My first BodyPump back

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I’m kind of getting a kick out of like, telling you what I’m doing as I’m writing.  So now, I’m sitting in the lobby at work (because I needed a locale change), taking a little break from work-work, and decompressing with a little writing.  The lobby is a challenge because you literally see everyone you’ve every known in your life.

People keep stopping, and looking at me sort of suspiciously.

Them: …did you??

Me: Yeah, I did!

Them: …what did you…

Me: A little boy, want to see a picture?

I think everyone is like really hesitant to ask, in case I’m not who they think I am, and then they’ve got this awkward moment where they’re in two camps – I either look like all the other black women they know OR they’ve just implied that I look like I just had a baby.  Which I don’t mind at all, because I did, but I understand how that could be a little off-putting to someone not feeling their best on that day.

*******

So I finally, taught a BodyPump™ class.  It’s one that I haven’t really committed to teaching because it requires a lot of forethought, and teaching it is really hard.  They recommend for instructors to teach the tracks with the same weight that you’re instructing the students to do, so I was not super looking forward to squatting with like a billion pounds on my back when I’d just given birth.

A week or so ago, Abbey, who typically teaches the lunchtime class at this other place I fill in at, cut her hand like cooking or something.  And she cut it badly enough that she had to sub out all of her classes, one of which was like a 30 minutes pump format, followed bay BodyAttack™.  Which I don’t teach, but I offered up a cardio step.  30 minutes works, right?

So, I tried to get my tracks together on one playlist the night before, for organizations sake, but ended up falling asleep when the baby went down around 9:45, and then never waking up to do much of anything.  By the time I got bottles packed and Liam off on that morning, I was running around like a lost little chicken, and barely had my phone charged and myself dressed before I went to go teach the class at noon.  I ran in a few minutes before class was supposed to start (big no-no), and pretty much started the playlist and went off.

I screwed up the entire warm-up.  I’m talking about (if you know this format, you’ll know what I’m talking about) the entire part at the end of the warm-up where you’re supposed to lunge on one side, and then the other was lost, until I realized and fumbled my way back there.  But I smiled a lot.  Since I was running late, I hadn’t gotten the chance to pump and drain everything like I like to do before I work out, and I turned around and what I saw was absolutely obscene.  I was wearing a grey tank top that I’d worn through most of the pregnancy.  Grey is really fun because it shows all of your sweat, but I think I look pretty decent in the color so we have a dilemma.  But as for the obscene part, my boobs were hanging out of the top of my shirt and bouncing with like every single step I took.  It was nuts.  Because there wasn’t a whole lot I could do about it, I just pretended like I didn’t notice, and avoided eye contact with the guy in the front row.  Eep.

Other than my complete chest hanging out due to my lack of planning, and the flubbed warm-up, the rest of the class went really really well, and the cardio portion that I incorporated a step into went awesome as well.  I snapped this before I left…

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…and I suppose I’m really feeling okay with the way things are going as far as teaching. I’m definitely, definitely not back to, or capable of, teaching 5-6 days a week right now, or multiple classes a day, days and days in a row. I’m still healing up some of those ligaments that went loosey goosey during the pregnancy, and I’m still not up to 100% high-impact moves. Jumping, for instance, is something I’m not comfy with just yet, so I modify by keeping one foot on the ground, things like that.

So I guess I’m getting back to some things?  And feeling okay about it?  But that was my first Pump.  Looking forward to a few more in the new year.

 

Cheri’s Most Fascinating People of 2016

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I find it kind of fun to let you know where and how I’m writing from at any given time.  Before kids, it’s like “hey reader-folks, I’m comin’ atcha from a DESK!!”  Now, I am literally in the supply closet at work, pumping so Liam can ride this breast milk wave as long as we can.  Pumping is not a ride at the amusement park, so I’m sort of hunched over, with my right hand slipped underneath the bottle on the right side.  I also wore a dress to work today, so I had to take the entire thing off, and make sure I locked the door.  My left side is all done, so I just keep dripping milk from the flange on that side, onto my thigh, so I should be good and sticky for the remainder of the evening.  I truly feel like such a glamorous woman right now.

I had so much fun writing this post last year, that I had to do it again this year.  Of course, this was before…you know what?  Let me not spoil this list.  Let’s just get to it.

5.  The Cincinnati Zoo and the Harambe memes.

The story of the decision that the Cincinnati made to shoot Harambe, the gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo just sucked.  To  me, it seemed like the zoo was put in a really impossible situation.  What followed after was some heated debate.  The sanctiparents said some awful things, including that the mother should have been shot instead.  I think everyone was collectively really sad for the loss of the life of the gorilla.  We were all really glad that the child was okay, but the gorilla was just being a gorilla, and no one wanted to see things end like that.  But since 2016 has no chill, the situation got really, really out of hand.

