in the Simmons household... but there is one issue that we're still dealing with. I think I mentioned in my birth story that I had some unexpected and unexplained high blood pressure when I went in to the hospital on Monday night... Unfortunately, it has persisted. They almost didn't discharge me on Wed night. I actually had to call in another doctor to get a second opinion before mine would agree to let me come home... Otherwise I feel totally fine, but I'm officially on 'bed rest' until my BP stabilizes. I guess they're worried about me having a stroke or a seizure, but I don't think that's a real possibility for me because I have never had any of the other symptoms that would indicate a serious problem. Through my own research I see that it is somewhat common to have some otherwise unexplained post-partum hypertension and it usually resolves itself within a few weeks without additional intervention. I hope that is the case for me!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Day 3

Holy moly! Just for the heck of it, I just jumped on the scale. I was only gonna weigh myself once a week because I didn't want to stress myself out, but I would totally be the Biggest Loser this week! 18 lbs in less than 3 days. I really didn't expect that. And I have one of those Tanita Ironman scales so I can tell that I have normal levels of hydration so it's not that I'm dehydrated. Boy that makes me feel good. I still don't fit in my old shorts yet (my hips must be wider?) but I imagine that'll go back to normal at some point as well. I only have 10 more lbs and I'm back to pre-preggo weight!

Who knew that BH contractions continue after delivery? They do. For me anyway. I can totally feel my uterus contract. Sometimes randomly, but certainly whenever Moana is feeding (that's another reason to BF I guess if it helps your uterus go back to normal). I had a little freak out yeterday in the hospital during one of the contractions- I had been laying on my side when my uterus hardened up and it actually popped up so it was showing through my skin! I immediately called in a nurse to some look because I swear I thought I had a tunmor! It was about the size of a grapefruit and was obviously popping right up. She laughed at me though and just told me, "That's your uterus..." HA! I saw it do the same thing again today and now it's about the size of my fist. Very interesting.

I have a little belly now, and dare I saw it's actually kind of cute? Well, it would be if I was like 22 weeks pregnant anyway. It's just a little pouch. Smaller than I thought it would be at this point and shrinking every day. By the minute actually.

So Moana is at home now and we are all very happy. She did pretty well last night being introduced to the dog and cats, or maybe better said, they did well being introduced to her. She's pretty clueless about everything. The cats were afraid of her when she moved, although Monti Hoku just licked her toes. :)

It appears that my barracuda baby wants to assault my nipples once again. She is quite the sucker. In fact, she might think her name is OUCH before too long because that's what she hears out of my mouth a lot when she's near me...

Pics From The Hospital

Scott and I brought our little daughter home from the hospital last night. I wasn't as scared as I thought I might be... more excited than anything to show Moana her new home! She's a champ in every way! She's currently in a colostrum-induced drunken coma so I thought I'd take advantage of the time to put some pictures up. These were taken at the hospital...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I Broke the Record!

*Disclaimer* This is my birth story. I don't think it's too graphic, but if you don't want to read about birth stories, don't read this post!*

Docs says I broke the record for quick first-baby deliveries! One hour, forty-eight minutes from the start of the first 'real' contraction until Moana entered the world. I'm pretty sure it could have gone even quicker but the doc got stopped by a cop in her rush to the hospital to get to me and the nurses were trying to hold me off on pushing until she arrived... more on that later...

Anyway, we came to the birth center at about 5:00 on Monday night. The nurse started me on all the monitors, checked my cervix (still 1 cm, 50% effaced) and blood pressure. They were concerned about my BP as it was high at 140+/90+ consistently. I thought that was really odd b/c I hadn't had high BP (ever) and throughout my pregnancy it had been pretty low all along. And then watching the fetal monitors they saw that some of the 'contractions' I was having that didn't even hurt were causing baby's HR to drop below 80 and then it felt like all hell broke loose. All of a sudden I had an i.v. in my hand and a bag of fluid dripping in and too many nurses and other medical professinals in the room drawing blood and otherwise overwhelming me with medical intervention.

I started to cry.

This was not how I wanted the birth to go. I had mentally prepared myself to go with the flow prior to coming in, but I wasn't ready for i.v.s and high blood pressure and fetal distress, especially considering I wasn't even yet in 'labor'.

Anyway, I was going to stay through the night and be monitored. I wasn't looking forward to any of it and just kept thinking what a long night this is going to be. I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep on that hard hospital bed. The nurse was nice enough to offer to put a softer, more comfortable mattress on the bed for me, and she suggested that I take a long hot bath to relax and maybe bring my blood pressure down a bit.

So at 9:20 PM I went into the bathroom and started running the hot water. Sat down on the toilet to empty my bladder prior to getting in and just as I did, I heard a *pop*. I wondered briefly if my water broke? There was no pain. And of course I couldn't tell if the gush was amniotic fluid or just urine though since I was peeing anyway. But then as I got up I looked in the toilet and it was full of bright red blood. That sight certainly did not do anything to help my blood pressure! Freaking out almost completely now, I called the nurse in to see. She was very calm which I appreciated so much (even more so now!)

Leaving the hot water running in the tub, I came back to bed where the nurse did some sort of litmus test check to see if my water broke. Sure enough, it did! She said the blood can happen sometimes as a result of rapid cervical change so she did one final check on me to see if there had been change. Sure enough, 3 cm and 70% effaced. From here she said they would limit checking my cervix because of risk of infection due to my water breaking.

Almost immediately following that, I felt my first 'real' contraction. It was clear that this was different than anything I'd felt before. It came on feeling like a major and very intense cramp, lasted about 70 seconds (according to the monitor) and then just instantly and completely went away. On a scale of 1-10, pain was an 8, then back to 0 again as quick as it came on. After 2 minutes of no pain, I had another one. I looked and Scott and smiled and said here we go!!

