Category Archives: birth

Week 2 training & the hiccups (or kidney stones) that accompanied it

I knew going into last week’s training that it was probably not going to be my best training week in terms of hitting all the miles required, but I had no idea it would turn out the way it did! Last week was busy for me in terms of class & assignments, and since that is my top priority right now and it’s sooooo early in the training cycle, I was okay with it. I missed my Sunday 9-miler because I was on a home visit – I always feel blah about missing a long run, but it is what it is! I intended to do a second 5-miler this week as well but didn’t get to it. Oh well. Here’s what the week looked like:

Sun: no run

Mon: 3.1 at 8:48 min/mile – I was NOT feeling well that morning!

Tues: no run

Wed: 5 miles at 8:40 min/mile

Thurs: 3.1 miles at 8:20 min/mile

Fri: no run

Sat: 7.1 at 8:37 min/mile

The 7-miler was my scheduled long run this week (it was a low-mileage Kurtis week), and while it was scheduled for Sunday, I wanted to get it in on Saturday because Audrey & Caroline had their own races to run Sunday morning – Potomac River Running’s Mighty Mile Kids’ Race! They were both really excited for it, especially Audrey. Good thing I got that mileage in early since Sunday morning took an unexpected and unpleasant turn.

I woke up around 4:30am on Sunday with abdominal and pain on my right side. I thought I had pulled a muscle or something and tried to switch positions and go back to sleep. That did not work out very well – I could not find relief no matter what position I tried! I suffered alone for a while, but then I started getting nauseous and throwing up. I felt like maaaaybe I should wake Brian up, but I didn’t want to get him up so early! We are going through a bad sleeping spurt w/ the girls, and he is always up at the crack of dawn (or before). I didn’t want to be the cause of the early wakeup this time when we go to bed every night hoping that the next morning is the morning the girls sleep in! I couldn’t stand it anymore, though, so I woke up and told him what was going on. He said that I looked so pathetic that he couldn’t find it in his heart to be mad at me…ah, love. 🙂 We sat on the couch for a little while with me in fetal position before I decided I was going to try and get some sleep. I went back to bed and still couldn’t get any relief, and then I threw up again – all over the sheets. I called Brian in and he sat next to me for a while. Eventually it got bad enough that we decided to get the girls up and go to the ER, so the girls came along with their crazy bedhead and footie pajamas.

Long story short – after lots of time in the hospital, more throwing up, an IV, a urinalysis w/ elevated red blood cell count, bloodwork, and a CT scan, the diagnosis was a kidney stone. I actually passed it in the waiting room, and it wasn’t very long after that I felt way better. B told me he could tell when I was feeling better because I actually talked audibly instead of whispering and mumbling 😉 On our way out of the hospital, we spotted the Ft Belvoir Fisher House! I don’t really pay attention that much when leaving the hospital because usually I am driving chatty children home from doctor appointments, so this was maybe the second time I noticed it. I remember when they were building both FH and the hospital and that area was just a huge pile of dirt. So cool to see it up and running – and it is beautiful!

So, yeah. That was our “relaxing” Sunday morning! I have had two natural births (I call Audrey’s birth a “supernatural” birth), so I am not a wimp when it comes to pain – and that is what made B realize it was serious because I don’t cry wolf with things. If I complain, I am probably already way past being in normal pain and on my way towards excruciating pain, ha ha. And for the record, I prefer childbirth to kidney stones. At least with labor you can move around and ease the pain, contractions come in waves and aren’t constant, AND you get a sweet baby after.

The girls were angels during that whole 4 hours in the hospital, but Audrey was really sad to miss her race. I am doing a 4th of July 5K, so she gets to come run the fun run to make up for it!

Here’s to a better training week this week – it can’t get worse, right? I will leave you with pics of my sweet baby Bear (her older sister was pouting in the other room):





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Filed under birth, Fisher House, Fitness, Marathon, Marine Corps Marathon, natural childbirth, New York City Marathon, NYCM, Race, Racing, Run, Running, Team Fisher House

Our original Busy Bee is 4!

I think the underlying sentiment that Brian and I have surrounding Audrey is “we are not ready.” We weren’t ready when we were told that we’d meet her two and a half weeks earlier than expected (though after that tough labor, I was definitely ready for her to be born!), and we are not ready for her to grow out of babyhood and into childhood (though I think that ship sailed a while ago).

Even though four years is a relatively short time, it seems like Audrey has been with us forever (but in the very best way possible). Neither of us can remember life being this good before she graced us with her presence; she is such a blessing – even with her Jekyll & Hyde qualities! Happy Birthday to our little Audrey Bee who was “born on Tana” but is “Audrey from Virginia” and who appreciates both the sparkly things in life & playing in the dirt!