There were the hashtags. Annnnd then came the memes. They were really weird.  They were terrible.  And they were really, really, funny.  I won’t publish any here, because I don’t want you to think I’m a terrible person, but first you’d laugh, and then groan.

In a really mystifying move, the zoo, un-amused,  issued a statement.  And basically told everyone to knock it off with the memes.  Bad, bad, bad move.  That’s not exactly how the internet works.  Which I feel like most of us know, but that’s kind of lost on some folks.

The response was a resurgence of #dicksoutforHarambe.  And a swell in the memes.  Because the internet is both a wondrous and terrible, terrible place.

4.  Anna Davies.  And she’s not fascinating in a fun way. 

In April of this year, Anna wrote this article that went a little viral for the wrong reasons.  “I want all the perks of maternity leave – without having any kids” I read the article, and though I had never taken maternity leave before, I knew something was very, very wrong with the article and its author.  She referenced leave as having “perks”.  She compared having to leave the office at a reasonable time to pick up ones children to helping a friend off of a bad date.  She said that parenthood provided the parent “flexibility” as it pertained to work?  Can I remind you that I’m writing this from inside a supply closet?

It just all seemed really really wrong.

And then I left my job for 12 weeks unpaid to have Liam.  Even though I had grand plans during that time to catch up on things, maybe clean my house, none of that happened.  I bled for like 5 of those weeks, took Liam to doctor appointments for weight checks and shots, camped on my parents’ couch when we lost power during Hurricane Matthew, tried to master breastfeeding, worked out a clogged duct, started pelvic floor PT, and tried to keep my hair from falling out.  I’m not sure where in that augmented list of learning, that Anna thought that maternity was some sort of vacation, but she is grossly, grossly misinformed.  And it’s a shame that someone with so little insight has a fairly large platform.

3.  Beyoncé

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I think it was Twitter, or one of the blogs that broke ‘Lemonade’.  It was cold out, I was already pretty uncomfortably pregnant, and per info circulating online, HBO was doing a free preview weekend that would allow viewers to watch the special.  And it did not disappoint.  Start to finish, Bey told a complete story, and I don’t think a single track disappointed.  Later on this year, Solange would go on to release a hit album, proving that the Knowles girls were having one of the best seasons ever.  Queen Bey went on to tour, where I found myself being evacuated due to some nasty weather mid-show, killed it at the VMAs, and made an appearance the morning I had Liam.  I should have known it was going to be a good day.

2. The choker.  Not a person.  But important. 

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Rihanna via HarperLoren.com

I really didn’t want to give into this one, but I will admit, I wore a tattoo-style choker in the 90s. The Jenner girls started wearing chokers this year, along with flared jeans, and I wasn’t sure in my current state of mom if I could pull it off. But I’m giving in. I’m wearing grungey tops (easier to nurse in) and I’m gonna put a choker on. I’ll document for bloggy evidence.  But I think I look okay, and not completely foolish.

1. I have got to give this one up to none other than Issa Rae. 

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I fell in love with Issa during ‘Awkward Black Girl,” her YouTube series that I felt, sang my entire life. I was so, so, happy, and nervous to see that she’d scored an HBO series, nervous only because I wanted her humor to translate, and for people to get her. They totally did, and her series, Insecure, did not disappoint in the least.  It was smart, funny, and contributed to what I feel like is a renaissance of black artists in 2016.  I cannot wait for season 2, and if you haven’t watched, you have got to get on that. Congrats Issa, on a really really successful run!

Honorable mention goes to…

Taylor Swift.  And if I had room for one more on my list-list, she would be on it.  This woman is a lot more calculating than we know.  She found herself in a bit of hot water this year after playing the victim solidly regarding Kanye West’s Famous vid.  Kim wasn’t having it, and released some unflattering footage via Snapchat?!  It wasn’t a good look, and after releasing a statement via iPhone notes (?) she sort or disappeared.  I was really disappointed in that.  But I’m anxiously awaiting new music from Miz Tay and Perry.  Tee-hee.

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. Hear me out.  And I’m planning this huge piece on the family.  I’ve been studying them for a long, long time.  But the year started out really well for them.  Minus Kanye claiming, in a strange series of tweets, insurmountable debt, Life of Pablo came out, and was received as one of the best albums of the year.  The tour looked incredible.  And then the year took a bizarre and scary turn when Kim was robbed at gunpoint during Paris Fashion week.  And then Kanye was hospitalized for exhaustion after a rant that made it clear that making fun of him wasn’t funny anymore, that something was really wrong.  I really would love to be a fly on the wall in that home, but really because I’m curious, not because I want to poke fun at what seems to be a tough situation.