At this point we were both pretty psyched because we knew it was going to happen sooner rather than later. Nurse called my doctor to tell her what was going on, and then she asked me my thoughts about an epidural. Prior to labor, my thoughts on an epidural were this: I'd probably end up getting one. But I had this curious desire to see what it was like... how bad did it really hurt? It ocurred to me that I might be able to go without the pain meds if labor was short enough, although I didn't have much hope of that. I was told that the anesthisiologist had gone home for the night (but was on call) so if I wanted an epidural I needed to give the nurse 45 minutes to an hour of heads up time before I could expect to get one.

So the contractions went on, every 2-3 minutes for about a minute each. It was extremely intense (I'm sure some very loud gutteral screams were heard island-wide) but I definitely took advantage of the rest periods to breathe and drink water. I think this is where previous interval training on the track and in the pool was to my advantage... I know how to help myself relax and recover before the next interval!

Before I knew it, the nurses were telling me to let them know when I started feeling pressure to push. Really? Already? I guess they could tell by the intensity of my grunts and moans that I was in the transition stage. I guess I could tell too because the pain went from an 8 to a 10 to a 12 on that 10 point scale... and then I felt the urge.

They got me back on the bed for this part- I had been on an exercise ball for the bulk of the contractions. Three nurses were in the room but no doctor. They kept telling me to 'blow out the candle' instead of pushing when I felt the urge. What? Were they crazy? The urge to push was instinctual. Unstoppable. I did what I could to not push, but after a couple contractions like that, Moana* just slipped out on her own. Doc arrived just in time to watch the nurse catch my baby. Don't get me wrong- it hurt/burned like hell. And I screamed. Loudly. But then after the final contraction I heard Scott cry out "It's a GIRL" and then she was placed on my chest while my husband melted down.

I stared at this perfectly formed little person on my chest and was just amazed. There are no words for that moment. I stayed up for the rest of the night, staring at her, realizing that I'm now her mom.

*We named our little daughter Moana. It's the Hawaiian word for ocean. I picked it our months ago because it just seemed to make sense to me since Scott and I are both such ocean people. We even got engaged in the ocean (on a surfboard!)


We just received an email from Mama Simmons from the is what she said:

"She is the sweetest thing!!! Just fed her, changed her, and swaddled her and she's happy and asleep on my lap now. :) She's a noisy sleeper. She has long fingers and toes. Very light hair and kind of dark blue eyes. Perfect nose! Clearly the cutest baby ever...Her head is as round as can be...probably because she spent all of about 15 minutes in the birth canal before popping right out. I didn't even push (but it still hurt like heck!)"

It's a GIRL!! :)

Michelle and Scott have a beautiful baby girl, Moana Lynn, born at 11:08 pm, October 27th. Moana weighed 6 pounds, 7 ounces. Michelle did great and we are all very happy! (Posted by "Grammy" in Ohio.) I'm sure she'll post more details (and pictures!) in a few days... Thanks for all the well wishes!!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Headed To The Hospital

For the last several days I've been having these episodes of significant and wicked cramping/contractions. Feels like the worst menstrual cramps ever (although prior to being pregnant I never really experienced severe menstrual cramping). They're not like the contractions I've been taught to expect for the beginning of labor, mostly because they're not consistent or predictable, and they last 5-20 minutes rather than the 1 minute they're supposed to. I've been having 5-6 episodes like this per day, although they seem to be worse at night.

I can feel them coming on and then I just brace myself for major pain. It's the kind of pain where I have to mentally transport myself to my 'peaceful place' and just close my eyes and try to breathe until the crampiness finally releases. And when it does, I go back to feeling just fine.

Sometimes I do still feel the painless tightening of the BH, which are far less bothersome to me now that I'm having these real pains...

I finally called my doctor and told her. I don't want to go to the birthing center just to be told it's nothing and then be sent home, but she told me to go in and get checked out. Seems like a good idea. So when Scott gets home from work we're gonna head over.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Last Pregnancy Pics

Ok, I think these will be the final pictures of me being pregnant. Primarily because I'm not going to allow any more to be taken in this swollen state! :) How's that belly button? You can see it right through all my shirts.
And I admit my presumptuousness (is that a word?), I caved in and bought this little pumpkin Halloween outfit for baby... just in case he/she makes an appearance prior to the fun holiday, I figured we'd be neglectful parents if we didn't allow Baby Simmons to participate in the fun! (Either that, or I'm suffering from some sort of disorder that causes me to want to play dress-up with my newborn. Cut a new mom some slack, will ya?) Regardless, I think it would be so fun if this was Baby's coming home outfit! It's another rainy fall day here in Hawaii. I keep waiting for it to let up so I can get outside for a walk. In the meantime, I've found myself totally absorbed in several baby books that I find quite interesting. Of course, they offer almost completely opposite advice in several areas (mostly pertaining to timing/scheduling of feedings and sleep). I think it's good to be exposed to different viewpoints before making your own decisions about what path you want to take. The funniest thing to me was reading BabyWise (which I read first) and thinking this totally makes sense to me... and then reading Baby411 and thinking Wow what a helpful and factual book... and then getting to the part where Baby411 comes right out and slams BabyWise for its philosophies. No wonder moms all over are so confused. Good thing we have instincts I guess.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Husband of the Year

Well it's a rainy Saturday here in Kaneohe. It hasn't stopped all day which isn't all that common. Usually rain comes and goes throughout the day and we have at least a little spot of blue sky at some point. But in this case the rain started last night around bedtime and hasn't let up yet. I guess there's a reason why it's so green here...And since there's nothing else to do on this rainy Saturday, it sure seems like a good day to have a baby. Alas, doesn't look like it's gonna happen today.

Last night we thought we might be starting something. I was having contractions every 7-8 minutes for the whole two hours that I kept track, and they were more intense than what I'd felt before. I could feel the contraction start and build and peak and then relax again which was actually sort of cool.

I expected to wake up in the middle of the night in full blown labor (maybe even in a puddle?), but instead I slept as soundly as ever and woke up with a relaxed uterus.

I think false labor contractions should be banned. They are such a cruel tease.

