October 1, 2015

thoughts on running

I'm back! But not really.  Before you get too excited, this is NOT a revival of the blog. But for the moment, I have a sleeping baby and a lot of thoughts running (pun intended) through my head so let's get started.

This whole thing started when Athlinks decided to email me about running results they found for me. (I didn't even know I had an Athlinks account. Is it even called Athlinks?) But a quick click led to me my race history. And a reminder that I used to be above average at running (I mean that in the most literal sense of the word average). And that I was working toward becoming good at running.

And then a broken rib happened.
And then a PE happened.
And then I felt overwhelmed by the amount of work it would take to get back, so I let my dreams of being a good runner go.

And now I'm married and have a 5 month old daughter, and it's been about FOUR YEARS since I've run anything resembling a decent finish time, so it certainly is an ironic time for thoughts like running the men's BQ time to be popping in my head. It's ridiculous because I've fallen so far from anything even remotely close to fitness that the amount of work it would take to get back to better than my best would be... impossible?

And then I think of the women who have run their PRs after their babies.
And I think about TCM this weekend, being run in near-perfect weather, and feel something that can only be described as longing.
And I think about how good my body felt on the two "runs" I've done this week. Like with each step my body is saying Where the heck have you been? This is what I am supposed to be doing. even though I was running 10:20 miles and taking walk breaks.

I haven't gotten new running shoes since April 2014.
I can't find a sports bra that will support my giant nursing boobs.
I can't even do a push-up from my toes.
I haven't gotten a solid night's sleep since Ulla was born.
We're coming into a MINNESOTA WINTER.
I don't even remember what a good run feels like.

But my legs remember- muscle memory or something. And I have a husband that didn't laugh when I said It used be my dream to qualify for the Olympic Trials Marathon. Instead, he said something along the lines of Well, you still should! 

So all these thoughts are in my head. I don't know where they will go- probably nowhere- but I thought a good first step would be to write them down here. 

August 31, 2015


Today would have been my Oma's birthday. She died peacefully in her sleep nearly 10 years ago, from what, we don't know. My Opa woke up one morning and went to kiss her good-bye. He found her cheek cold, but the bed under her body still warm. It was heartbreaking.

Oma- Ursula, called Ulla for short (pronounced oo-la)- was born in Germany in 1939 and could remember the air raid sirens of WWII. She told me a story of her and her mother being admonished by Gestapo because she had turned on a light to use the bathroom during a raid, then never shut it off. Her father, my Opapa,  was forced to join the German army and went AWOL while in Russia, taking more than two years to work his way back to his family. They left Germany until the war was over, then returned to open a restaurant/hotel.

Oma met my South Dakota-raised Opa during his deployment with the army some twenty years later. She was a waitress in her father's restaurant and Opa and his friends came in. His friends were so rowdy that she threw the whole group out, and Opa returned the next day to apologize. That was that. They married in Germany and my mom was born at the army base hospital.  When my mom was 9 months old, they moved back to the US.  Oma and Opa had four more children- all boys!- over the next 10 years, during which time Opa was finishing medical school and his residency.

Opa finally graduated medical school and went on to enjoy a successful career as a urologist. After years of literally going through couch cushions looking for change for bread, they began to live a more comfortable life. They bought a house in Bloomington near Lake Normandale and raised my mom and her brothers there. The house remains in our family today, and will always be Oma and Opa's house to me.

Oma had a thick German accent but never taught us German. (I don't think it was too popular to be German after WWII!) She was fiercely practical. She had expensive taste in everything from clothes to chocolate but rationalized If you buy quality, you don't need as much! (How true!) She carried the plain leather version of Coach purses, which always smelled like Trident gum, and you'd be guaranteed to find a pack of it, Chapstick, a travel pack of Kleenex, and a tin of Nivea if you dumped out its contents. She loved walking through the woods, gardening, and cooking. She taught me that if your husband was on his way home, but you didn't have dinner started, throw some butter and onions in a pan to make it smell good and tell him Dinner's almost ready! when he came through the door. But most of all, she loved Jesus.

She lived the verse to whom much is given, much is required. Both Oma and Opa were very active in their church, in missions, and opened their home to many people in need. She kept a prayer journal and talked about Jesus as though she had met with him that morning. That relationship she modeled serves as a benchmark for me.