Zayn Malik.  Whew buddy.  Lookin’ good sir.  Congrats on the success after leaving 1D.  I’m not mad at the album, or Pillowtalk.

OJ Simpson and 90s crime in general.  2016 saw no shortage in specials related to really strange crime.  I watched a lot of OJ stuff, including FX’s special on his involvement in the murders and later, kidnapping in Vegas.  I tried to watch the JonBenet specials, but they really made me ill. I haven’t been able to get through one of those.

On a lighter note, Joanne the Scammer.  She brought me endless laughter in an otherwise really weird year.

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via Twitter

Ok, so in a tough, weird year…who are your most fascinating folks? 

Exercise

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So update on today.  On yesterday.  Ugh I don’t even knowwww my sense of time is completely nonexistent right now.  But I returned to work for a partial day – and dropped Liam off for his first day of care.  I scrambled for hours – filling bottles and packing lunches, and woke up beyond too early for the morning, and ultimately, did okay.  I cried when we dropped him off, to the point where a little girls’ mother told me she’d felt similarly, and that I would be okay.  She advised me to come a few times next week, hang out, nurse him when I could, and that he would be okay.  To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure how I’m going to do with a full work day yet, but more than a few people have reminded me that no decision is permanent, and that I have a decent enough skill set that I could stay, or take a break, or maybe work from home, or freelance, or whatever.  Nothing is final at this point.

*******

So, I was cleared at six weeks to exercise, which, looking back, was maybe not okay.  Thankfully, I’m not training for the Olympics or appearing on a magazine cover anytime soon, so I really eased into things, and didn’t get too crazy about immediately returning to exactly what I was doing prior to having Liam.

As a side note, we really need to talk about that six-week clearance mark, but we’ll do that later.  I have a lot of words on that.  

Being active is really important to me.  Not necessarily being in a bikini, or looking hot, but being active for the sake of a little energy boost, for the way it makes me feel, and for the fact that it makes the after-workout shower so much more rewarding, it’s really important to me.  So I’ve done a little bit of everything since I’ve felt okay to do so, and I’ve slowly started building back to some level of the strength that I had, while slowly taking off the last of the weight I gained when I was pregnant with my sweet boy.  Here’s what I’ve done, and how it’s felt.

Running

I think the week I was cleared, I went for a short “run” (really, a shuffle), of just a mile, up and down the street we live on.  It was ok, and very clear that I wouldn’t be running 20 miles anytime soon.  Because it because pretty clear after that mile that though I could do it, that it wasn’t perfect, I’ve sort of only run once a week, and have really relied on walking with some hill intervals or repeats on days I’m looking to sweat.

Circuit Training

One of my first workouts back was a circuit at a local studio, Core, located just outside of downtown Raleigh.  Again, I tried to play it safe and smart, and modified anything that didn’t feel great.  A full plank still was painful in the pubic bone region, as were mountain climbers, and instead of crunches, I did some modification on a modified plank, and worked it that way.  What I really, really enjoyed was getting my heart rate up, which we did with the treadmill, some sled pushes, and some very modified burpees.  This was one of the first times I found myself sore since I gave birth.

Gentle Hot Yoga

This was my first formal yoga class in a long while.  This class, taught at Indigo Hot Yoga, is really nice because it’s a good workout, but the supportive and sweet instructor provided plenty of modifications, which I needed.  I am really surprised by how much strength, upper body strength especially, that I lost after having the baby, and this has helped me get it back.  Another unexpected benefit of this class is that the sweating and heat forces me to drink more water, and I think that, plus some love hormone gives me a little milk boost.

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I took this class at the suggestion of the dietitian at work.  She had a favorite instructor, one who had a wait list for her class.  So I signed up four or five days in advance, and went at 6am, when I knew I could go and get back home before the baby woke up and I could feed him.  The class was really good.  Not a ton of cardio, and I like cardio, but the strength and toning were good, and this class actually got me pretty sore!  I will be signing up for this one again, budget permitting.

Zumba

I hit this old trusty class on Black Friday, and it was good.  It wasn’t my favorite instructor, but she did a good enough job, and it was a decent amount of cardio after I stuffed myself at Thanksgiving.  Some things still don’t feel great, so I kept the higher impact stuff, like little hops or jumps, to a minimum.

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A little heart rate info after Zumba.  Zumba is uniquely one of those things that really gets you to your peak a few times, sort of like interval training.  You won’t get that with gentle yoga or barre generally.  

Orangetheory

This workout was really interesting.  So, I went with a few friends the Saturday morning after Thanksgiving in North Raleigh.  The visit started off well enough, because I called to set up my class, and the woman that answered the phone was so friendly, that I was really excited to go.  Class started at 9:30am, and they asked that as new people, we get there at 9.  I was admittedly running late, and I got there at 9:10am, and I thought I’d be walking into the coach demoing moves, or a safety talk, but what I walked into was a repeat of the questions that I’d answered on the phone, and a sales pitch.