Anyway, in lieu of any good baby news today, I thought I'd spend some time bragging about my awesome husband. :)

Last night as we were going to bed and really thinking that this might be it, we were both almost giddy (which, in retrospect should have been a sign to me that it's not the real thing since my demeanor is supposed to change... giggling with my husband probably isn't the demeanor change doc was talking about as a sign of true labor). Anyway, the thought of Scott as a new dad makes me excited and proud and I just can't wait to see him holding our new little daughter. HA! This is what we were laughing about... as he insists that it'll be our little son... We'll find out who's right at some point!

We also talked about how its been hard for him to concentrate at work... what with all the wondering about when we get to meet baby. I said something about how this upcoming week will probably be the worst... he replied that he will never be able to concentrate on work again! That made me laugh. He's gonna be such a good dad.

Today, he packed his bag for the hospital, vacuumed the stairs, dusted the ceiling fan in the baby's room, reorganized the closet (again), and crawled up into a storage space to clean it out. Apparently my husband has the nesting instinct as well. :)

The only thing he doesn't have is the desire to really understand what I'm going through physically, carrying this load around with me 24/7. I've told him over and over that I think he should strap a basketball to his belly and try to surf with it. He's never thought that was such a good idea.

But then low and behold, he got an email from his brother who just recently became a dad for the first time... Ah ha! His brother is showing him up in the empathy department!Doesn't it seem like this should be required attire for all of our husbands?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Half Ripe

Unfortunately doc didn't say any magic words to me today (i.e. "You're 100% effaced and dilated and ready to push!!!") but I knew she wouldn't. She did seem to think I was progressing some though since I'm now 50% effaced. So that's something at least.

She recommended that I go for long walks. I asked if the 22 miles I've walked in the last 6 days counted for something?

Anyway, I read Gordo's Blog today where he talked about how fit his wife stayed through her pregnancy... that was all cool to read because I could relate in that I'm feeling like I was able to maintain some reasonable level of swimming fitness at least through these last 9 months... but then I made the mistake of continuing reading about her labor and delivery and now maybe I'm changing my mind about wanting to give birth? I like how Allison described hers instead. Quick and easy.

I wonder how I can order Allison's "quick and easy" rather than "watching young people die or seeing people being broken via torture", as Gordo described his wife's labor... Any tips???

Forget it. I changed my mind. I'll just stay pregnant forever.

My Friday Appointment

I have another MD appointment today at noon. I'm totally hoping she tells me that all these false labor contractions I've been having for months (and the nausea I felt off and on all day yesterday) are finally worth their salt and causing me to progress in some way. What I'm actually hoping is that I'm one of those women who is in real labor but doesn't even know it until she's 7 cm and just about to deliver... I've been reading stories like that online and just wishing... I'm sure that's not what I'm going to hear today but a girl can hope, right?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Stretched Too Thin

So I went swimming today and as I was in the locker room putting on my too old and incredibly stretched out swim suit yet again, it occurred to me that I really want (ok, need) to throw this suit in the garbage.
I was going to tell you to imagine, if you will, a previously size 30 swim suit that has, over the course of several months, stretched to accomodate a 158 lb pregnant body... but seriously folks, don't do it. The vision is just too unsightly. You might go blind in your imagination.

But what's a pregnant swimmer to do? No other suit I own has been forced to stretch like this one has, so nothing else I own will come close to covering me at this point. And every day now I keep thinking that this is possibly my last swim until after the baby is born... maybe the suit will make it through just one more day? Dignity be damned, I ventured out onto the pool deck.

Kris, the lifeguard, says to me: "You're still here?"

Me: "Yep."

Kris: "When are you going to have that baby?"

Me: "I don't know. Hopefully before the straps of this suit rip."

Kris: "Yeah, that's suit's not working for you anymore..."

So it's confirmed. It's not in my imagination, and the lifeguard must now be blinded by the image of me in this horrible suit. By the way, she went on to tell me that she swears my belly has gotten *a lot* bigger since she last saw me two days ago. "I mean seriously a lot. How much bigger do you think you'll get?" She asks...

Um, I don't know? How much can skin stretch before it just starts exploding?

My belly and I managed to get into the water without making eye contact with anyone else and I decided that if I did long intervals today, I'd be stopped at the wall less... which might mean less conversation with anyone else who might just think its a good idea to tell the huge pregnant lady (in case she wasn't actually aware) how big she really is.

So I think from now on I'm gonna have to go with Angela's technique of wearing a 2 piece under this thinly stretched one piece... fashion statement of the year I think they call this look (and what sexy tan lines!)... but at least that way if the straps do rip while I'm swimming tomorrow, I won't be all naked in the pool.

Or maybe, just maybe, baby will spare me all the embarrassment completely and just decide to come out tonight???

NewBorn Care Class

Given that we are so close to having our baby but that neither Scott nor I have ever changed a diaper before, we thought it would be a good idea to go to a General Newborn Care class at the local hospital.

Clearly, we needed some help.

We got to practice giving a baby a bath and of course changing a poopy diaper. It was too funny when Scott opened up the diaper on the doll baby to find a big gooey mess down there... but we learned that changing a diaper is really no big deal because the baby sits still and quiet the whole time no matter how long you take. And who knew that baby poop smells like chocolate frosting?

This is gonna be a cinch.

We also learned the five full-proof ways to calm a fussy baby. You see, babies have a 'calming reflex' so all you have to do is: 1) Swaddle them tightly, 2) hold them on their Side, 3) give a good Shhhhh, 4) Swing 'em around a bit, 5) and let 'em Suck. Works every time. Right, Kelley? ;)

Seriously though, I think some of the info in this class was great, and overall we both thought it was well worth our time. My only complaint is that the instructor is the most opinionated and judgemental woman either of us had ever met (the same self-proclained Birth Goddess who taught us the Birthing Basics Class last month). I understand that she teaches the teen pregnancy classes at Kailua High School, so she feels like she needs to impart all of her infallible wisdom on the naive kids who are having kids, but it seems to me that maybe her style should change a bit when she's working with a room full of educated adults.

