Monday, August 1, 2011

Zeke's home birth story

I know I'm tardy on posting about many happenings around here, but I have to get Z's birth story out while it is still fresh in my mind. So, here it is!

My last months of pregnancy were hectic and a little overwhelming. I wrapped up the school year and finished my job as the Health Office Director (school nurse) at a local school. They didn't find my replacement until the last day of school, so I was back on the job training her while VERY pregnant and well into my summer break...ugh. That's all behind me now, though, and I am SO enjoying my indefinite time off! My mom came to help me pack up our basement apartment (Mike had to work) and move back into our lovely condo. The day after she left, Mike's mom came and stayed for almost 3 weeks. She pretty much took 100% care of Selah for that entire time. She also filled my fridge and freezer in anticipation of the babe, such a treat for us!

This pregnancy was quite different than my first. While I was nauseous for nearly the entire pregnancy, I didn't have the insatiable appetite that I had with Selah. With her, I felt like I had to eat constantly and with Z, if I ate too much or too rich, I nearly lost my cookies. I was able to run within a week of my due date the first time, but running got really painful around 37 weeks this time. I ran a 5K at 36 weeks and another at 38 weeks, but didn't run at all between them and not a single time after the last 5K. I ended up gaining about 50 pounds with Selah despite all that running, and right around 30 this time--and what a difference 20 pounds makes. My feet and legs never swelled, even in the July heat, my blood pressure was never above about 118/70, and I maintained a waist through the very end--he just stuck straight out. Selah was exactly 6 days early and Z came exactly 6 days late. Now, at one week post partum, I am 10 pounds from my pre pregnancy weight and already running! I hit the trails with both kids in the Chariot today and banged out 4 or 5 miles without an issue.

Ok, NOW for the birth story...

Sunday night, we had a nice little family picnic and stayed out way past Selah's bedtime. We had a blast slacklining, BBQing, watching the river, and just enjoying each other. I had mild contractions the whole night but convinced myself that it was once again false labor since they didn't seem to be getting more painful or frequent. I went to bed at about 11:00 Sunday night, continued to have the contractions, and started to get a little hopeful that this might be the real thing. At 5:20 I woke up, realized I'd been asleep for the entire night, and started cursing that I'd once again been fooled and was most definitely not in labor. I was pissed. I was sick of being pregnant and was almost 2 weeks past the point where Selah was born. I was sure that this was going to just be another day like all the rest. I got up to pee and went back to bed. At 5:28, I was jolted awake by the sensation of my water breaking. I jumped out of bed and ran back to the toilet, leaving puddles wherever I went. I called Mike in and told him my water had definitely broken and he promptly went back to sleep. I tried to lie down but was too excited to lay in bed and the sun was starting to come up, so I got up and made some coffee and breakfast. During Selah's birth, I was unable to keep any food or fluids down, so I knew I should eat and drink while possible. I called my midwife, who suggested I go for a walk to try and get labor going.

I went outside in the cool quiet of the day and walked for a half hour or so. I called my mom and Sari (who was to take Selah) and just enjoyed the fact that I knew I was going to have a baby today! I started to have contractions that made me stop and breathe and slowly made my way back home. The contractions stayed relatively mild and I was able to take care of Selah, talk, clean up, etc between them. Around 8:00, I called my midwife again and told her things were moving and to slowly make her way over. She arrived at 9:30 and labor was still very tolerable--relatively mild contractions every 4-5 minutes for about 45 seconds. By 11:30, things were getting painful and I asked her to check me. I was 3cm and 90% effaced and after that things quickly turned. Suddenly, I was sometimes falling asleep and unable to speak between contractions. Breathing became extremely focused and I just tried to maintain control. I also started vomiting. By 12:15, I started to grunt during my contractions and told Jasmine I thought I was almost ready to push. She had me get on the toilet and asked me to breathe through some contractions without pushing. I was able to do that for a few very painful contractions. On the next contraction (12:45 now), my body took over and REALLY started pushing. I screamed "JASMINE THE BABY IS COMING!", she ran into the bathroom and told me to get to the birthing pool, about 12 feet away from the toilet. I didn't think I could move and was convinced the baby was going to be born on the toilet. She told me to stand up and forcefully say "WHA WHA WHA WHA" as I waddled that seemingly impossible distance. As soon as I got in the pool, I started pushing again and in a single push, the head was out. One more and the body was out, official time of birth was 12:47. We were delighted to see we had a boy! Jasmine said she gave me from 11:30-12:42 for active labor and those last 5 minutes for pushing. This labor was infinitely easier than the first. Yeah, it hurt like hell for that last hour, but it was only an hour. Labor isn't scary to me anymore. I know if I go through it again, it will be okay.