Once class started, it became clear that this would be one of the harder workouts I’ve done, and by the end, I was sweating a ton, especially since we ended with treadmill intervals.  The workout was monitored with a heartrate monitor, and since I’m breastfeeding, I had to do a wrist strap, which seemed to not work for most of the class.  One of the friends I was with experienced the same with her chest strap, which was disappointing.  But by the end, I think it was clear to all of us that this was a really good workout, despite some of the sales pitchy weirdness at the beginning.

Here’s what was kind of off-putting.

Upon class ending, I was on a high.  The coach and a desk manager person held us back in the studio, and then the manager was on us like a cheap suit to talk to us, mostly me since I was local, about packages.  I made it pretty clear that I was planning on dropping in once in a while since I’m still recovering, and I still felt like I was being pushed into buying a package.  I had a baby weeks ago.  So I was pretty weirded out by that.

Following that, I got a phone call from the studio checking in, presumably to sell me stuff, and then I got an email after.  I finally sent an email back, and explained that though the workout was great (one of the better HIIT ones I’ve done in Raleigh), that the pushiness was really quite off-putting.  To which that manager replied that she was sorry, but they just wanted to inform me of their membership options.  GAH.  It’s like it didn’t sink in, at all.  People love to be checked-on, but not sold to from 78 different angles.

That said, the workout was really good, and I will most likely visit another location, Morrisville or Wake Forest before I go to North Raleigh again. I know these guys are pretty much all over, so if you get a chance, I would try this workout out, especially since I feel like these kinds of workouts are really effective for building muscle and losing weight.

So these classes, along with the Fitbit update that encourages you to get 5 days a week of exercise in, has really helped me get my activity levels back up.  Again, I’m taking it nice and easy.  There’s no sense in hurting myself or my milk supply for the sake of saying I did it.  Rather, it’s just really really nice, and a nice way for me to take a short break from momming at 99 mph.

How have you exercised this week?  

 

Like a mom.

Tonight is one of the first times I’ve truly felt like a mom.

It’s weird to say, because now I know, that even though in the past I doubted my maternal instinct, that it was always in there.  Very soon after Baby Liam made his debut, I felt right.  Sore and swollen, but right.

Tonight, I took a nap with Liam.  Austin was working from home in the afternoon, and went on dad duty while I snuck in a quick workout at the Y.  The run felt good, but I was a preoccupied with making sure everyone got out the door in the morning.  I ran by the grocery, and picked up some bread, some oatmeal, and some beer.  When I walked in, Liam turned his head to see me.  He was getting hungry, and he wasn’t particularly happy about it.  I dropped everything, wrestled myself out of my sports bra, and sat to nurse him while Austin reheated some dinner I’d made the night before, while simulataneous throwing more veggies on for my dinner.  I ate the veggies with one hand while I snuggled Liam in the crook of the other.  Austin started a bath while I started tummy time on my yoga mat.  Liam spit up all over the yoga mat.  Tummy time was not our favorite portion this evening.  Or really any evening for that matter.  Liam ate again, and promptly fell asleep. We ditched the idea of the evening bath, prayed for forgiveness from the water gods, and drained the now-cold water from the tub.  I fished the last few wipes from the bottom of the plastic container, and instead of a bath, it was a bird bath kind of night.  Austin cooed at Liam while we did a little baby massage, and wrangled him into a contraption that seems to have helped him sleep a little more soundly throughout the night.  He ate again (little man is growing), and fell asleep.  This time, it was actually bedtime, and the night felt like it was just beginning.  I collected diapers that were too-small to ship to a friend.  I put diapers, clean clothes, and wipes in the baby bag.  I washed bottles and parts to the pump, only to sit down a short time later and milk them up again.  I washed some clothes that had been spit-up on.  I charged my iPad, since I will camp in the pump room at work a few times tomorrow. Today was a big spit-up day.  I packed my breakfast, some higher-fiber oatmeal.  Because fiber is the jam. I balanced my lunch.  Lots of green things to a bit of pasta.  I brewed some tea while stuffing my manual pump into a ziplock with some paper towels.  And I tossed the tea back before jumping into the shower and falling into bed.

I feel like I’ve lived 89 lives.  I feel like a mom?

What I’m doing…

I’m still not in great shape after the election results.  I’ve already been struggling hard with anxiety about returning to work, with new motherhood, and on top of that, I’m not feeling particularly great about our president elect or his ability to make sound choices.

However, continuing to be a pop culture specialist (I’m not sure I’m super proud of my endless/useless knowledge of all things pop), I’ve continued to find enjoyment in many many things.  I kinda talked about some of that here, but since I’ve started to ease back into working out and listening to podcasts and watching some dvred things that have long been neglected, I’ve picked a few gems that you may find interesting.