I think I'm a pretty open-minded person and take pride in the fact that I will listen to many different view points (and make it a priority to search out such things), but that in the end I will make choices based on what makes most sense to me. And in all my recent research on methods of dealing with babies, I have found many differing (opposite?) approaches and philosophies. And some woman in particular seem to get so wrapped up in and convinced that their method is unequivocally the best and only way to do it...

I think anyone who proclaims to know it all is full of it.

Anyway, the Birth Goddess apparently plays some role at the hospital where I'll be delivering (not sure how exactly she participates?) but I told Scott that his job while we're there is going to be to keep this woman away from me.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Preparing To Run

Now that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and do finally believe that I will not be pregnant forever*, I'm feeling a desire to prepare myself to start running once again. After all, I'm having a baby, not a personality transplant, so running will once again play an important role in my life.

To that end, here's what I've found myself doing over the last few days:

1. Ordered new running shoes. It's certainly time, since I haven't bought a new pair of running shoes in 9+ months. The interesting thing is that I've had to size up 1/2 size because my feet have grown! I heard that can happen when you're pregnant (and it's a permanent change) but I didn't really notice it until just a few weeks ago. My toes are pretty darn crammed in to the toe box of my old Supernovas. These new ones will feel great!
2. Renewed my subscription to Runner's World Magazine. It expired sometime mid-pregnancy and I chose not to renew it then because I just thought it would be too depressing to get that reminder in the mail each month that I wasn't running. Soon though, I'll appreciate the extra motivation and advice the publication provides for me each month.
3. I am updating my blog with links to some coaching websites and blogs** (see sidebar if you're interested). These are mostly established triathlon coaches giving pretty high tech advice, and I've recently found myself once again very interested in their different training philosophies. I am admittedly a self-coached athlete, for several reasons. First off, I'm not financially prepared the shell out the big bucks for a coach, even though I do believe that having one might help me reach another level in the sport. But even given that, there's something I enjoy about learning and reading about the "best" ways to train and then putting it all together and experimenting for myself. I can also totally see myself blowing off a coach's advice, justifying that nobody knows my body like I do. Whether or not that's true it neither here nor there. The main thing is that since I have no aspirations of ever becoming pro in my sport, it seems to me that I should enjoy the purity of being able to choose for myself how much and how hard I'm going to train during a given period. Motivation is rarely an issue for me.

4. I have started updating the music on my iPod. It's definitely time for new playlists that will keep me going!

5. I'm getting myself back into a routine of 'training', even if my 'training' right now involves walking rather than running. I've upped my daily walks from 30-40 minutes to 60-90 minutes and just have to believe that having my legs carry me on land 4-5 miles/day is better preparing me to run than not having them do that. My pace has picked up some now too, now that I am unencumbered by the dog who has a persistent need to stop and smell every blade of grass along the way... And of course I'm also secretly (or not so secretly since I'm announcing it here) hoping that one of these days during my walk I'll feel a spontaneous gush of water flow out of me and splash on the asphalt below... How cool would that be?? Unfortunately I think that only happens in the movies.

Regardless, I'm feeling ready, mentally and (almost) physically, to get back in the game.

*Repeat something often enough and eventually you will believe it!!

** If you know of other coaching blogs that give good info, forward me the link.

Monday, October 20, 2008

5 Minute Contractions

I felt like I had a perma-contraction all day today. But I was pretty active so never had a chance to really pay attention.

Tonight after dinner I sat down on the couch and just for kicks, started timing. 5 minutes apart. Like clockwork. For the whole hour that I counted.

I told Scott, who gets his hopes up every time I tell him that contractions are coming regularly.

He said, "Didn't the doctor tell you to call when they are 5 minutes apart?"

To which I replied, "Yes. But she also said that my demeanor would change and that I wouldn't be able to laugh."

Since we were watching The Daily Show and I was laughing hysterically, we guessed that we're not going to have our baby tonight. In fact, we may not have baby until after the election is over because I cannot imagine not laughing with Jon Stewart...

Too Much Of A Good Thing

At what point does too much of a good thing become not so good?
For the aging dog with arthritis, the threshold is apparently a fun filled weekend comprised of 2 x 4 mile hilly walks followed by 2 hours of playing in the waves at the beach. That combination apparently makes standing up on Monday morning impossible.

It was actually quite sad this morning. Normally we are greeted like royalty as we descend the stairs in the mornings... the big black dog waiting at the bottom with her happy eyes and wagging tail. But this morning, she didn't get out of bed to come say hi. Didn't pay attention while we were eating breakfast and didn't even beg for her own food. And when I told her that it was time to go outside, she looked at me with perky eyes and ears, but still didn't move.

Scott then attempted to rouse her, which did instill a sense of urgency for her to make a bigger effort to get up. She stood, walked 3 steps, then plopped right back down on the rug and gave us a sad face. :(

Scott and I decided that she needed to get outside to go to the bathroom, and she would need to be carried. He would have to do it before he left for work because I'm certainly in no shape to carry a 60 pound dog down the steps.
So down they went, dog and master, to the great outdoors where we were hoping Hoku would get the hint and empty her bladder. No such luck. Fresh air wasn't going to help her use her hind legs for support and she immediately just collapsed to her belly on the concrete sidewalk. It was very sad! Decision was finally made that Scott would take her to work with him and at lunchtime they would go to the vet together to get some type of anti-inflammatory/pain-killer for dogs.
It sucks... getting old...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Weekend Update

Well, I wish I could report a more interesting weekend, but as I am not in the business of making stuff up, I'll just say that it's been somewhat relaxing.

It's kind of starting to feel like winter here on the Windward side of Oahu. Of course, our winters aren't quite like those on the mainland, but after almost 4 years here now, I can certainly sense the change. It's kind of nice, really. More dark, thick clouds, a little cooler and stronger wind, and just an overall sense of 'winter'. Hoku and I walked 4 hilly miles yesterday (and today too) and the cooler temps made it way more bearable, especially considering that all the sleeping in (and coffee in bed!) that Scott and I are doing these days causes the morning walks not to start until at least 9:00 AM.

