Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Night Runs

Now that autumn is officially upon us, I'm running (Hah! Get it?) out of daylight for my runs. As hard as I tried, I'm just not a morning runner yet. Between the Things' constantly evolving schedules and the need to get ready and out the door for work, there's just not enough time to try to squeeze a run into my mornings. Plus, the Things are definitely at their best in the mornings! They're alert and happy, they want to cuddle and play and laugh, and I don't want to miss those times if I can help it. When they're surly teenagers, I'm sure it will be easier to get out the door in the mornings. Right?

So, that leaves me with the post-baby-bedtime hours for my runs. Totally no big deal in the summer, when it's light FOREVER. I could head out for a 3, 4, 5 miler after 6:30 bedtime and be fine! All of a sudden, though, I'm noticing that it gets hard to see the ground in front of me by the end of my runs. I don't want to run on my trail anymore, in case there are creatures more dangerous than deer and squirrels in the woods. (Hubby thinks there might be coyotes, and I know for a fact that there are skunks.) I've been wearing my bright yellow cap with lights on the brim for the past week or so, but it's getting dark enough that it's just not cutting it. You lose something of the joy and freedom of running when you have to stare directly at the ground in front of you to make sure you don't trip over anything.

Last night, I may have found a solution to my problems. It turns out there's a local fitness center that has an indoor track that's free to the public! Admittedly, it's only 1/8 mile, but it's inside (where I don't have to worry about the weather, marauding skunks, traffic, etc), it's well-lit (no more tripping over my own feet), it's open late (so I can get my runs in on my own time), and everyone always talks about how good tracks are for speed work--maybe I'll get to try that myself! I managed 4 miles last night pretty well. Sure, I was bored, and I may have lost count of my laps more than once, but I had my music to keep me occupied, and my Nike+ app to tell me how far I'd run. In my mind, it beats running on a treadmill, since I can generate my own wind on the track. I'm supposed to do 6 miles tonight--that may be stretching my ability to run in a circle without going crazy, but I'm gonna give it a try!

I have to say: I'm pretty proud of my training efforts so far! I've only missed one run, and that was for the birthday festivities, so I won't feel bad about that! I think I'm doing a good job of pushing myself hard enough, but being smart enough to not hurt myself. It's definitely harder training this time, since I'm feeling pretty worn out already (thanks, babies!), but I'm working through it and getting my miles in. I have absolutely no idea what to expect with my half next month (YIKES!), but I know I'll be able to get through it. I don't know whether to shoot for a new PR, or to set a safer goal, since this will be my first real test since the babies. I'm afraid to admit it, but I've been training at similar speeds to my October, 2012 PR, so I'm wondering if a PR might be in reach. Mostly, I just want to run and have fun, and feel better about the race than I did last time I ran it. I've been doing lots more hill work than last time, so I'm hoping to be a lot stronger on the nasty hill at mile 9 (that sucker almost made me cry before). I want to run strong, run smart, and maybe run fast. Sounds good, right?

For the Things' first birthday, we had some pictures taken by a professional photographer. We got some
We're so cute!
great pictures out of it, including this gem:

The Things were a little...difficult during parts of the shoot, but I think it turned out well. It's still hard to believe that they're so big, but I'm proud and amazed every day that I get to call these beautiful babies mine.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

One Year Ago Today...

Tuesday, September 10th started out as a pretty normal day. I’d been on partial bed rest since week 25 of the pregnancy, so I worked my half day at the office, then came home to lie down and finish my work from home. Toward the end of the pregnancy, I noticed that I was getting very tired by the end of the work day, so I’d gotten in the habit of taking a nap before dinner. After my nap, I got up for yet another potty break…when my water broke! Early on, I’d read stories about women who thought mistook peeing for their water breaking, and I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. I had to pee all the time. What if I mistook a vigorous pee for something else? Or, even worse, what if my water broke and I assumed I’d just peed? Would I waste precious time puttering around at home when I should have been rushing to the hospital? Turns out, I didn’t need to worry about that at all. There was absolutely no question what was happening, from the Niagara Falls that came pouring out of me. At least I was conveniently located when it happened!

Once I realized what was happening, I yelled for Hubby. Our conversation went something like this:

Me: Andrew!
[No answer]
Me: Andrew!!
[No answer]
Me: Andrew!!!
Hubby: I’m on the phone!!
Me: My water broke!!!!
Hubby: Oh!

That sure got his attention! (It turns out he was scheduling a massage for himself… Needless to say, that appointment got re-scheduled.)

Once I’d stopped dripping enough to move around without leaving a lake behind me, I started trying to figure out what else I needed to take to the hospital with me. I’d already put most stuff in my hospital bag, but I’d left out the essentials like my glasses, toothbrush, etc, that I was still using every day. While we both packed our bags, we called our parents to let them know what was going on.

I’m not sure the news quite registered with my dad right away, because when I asked him how he felt about becoming a grandfather that night, he seemed a little hesitant. We managed to convince everyone that this was the real deal, made our final arrangements for Mischa, and then headed for the hospital.

