My first BodyPump back

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.

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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.

 

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?

 

Field trips and something random.

Hey hey hey!

So before anything else, if you’re reading from anywhere in the southeast, or from my island of Haiti (fun fact: I am a delightful mix, 50/50 of Haitian and Trinidadian), I hope you’ve managed to stay safe.  Please keep Haiti in your thoughts.  Haiti doesn’t need this in the least, but the storm has managed to cause some major fatalities and wipe out crops according to major news sources.  Please check on any relatives you may have on the island.  Social media is an excellent tool at times like this!

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I promised a little something at least once a week while I’m still recovering.  I’m officially four weeks out from when Liam was born, and by the time you read this, he will be one month old.  One month since I met the little guy.  It’s really hard to believe, and since we’ve come home, I can’t say we’ve fallen into very much of a schedule, except that he likes to go to bed by 1 am, and he’s been that way pretty much since he was born.

Before I went out on maternity leave (I’m taking a full 12 weeks, not sure if I’ve mentioned that, but I’ve gotten that question a fair bit), I wondered what I might do all day.  I didn’t think maternity leave would be a vacation, but I wondered if I might have some free time to write letters to grandparents, catch up on emails, in addition to getting to know baby Liam and things, but my time has been allocated a little differently than I thought.

What we do during our day.  

Keep in mind, we are still figuring one another out.  This will change I’m sure.  IMG_0096.JPGSo we start our day around 5:45-6:00am.  That’s kind of when he does his first big day nursing session, and when the first light hits.  Usually while I nurse him, I’ll watch some Hulu, eat a quick protein bar, try and drink some water because I’m usually thirsty asf, and depending on how he’s feeling, we’ll either go back to sleep for a second, OR he may want some snuggles until he eats again around 8:30 or 8:45.  He’s been doing this thing lately where he kind of wants to hang out with me, see dad off to work, and poop a few times.  (I’m being so serious, I’ve never met a human being who can poop more.  Apparently breast milk goes through the little ones quickly, so that’s why they’re ready to eat an hour and a half to two hours after they’ve started to eat the last time.)  So after this, usually I can get him to sleep, and I can sleep again for just a pinch.  He may fuss, and again, a few diapers usually are in there.  I’ll try to get in the shower and put on some fresh clothes, because it makes me feel somewhat attractive to wash ick off of me.  I’ve managed to shave a few times (big deal at this time!), and by the time I get some fresh clothes on, it’s usually time to nurse again.  I’m usually starving at this point, but every other day or so, I plan a field trip for me and the babe, whether it’s something we need to research or pick up, and I try to tack a quick lunch somewhere onto that so that we can get out and see some grownups.  The favorite the past few times has been Whole Foods, but we managed to squeeze in BOGO sushi with a friend yesterday which was a big deal.  By the time we get home from our field trip – say we went to the paper store for a wedding present, then to the baby store for some nipple cream, then to Whole Foods, it’s usually almost dinner time, and usually baby Liam likes to fuss for a little while before he starts to get sleepy, and snoozes until pops gets home from the gym.  Nurse somewhere in there.  Usually, we throw something quick together for dinner (which has been made infinitely easier by the kindness of family, friends, and Y folks who’ve dropped off salads and casseroles), and we head out for a walk around the neighborhood so I can get some steps, and Austin can get a little cardio in, especially on a day where he’s skipped it at the gym.  I’ll nurse him one more time, and usually this is the last time for the evening, around 10:30pm.  I pump after this feeding to store just a teeny bit of milk for the following night, and we make up a bottle for Austin to do the final feeding around 12 or 12:30am.  Sometimes, while Austin’s doing that, I’ll do some yoga down on the ground right next to the bed, and focus on some really, really, gentle stuff, and I always finish up with some pelvic floor work.

It’s crazy.  I just wrote this massive paragraph detailing what we do.  We do so much, and yet, sometimes at the end of the day it feels like we’ve done so little.  You’d think I would actually get something done, but most days, I feel like I barely have time to brush my teeth!  The field trips are good because it give me a reason to put a clean shirt on and pull my hair back into an acceptable top knot, but it’s so weird to not put on a dress and go to a meeting.  Right now, this is our normal, and it’s so interesting how hard and how natural it’s seemed at the same time.

Okay, now that I’ve rambled on and on and on…

Tell me something random! 

-I found a 48-oz bottle of kombucha for consumption on our field trip yesterday.  I may save the bottle for if I ever get around to making my own home brew.  It seems kind of tricky, but another instructor at the Y does it, and I’m thinking about asking her to see her lab.  Maybe I’ll make that one of my next field trips?

-I finished Breaking Bad again.  I maintain that it is one of the very best shows I have ever seen in my  life.  Todd is the most bizarre character I think a writer has ever created.  I may write a post just to discuss BB here in a few weeks.

-I am always, always hungry, which is apparently a thing when you breastfeed.  I am desperately shoving anything in my mouth that’s high in fat and protein, and guzzling liquids.  But it’s CONSTANT!

The First Three Weeks

Hello!