Yesterday I met a couple of my old training buddies at the pool to swim*. It felt great to be social in my workouts a bit. One of the challenges of pregnancy workouts (for me) has been all the solitude. Since I feel like I just need to go my own cruisy pace all the time, it doesn't feel right to me to schedule workouts with others who are actually training b/c I can't push myself to keep up right now. Soon I will though. Soon. I like training with my friends. Much of my social outlet has to do with meeting my training partners for our weekly sessions so being a part of their lives again, even in a small way, lifted my spirits. :) Anyway, I got in 12,500 meters of swimming this week and am starting to have fleeting ambitions of attempting a long ocean swim race here in December. It's almost 4.5 miles and I did it 2 years ago which was the last time it was held. Of course it all depends on when baby decides to make his/her appearance, and what kind of delivery I have. So I haven't sent my entry in yet. But assuming baby comes in the next 2 weeks and I don't have to have a c-section, I think it may be reasonable for me to complete the event. I don't have any unrealistic expectations of being all speedy or anything, but I definitely think that it would be possible for me to finish without drowning, which would good since I'll have an infant waiting to be fed at the end. ;)

Anyway, in other weekend adventures, there's not much to report. Scott and I did make it to the beach today. At some point while sitting on the couch watching mindless and repetitive news stories on CNN, we looked at each other and thought we have to get out of here. So we took the mutt to the beach. She didn't care that it was cloudy and cold. She didn't even care that her mouth was always full of sand while trying to retrieve her tennis ball. It's the simple things that make her happy and watching her pure joy at playing in the waves is always a good reminder of how great we have it.

So obviously no baby appearances yet. I've been feeling especially crampy more often than ever, and the contractions continue, although not in any regular way. I promise I'll write at least a short blog to let you know when I'm on my way to the hospital, assuming at some point it feels like its time to go. So no news is, well, no news. Hopefully soon there will be news!

*In honor of the lack of sun and cooler winds, I actually wore a fleece to the pool and was glad I did b/c the water was quite a bit chillier and I found myself having flashbacks of shivering while swimming all winter last year! We are so spoiled here. Fleece b/c it was only like 74 degrees. HA!

Friday, October 17, 2008

What's Up, Doc?

Another week, another doctor's appointment. The latter weeks of pregnancy seem to be filled with them. And now that I'm full term, the hope is that she'll say something like, "Great, you're 80% effaced and 3 cm dilated!"

I had never heard of 'effaced' or 'dilated' prior to being pregnant. But somehow now it's all I think about...

Of course I didn't get to hear that great news from doc today. In fact, it was the same as last week (1 cm, slightly effaced), which I really shouldn't be surprised about because it's pretty much the same story from just about everyone who's around my stage of pregnancy. Of course there are the lucky few who give hope to us all by going into healthy labor 3 weeks early, but for the majority of us 1st time moms, that's simply not the case. In fact, many 1st timers often go late, and end up being induced a week after their due date.

I'm still hoping that at some point soon all the contractions I'm having (and have had for months) will actually start proving themselves useful. Doc told me to do whatever I want and not worry about them coming, so you better bet that's what I've been doing. Not that it appears to be making a difference. I've been swimming 3000m 3-4x/week, water running 30-40 min 3-4x/week, walking Hoku 45 minutes just about every day, and hitting the elliptical at the gym at least once/week. Clearly, exercise has no bearing on effacement and dilation for me.

I do see a light at the end of the tunnel though. Doc said today that baby weighs just over 7 lbs! That means he/she has gained about 1.5 lbs since last week! (That made me feel better about being 2 lbs up myself.) Rachel also reminded me that I will not be pregnant forever, so I'm now chanting that as my mantra.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Yesterday's Hoax

Ok. So yesterday I'm sitting on the couch getting ready to watch the debate... craving watermelon and some truly painful contractions. I've decided that Braxton Hicks contractions are for wimps. I want the real ones. Bring 'em on.

And just then, I started to feel some crampiness, and then a wicked tight uterus. Ok. Not truly painful, and I didn't feel it in my back like I'd like to, but definitely a bit of pain involved. I'll take it.

What time is it? 2:55. Alright. Come on. Bring on another one.

3:05 PM. There it is again... some crampiness, hard uterus... lasting about a minute. Hmmm.

3:15 PM. Repeat. Like clockwork. Nice.

3:20 PM. Hear new email alert. Check email. Read this from a friend in California:


Forward this message the same day you received it. It may sound ridiculous, but it is right on time. We believe that something is about to happen. Angels exist, only sometimes they haven't got wings and we call them friends; you are one of them. Something wonderful is about to happen to you and your friends.
Tomorrow at 8:23 am somebody will address you and tell you something you have been waiting to hear. Please send it to at least 7 of your friends.

Woohoo! It's a sign! This must be it! Baby's coming tomorrow morning at 8:23. The email says so!

(We women in late pregnancy will grasp onto anything that gives us hope of one day being able to stand up without grunting.)

Now I'm not normally one to pass these types of emails on, but I simply cannot chance it this time. So I send it on to 7 friends (including Scott) and ask them to humor me. :)

My contractions continued to be 10 minutes apart all through the evening, but I'm disappointed to admit that the crampiness kind of went away and I never felt them escalate or get closer together. I began to lose hope, but somewhere deep inside I thought that it is still possible that this is just the early stage and that contractions would eventually escalate and intensify until I started swearing out loud and got to gleefully go to the birth center.

Alas, 8:23 this morning passed uneventfully, although I will admit that I was making good use of my time at the hairdresser eliminating some of those pesky brown roots that keep growing in.

Lesson of the day? I know this will come as a shock, but those emails are a hoax.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Full Term!

It's kind of a tease, really, to be considered 'full term' at 37 weeks even though your due date is still an excrutiatingly long 3 weeks away.

When you're this big and pregnant, 3 weeks is an eternity.

