Monday, August 15, 2016

Every last drop

We officially quit breastfeeding 2 weeks ago. We made it 10 months and I know that is something to be proud of, but tonight I don't feel proud. I feel raw and sad and I miss my tiny little baby. My little baby that is getting bigger and older every day. My baby that has 3 teeth and LOVES chicken nuggets.

I didn't cry 2 weeks ago when my little one latched for the last time. I handled it pretty well I think. I was sad, but part of me knew that this was just part of the cycle.
Isla was never a boob-fiend like a lot of breastfed babies. She liked her food however it was given to her: bottle, boob, spoon, or preferably her own two hands. This is probably why weaning came relatively easily for us.
I decided towards the end of summer that I wouldn't pump when I went back to work. My pump and I had a very intimate relationship the past year. I spent every spare moment pumping. I woke up at 4am every day to pump before Isla woke up so I could have enough to send to daycare AND to feed her when she got up.  I planned on nursing her in the mornings for as long as I could, but I was over pumping and glad to be finished.
My body, however, had different plans. After just one day of no pumping my milk was gone. The next morning when Isla latched I could tell nothing was happening and she seemed to try to nurse forever... I knew the poor girl wasn't getting much. So just like that it was finished. No time to think about it or feel guilty. It just was what it was. I'd also built up a pretty good freezer stash over the summer so I knew she'd still be getting the good stuff for a while longer.

Tonight as I dumped the last of my frozen breastmilk into bottles for daycare I broke down. My heart ached as the last few drops slid down the sides. This was truly the end. I don't think I let myself feel it until tonight. I think I felt the frozen milk meant we weren't quite finished yet. But after tonight I won't have any part of myself to give her.
Breastfeeding was truly the hardest thing I've ever done and I never thought I'd want to go back, but tonight I think I would. I'd go back to the toe-curling pain from those first couple of weeks. I'd go back to the 2, 3, 4, and 5 am feedings. I'd go back to the cluster feedings and comfort nursing. I'd go back in an instant.

And I know that this is normal and that no baby will breastfeed forever (unless you want to end up on Dr. Phil...), but tonight I'm going to let myself cry and look at pictures and feel sorry for myself. I'm going to miss my tiny 7lb baby that wanted to nurse every hour and pray that time will start to pass a little slower.

Isla Faye's Birth Story

Even before I got pregnant with my little girl, I was mesmerized by natural birth. I watched the documentaries and read the books. I just KNEW that was what I wanted. I found an OB that was very supportive of natural birth and even looked into a birthing center (which didn’t work out due to insurance reasons) instead of a hospital. I wanted ambient lighting, a special playlist, and my husband by my side.  I’m also deathly afraid of needles, so getting to bypass all of that was a HUGE plus in my head. I was definitely more scared of getting an epidural than I was squeezing a human out of my lady parts. And besides, I didn't need pain meds anyway. I’d have my focal point, my hypnobabies CD, and whatever else I could figure out in the next 9 months- I’d be fine.

It’s important to note that this was all decided in the early, magical days of pregnancy. 

Fast forward about 9 months, when the days are not so magical and instead very uncomfortable, sleepless, and sweaty (I was fortunate to be VERY pregnant during the heat of a Texas summer). At about 36 weeks things started to change for me. I was dealing with stressful and downright dangerous situations for me and baby daily. By the time I reached 38 weeks I began praying that I wouldn’t make it to my due date. Knowing that I could potentially be pregnant for 4 more weeks was daunting and put me in a very bad place mentally. 

At 38+6 my feet began to swell, totally normal I know. By the end of the day my right leg was about twice the size of my left and I felt like I’d pulled a muscle in that calf. I figured this was a normal part of late pregnancy, but I figured I’d call my OB just in case. After describing my symptoms to a nurse she told me to come in for blood work right away because my symptoms were spot on for a blood clot. Definitely not what I expected. I kept my cool through the blood work and the waiting afterward. I even held it together when my OB explained that I failed the blood test and could possibly have a blood clot. When I asked him what we would do if I did, in fact, have a blood clot and he responded with “Well, I’m not really sure. I’ll have to get in touch with a high risk specialist and go from there”, I lost it. Hearing that from my doctor (whom I completely love and trust to this day, btw) scared me more than anything. I’d made it this far with a pretty much unicorn pregnancy, and now, so close to the finish line, my baby could be in danger. I have never been so scared in my life. 