I've also inherited her love of  thick sweaters, Kraeuterbutter, and Eileen Fisher. I find myself shoving Kleenex up my sleeve, leaving just a bit poking out at my wrist, just like she used to do. During Ulla's bouts of fusiness, I'll say  ja, ja, ja while we bounce. I abide by her belief that it's not spoiling, it's nurturing! My mom looks just like her (watch the video below and you will see!).

Even though she is gone, she is very much here.

When we found out I was pregnant, the name Ursula was the front-runner for me. John took some convincing, due to a certain sea witch sharing the same name! Suffice it to say, Ursula does not make an appearance on any Top 100 Baby Names list here in the US!  I wanted Ulla to have a name that meant something, that had a legacy. Ursula means "little bear; will; determination." Oma was all of those things, and I want Ulla to carry my Oma's mantle of strength, compassion, and great faith.

For those of you that never knew her, this was the video that we played at her wake. It does such a beautiful job of capturing who she was!

May 11, 2015

our daughter is here

So surprise! I did not stay pregnant forever. Our little girl, Ursula Joy, was born after a little medical prompting on Monday, April 27 at 1:15 p.m., 16 days after her due date. She's named after my late Oma (German for Grandma) and we call her Ulla for short, pronounced oo-la. The fact that she's a girl remains the biggest shock of my life.

I began working on her birth story the week we brought her home but haven't gotten back to it since. I thought it would be one of those things that would be a quick-write but I couldn't have been more wrong. So that's back-burnered and I will eventually get around to finishing it in all of its TMI glory. (Update: You can read her birth story here.)

What I can tell you now is that being a mom is absolutely everything I thought it would be. It's deliciously exhausting and I spend the majority of my day with her on my chest. I've heard too often that this time passes too quickly, so I'm savoring every second. To-do's can be done later. And showers? That's what dry shampoo is for. And that little peri-bottle they give you at the hospital... It does the job.

Watching my big, bearded husband- the guy that swore up and down before she was born that he'd NEVER baby talk- speak in the highest, baby-talkiest voice continues to melt my heart.  We're so in love with her.

John's family came down a few days after she was born and his sister brought her camera. This is the result. 

April 21, 2015

41 weeks, 3 days pregnant

Baby G is now a full 10 days post-date. Overdue. Late. Given that most first time moms deliver roughly 8 days overdue, I'm still in the ballpark of average, but have officially entered bonus pregnancy. 

Yesterday we had a BPP (Biophysical Profile, which is a fancy ultrasound that checks on how the baby is doing) and a NST (non-stress test), both of which the baby passed with flying colors. During the ultrasound, the tech switched to 3D to try to get a picture of the bean's face and he/she is so low in my pelvis that their little face looked like it was smooshed against glass, flattened nose and all. It's adorable and annoying (hey, bladder!) all at the same time.

- Warning, cervix talk ahead -

During my physical exam, I had Dawn (my favorite midwife) check my progress. The good news: I'm 80% effaced, my cervix is super soft, and the baby is at a +1 station. The bad news: I'm not really dilated at all. In theory, this means nothing, since women can walk around at 3 centimeters for weeks, or go from 0-10 in hours, but what it meant for me yesterday was that she couldn't strip my membranes. I was hoping she could, and that it would jump start labor. No dice.

Hospital protocol is to offer an induction at 41 weeks, regardless of medical necessity. Studies have shown that induction after 41 weeks doesn't increase your chances of having a c-section, so most women choose to schedule an induction. Because I want as natural a birth as possible, with the least interventions possible, I'm choosing to wait until 42 weeks to talk about induction, which is as far as most doctors/midwives will let you go. Pitocin (aka the chemical crowbar) doesn't sound like it would be the best start to a natural birth experience.

With 42 weeks sneaking up on Saturday, I've been doing everything in my power to get this little babe out. Pineapple, sex, walking, acupuncture, primrose oil, squats, raspberry leaf tincture, spicy foods, lunges, nipple stimulation, bouncing on an exercise ball... If it can be found on the internet, I've done it.

Seriously, please tell me a) what you did to induce labor and b) any story you know of where a mom went into spontaneous labor when she was as overdue as me.

PS- I mentioned castor oil (my last resort) to Dawn yesterday and she advised against it. So I'm leaving that one off the table.