I know I'm supposed to 'enjoy' this time... that advice coming from all those lucky ones who have their babies and aren't pregnant anymore. I've heard that I should savor my sleep and quiet time... take long showers... and get a pedicure. And sometimes I try to do that stuff. Like the other morning when Scott and I were all relaxed and drinking coffee in bed while watching the morning news... that was nice. That probably won't happen too often after I'm done giving birth. Partly because the baby will keep us quite occupied I'm sure, but partly because once I'm physically able, I'll be out the door running instead of relaxing in bed over coffee!!

Anyway, no real guesses on how much longer 'til we get to meet our little one. I keep hoping the time is coming soon though so I'm hyper-attentive to every little twinge I feel in my abdominal area. For the last several days I've felt lots of sharp pains in my pelvis, almost like my pelvis is unstable and ready to split itself apart. (Nice, huh?) It happens more when I'm on a long walk with Hoku, although I'll also feel it if I've been sitting for a while and then stand up and take a step. I googled 'pelvic pain at 37 weeks pregnant' and it sounds like its pretty common- a sign that baby's head is nestling down into my pelvis. That sounds like an encouraging sign! Anyone felt this before?

So we continue to hurry up and wait! Next MD appt is Friday and boy wouldn't it be nice to hear that progress is being made down there?

Monday, October 13, 2008


Is this my final burst of energy? That instinctual urge to get everything in the nest completely ready? I don't know. But my kitchen has never been cleaner.

Today I pulled everything out of every drawer and wiped it all clean. The spice rack is organized. The wood utensils and cutting boards have been treated with mineral oil. The sink has been soft-scrubbed. Under the sink? Nothing but the cleaners we use and need, and the spiders in the corners down there have all been sent to spider heaven. The granite countertops have been sealed. And the fridge, oh the fridge... spotless.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Uh, Ma'am, Please Come To Shore...

The first North Shore Swell of the season arrived today so of course Scott and I went up to Sunset Beach to check it out. As he was walking toward the water, surfboard in hand, Scott mentioned that he had butterflies in his stomach! So excited! So cute! Like a kid on Christmas morning! I told him I thought there was something else in my stomach... duh. ;) So after he paddled out, I parked my big belly in this chair with my book.But then I got hot. And thought that a little dip in the cool water would be nice. And in the channel between breaks, it appeared that there was a calmer spot where waves weren't breaking (not pictured below), and I thought that this would be a fun place to water run. In the summer, the whole north shore is generally pretty calm, more like a lake, and this is where the majority of our swim races are held. So I've swam a lot in this water. I know there is usually a pretty decent current on the inside, but once you get out past the strong current, the water becomes more stable. In the winter (ahem, like today) it breaks like crazy and this is where they hold the Triple Crown of Surfing, etc. It's a great beach! (There are surfers out there past all this white water, my giddy husband being one of them...)Dangerous Shorebreak! Strong Current! Whatever. I ignored these warning signs and dove in for my run.
The water was awesome! I went out maybe 150 meters to a point where I felt comfortable. I figured out the current and started water running against it, checking my location against the warning flags on the beach. If I ran pretty hard and used my arms, I could run against the current and stay pretty much in one spot... and then between waves I could sometimes see the surfers on the break. Cool! This was water running at its absolute adventurous best! I figured I'd go for about 45 minutes and then swim in.

Much to my surprise, after about 15 minutes this lifeguard drove up the beach on his quad, got on his loud speaker, and issued a warning for me to come to shore. Who? Me? I was fine. It made me laugh because I figured he probably thought I was some dumb tourist who didn't understand the water out there, but as embarrassed as I was to be called to shore by a lifeguard, I complied without argument. (You're welcome, mom.) The whole time I was thinking to myself that even at 9 months pregnant I was probably still a stronger swimmer than he was, but I ignored my irrational pregnant hormonal urge to tell him that and kept my mouth shut.* That was sort of an accomplishment...I did actually walk down the beach for a while (in the opposite direction of the lifeguard tower) to see if I could find another spot that looked calm enough to finish my run. There wasn't one though- everywhere else there were waves and white water that would have prohibited my ability to safely and comfortably run. So I gave it up for the day and went back to the chair with my book.

In calmer news, we stopped at this little roadside stand and picked up some corn for dinner. Fresh off the farm. Time to eat... YUM!

*In the lifeguard's defense, he was dealing with all sorts of safety issues today. There were many surfers trying to get to shore with what was left of their broken boards, and on my walk down the beach I saw a surfer come out looking like he was a cast member in a horror movie... blood dripping all down his face from a massive cut to his head. It wasn't pretty.


I've been tagged by Lil Runner... so here it is... a few random things (and pictures) about me that you never knew (ok, mom, you knew these things ;)...

1. When I was little I would talk to everyone I saw. My mom told me that she would take me to the grocery and if she walked away to look for a food item while I was sitting in the cart, when she came back I'd be having a conversation with the first person who happened by. "How many kids do you have?" "What's your dog's name?" I guess that was a good set-up for my future career in sales.

2. I grew up in small town Ohio but got a scholarship for springboard diving to University of Hawaii here on Oahu. It was quite a shock to be the only blonde person in my huge lecture classes. I learned a lot that year about being a minority and I didn't really mind it. I still like learning about other cultures.

3. I am a cancer survivor! Haven't actually written about that on this blog yet... maybe I'll tell the whole story one of these days... I was diagnosed 3 days after completing the 1/2 IM at Wildflower in 1999. That year I went 5:42 with Hodgkin's Disease growing in my lymph nodes (I knew something was wrong with me that day but didn't know what- thought it might have been mono). A year later, cured after 4 months of chemo and a month of radiation, I raced Wildflower again. I don't remember my time, although I know it was over 6 hours. The treatment was worse than the disease! Although, I'm still alive today so there's something to be said for the treatment. :) The picture below is from Wildflower 2000. Lance had won his first Tour the year prior (while I was going through treatment) and was totally my hero. I actually thought we were destined to be married. :) My friends called me Armstrong for like a year...