From this:


September 12, 2009

To this:


1 year old

To this:

Audrey 2

2 years old

To this:

Audrey 5

3 years old

To today:

4th birthday

4th birthday

We are so lucky.


Filed under baby, birth, Celebrations, Family, Home, natural childbirth

Marriage by numbers

5 years ago today, this happened:


Since then, we have created two new lives

Kept them alive (!!) and watched them grow


 Adopted two crazy dogs


Lived in three different houses in two states

Constantly kept each other on the run (literally & figuratively)

Given each other support when needed


Made it through 1.5 graduate degrees together (and counting!)

Had countless amounts of fun together

But also lots of sleepless & stressful days and nights

And spent quite a few Air Force-induced nights/weeks/months separated and waiting to be reunited


But the bottom line is…

All of the numbers associated with our five years can in no way quantify how much I love the life we have built together.


August, 2013

Happy 5th Anniversary, B! I love you!


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Approaching the 1-year mark

I can’t believe my little baby Caroline is going to turn 1 on Friday. I didn’t start really thinking about it until this week (mostly because we’ve been so busy with fun activities this fall), but now it’s starting to hit me. When I thought about it yesterday, I was like, “Oh man, I’m not going to tear up at all this year!” but then this morning, as I had a few minutes alone with her (rare occasion these days), I started to get a little bit emotional. It is truly amazing how much babies change in the short span of a year. Celebrating Caroline’s birthday will be such a joyous time (because hey! We kept another newborn/infant alive for a whole year and this time it was while watching a toddler too!) but also so bittersweet because the time flies by so fast. I want to capture all of my favorite moments with her and re0-live them over & over. She really does live up to her middle name & has been such a joyful addition to our family (who is the main instigator of bathtub splash wars…)

We are working on talking with Caroline (she is really trying to have conversations these days) and Brian swears she has said “mama” around him before (usually on her way home from school with him when she is whiny and wants me), but yesterday she grabbed my face in her hands, looked at me and said SO clearly, “MAMA!” I almost cried right there. There are few things better than hearing that sweet little voice say your name.

Audrey’s also had her own stories these days. She is so in love with little Caroline & she cracks me up.  Caroline was fussy at dinner because she was so tired and I said something about, “Ugh, Caroline, I’m just going to put you down now!” and Audrey said (with her precocious toddler attitude), “no, she is NOT going to sleep right now!” and I said, “why not?” to which she replied, “Because I LOVE HER.” How could I resist that logic?

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Silence in Labor

I read this blog post today from the Birth Works blog and loved it, so I a) wanted to share it and b) wanted to link it here so that I could find it for myself again later. It’s called “Silence In Labor” and it describes the importance of the environment in having a peaceful and beneficial labor for the baby. I really like how this post describes scientific reasons why this is important. Brian can tell you that despite completely different birthing environments, I was quiet as a mouse and in my own little world while in hard labor with both girls, so I found myself nodding my head while reading this. The last thing I wanted to do was talk to ANYONE and I was only “mean” to Brian once during my birthing times (to use my Hypnobabies language) and it was to tell him to “shut up” during my labor with Audrey because he just kept talking to me & would not stop!

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Nine months

It is so strange that Caroline has been out of the belly as long as she was in the belly! I can’t believe how quickly this little snuggle-bug is growing. She is such a happy-go-lucky baby these days, but is very much a mama’s girl. She is not a fan of being separated from me in large crowds and will often even catapult herself out of Brian’s arms and into mine. I can’t say that I mind (usually, anyway)! I find myself babying her a lot more than I did with Audrey, but I think part of that is because now I know how fast time flies and I just want to cherish every moment. I’m not in a hurry for her to grow up!

She is 18.5 lbs, has two teeth (and one more getting close) and is so close to crawling. There have been a handful of times this weekend where I was so sure she was going to just do it but she always psychs herself out. Part of me can’t wait for her to be mobile but another part of me doesn’t want her to be because I know the snuggles will dramatically decrease once she’s on the move! My bedtime snuggles are already nonexistent because now when she’s ready to sleep, she is READY TO SLEEP. She doesn’t want to mess around with cuddling and rocking and singing. She’s also started trying to pull herself up on things occasionally and she waves “hi” and “bye” when we wave to her. It melts my heart and watching her hit all of these milestones is amazing, even though it’s the second time around for us. I worried that maybe it wouldn’t be as exciting to watch her do things since she is baby number two, but honestly, it is just as wonderful.

Speaking of milestones, Audrey whipped out a skill she has apparently been working on at school. She had drawstrings on her shorts today and said, “LOOK DADDY!” as she proceeds to tie them. She needed a little bit of help, but not much at all! We were both shocked!