Now we're a week out and I am LOVING little Z man. I'm still getting used to the fact that boys pee in streams and it goes everywhere (the poor kid soaked his own face last night). Selah is loving him too and we're just a happy little family. I took the kids out for a run today and made it 4 1/2 miles and felt like I could have kept on running.

Pictures to follow.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The latest in pictures


Marge came to visit in February and we took her skiing for the first (and last) time. She was a trooper and her Iowa friends were seriously impressed. Selah didn't have the patience for Grandma, though, and opted to ski laps around her instead of wait. Visits from Grandma Margie are so special--S gets her undivided attention 100% of the time. They have a very sweet connection.





We spent a day in the Colorado National Monument hiking, picnicking, and enjoying the scenery. The Monument is one of our favorite places to climb, bike, and run.






We had the enormous privilege of joining my family in Hawaii this Spring! S and I got a full two weeks and M came out for the second half. This was such a treat for us and times like this make me incredibly thankful for my family. I work with some students of divorced (and fighting) parents and had dealt with some of their serious family issues just prior to the trip. Throughout our time, I couldn't stop thinking about how important family is as an adult, let alone as an adolescent. I feel so blessed to have parents that love each other and that can provide this sort of opportunity for us. We spent our time in Maui well, as in every day was full of adventures--hiking, running, snorkeling, burying S in the sand.




Dad and I. I'm about 24 weeks here.






Mom had the wonderful idea of visiting the aquarium so Selah could figure out what was under the water. She was enthralled with the fish.





Maui is for lovers.




Pool time in Hawaii is one of my top 5 memories of all time. The entire pool area rolled with laughter watching Wes and Selah play. In this shot, you can also see Selah is looking through the port hole on her boogie board, a present from Papa. She got used to it in the pool while we all swam underneath her and made silly faces. Later, we took her in the ocean and she had a blast looking at all the fish and coral. She would go with us while we snorkeled and would last for a solid half hour!



Sea.
Mike and Wes ran the classic "Sea to Summit" route on Mount Haleakala. It goes from sea level to just over 10,023 feet of elevation in about 19 miles via Kaupo Gap. Dad did it solo before the rest of us arrived and did a great job of scoping the beta for the boys. Since there's a highway to the summit, most people opt for hiking Summit to Sea, but c'mon, all of my readers know my family. Dad and I hiked about 15 miles that day ourselves and picked the boys up on top.




Summit.




Family photo op! Mom and I threatened to hire a professional photographer if we couldn't all look nice at the same time within 24 hours of the mandate. This is more of a struggle than you think with a family that plays hard EVERY day until the last possible moment and everyone comes home stinky and covered in grime!






Family paddle board time.




I have no words.




We all took turns jumping off of this dam on the Waihe'e River Valley trail.




Aunty Stef and Selah love each other sooo much!




Aunty Stef and Grandma hooked S up with a hula skirt for her 2nd birthday!! How fun!





And some photos of the remainder of the past couple months:


This is Noah and S in the tub on one of our many unintentional DIA layovers. I feel kind of bittersweet about the fact that nearly 100% of the time, I have flights canceled between Denver and Aspen. I have been stranded in Denver so many times in the past year that I've lost count. The sweet part is that Hannah and Jarred live just a short drive from DIA and Hannah has figured out that every time I call, she should just get in the car and start driving to the airport to pick me up. I've started to look forward to travel delays so the kiddos can play and the mamas can chat!



I ran the Horsetooth Half Marathon in April at 27 weeks pregnant with my friends Kathleen and Anne (not pictured). We had a great time together and made a weekend out of it. Mike was teaching all weekend, so another friend took over babysitting and watched S while I ran. He lured her into the Chariot with Mike n Ike's, started riding his bike along the course, and she fell asleep within a few minutes. He rode all over the course and met up with me every couple miles. S was happy and cheered me on from the Chariot. The race went really well and I felt so good at mile 9 that I picked it up and probably passed 300 people in the last 4 miles. I must admit, I love all the "go mama!" cheers and double takes, especially when I'm passing the double takers. I ended up running a 2:08, about 30 minutes faster than the half I ran while pregnant with S, and only had to pee 3 times!

