Wednesday, August 19, 2015

KOREA

Korea. We are moving there. WHAT.


I had gotten to this great place where I was happy not knowing where we were moving yet. They kept on pushing back the date when we would find out, so I just decided I would be cool with it. The Army will tell us when the Army tells us. As soon as we find out, it will get more stressful (It did). Let me just bask in the ignorance for a while. I was pretty dang smug about how patience I was being.

Then last Monday, James had the day off work. He got back from his run and while he was in the shower, his phone exploded with texts. Everyone in his squad was sending in a group text that people were finally get the email.

So people continued to get emails all morning. And we waited. I think I told James to hit refresh on his email about 50 times.

And I realized that since other people knew, I was no longer cool with not knowing.

We ended up not finding out until the next afternoon. Somehow we were one of the very last to find out. James checked his email right before he left work, got home and said, "So.. ready to go on an adventure?"

Then he told me and I had this moment of panic set in. I felt like crying, but I couldn't put my finger on specifically why. Maybe I am not as adventurous as I wish I was. Do adventurous people feel moments of panic? I was just completely overwhelmed. We did want to go overseas, but part of me didn't think it would really happen. I was sure we were going to Fort Carson or Campbell. But it turns out that not a lot of people want to go there (unless they have already been there, then they LOVE it). So since we had Korea up sort of middle-top of the list, they were like "hey! these people don't mind going to Korea. Let's send them there!" Actually, I'm not sure that's exactly how it went down, but there were people in James's class that did NOT want to go there at all and somehow still got assigned to Korea.

Luckily, about an hour after James got home, I had a run date with a friend. Seriously, that could not have been better timed. If you ever need to process HUGE news, go for a run.

How do you process something like that? Questions that went through my head:

  • Does Amazon prime deliver there? 
  • Will we have to protect Roxy (our dog) from being eaten? 
  • How do you completely flip a baby's schedule? 
  • How am I going to convince my baby that just learned how to crawl to stay put on a 20 hour flight? Actually how long is the flight? How do you get even get there? 
  • How do you do a non-DITY Army move? I don't even know. 
  • What if North Korea goes cray cray? 
Anyway, we have started the process of ALL the paperwork and hoops we have to jump through to move out of the country very soon. 

To details: We'll be at Yongsan Garrison, which is right downtown Seoul. It should be for two years, assuming that Jensen and I get command sponsorship (approved by the Army to go with him). If all paperwork does through quickly (heh), we should be moving around late October. 

AHH. 

I am excited. Really I am. I just want to skip over the moving part. 

Didn't I just write that life had slowed down and started to get sleepy? 

Stay tuned, folks. 

<3
Amy 

 "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Calm

Today, Jensen turns 7 months old. And today, James will interview for his next assignment and location. Together, we ranked a list of jobs at different Army bases 1 to 25. They will place James at one of those locations, depending on where they think he (and the rest of his captain's career course classmates) fit best.

In a little over 2 months, we will be packing up to move to one of those places. Some of those places are overseas. Some of them are in the middle of nowhere. None of them are very close to family in Chicagoland (the closest, I believe, is a 6 hour drive). We have no idea which one yet.

Four years ago, when I waited outside some gates, waiting for James to come out of Ranger School, I talked to a veteran Dad waiting for his son. He promised me that "life will eventually calm down." After nearly 8 months of living apart and phone calls and letters from the field, I didn't really believe him. We got placed at James's first assignment and he almost immediately deployed for 1 year. He returned and became this executive commander for his company, often going into the field and coming home late in the evening. Then we got pregnant and had this beautiful baby boy. Life has not been calm.

Until these last few months. We moved out to this tiny little town, next to this tiny little base, in the middle of the desert. James comes home for breakfast and it's rare for him to be home after 5.

Everything that was fast-paced before seems to have come to a halt. I used to rush to commute to work. Now I meander down the hall to my desk at home. We used to wake up early on so many Saturdays to go run a race, go hiking, or go camping. Now, we pull the baby into bed with us in the early morning and sleep in on most weekends (or at least doze and cuddle while our little adventurer sips his breakfast and rolls between the sheets). I like to think we still do more than the average couple with a baby, but the fact is that we are not quite as spontaneous as we were a year ago. Even my running has had to slow down due to some pain I still have from the pregnancy.


As we put together the list, it becomes a game of "would you rather?" Swamp or desert? Beach or mountains? Would we rather be adventurous and put Germany, Italy, and Korea on the top of the list? Or would we rather be close(r) to family, since we will likely try for another baby in the next couple years?

So I don't know where we will be in a few months. Regardless of where it is, we'll have another crazy move soon. This will be Jensen's third home and he's not even a year old yet. And it will be the first home he remembers. God will put us where we are supposed to be. Until then, we're just going to hang out here and enjoy the peace and sleepiness of the desert.