Listen to this (music).  These girls have been having the best year ever.  The Knowles’.  Beyoncé released her visual album, Lemonade in April of 2016, just in time for her tour.  Solange released A Seat at the Table at the end of September, which was gorgeously, flawlessly, and impressively well-done.  Give these a listen.

If you’re ready for Christmas music, Pentatonix’ new Christmas album, A Pentatonix Christmas, is incredible.  The group has changed the scope of a cappella, and this album is no exception.  I’m actually really really bummed that I didn’t get the chance to see them when they were here on tour, but I was super pregnant, and I didn’t think I could stand in the pit area for the entire show like I’d done for Gavin DeGraw’s show a few month’s earlier.  You’ve probably already heard their version of Hallelujah, and Up on the Housetop is pretty dope as well.

I kind of think Pandora is pretty much over due to Spotify slaying (they’re doing podcasts now, so you don’t have to go elsewhere for anything if you don’t want to), however, Pandora pushed their Thumbprint Radio Station, a station featuring everything you’ve ever given the thumbs-up.  Pretty genius, and really fun. Hip Hop BBQ is also perfect for background while you work.

Spotify’s Daily Mix is a mix that’s made just for you according to what you’ve listened to.  I have two mixes, one that’s a lot of pop, and another that’s just Latin music.

Watch this.  Unfortunately, since Baby Liam’s been here, my days of actually getting to watch anything when it actually airs are pretty much over.  But that’s why they invented TiVo, so I’ve been able to cherrypick some of fall’s best.

Issa Rae’s Insecure on HBO is awesome.  If you followed her YouTube series,  Awkward Black Girl, you’ll love some of the references to that.  Issa is still freestyling, still awkward, still hysterical, and still struggling with all of the things that we struggle with.  Highlights include ‘Broken Pussy,’ Molly asking Jidenna to leave clothes at her place (what!?), and Issa’s gang-banging neighbor.

Sarah Jessica Parker’s Divorce on HBO is genius.  I’m a big fan of SJP anyways, but she’s done it again with Divorce.  It’s smart, it’s real, and it’s funny.  I hate that the episodes are only 3o minutes, but it coincides really well with how long it takes me to nurse the baby in the morning.

RHOA is back.  Nene is not.  But Sheree is, and so far, she has not disappointed.  Cynthia and Peter are getting a divorce (should have never gotten married), Kenya and Sheree are in a race to finish each of their respective compounds, Andy let Porsha keep a peach despite multiple physical altercations with cast members, Kenya is still insane, Phaedra is funny, and Kandi’s son is adorable.

Listen to this (podcasts).

Psychobabble Podcast with Tyler Oakley.  This weekly show is a quick one.  It usually hovers around half an hour, and is a half-hour of pop culture review.  Tyler actually promoted his book, Binge, pretty heavily through the podcasts, which I really enjoyed as well.

In the Dark.  This podcast is kind of Serial-style, and follows the investigation that took place after Jacob Wetterling’s disappearance 27 years ago.  Reporter Madeleine Baran takes you through the investigation, but is not, imho, as skilled of a storyteller is Serial’s Sarah Koenig.  But if you’re into true crime, this is for you.  One note – this podcast gets pretty graphic and times, and some of the details of the abductions and the murder really are disturbing, and not for you you listen to while your kids are around.

The Read.  This one has been a favorite of mine for a few years.  Hosts Crissles and Kid Fury take on black pop culture, black excellence, as well as serious issues facing the black community.  Kid Fury used to vlog, so it was cool to see him make this transition.  These guys are really also a lot of fun to follow and interact with on Twitter.

What are listening to/watching/reading lately?

 

WTF, and things I do to feel better.

First off, hi…hello!  I’m writing exactly the way I told you I do in my last post.  Liam is sleeping on his back the way he is supposed to, in some ridiculous-looking contraption that makes him look like the Michelin man.  It’s supposed to magically help him sleep, and since I’m trying to nudge his bedtime back from 11:30pm, to something a little earlier so I can get some things done and maybe manage a shower before one in the morning, especially once I go back to work, we’re trying it.  Which is another tormented post for another day, but let’s stick to one thing here.

An aside: to be clear, Liam sleeps really well, but like his mom and dad, he goes to bed much too late for a baby, and then I look over and it’s 1, and I’m pumping, and useless for a good bit of the day because I’m kind of tired, and I’d like to get better about that.  I should have gotten better about that before I even got pregnant.

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Ok, so…WTF.