After a long wait in the ER and a doppler of my leg, we found out that I didn’t have a clot. I was relieved, but also so very very done. I was done being pregnant and all of the unknown. I wanted her safe in my arms. So after discussing it with my OB and him reassuring me of it’s safety, we scheduled my induction for later that week. I was happy to have an end in sight and excited that I’d get to hold my baby girl so soon. And my type-A-ness was very excited to have a plan in place. 

But I also felt a lot of guilt. Being in induced was on the very bottom of my birth with list, especially an elective induction. I was so set on my un-medicalized birth, that I felt guilty for changing my mind. I truly felt like I was making the right decision for me and my baby, but I also felt ashamed. There was a voice in my head telling that I was taking the easy way out, that I was a bad mother before even becoming a mother. I was torn, but I had the support of my husband and my OB (I’m serious when I say that I trust that man!) and that was all I needed.

When we checked into the hospital at about 8am I was at 2 and about 50% effaced (what I’d been for about a week). 
*8:30 am- I got my first dose of cytotec Nothing really happened
*noon- I was checked again- still at a 2, so we did another dose of cytotec. After this 2nd dose I finally started to feel mild menstrual like cramps… surely I was making some progress.
*4pm (they checked me every 4 hours) I was between a 2-3 (I think he was being generous at this point) and I felt pretty defeated. I was so scared they’d send me home. My OB told me I had a few options- do a 3rd dose of cytotec, try a foley balloon  (which sounded terrifying), or do nothing and wait it out. I was determined to get this show on the road by this point so I opted to do option 1 and 2. My OB explained that the Foley would be “pretty uncomfortable”. After the foley balloon was inserted I turned to my husband and told him through gritted teeth that if this was “pretty uncomfortable”, then I would definitely be needing that epidural”. Turns out my pain tolerance is virtually non-existant. Oh well. This was when my original birth plan went completely out of the window. And I could not care less. I wanted my baby and that’s about the only thing I cared about. 
*5pm my foley balloon fell out and I was finally at a 4! We started pitocin and I asked for my epidural :) 
*6pm I got my magical epidural- this was so much better than expected BTW! The entire process took about 20 minutes and didn’t hurt at all. (5 stars, would definitely recommend). The best part was the catheter… I didn’t have to get up to pee! Talk about my dream come true. The only part of this entire process that was slightly miserable was the nausea. I’m sure it was all of the medicine I had flowing through my veins, but I wanted to throw up almost the whole time I was in labor. I spent the rest of the night sleeping, coping with nausea, and watching Netflix with my husband. The nurses kept asking me if I had “an urge to push”, to which I always replied “I don’t think so?” and they’d tell that I’d KNOW when I needed to, so I left it at that. The truth is, I never did.
10pm I felt a tightening in my stomach beginning which lasted throughout the next few hours. I told the nurse about 2am that the tightening in my stomach was getting more intense- I still didn't think I needed to push though. However, when my OB checked I was at a 10! Turns out I didn't know after all.  

I pushed for about 45 minutes before my beautiful baby girl came into the world screaming at about 4 a.m. She quieted as soon as they laid her on my chest. I remember being relieved and tired and shocked that she was actually there. 
I did have a tear (between a 1-2, I believe), but thanks to that magical epidural I didn’t really care. My doc sewed me up while me and baby had our skin-skin time.

Other info/tips

I thought I’d want 3 people in the room the whole time- my husband, my mom, and my mother in law. Turns out I only wanted my husband for 98% of the process. He was my rock and the only thing I needed to get through birth. Once I was ready to push I brought my mom and MIL in.

I regret not using a mirror. I thought it’d be weird/gross seeing all that up close an personal, but  I am the only one in the room that didn’t get to see the instant my little girl came into the world. 

You will not care about pooping, one damn bit. 