3a. By the way this picture was of my second chemo treatment. I was wearing my finisher's shirt from the Buffalo Springs 1/2 IM that I did 10 days after my first chemo treatment. My mom thought I was crazy to still go through with that race after starting chemo, but my doctor told me that if I felt like I could do it to go for it. I think I still finished that race under 6 hours which was pretty cool. And I still have the finisher's shirt.

4. After that ordeal with cancer, I thought it high time I see the world. I was a teacher at the time so I applied to teach internationally. In 2000/2001 I taught 3rd grade at an International School in Jakarta, Indonesia. It was an incredible year. I had 19 kids from 10 different countries in my class and I swear I learned more from them that year than they did from me. I also got to travel around to a bunch of southeast Asian countries, a lot on my own, that year. Too many tales to tell here and now, but I follow Michele in Malaysia's blog because many of her stories feel so familiar to me!
5. I love country music! I got addicted to it while living in Arizona and haven't stopped listening in 10+ years. In fact, I remember one year when I was training for an Ironman, I made a playlist that was 3 hours long of straigh country music for my long run. And i had a great run. :)

6. I totally can't surf, which comes as a surprise to me since I love the ocean so much and was a gymnast for 10 years growing up... you'd think I have the skills. But the few times I've tried it I haven't bgeen good at it. I get all scared and as soon as I stand up on the wave I scream and jump off. My husband grew up on the beach here in Hawaii and is a big wave surfer, so these days I just go to the beach and hang out and watch him (and since the first winter swell appears to be arriving today we're headed up the the north shore here in a few minutes). I'll post a picture from him surfing today later after we get back. ;)

Ok, next up TAGGED...


Friday, October 10, 2008

This Time Last Year...

I was getting ready to race Ironman in Kona!
I keep having flashbacks of how great I felt after training so much all summer and then being all tapered and healthy and ready to go. That's the addictive thing about Ironman- the feeling you have in the two weeks before the race when you just feel like a superhero.

And then race morning comes... and the National Anthem plays as all the athletes start crowding into the water for the swim start... heart is racing already even though the cannon has not yet gone off. And you look around you and think, "I can't believe I'm here!"
I remember loving the bike there... pedaling along the wide and smoothly paved Queen K, looking off to the side and seeing the incredibly blue Pacific Ocean... riding with the best triathletes in the world while media cameras captured the whole thing. How cool was that? I didn't even mind the wind.
And then on the run I finally had a chance to see Scott and a bunch of my other friends who flew over to watch... cheering as loud as they could until they no longer had voices. Running along the famous Ali'i Dr and into the Energy Lab... and that amazing finish line.

Of course I remember it so fondly now. Funny how our memories play funny tricks on us like that. Because the reality of it was that the swim start was a brutal boxing match, the wind totally sucked at Hawi, my legs started cramping much too early on during the bike, to the point where they completely seized up on me in the last few miles... I had to walk the whole (long!) transition area because a running step would have caused me to keel over. Running became possible for a few fleeting miles early on in the marathon but then I experienced a whole body meltdown due to nutritional/electrolyte imbalances, which forced me to walk most of the rest of the way... Walking such a distance provided me a long time to completely question my participation in this insane sport. And at the finish line, right before I was whisked away to the med tent, I specifically remember asking out loud through tears, "How many more times do I need to learn this lesson? Ironmans suck."

And yet, a year later, I would love to be there again. And I have no doubt that one day I will be.

Is this what childbirth is like? Terribly painful while you're going through it, but then somehow you manage to forget the reality of it and agree to do it again? Because right now I'm thinking that being pregnant isn't so much fun and I can't imagine myself purposefully doing it again.

I wonder how long it will take me to forget and want to repeat?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

External Version

The Short Story:

External Version sucks. But in my case it worked (YEA!), and given what I know now, I would still choose it over an inevitable/planned c-section due to breech.

The Whole Story:

I was pretty stressed out this morning going into the hospital. I had to go to a teaching hospital in town to have them perform the procedure just in case anything went wrong. My doctor doesn't do External Versions, so I met a new doctor today who would try to turn baby. And since it was a teaching hospital, the place was crawling with residents and med students who kept coming in and asking the same questions and doing much of the prep work. It was very Grey's Anatomy.

I was instructed to arrive at the hospital 2 hours prior to the actual turning, and as I found out, this was so they had time to fully prep me in the case of emergency surgery. Not so good for my stress levels. Being on a gurney, in a triage room, in a hospital gown while you are continuously being monitored and poked for blood while they insert the i.v. made me understand why some women prefer to give birth at home. It all felt very invasive and I didn't like it one bit. I told Scott that my new labor plan will be to stay at home as long as possible before going into the hospital so I can just deal with the majority of my contractions on my own at home. We'll see how well that plan works out when the time actually comes....
Prior to going in, I had a dream that they got baby turned 1/4 of the way and then he/she finished off the job easily on his/her own. I told doc this as we were talking prior to starting and she said that's how they like it to go too. So my visions were right on.

Anyway, right before starting they gave me a shot of terbutaline, which is that horrible drug that stops contractions but makes me feel all jittery with an out of control heart rate. It was fully necessary though because the doc pressed so hard into my abdomen that without it, my uterus would have hardened up like a rock I'm sure. She had the ultrasound machine right there so she could keep checking the position of the baby, but basically it entailed the doctor and the resident working together to grab baby's butt and rotate it counter clockwise while simultaneously moving baby's head toward my pelvis. It was really painful. They didn't get it the first time, but after letting me rest (and breathe) for a few seconds they tried again. The second try hurt way worse than the first, and I had a major full body hot flash as my blood pressure dropped, but I could hear the docs talking to each other and it sounded like they had baby right where they wanted, so I endured. Sure enough, once baby was 1/4 turned, it did the rest on its own!

I didn't even feel relieved right away because my body just felt so weird... they gave me an oxygen mask due to my low blood pressure which I didn't like because it made me feel even more like a critical care patient, but after a few minutes, all the medical people in the room left and I could take the mask off and just talk to Scott.