In the car, I was emailing my co-workers the let them know what was going on, and trying to wrap my head around the fact that this was really going to happen tonight! I’d known that it was very possible the twins would come early, but I really thought we had a couple of weeks left.

We made it to the hospital, and checked in, and then they had to check to see whether my water had really broken (the answer was a definite yes!). After that, it was time for the final ultrasound, to see whether or not the babies had flipped around (nope!). The poor ultrasound technician seemed to be worried that I didn’t know I’d need a c-section, and was so relieved when I told him that I’d known all along that there was a chance, and that I was resigned to it once they refused to flip over. Apparently, he’d had more than his share of moms who were blindsided by the need for a c-section. Hubby and I threw out any idea of making a birth plan once the doctor said “Double whammy” in that first ultrasound. Our only goal was to have two healthy babies. I’d say we met that goal!

After that, we had to wait around while they got an operating room ready. I was really nervous, since I’d never had surgery before, so I just kinda sat there freaking out. The woman who taught our birthing class happened to be working that night, and when she saw that we had checked in, she stopped by to say hello, and to offer a little reassurance. It was nice to see a friendly face and get some soothing words. Apparently Hubby had no idea how freaked out I really was, but I was scared out of my mind.

Finally, it was showtime! They had me walk (okay, waddle, since I was clenching a pee pad between my legs, since I was still leaking) to the OR, got my spinal block set up (they tell you not to move when they poke your back with a big needle—yeah, right!), and let Hubby come in. It was a good thing he was there, because I was shaking from the cold and fear, and I threw up more than once. He was very supportive, and so focused on me that he didn’t see when they brought Thing 1 over for us to see! They’d gotten him out, and brought him over, but were standing behind Hubby, so I had to point him out! Honestly, the surgery was pretty rotten. I was so cold and shivering and nauseous, and just worried. Once they got me into recovery and under some blankets, I started to relax and warm up again. They brought Thing 1 for me to hold while we were waiting, and that was great. Thing 2 had to go up to the nursery right away, to get her temperature regulated, but other than that they were both healthy!

Once we made it up to our room, we were all together as a family for the first time. That was a pretty amazing night. We didn’t sleep much, between feedings, trying to pump, trying to nurse, and all of the ins and outs of nurses and other people, but it was incredible to know that they were finally here. Those first nights as a family of four were incredible. Exhausting and intimidating, too, but still incredible.

It has now been one year since the Things were born! Hubby and I have learned a lot about being parents, and watching these two little people grow has been such an amazing journey. It’s bittersweet, to know that our year of firsts is over, but now I’m looking forward to all of the awesome things we’ll do as a family as the kids get older.

Happy First Birthday, Thing 1 and Thing 2! We love you!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Struggling with Loss

For those of you who don't know, I work in the Chicago theatre community, and our ranks suffered a huge loss this weekend. An actress I've had the privilege of seeing in two of our recent productions (and who has acted all over the city) was taken from us far too soon in a horrific accident.

It's one of those situations where I'm really struggling to come to terms with my feelings. I don't think I get to call her a "friend," since I'm sure our brief interactions didn't have the same kind of impact on her as they did on me. But, I am honored that I got to meet her and spend any amount of time with her at all. From the conversations we had, I knew her to be a friendly and engaging person. You couldn't help but smile when you saw her, and now she's just gone. Just like that.

Our community has been mourning her all weekend, and struggling to come to terms with her loss. A friend of the family set up a fund to help her husband and children through this dark time, and people have come through with amazing generosity.

I found out this morning that she was an organ donor, and that they'd kept her heart beating over the weekend so that her organs could go to people who needed them. That little piece of information really made me stop and think. About what her family was going through; how they said goodbye, but then kept vigil by her bedside until the very end. About how her death is making a positive impact on the lives of other people (I'm wearing my Taylor Blue nail polish to support organ donation today http://taylorsgift.org/about/). About how easily it could have been Hubby or me. About how fragile and fleeting life is, and how lucky I am to have found a happy place in it.

The Things will be turning one on Wednesday, and I've been reflecting back on the past year recently. Thinking about how lucky we are to have two beautiful, happy, healthy babies. How lucky I was to have an uncomplicated twin pregnancy, and to be able to take the babies home right away. How lucky I am to have a supportive partner to get me through the bad times. How lucky I am to have so few bad times to get through.

As one family faces their darkest times, I mourn for and with them. I mourn for her sons, now growing up without their mother. I mourn for her husband, missing his partner. I mourn to see a bright light burn out too soon.

So many people have said beautiful things about Molly this weekend. I know I don't have anything new to say. But, I'm so proud to see how the theatre community has come together to support Molly's family. If you're so inclined, please take a minute and give what you can: https://www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/fhp5/the-molly-glynn-memorial-trust.

This is a sad time for us. The theatre world is a family, and losses like this are felt deeply. It's good to know that we can also lean on each other in our sadness and share our happy memories of Molly as we try to come to terms with our grief.