2016 has given me the most beautiful, wonderful moment of my life, the birth of my son, and has at the same time, almost beaten the faith in humanity out of me, which all came to a head when somehow, as a country, we decided that DONALD TRUMP WOULD MAKE A GOOD PRESIDENT OF OUR UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.  Let me be absolutely clear, when I say that I believe in my heart of hearts that the States, though not free of issue, is one of the greatest nations in the world, and I believe in us.  I so do.  No matter where we go, where we end up in the world, I believe that there is good in this country, and there is a reason we’re here.  But I’m a black woman, born to immigrant parents.  I married a white man.  I live in the south.  I studied social work, and work for a non-profit, which has afforded me the opportunity to work with the public exclusively for the last three years.  And from my perspective, the approximate 50% of us who voted in this election (seriously?!) got it wrong.  We got it wrong.  We got it wrong.  And I so badly want for he-who-shall-not-be-named (for the moment, because I haven’t quite come to terms with this yet) to prove me wrong, I am open to be proven wrong, I don’t want anything but the best for my gay friends, my poor friends, my Muslim friends, my Mexican friends, my women friends, my overweight friends, my immigrant friends, and my black friends, but simply going off of some of the the things I studied during this particularly-vicious election, I’m not sure that I will be.  And I’m afraid, I’m petrified of what the Trump effect means for all of the aforementioned groups, as well as my interracial family.  Forget about me.  But I want my son to always be safe.  I want him to be okay always.

Honestly, I woke up in despair after a night of fitful sleep on Tuesday.  I went to bed around one in the morning, when things weren’t looking good, and woke up to the news that Donald Trump had won the election.  I felt gutted.  Here are a few things I did to make me feel a tad better.  I hope maybe one of these may help if you’re similarly feeling like the world has ended.

  1. I listened to good/live music.  Thankfully, I was raised in a household where I got exposure to some of the best artists in the world.  I also have a palate for incredibly bubbly pop music.  That combo is amazing when you’re feeling awful.  So in addition to listening to Stevie Wonder’s live album from 1970, I listened to ‘Love Yourself’.
  2. I’ve always been really really imaginative, so I thought about my future.  Not the one where the United States looks like Pride Rock did after Scar took things over, but the one where I write for a living maybe.  The one where I have like a million kids.  The one where my student loans are paid off (very very soon).  The one where I get to correspond about pop culture all the time.  The one where I get to do some public speaking about health and wellness.  That made me feel better.
  3. I researched jogging strollers.  Doesn’t have to be strollers.  Just whatever you’re into.  Poke around the internet about that.
  4. I read some stuff that really smart, good people wrote.  On both sides.  Rational people.  I read some of that, and remembered that a good majority of people are rational, and can think things through, step by step.  So I did some reading.
  5. I paid some bills.  I hate to see that money go, but damn, it feels good to be up-to-date on stuff.
  6. I talked to my sister and one of my best friends of the phone.  It’s harder for me to sit on the phone for any length of time these days, but it feels nice to chat and make plans with my homegirls, biological or not.
  7. I started making some plans for midterms.  

No more moping.  No more tears.

What did you do the morning after election night? (Even if it was as boring as sucking down a coffee, I’d love to hear 🙂 )

 

My first postpartum run.

You know how I write now?  I hunch over in my bed, Liam in plain view in his pack-n-play, usually after I get him to bed for the last time, close to midnight.  I like it.  I wonder what writing and being creative might look like once we sort of get on a better schedule.  But since he was born, this seems to be the time that I can get anything done for me that I’d like to get done.  Which honestly usually means texting my friends, having a glass of wine followed by a crap-ton of water, trying to shower, and doing nothing else that I’ve meant to do all day.  Oops.  I’ll figure it out one of these days, right?

So I’ve been running for a few years now, and though I’m like super duper passionate about being active in general, running is something, that though I don’t do it fast or particularly well, seems like a natural state of being for me.  So it kind of broke my heart into a million pieces when, in the middle of my pregnancy, I developed some major pubic bone pain (I affectionately referred to it as vagina bone pain), which rendered me pretty unable to run.  I was in the pool, I lifted weights, and I did everything else to get my heart rate up to bring my baby boy into the world in the best way I could, but running was really painful.  So I looked forward to getting back into it at some point after I had Liam.

I was (am) under no false assumptions, and I was (am) not willing to hurt myself for the sake of saying that I ran three days after I gave birth.  Plus there was no way physically that I could have done that because I was in a haze of nausea, sweat, exhaustion, and nursing my swollen bits back to health.  PLUS I WAS TENDING TO MY CHILD. Which, let me tell ya, changing diapers and nursing, especially in the beginning, is this neverending pattern, and you look up, and the day is over again for weeks.  So I walked, slowly at first, and then a little faster.  And then, one day last week, the baby happened to be asleep around the time when Austin came home from work, and I just felt like I might be okay to try running again.  My boobs were empty enough, so I strapped one a good bra, put a supportive tank over it, and left Austin with Liam for a few minutes.  And duh, I was already wearing my uniform, a pair of Lululemon tights I alternate throughout most of my pregnancy, a nursing tank, and a pair of Brooks from their heritage collection so cute, that people think I actually may have some semblance of style.  Which…I’m trying, ok?