So the turning itself was over in only about 5 minutes. It took me another 15 to regain my composure and get over what felt like massive trauma to my abdomen (I'm sure I'll have a bruise where baby's head used to be), but then I was fine. They kept me on the monitors for another 2 hours just to make sure baby was doing ok and didn't flip itself back over right away. Apparently 4% of babies decide they like their head up position better and return to it. So far mine hasn't done that and I would think the longer it stays head down they more likely it is to stay that way until the end. :)

Several hours later now I'm feeling major relief. #1 because I've hit 36 weeks so I can deliver at my local hospital when I do actually go into labor (which is a way more laid back and quiet place), and #2 because the planned c-section should be able to be avoided now. I know I may still end up with one due to unforeseen complications or whatever, but at least now there's a decent chance I'll be able to deliver normally. Phew!

So now we just wait. Hurry up and wait. And wonder. When will baby come? I'm going to guess it'll be several more weeks... I guess we'll see!

Happy Birthday, Little Bro!

Today is my little brother's birthday. He's officially entered into the realm of double digits, having hit the big 1.0.

Unfortunately, he's forced to celebrate at his home in Ohio while battling his case of the chicken pox. ARGH! That's no way to spend your tenth birthday!! But Jack, remember when you were here?
So I thought I'd send him a little ALOHA from the Aloha State by helping him remember a bit of his trip out here in May for our wedding.

He got to stay for 10 days and I don't think anyone would argue that the highlight of his trip was his new big brother-in-law teaching him how to surf! We'll have to bring him out here again sometime so he can continue to perfect those skills. ;)

Monday, October 6, 2008

Flip, Baby, Flip!

Tomorrow is the big day. Flipping day! I've always loved flipping. I hope baby does too...

I'll be going in to Kapiolani Women and Children's Hospital to have them manhandle my little bean, forcing him/her into a head-down position. Yesterday I went in so they could do a full ultrasound and check out the overall health of the baby as well as the amount of amniotic fluid. Apparently there has to be enough amniotic fluid to make it easy enough for baby to move around before they'll attempt to turn it. And apparently, I have plenty. :)

All the other ultrasound measurements they took were good as well. The tech said that baby weighs 5 lbs, 9 oz, has 10 fingers and 10 toes, and has hair! I kept hearing the nurses say things like 'cute baby' and 'perfect nose' and 'beautiful cervix' (mine, not baby's!)... With all those compliments I'm hoping baby's head doesn't swell up so much that it won't fit through my beautiful cervix.

There is an off-chance that I'll end up in an emergency c-section situation, although it's not likely. But they'll be monitoring the baby the whole time and if any complications arise it is possible that they'll whisk me away and cut the baby out. So it'll be another one of those "I wonder if I'm going to have my baby today" days. I'm going to try not to dwell on that, although I will be bringing my newly packed labor and delivery suitcase just in case. And the car seat is installed. And some friends have agreed to take care of the dog for us when the time comes...

Aloha Baby

Decorating the nursery has been a challenge for me. Not knowing if we're having a boy or a girl is part of that, but it's also because I'm just not altogether artistic or creative and trying to pick out all this cutesy baby stuff hasn't come so naturally.

I've spent a lot of time surfing websites looking for the right crib bedding and although I found some that seemed acceptable, nothing really blew me away and made me think, "That's it!" And crib bedding collections are way more expensive than you'd think... add shipping to Hawaii and you're looking at $400+ which just seems ridiculous to me.

But my baby is not going to sleep on a sheetless mattress, and I'm already feeling the pressure to be a good mommy and provide the cutest stuff for my kid, so I persevered with my search. Finally I found the "Aloha Baby Collection"... sweet! Totally unisex and decorated with palm trees and surf boards. That's perfect. I'll spend $$$ on that. Click to order. Add to basket. And then the notice appears:

Order cannot be processed. Item has been discontinued.


I checked several more websites and they all said they same thing... item unavailable. I was pretty bummed. Back to the drawing board.

I figured rather than spending all that extra money to have some random crib bedding that I didn't even like so much shipped here, that I would just go into town and shop around in person at the two baby stores we have here on Oahu. (We don't have Babies-R-Us which is a bummer.) Anyway, with some amount of ambivalence, I walked into the first store to check out what I knew would be a limited selection of stuff.

And then there it was. I spotted it immediately from across the room.

Me: (to store clerk): Is that the Aloha Baby Collection?

Clerk: Yes. Let me check though to see what we actually have in stock...

I waited, almost holding my breath, until she came back and told me they had 2 left. I'll take it! And just like that I plopped down my credit card and took those palm tree decorated sheets, bumpers and mobile home to my nest.
I also got the Aloha Shirt shaped diaper stacker...
And the cute Beach Baby hamper...

The nest is almost complete! And Mama Simmons is happy. :)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Ocean Running

S.A.T. Test prep for the day:

Ocean Running is to Pool Running as Trail Running is to Road Running.

It was actually pretty cool today. Scott and I headed out to Lanikai Beach, which is on the Windward side of Oahu, which means that during normal Tradewind weather (east winds), the water is gonna be choppy. Don't be fooled by the apparent serenity of this picture. It was choppy!
But I looked at it as a good challenge. I had to be much more alert through this run so I could avoid a) kicking a surprise piece of shallow reef rock, b) getting surprise smacked in the face by windswell water and thereby suffering a salt water eye wash, and c) any painful portugese man-o-war stings.
I was mostly successful. Only one really good salt water eye wash, one small brush with kicking the reef (no broken skin), and a complete avoidance of man-o-war today.

The whole thing was way more interesting than pool running though b/c the views were so much much better and time went by faster since I had to pay attention so much more for my own safety. I kind of ran back and forth between two bouys that were out there and it was like doing hill repeats because going against the chop was way harder than turning around and going back. Scott surfed for 50 minutes and I was in there running the whole time. :)

Afterward Scott wanted to take another picture of my belly but I'm kind of over the belly shots at this point. But I did allow this one... just for its artistic value.
I swear I used to think that pregnancy made my butt and boobs so much bigger. Clearly, the butt and boobs have been dwarfed!