If you follow me on social media, you may be sick by now of the pics of my adorable child.  I’m here to tell you that I feel that I’ve exercised a really fantastic amount of restraint as far as posting pictures of Liam.  If you feel that I haven’t posted quite enough, you’re in luck. Here’s a photo of me and my son – I’ve actually not really made an appearance in my own social media for some time.  Not really on purpose, but quite honestly, I haven’t been looking my best.  I literally have not worn a stitch of makeup probably since the day before he was born.  Not because I’m doing an Alicia Keys thing, but really because I have had enough time to shower, and that’s really been it – I haven’t had time for a ton else other than making sure that I do what I can to keep baby Liam clothed and fed.

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I’m wearing my mom uniform, which is that pair of Lululemon tights that Austin bought me like 6 months into the pregnancy because I begged, and an Athleta shirt, loose enough for me to yank up while I’m nursing him. Key.

I’m easing back into blogging more regularly – I love to write and get a chance to exercise my creative side, and now I’m updating at least once a week, and we’ll get back to three, and then maybe four or so by the time I have the time and I’m feeling comfortable to do that.

The First Three Weeks

I think a lot of people are curious about what happens when a new child comes into the home, and we aren’t really super open about it.  We get home from wherever we delivered, and sort of shut ourselves in, only to emerge a few months later, and the time in between is a big mystery.  I actually am going to reference Kourtney Kardashian again (if you’ll remember, I referenced her as that first stage of labor), in that I remember her literally, after the birth of her second child in a season of ‘Miami’, shutting herself in her hotel room whilst wearing these kaftan things, not really wearing deodorant, and her sister making fun of her for being smelly.  There’s a lot of accuracy in that.

Physical

Physically, I feel good now at three weeks postpartum.  The first week, the first few days, extending out to week two, are physically really difficult.  I gave birth vaginally and tore, so that means stitches, a lot of blood loss (totally normal), and for me, a general feeling of being really physically weak.  For the first two days or so, I had a lot of trouble getting up and down to go to the bathroom, and Austin had to help me shower by day two because I felt so gross, but the  nurses didn’t want me to fall out in the shower.  That feeling slowly improved.  As far as exercise, I haven’t had my six-week appointment where I’ll (hopefully) be cleared, so exercise is limited to walking, and I did some gentle yoga last night.  I’m not someone who could bust out like 6 miles two weeks pp, and I’m fine with that.

As far as breastfeeding, I think it’s going pretty well, and when I have questions, I am able to ask friends kind of what’s up, and I have a breastfeeding support group I am planning to attend at WakeMed, just to see what’s up, and who I can lean on for a little bit of additional support.

Mental

I think this is one of the hardest parts of bringing baby home.  I was super antsy toward the end of our time at the hospital (which was absolutely lovely) and ready to go home, but nothing really prepares you for coming home with a new little person.  I can’t tell you that I really remember what that first afternoon was like at all, and really what we did, or when we went to bed because I must have been really really tired.  I think he woke up a few times to nurse, maybe around 3 in the morning, and again around 6:30, and so on, until my sister came to relieve me that next day.  You’re tired.  I was so tired.  I’m still so tired.  But I don’t think anything quite beats the tired and shock of that first day or two home.  We’ve had a few nights where Liam wants to fuss and fuss for two hours between like 10pm and 12am, but he usually calms before 1, and I’m able to get a few hours of sleep before he nurses again in time for me to lay down quickly before daylight.

What’s really hard mentally, is the tears the first few days, and not baby tears.  For me, and for some women I’ve heard, it’s totally normal that due to a combination of hormones, exhaustion, and some of the baby blues, that you cry on and off, for sometimes no reason at all.  I cried when he cried sometimes.  I cried when my husband went back to work a few days later.  I cried when my sister left the second weekend he was here because I didn’t want her to go (she was a really big help).  And I cried that day after she left for a long time in the afternoon.  I’m not sure really why.  And I felt insane.

Three weeks out, I’m feeling better, and more balanced.  Someone told me that 12 days pp is kind of when the tears, the exhaustion, and the frustration come to a head (and that there will be more days like the one where I’m crying because I don’t get my sister’s company anymore), but that I may be past the first breakdown (of quite a few) of parenthood that I’ve gotten through.

Overall

So overall, I’m feeling much better.  My memories of his birth are really hazy, and every time my mom reminds me of something or shows me a video, I’m surprised because I have no recollection of things.  I miss my time with Liam and Austin in the hospital because that first night was so special, and showed me what kind of man my husband is.  I mean, I knew he was something really special from one of the first times I spent time with him, but he’s blown me away.  Fussytime gets hard because babies don’t talk, and sometimes you’re playing the “what do you need” game.  I’m still figuring Liam out, and he seems to be studying me with his beautiful dark eyes and his furrowed brow.  We went out downtown to pick up lunch together, and he just studied my face for a while and seemed really irritated that he was being awakened for something as trivial as lunch for me.  Now that I’m more mobile, I’m interested to see how I feel, if and when I physically start to feel stronger, and when I’ll feel like my life doesn’t revolve around the 40 minutes I get alone to shower and straighten up after he goes to sleep early in the morning.

Now that I’ve rambled on and on and on about what I’ve been up to these past few weeks…what are you up to?