C & A have slowly started to develop a very sisterly relationship in that C refuses to yield to Audrey’s desires all the time. It’s funny to watch her start to assert herself a little bit. The next montage of pictures definitely shows that…

By the way, these were the dresses they were supposed to wear for Easter but then I couldn’t find where I packed them after we moved! So this was their first (and last) time wearing them because they are both growing out of them so of course we had to get pictures!

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Recently one of my pregnant sorority sisters asked me about my experience with Hypnobabies and I remembered a blog post that I had saved in drafts and not yet published! So I will share that post now and then add on my actual experience with it.

This is what I wrote before Caroline was born (I changed everything to past tense):

I am not an expert in the art of relaxation by any means; I can never seem to turn off my brain enough to truly relax. As I’ve mentioned before, Brian always has to tell me to stop moving & to sit down. However, I really challenged myself to do this by studying Hypnobabies: Hypnosis for Childbirth. I did the home study course, so it was all self-run and I really liked the idea behind it. I know it probably sounds really hippie & new-agey (for lack of better words), but I think there are elements to it that were really helpful. It emphasizes positive associations with pregnancy & childbirth rather than the horror stories you hear from so many people and I think that’s so important; going into labor & delivery with a ton of fear in your mind is never beneficial.

The way the program works is that each week is a new lesson. You read a little bit in a workbook, then you alternate between hypnosis tracks depending on what day it is. You are also asked to listen to a “Joyful Pregnancy Affirmation” track every day. This specific track’s purpose is to change all negative pregnancy connotations and to help you think of pregnancy & birth as a positive, healthy, natural thing. It even seeks to change some of the language we use for birthing, pregnancy, etc into more positive language. I liked listening to this track when I took my lunch-time walks around campus. Sometimes I tried to listen to it in my car but pair that with my occasional road rage during the commute & I don’t think that was necessarily the best time for it!

Part of the reason I decided to try Hypnobabies was because I felt like I needed a plan for this birth because we didn’t have a doula this time around. We had a birth assistant but we only met her once before the birth and I felt like I wanted to rely on myself & Brian more this time around. Plus, with Audrey, I tended to become very introverted when I needed to focus, and I thought this would be a great thing for me to be able to focus on. I wish that I had had this training w/ Audrey because I wasn’t able to move around much during her birth (since we were on constant monitoring).

This is how I incorporated Hypnobabies into my birthing experience:

Hypnobabies definitely played a role in my birthing experience, though it was mostly in labor prep & early labor. Even though Caroline is my second, it was easy to get nervous about the birthing experience and how it would go, but I loved listening to the Affirmations tracks because they calmed my nerves immensely. One of their tracks talks about envisioning your perfect birth. This is inspired by the idea that what you think influences what happens. My “perfect” birth consisted of me going into labor early in the morning (not at work) and ideally during the day so Audrey had as easy and normal of a day as possible and so we weren’t stressed about coordinating her caretakers. Lo & behold, that’s exactly what happened. I was in early labor on Wednesday morning when I woke up, Brian drove Audrey to daycare & came home where I labored for a little while, went to the birth center around lunch-time, delivered Caroline around 3pm and we were home by dinnertime. It was like going to a normal day of work…minimal interruptions for Audrey (except that she got a new sister at the end of that day!). I do believe that there is some substance to the idea that how you imagine things will happen can actually help them happen that way (like The Secret talked about…or whatever that book was). I was skeptical at first, but this sort of pushed me in the direction of believing in the power of thought.

When I realized I was in early labor, I kept trying to remember & utilize all of the relaxation techniques that I learned through Hypnobabies. When contractions started getting harder to deal with, I laid down, listened to some tracks & dozed off. On our car ride to the birth center, I tried staying calm by listening to some tracks; when we arrived at the center, I was already 7-8 cm dilated, so I know the relaxation helped with that.  Another thing we tried to avoid doing was telling people (except as necessary) that I was in labor because I knew that I would start getting very excited and adrenaline would start pumping and then relaxation would be next to impossible. That’s why so many people didn’t know that she was even on her way until after she had arrived! I laughed when I saw some people posting on my Facebook page that they predicted she would come the next day or the day after that because I knew she was already on her way (or even here!).

Even though I brought my iPod to the birthing center with the intention of turning on some tracks meant for late labor/pushing, I never ended up turning it on once things really got going. Even though that was the case, there were many, many moments during active labor (especially when in the tub) where I referred back to the Hypnobabies relaxation techniques. Relaxation is work to me & requires TONS of focus, and the only thing I could focus on during the pushing stage was…pushing.

Hypnobabies talks about having a pain-free child-birth experience and mine was definitely not pain-free but the pain was VERY tolerable and the birth was peaceful, calm and relatively easy; I’m sure my dedication the home study had a lot to do with it.

Anyway, that is just my take on it for anyone who is curious about my experience with it.


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