Justin made a playlist of our music for me to listen to during labor. This ended up being one of the only things from my birth plan that I kept, and I am so glad I did. Our baby girl entered the world to an Avett Brothers song, and if you know us, that is pretty stinking perfect. 

And there you have it. My completely medicalized, so very hospital birth. I wouldn’t have done it any other way. 

Also, I hope I don’t come across as bashing natural birth, it just didn’t work out for me, this time anyway. I still totally support it and my inner hippie still would love to hang out with Ina May on the farm. And nothing gets my ovaries working like a natural birth story!

 It took a couple of months or so for me to deal with my feelings of guilt surrounding Isla’s birth. I can finally look back on it and see the beauty, but it took a lot of tears and time for that to happen. If any mamas or future mamas are reading this and have that weight of guilt surrounding your births, whether it was your decision or not- IT'S OKAY. You did it! Or you’re going to do it, and you’ll have your baby. Yes, I CHOSE my induction. I scheduled that sucker and it was great. I’ll probably end up scheduling my next one. I knew what was right for me, and you'll know what is right for you. Do you research and listen to your support team, but in the end it's just you and your baby. And that is all that matters

Dear Brand New Mama, it gets better. I promise.

I debated for a long time on whether or not to write this post. It’s taken me 7 months to sort through my feelings from my daughters birth and realize exactly what I was feeling. 

I’m in that wonderful part of life where everyone I know is popping out babies, so my feed is chocked full of brand new, sparkly mommy & baby photos. I found myself, more often than not, puzzled over these photos. Instead of being in awe of their beautiful pictures, I wondered how the moms could be so perfectly happy. Seriously, how in the heck was she wearing makeup after labor?! I didn’t have the energy to shower for days after birth. Gross, I know. 
We didn’t get a cute “going home” picture if front of the car either. I cried the entire way home from the hospital… and I didn’t really stop until my daughter was a few days old. 
My overwhelming emotion wasn't warm and fuzzy. It was fear. I was terrified of how our lives were about to change, that this little life was completely in our hands. 
Once we were home and the blissful (insert sarcasm) newborn days ensued, I only became more scared and guilt ridden. 
I felt guilty that I wasn’t one of the smiley, happy moms on Facebook. I was scared I wasn’t going to love this tiny baby enough. I was scared this fear would never go away. 

The first few days home from the hospital were my worst. I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety since I was a teenager, and our 2nd night home from the hospital I truly thought I was losing my mind. I remember giving my baby to my mother in law and having my husband walk me outside. My fight or flight instinct in full effect. He stayed outside with me for a long time. He relentlessly assured me that we would get through this. He told me over and over that this overwhelming fear I had would eventually pass- that my body was flushing out hormones. That it had gone through a traumatic experience… I’d just pushed a human out of my body, after all.  

I thought once I held my little one in my arms that every feeling would snap into place. I thought we’d share a magical perfect bond. That didn’t exactly happen. I just knew something was wrong, broken. 
Looking back, I can see that I wasn’t broken. I wasn’t losing my mind or going crazy. I was experiencing postpartum depression. I am truly blessed to have an amazing support system. My husband held me and the baby as we cried. He assured me that this was temporary. Most importantly, he urged me to get help. My sweet mother in law saw me break down and lose it and never held it against me. I remember her sitting in front of me one night, while I held my baby and silently sobbed so I wouldn't wake my husband. She held and told that I wasn't crazy. I probably didn't show it very well then, but those words meant a lot. My mom and dad were amazing as well. They stayed over through some rough, colicky nights so that we could get some much needed rest- as much as I could while breast feeding. Their gift of support and sleep was truly precious. 
I reluctantly told my OB what was happening and got on some meds, which I’d been on in the past. The meds combined with being open and honest with my husband about my ups and downs helped a ton.

Thankfully my experience with postpartum depression only lasted a few weeks. Slowly, but surely, I started to form a bond with this tiny little human I created. I gave myself grace and time to figure out how I was going to do this whole mom-thing. Although it wasn't immediate, it did come naturally. 