<3 Amy

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

This Boy Will Break My Heart Someday

I finally caved and read "The Fault In Our Stars" like everyone else and their mom, and there was a line I particularly loved:


"I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once." 

For me, that was how I feel in love with my baby boy. And I'm just going to warn you right now. This post is pretty dang sappy. 

It was different with my husband. James and I had high school crushes on each other that God helped us bake into something more substantial. We've got a crock pot love. With Jensen, I very slowly started to fall in love when I saw him on the ultrasound and then BAM. When I held him in my arms for the first time, the feeling in my heart was explosive and fierce. 

In a marriage, you have faith and hope that your spouse will stay with you until death do us part. With a child, you love them knowing that they will very most likely leave you someday. I've tried to explain to a few friends without kids how I feel about Jensen and its hard you do that without saying "I just love him SOO much." That's lame, so this post is me trying. 

He's my little partner in crime. He lights up with the biggest smile when I walk in to get him up in the morning, and it makes my whole day brighter. He had one pointed elf ear that is so stinkin' adorable it hurts. He has chubby little thighs obtained exclusively through breastfeeding, and for some reason I'm just really proud of that. The overwhelming consensus is that he looks like his dad, but with my eyes, which is very Harry Potter-esque and I freakin love that. He smiles at everyone like they are his favorite person and for a moment, I think they believe him. 

I try not to think about the day that he won't need me anyone, but I can't help it. Every time I put another outfit away that he's grown out of, I want to just shout STOP GROWING UP ALREADY. Someday soon, he won't be so thrilled when I wake him up in the morning. Someday soon, his chubby little thunder thighs will lengthen out. Someday, I will no longer be his number one lady. And someday, I will have to let him go. 

I hope he still loves me when he grows up. I hope he has the courage and strength of his dad. I hope he is loving and kind. I hope he grows into a man who loves God.

But I can't think about that too much. I have to enjoy loving him as he is now, and pray for the man he will become someday. My little baby. He will break my heart someday, but loving him every moment until then, and after, is worth it.

<3 A.

Note: Remind me to come back and read post when he's drawing on my walls and putting frogs in my shoes. 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Momming

I wouldn't say that this is the absolute most difficult time of my life so far.. because I've been through my husband being deployed. But this is definitely up there. Holy cow. Being a mom is hard.

I'm working part-time (20 hours/week) from home now. When I worked that out with my supervisors (who are AWESOME btw), I kind of imagined a little work there, a little Netflix here, tend to my adorable baby when he's not napping, nap a little myself, keep the house looking Pinterest clean, and train for a half marathon or marathon on the side. Also, take a class in web development, keep teaching myself guitar, and try so very hard to spend a little time opening my Bible once a day. Oh, and start blogging again. 

You're probably already laughing right now. Especially if you're a mom. 

Of the above, in the 5 months that my baby has been alive, here's what I have figured out how to fit in my day: 
1) Get my 20 hours of work done.
2) Keep the baby alive. 

Coffee and Yoga. Multitasking. 
I'm obviously still figuring this out. I expect my expectations will never match reality, but hopefully I'll figure some more things out. I'll document my little "mom hacks" as they come. 

I'm still not running a whole lot of miles. I'm learning that workouts that can be done before the baby wakes up in the morning or during nap times are really great (P90X, Insanity, etc). Especially in a climate that is really hot. Pilates has also been a great friend to my postpartum body. 

But yeah.. basically having a baby turned my life upside down. And then we moved across the country again. It's taking a little time to rebuild. 

<3 A

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Running (and Life in General) On This Side of Motherhood

I'd really like to start blogging again, so here goes. Life has been a little crazy since Jensen was born. We've moved to a new location and I've started working from home. On Mother's Day, I did my first race since having Jensen(which you may have already seen if you follow me on instagram). Oh.. it felt good to race again. Even if it was slower than before.

I thought running while being pregnant was hard, but trying to run after the baby has been born has presented a whole new set of challenges. Is it worth it? Oh so very much so. That doesn't make it any easier.

This post isn't really about anything in particular other than to say that I'm back. I hope. I'm going to really try. Maybe since my mileage is picking back up, my blogging can too.

Also, I'm playing around with my web development and this blog needs a makeover. You may see some other changes here soon.

Love love love,
Amy

PS: My husband got home early from work and I asked him to put the baby down for a nap. As I type, I can hear him making baby laughing hysterically instead. I can't even be mad. Ohh. I can't wait to tell you more about this crazy life.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Jensen's Birth Story


I was not one of those women that just wanted the pregnancy to be over. I was still feeling pretty good at 40 weeks. I hadn't been able to run in a while, but I was still walking and staying active. I knew my baby boy was comfortable below my heart, and told him I would just prefer that he get here before Christmas (he was due December 18th), so that I could enjoy a mimosa that morning. 