Okay, so anyways, I felt like I wanted to try, and that I could try, so I went out.  It was slow, and I felt sort of bouncy, but it didn’t hurt, and it came back to me just like (ugh cliché time) riding a bike, or typing a password into your gmail, or getting into your house when you’ve been drinking a ton and you shouldn’t remember how to get in, or what your alarm passcode is, but you manage, and even plug your phone in before you go to bed.  I did a little over a mile, and I sweated probably about as much as I did the day I had Liam, but I did it!

When I was done, I literally felt on top of the world.  I really questioned at some points whether I’d ever run again, just based on the amount of pain I was having, and I think the answer is going to be absolutely yes, if I’m smart about it.  Obviously, I’m not running a marathon next week, or even next month.  But I’m getting to run for fitness again, and will run a trail again, and build up to where I’m able to bust out miles and miles for funsies with friends.  And that’s a really really exciting feeling.  I don’t have running FOMO anymore!

That said, God willing, I’m going to try another short slow one this weekend if I can get Liam Neeson to hang out with dad for a few minutes.

What are you up to this weekend?

 

Cleared!

So, yesterday, I had my 6-week postpartum appointment.

First off, whoa, that means that Liam was born six weeks ago, which I really can’t imagine, and that means that I have six weeks to get my shit together (mostly emotionally) before I go back to work.

About a week-and-a-half to two weeks after I gave birth to baby Liam, the practice I delivered with called me to check in, and to schedule my six-week appointment.

So when you go for your six-week appointment, that means a few things.  For one, the receptionists and nurses really really hope that you brought your baby so they can see him and say hello.  Which I did.  And only seems fair because they are the kindest people, check you in for the better part of 8ish months, and when I was in labor and they saw me hunched over in the parking lot breathing heavily just over a month ago, the really nice women who always sits on the right pulled my chart and had them rush me back so I wouldn’t have to wait.  For two, they bring you in to sort of gauge where you are mentally, which I think is a newer thing since my mom said her and all her friends sort of just suffered with the blues with no one to check in on them.  And for three (for third?), they bring you in to physically look at your stuff, assess where you are as far as healing (for me, I had stitches), and with postpartum bleeding, and at that point, they can tell you if you’re good to go as far as sex and exercise, or whether you need medication, further evaluation, or if you need a little longer to heal.

Because this was an appointment for me and not for they baby, like pretty much all of my other appointments have been, I decided that I wasn’t sure if I could handle the appointment on my own.  Since there was a distinct possibility that I’d be laying on a table in the stirrups, I figured that unless Liam was fully cooperative (and newborns aren’t always, folks), that it could be a little hard to wrangle him without being really distracting to the doctor and that nurses, so Austin scooted over to the doctor’s office and fed him some expressed gold while they worked me up.  I was able to see a few of the nurses, Heather and Ashley especially, who hooked me up to the “seismograph” the day before and the day of my delivery, and they were really sweet, and really excited to see me.  After I was worked up, Dr. K, of my delivery-room fame came into check me out, and it was so cool to see her.  Last time I saw her was, to the day, the day she calmly delivered Liam, and then sort of disappeared until the next morning, when she was about to be off for the day.

So, Dr. K checked me out, asked questions, talked about family planning for our future (definitely more babies, but not anytime soon), and cleared me to work out and resume all activities!  Up to this point, I’ve been walking, doing yoga, and ran my first postpartum mile  once, but had not yet been to any classes, or done anything that would be considered “high-impact”.

What all that means for me personally, is that I’m kinda back in the game, but not trying to hurt myself.  I’m going to work a day at Fleet Feet, and see how I do without him, and make sure he’s okay without me.  I’m going to do some higher-impact workouts, but adjust as necessary, and really focus on core and glute strength, since I truly feel like for me to run any sort of distance uninjured, that these two things are the key.  And I’m going to ease into writing more, cleaning a little more around the house, and getting things ready for the holidays and for me to return to work at the beginning of December.

Okay, so now that I’ve blahed, what are you up to on this fallish Saturday? 

 

Matthew

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At the beginning of the last update, I urged you all to keep Haiti, and all of the folks in the path of hurricane Matthew in your thoughts and prayers.  Unfortunately, Haiti was hit pretty hard, and I feel kind of at a loss with what to do to help from here, especially since many organizations have done a good bit of fundraising,  but it seems that Haiti continues to flounder.  I have worked with one organization in particular, Mercy Corps, and I’m planning on making a call to them tomorrow to find out what is being done on the ground to help the Haitian people.  I will keep you guys posted.