The newborn days were tough for me, but it got better. TONS better. I can confidently say that being a mom is the best thing I’ve done. Everyone will tell you and at the time you won’t believe them (you will probably want to smack them), but you will miss those newborn days. You might not miss the screaming and lack of sleep, but you will miss the cuddles and the squishy, squinty-eyed, tiny-ness.

I’m writing this for any mom who might find themselves where I was as a new mom. Terrified that this part will never end. Scared that you're a freak, or broken, or not cut out to be a mom.
What you’re feeling is OKAY and it does get better. It gets better with work and help and time.
Those colicky nights WILL end. Your baby will eventually sleep (even at night!). 
If your breastfeeding, your nipples aren’t going to fall off. If you’re struggling with breastfeeding, but want to keep going, don’t let anyone force you into supplementing- unless you want to! Conversely, if you’re struggling with breastfeeding, and it’s ruining your life- buy that baby some formula and move on. Your baby will be fine.
Most importantly, if you don’t feel that magical perfect feeling from the beginning, it’s OKAY. Just like any relationship with someone you have never met, it takes time. You have to find your groove, even with a baby. 
Even more importantly, if you feel something may be off, get help. I’m not saying you have to go get on medication, but talk to your doctor. Talk to someone.
You’re not broken, or a freak. 

You’re a mom and you’ll get through it.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Carb depletion, my own personal hell

Okay so that is probably a bit dramatic, but really this stuff sucks.

I should probably rewind a little and let you in on my (and my husband's) newest endeavor.
Via one of my best friends (Christina) and her infinite knowledge of all things health, we began looking into "Carb Back Loading."

What is Carb Back Loading?
When you get down to it, CBL is all about manipulating your insulin levels. You do this by refraining from eating carbs until the evenings after your workout.
"Carbs make both muscle and fat cells grow—and often at the same time. But by shifting when you eat carbs, you can actually control which kind of tissue grows. "
But then you get to eat ALL OF THE CARBS. like ever.
Okay, not really.

What's so great about CBL?
Carb Back Loading was developed by John Keifer- he's a physicist.
does different things for different people, but the typical result is burning fat while packing on lean muscle. Who doesn't want that? A crazy person, that's who.
You can buy Keifer's book with all the info, and explained way better than I could here.

So why does it suck?
Before starting CBL as a person who has some weight to lose if you have over 10% body fat (ME), you need to train your body to burn your fat throughout the day, and immediately burn the carbs you eat post workout, instead of burning your carb storages throughout the day. Most of our bodies are trained to burn our carb storages, which we typically refuel at every meal, throughout the day for energy. The problem with this is your body hardly gets a chance to burn through your fat storages because it burns the carbs first (hello, muffin top).

You train your body by "carb depletion", depleting your glycogen stores, or the "prep phase".
Disclaimer: this part will suck and most people will freak, but keep reading! Or just get over it, either one.

The prep phase depletes all alternative fuel sources and forces your body to use fat for fuel; in doing so, you are training your body to use fat for fuel and increasing the ease with which your body will switch to fat-burning mode in future.

This is done by keeping your daily carb intake to 30 grams or less, preferably less. Yes, less than 30g, that is correct.
That's a large apple, in case you were wondering.
This usually takes 7-10 days, depending on your activity levels. I'm hoping with training I'll fall closer to the 7 days mark.

So far I am 4 days into the Prep Phase and this list fits pretty dang well:
There are three stages to the prep phase:
  1. Days 1-4: depleting glycogen stores – expect to lose a few pounds here since the body stores 3g water per 1g carbohydrate. You can shorten this stage by doing high intensity exercise since this will burn through glycogen stores faster.
  2. Days 3-6: Ketone production starts up. Ketones are a great source of fuel for the body and can be used for short-duration exercise & brain activity. You will feel the worst during this phase as your body will run out of carbs before your body has fully gotten around to ramping up ketone production.
  3. Days 7-10: Fat burning mode. When you stop feeling tired, this is a sign you have reached the fat burning stage.