I went to work on Thursday the 18th, his due date. I hadn't felt anything that made me think labor was close, so I figured I would work until my mom flew in that day. On Friday the 19th, I went to a doctor's appointment to schedule the day that we would induce labor, which I hoped we wouldn't have to do. I was dilated to 2 centimeters, 80% effaced. The doctor did a membrane sweep, and I immediately started feeling more uncomfortable and more regular contractions (I had been feeling braxton hicks for weeks). 

We went to bed that night, and at 3am, I woke up with more painful contractions, 5 minutes apart. I waited until I was sure I was getting them regularly, and then woke up James. He woke up my mom and got things ready for the hospital, while I started using some of the methods I had learned to get through the pain. I sent out one text to my best friend "we're on our way to the hospital. I think I might be having a baby today." 

We checked in to the family birth center at the hospital early that morning and things were starting to get pretty uncomfortable for me. They checked me and I was 3 centimeters dilated. 

I had planned for the birth to be completely natural. My mom had 3 c-sections, because she never dilated past 2 centimeters, and I hoped that a natural drug-free birth would prevent this from happening. My husband and I had a birth plan all typed out. He had read a book called "The Birth Partner" to prepare to be my support during the labor. He even decided that our code word for if I decided I really needed pain relief was going to be "Millenium Falcon." 

James was fantastic. We "slow danced" through many of the contractions, he rubbed my back and applied pressure during some terrible back labor, covered me with a towel in the labor tub while I was still feeling self-conscience of being naked in front of nurses, and prayed over me. My mother was also there and put it upon herself to make sure I was hydrated by offering me water to sip in between contractions. The contractions got closer and closer together and more and more painful. In our birth plan, I said that I wanted minimal cervical checks. The nurse said some encouraging things that made me think my labor was progressing rather quickly, so I thought the end was in sight. 

At some point (I think around 3pm), I agreed to a cervical check. I was sure that I had to be at least 7 or 8 centimeters because my contractions were so close together, some of them "double-humped" contractions. Then the nurse told me I was only at 4 centimeters. Heartbroken, I rolled into the pillow and sobbed. It was at this point that I really started to question my natural labor plan. 

I don't really remember very much during this time, but I remember that I was breathing very strongly to the point that I was almost hyperventilating through each contraction. I was crying and told my husband that I didn't think I could do it and that I really needed something. I think I complained like this for a little while, without actually meaning it or ever using the "code word." Several hours later, I got another check and I had progressed, but I was only at 5 centimeters. 

I do remember feeling embarrassed when I said in front of the nurse, "James... I think I really need the epidural. I... Millenium Falcon... need the epidural." (I mumbled this so the nurse probably thought I said that I m***** f****** needed the epidural.) The nurse suggested we try Fentanyl first, which we did. After a while, it was clear it didn't any affect on me, besides making me feel a little dizzy. So we decided on the epidural. I asked James if he thought I was making the right decision, because I was terrified that it would slow down my labor. He assured me that he thought it was, and told me later he would have considered it sooner except that I hadn't used the code word. The anesthesiologist came in and James told him about my fears. He very gently assured us that he thought I was far enough along that he didn't think I had to worry about that. A few minutes later, he was my favorite person in the hospital. Instead of intense pain, I felt just a small amount of pressure. I looked at the clock and saw that counting from when I woke up at 3am, I had make it through 15 hours of labor. 

Now, I was actually able to get some sleep. My mom, and especially James, were able to get a break too. The nurse checked me a few hours later and told me I was still about a five. From there, we made the decision to break my waters to help me progress. This worked very well, and by 1am on the 21st, the nurse told me it was time to push. 

I remember feeling excited and thinking "this is actually happening. Right now. I'm about to have a baby." It sounds strange, but in all the pain of labor, you forget why you're there sometimes. It hit me right then. I had been in labor for 21 hours, but it wasn't until that moment that it felt like something was truly about to start. This was that breath of air before the plunge. Like when the race official says "on your mark," or like when the song started that signaled that I was about to walk down the aisle with my dad toward my husband-to-be. 

I remember there were a lot of hospital staff in the room. James held one of my legs and my mom held my head while I pushed. At one point, my doctor asked me if she could put a fetal monitor on my baby's head, because she was concerned about the baby's heart rate and wanted to be able to see it during the contractions. I told her I would rather she didn't (who wants a monitor screwed to their baby's head unless it's absolutely necessary?), and waited to see if she would insist, which she never did. 