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Last Saturday, we woke up in Raleigh to a nasty gray sky.  We’d been keeping an eye on Matthew reports, and I’d texted family in Florida about the storm (all good), and we were planning on some rain.  I got a text from a friend – she wanted to come over to visit and for drinks, and I started getting Liam ready for a visitor.  I fed him, pumped a little bit for his night time feedings, and starting checking outside.  It was raining like crazy, but we sort of expected that. But as the rain started coming down harder and harder, my friend texted and said she’d tried to go out to do an errand, and that it was raining too hard, and that she’d had to turn back.  Not good.

We got another text – one of the main roads through the area where we live had been flooded down the middle, and was closed off.  At this point, we still weren’t super alarmed.  I finished pumping, and put a ton of milk in the freezer, and Austin was piddling around the house, straightening up, and just doing some of our normal Saturday stuff.

Around 1:30 or 2pm, we lost power after a few flickers, and the last time, it didn’t come back.  I nursed Liam, we napped, and did some staring out the window at the pines being battered by the wind, and still, it never came back.  We started losing daylight, and the rain started quieting.  By this time, it’d gotten colder, and Austin snuck in a shower with the hot water we had left, and we made plans to go to dinner.  We didn’t really anticipate the power being out for the rest of the night, but thankfully, Austin prepares for anything, and we had light, and water, and nonperishables to snack on before and after we braved the streets to find a place with power and food.  By this time, the rain had stopped falling, and we could navigate around some of the flooded streets to find food, and we crossed our fingers that lights would be back by the time we got home.  They weren’t.

At this point, I started to get a little worried.  Remember, I’d pumped a good amount around lunch, before the lights went out, and stuck it in the freezer.  We hand’t opened the freezer, but I also had his nighttime bottle in the fridge, which Austin usually gave him, and without electricity, I had no way to really shower (the hot water we had was all that was left in the tank) and no way to heat Liam’s bottle.  So I nursed him Saturday night, and we decided that we wouldn’t open the fridge or freezer except to shove some ice we’d found at a gas station in there to keep things cold.

When I woke up on Sunday, the air in the house was really still, and it was a little chilly.  I realized the power had not come back, and texted my mom that if she was okay with it, I wanted to come down with the baby.  She had not seen him in about two weeks, and we needed electricity and hot water. I planned to only stay a day, so we decided to leave Austin at home so he could prepare for work on Monday morning, and I kind of figured I would be back on Monday evening sometime.  Austin snapped a pic of us just before we left…

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…and we grabbed coffee at the McDonald’s (remember, we had no electricity) before I headed down 40 to my parents’. Full disclosure, I felt awful leaving Austin behind, especially to clean up the mess the wind had made in the yard, but I was a little excited at the thought of showering in my mom’s shower with all the hot water. I mean, I was absolutely gross, and I know my mom really wanted to see Liam.

So we arrived Sunday afternoon, and it was so nice because my parents got a chance to hang out with Liam, then my sister showed up, and then another sister showed up with her husband to hang out with us.  Austin called that evening and told me power still hadn’t come back, and the estimates from the power company were looking a little bleak.  My mother seemed overjoyed, but I really hadn’t packed enough for us, and I started making a mental list of things I would need to get together if we needed to stick around for a few days.

Liam slept in the Rock ‘n’ Play (thank you Graco, for this amazing invention), and we got an amazing night of sleep, with climate control, and a working coffee machine in the house. Still, Monday morning the power at home was out, and I made plans to take Liam to see a school mom who lives in Matthews, to go to Target to pick up a few essentials, and to shower in my mom’s fancy shower that I’d been dreaming of since I got there.

Monday night, no power, and Tuesday, no power.  Austin was getting sad not seeing Liam, but my parents were having a blast. On Tuesday morning, I woke up and Liam was not in the swing right by the couch where I was napping, and when I went to find him, my mom had him, rocking and singing songs by the white noise machine.

When all was said and done, we didn’t get power back until some time on Tuesday afternoon, and because I didn’t care to drive by myself with the baby in the dark, we waited until Wednesday to head in.

I was ready to see Austin when I got back, but I was sad to leave my parents. My dad was so cute with Liam, and my mom, with four kids, was a whiz at singing the songs and walking, and helping me bathe him to get him right to sleep. We finally made it back to Raleigh in time for some lunch with a friend, and we stuck around this time with all of our new crap in tow that we managed to collect while at home.

That was our first big adventure away from home, and the baby did awesome.  I think I did okay too.

I hope you all fared okay throughout the hurricane, and for those of you still dealing with flooding and damage, we are thinking of you, and working hard on our end to get you the resources you need!