So why CBL?
Other than what I've said above, I'm doing this because I need a change and a challenge. I've eaten 80/20 pale for over a year now and I feel like my body has plateaued a bit. I'm not saying I hate where my body is, but I definitely have some work to do.
I WANT ABS!! Okay? There, I said it.
Carb backloading will be completely different that any diet I've followed, and it's still hard to get my head around eating carbs at night. I've always read/heard that late night carbs are blasphemous. I'll be honest though, after a week of this no-carb crap, I'll probably wrap my head prettily easily around some BREAD... or rice, or a box of twinkies. KIDDING.

But is it sustainable? Won't you gain all the weight back when you stop?
From what I've read, yes it's totally sustainable. Plenty of athletes eat this way year round.

Although this has been hard so far, I really happy that I have my husband for support. We can be cranky and tired together!

I'm not sure how this will work out, but I will keep you guys updated as I try it out for next few weeks. Justin and I took 'before' pictures, so I'll post those along with the 'after' pictures once we are finished with the prep phase. I'll also keep y'all updated with the progress when I get to start actually carb back loading.

I'm also planning another post with my meals from the "prep phase", so get ready! Ready to see a lot of turkey, chicken, and cheese...

I hope this makes sense. I also hope I didn't get any of the info wrong. Remember, I'm a teacher (and all around BAB), not a physicist. Forgive me.

Here are two articles that helped me out:
This one from Men's Fitness
and this one.

Leave me your thoughts, comments, or questions!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

A New Chapter

Because word travels fast, I'm sure most of you have heard the news. As of last Saturday, I am no longer a coach at my former gym. I feel that my season at that gym has come to a close, and that my place now is supporting my friends in their new journey.

Two years ago, as a newbie to Crossfit and watching my very first Open workout (7 minutes of burpees), if you would have told me that I would not only be in love with the 'sport of fitness', but also be coaching it, I'd have laughed in your face. Alas, here we are.

I've known since I was a teenager that God has called me to be a teacher. So when I became a Special Education teacher 3 years ago, it wasn't a huge shock; it just felt right.
Little did I know, God wasn't finished with me. I began coaching around November of last year, and like my day job,  it clicked. I confess that I didn't realize until looking back on it, but I think that coaching was part of that calling as well. That's why I was so awesome!! I kid, I kid. Moving on...

To my athletes:
First off, I'm very possessive/protective/a little crazy, so yes you're MY athletes ;)
Secondly, thank you all for being such a blessing in my life. I am going to miss the phrase "thanks, coach!"and getting the "I hate you right now" look that later turns into an "I DID IT!" when you push an athlete to do an RX'd weight. I loved seeing your PR's as well as your struggles. I remember each first muscle-up, pull-up, hand stand push-up and much more. I especially loved seeing average people use CrossFit to find an inner strength and confidence they didn't know they had.
I truly hope that each of you stay connected and keep me updated with your fitness life and your life-life!
That being said, although this season of my life is finished, I definitely see coaching in my future again. However, I'm excited to view CrossFit via the lens of an athlete only for awhile. #GAINZ

To my friends and teammates at that gym:
After finishing out the Open next week, I will no longer be working out at that gym. I cannot thank everyone involved at that gym enough for accepting me and showing what a true community is.

A new chapter:
I am beyond excited about the new things that are happening in mine and Justin's lives. The last month has been emotional and scary, but through it all we've realized how close and strong our friendships are. I can't wait to help grow and support this new venture (expect a blog post soon) with our CrossFit friends family.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Here's to another year of training!

So the Open is over. I apologize for the delayed post, but it took some time to get my bearings back.

I had 2 goals going into the open-
1. Place in the top 3 girls every week
I won't lie, I didn't have high expectations for my first goal. I workout with some amazing ladies, some of which have been doing CrossFit for years. With just over a year of CF (only 7 months of actual training), I tried to remain objective (read: not get my hopes up). Also, this would be my first competition experience so I had no idea how I'd react under pressure.

2. Make a muscle-up during an Open WOD
I made my first muscle-up a month before the open started. It was awesome and crazy and I had no freaking clue how it happened. I then spent the next month trying to figure out how on earth I did it. I could make the occasional MU, but they were no where close to consistent.

To make an extremely long story short, I somehow made top 3 every week (one week there was a tie, so not sure how that works). And I managed 1 muscle-up during one of the most hellish workouts I've ever done (Karen on crack), whilst being sick.