After a couple more minutes of pushing, she told me that my baby's heart rate was continuing to go up, showing distress, and that he needed to come out soon. That was absolutely terrifying to hear. Let me tell you, if I wasn't pushing my hardest before, I was definitely pushing my hardest now. The doctor then told me that she wanted to use the vacuum assist to help me. James and I had both read about the method and agreed. After she started pulling while I was pushing, things started happening a lot faster. The nurse told me "you're doing so well! You are so strong!" I don't know if she tells every woman that, but it was definitely encouraging to hear. I started to feel the "ring of fire" and at one point, I was sure that the baby's head had to be at least half-way out, but then someone said "we can see his hair!" Finally, I felt a huge relief of pressure as Jensen was born into the world at 1:41am on December 21st, 22 hours after I had woken up in labor at home. He did cry a little bit, but it took a little while for him to make a lot of noise, because he had a little meconium in his lungs. They put him on my chest and James cut the cord. I had only pushed for about 40 minutes. I suffered a second degree tear, but I still consider this a huge win, considering how quickly he had to come out (so I had less time to stretch) and how scared I was of a c-section. 

It is a strange thing to finally see and hear the tiny person that was hidden inside me for 9 months. He was 8 pounds, 12 ounces and a chubby little thing, but he felt so little. By the time he was placed on me, he was already a beautiful healthy pink color. His breathing was a little labored, but after a few minutes, he let out a huge yell that made us all feel better about his lungs. The back of his head did have a small round part sticking up a little from the vacuum suction-cup (which disappeared within a few hours to a bruise that was gone within a few days), but other than that, he looked absolutely perfect. I thought that I would cry, but I didn't. I was full of adrenaline and paying close attention to everything the doctors and nurses said to make sure he was okay. 

James went with Jensen to the nursery. His breathing was still a little labored and he had a slightly raised temperature, so the head nurse recommended that he get checked out. His breathing ended up quickly getting better, and his temperature was gone. We think in hindsight that he only had a temperature because he was placed on top of me right after I had worked so hard to push him out. 

I got through 15 hours of drug-free labor, and 22 hours of labor total.  I don't have any regrets about getting the epidural, because I don't think I would have had the endurance to push at the end like I had. I also don't wish I had gotten the epidural sooner, because I don't know if my progression would have been different if I hadn't held out so long. I think I inherited from my mom a cervix that just doesn't keep up with the intensity of the contractions. Maybe, with a future pregnancy, I'll be able to do a natural labor for the whole time. But for now, I feel incredibly blessed and thank God that my labor went the way it did. Having both my husband and my mom there as support was such a huge blessing. I avoided the c-section that I hoped so dearly to avoid and our baby is perfectly healthy. We thank God every day for him, and we couldn't be happier. 

<3 Amy 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

From Counting Miles to Counting Steps

I know. I said I would update more often. But truthfully, I've physically started writing a blog post at least 4 times, only to get discouraged and not post. "Fit pregnancy" has been hard, ya'll.

First I had really low blood pressure in the first trimester. That has thankfully gotten better, but then I started to get a pain in what felt like a groin muscle pull that radiated up into my back. Come to find out, this is something that many pregnant women experience (even non-runners). It's called pelvic girdle pain, and it might not go away until after the baby is born.

I'm pretty disappointed. I was talking to my mom about it over the phone and I found myself crying when I told her I might just have to stop running after I had a particularly painful run that morning. This might have been mostly because of hormones.. but still a huge disappointment!

So I've had to adjust my expectations. Again. I had this idea that I would tally up all the miles that I had run while carrying my baby. Of course, I can do other things. Like biking, elliptical, and walking (snore). I've felt some pangs of jealously whenever I see a pregnant woman that I followed on twitter post a picture about a great 8 mile run, but staying healthy for my baby is more important. I'm still going to continue to test it with shorter runs, but perhaps the trouble I'm having is just God's way of telling me that I can't run long distances and grow a little person safely at the same time.

What I have been doing:

1) Lifting twice a week. For those really interested, I'm following the beginning program from "The New Rules of Lifting For Women."

2) James and I bought His and Her Jawbone Ups. These have been pretty fun. At first I thought that we might be competing for steps, but then James went and joined the Army Ten Miler training team and I have an office job, so he pretty much dominates in the steps department every day. But, I've been trying to make sure I get 10,000 steps on the days that I don't work out, and just move more during the day in general.

3) Biking. I've found some great pinterest spin workouts that are about 30 minutes long that I can do during lunch at work. I also still did an 18-mile bike ride with my church, but I'm frankly starting to get a little scared of road biking in traffic now. I'm carrying a small person on my torso now!


4) Run-walking. I'll do some kind of interval workout with about 2 minutes of running, 3 minutes of walking, etc. It seems like when I run faster, my pelvic girdle pain nearly goes away, so while I'd rather run long, this seems to work for me for now.

So I've gone from counting miles to counting steps. Only about 3 more months of pregnancy to go, so I suppose I can deal a little while longer. And I can't wait to meet our little guy!

<3 Amy