I'm definitely not trying to toot my own horn, AT ALL. In fact, I'm sure there were times I dropped the bar, or took a break when I should've kept going. I know that there is no way I could have done even a fraction of what I did without my coaches or friends supporting me. I tried to stay grounded and humble throughout the entire 5 weeks. Making my team's success priority over my personal victories definitely made that easier.
Overall, I'm glad I have a starting place and a something to compare for next year.

My Capstone Team ended up placing 50th in our region, which is in the top 22%. That being said, we didn't qualify for regionals this time. However, I know with another year of training under our belts, next year will be a different story!

My favorite thing I've taken away from the Open wasn't a new PR, or the feeling  of people cheering, or anything personal at all. The Open solidified our motley crew of athletes into an actual team. WODs and training has a new feel these days. Walking into the gym and knowing that it's not just about me, or my personal gains (#gainz) is an amazing feeling. I'm excited to see where this year take us!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

13.1 Revisited

So 13.1 has came and went, and I lived to tell about it!

My first thought when they announced the WOD on Wednesday was "Crap. I can hardly land a 100 lb. snatch when I'm fresh, on a good day... when the wind is blowing in just the right direction". Needless to say they were 'iffy' at best and I knew that the reps at 100 lb. would be determining factors. I tried to play it cool, but I definitely left the gym knocked down a few pegs. I felt as if I all the hard work I've put in wasn't good enough. I was defeated.

Later that night my coach sent this in a group message (he may be a mind reader):

"If you go into anything scared or thinking you're gonna lose, you've already lost. You gotta go in with the attitude that you're going to win, and be successful."
- Scott Panchik, minutes before winning Open Workout 13.1

Wow. I was a bit embarrassed by my crappy attitude. I decided that, if nothing else, this would be a learning experience. I had to be real with myself. I am competing in the CrossFit Open with just over at year of CrossFit under my belt. I'm not 'Games' material. I'm not an elite athlete, but I had put in a lot of time and effort to be ready for this competition, and selling myself short wasn't going to get me anywhere.  I wasn't going to go into it defeated.

I spent the next couple of days working on my snatch form and attempting to perfect my 1 rep max of 100 lb. And also watching countless videos with tips and strategies for 13.1. My goal was to get through the 150 reps and at least touch the 100 lb. bar. I wanted to get a rep at 100, but I really didn't think I could do it, honestly.

By the time Saturday morning rolled around I was a nervous wreck.
I was in one of the last heats so I got to watch most of my fellow athletes compete first. I was super proud of each of them, but I could tell this WOD was more challenging than most of us planned.

I won't narrate my entire WOD, don't worry.
I tried to pace my burpees as best I could, without feeling like a turtle. Surprisingly, the 45 lb. bar wasn't terrible and I did sets of 10 semi-easily. I originally planned on doing singles for the 75 lb. bar, but I was able to sets of 2 for all 30 of those. I knew the moment was coming. I tried to plan in my head while doing my last set of (and probably the hardest set I've ever done) of 20 burpees. I remember telling myself "Just touch that 100 lb. bar. Just get to it and attempt 1." Well the moment came and my body was definitely not working with me. I attempted 3 and failed each of them. After my 3rd rep I saw my coach over to the side, he yelled at me to "throw it behind you". I thought "okay, let's be real. You want this. Touching the bar was never the plan. You want a rep at 100 lbs." and I did want that. I wanted it bad.

I reset on  the bar, took a big breath, and somehow got under it. After I stood it up, I saw so many people around cheering for me. It was definitely one of my proudest moments. I still had some time left on the clock, and although I was completely happy with my results, I wasn't about to stop there. I failed a couple more, and with about 10 seconds left on the clock I set up for my last attempt. I set up, pulled under the bar, and stood it up!  When I let the bar drop  I broke down. I was that happy and relieved. I did what I didn't think (and told myself) I probably could not do.

All that to say, I didn't have the top score (or even top 5) in my gym. I didn't write this to toot my own horn, in anyway. But hopefully, someone might read this and feel inspired. I hope they might feel inspired to try something they thought they had no business attempting.