I'm 33 weeks now and still running quite a bit, 6-7 miles a few days a week. I'm biking and hiking the other days as time permits. I am happily pregnant right now and trying to savor this experience with the realization I may never be pregnant again. My nausea finally subsided at 24 weeks and I have yet to hit the third trimester blahs. Running feels relatively comfortable, much more so than with Selah. I remember having a lot of pain in my hips after running with her and I'm not experiencing any running related pain this pregnancy. I'm thankful and hope to keep it up until the end.



This girl might just take after her mommy. This is about 3/4 mile up the Scout Trail, a steep single track in Glenwood and she had pretty much run the entire way thus far.



Easter!



One of S's favorite past times is going through "muddles", whether on foot or on her bike, she wants to jump and splash.




Family climbing day.




Selah is 100% addicted to her Strider. She wants to ride it constantly and is getting decent at it!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Living where most people go on vacation

And this is why we live in a vacation town...

There is just so much to DO! Here are some pictures, just a sampling of our last 2 weeks.


We watched wind whip prayer flags atop a local backcountry peak. Mike took this picture on an after work ski date with Selah.



We went for a climbing-outing-turned-hike on a very muddy trail.



We watched our cute little girl run down the sidewalk in her sweater from Great Grandma Claire.


We enjoyed each other and a sleeping baby on a bluebird day atop William's Peak.



So sweet.


We skied Buttermilk, where Selah graduated from being held up by one of us to being slowed down by a homemade harness. She can balance on the skis pretty well now, but can't turn to slow herself down. Mike's mom is coming from Iowa soon and has promised to go skiing with us! At age 59, she'll get on the bunny hill for the first time!


We went sledding post skin-and-ski on William's Peak.


We built a mohawked snowman, then we played PeekaBoo around him with lots of giggles.


video

Our climbing outing turned into a hike for two reasons. First, Selah insisted on walking, which is great, but she has tiny little legs and can't seem to focus long enough to go in a straight line. Second, the trail was covered in 2-3 inches of wet mud, which made the going even slower and made Miss Joy not want to hang out and climb in the mud. Yes, I admit it, I was whining.


In other news, we had our 20 week ultrasound a few days ago and all systems look to be in order! Mike held fast and made us look away while the tech checked the babe's femur length, so we never saw the goods. This was our one and only chance to find out, so if all goes as planned, the sex of Baby Schneids #2 will remain a surprise for another 20ish weeks. I'm glad we didn't look because I remember that being such a powerful moment with Selah. I'm feeling OK, still quite nauseous, though exercise, lighter meals, and fresh air seem to help. I'm working on the crabbiness, seriously trying not to drive my husband completely insane. Exercise definitely makes a difference in that department as well--running will literally probably keep our marriage together, and I'm not just talking pregnancy here. I wish non-exercisers could grasp the importance of endorphins as mood-boosters, but then the trails and bike paths would be really crowded. I just registered for a half marathon that I'll be running at 27 weeks. Not going for any records, but it's supposed to have the best after party in Colorado and a few of my friends are running, so why not.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

18 weeks and running again!

Today was a much needed great day. We kept S home from school because she woke up with a fever in the middle of the night, but she really did okay all day. This meant that I got to spend the day with her, which makes me so happy! She needed some extra TLC and sleep, but that's what mamas are for. Mike came home in the early afternoon and I had to take a student to a long appointment in a neighboring town. I came prepared, ie in my running clothes, dropped her off and went for my first real run in about 3 weeks. It has been sunny and in the 40's for several days, but today was blustery, cloudy, and new wet snow blanketed the ground. I didn't care. After several 12 hour days in a row (flu hit boarding school, enough said) and no chance for exercise, I was SO excited to get out, it could have been any weather in the world. I chose to run up a snowy gravel road that winds its way up 1800 feet in 3.25 miles to the top of a mountain. The road is gated, so no traffic, and one of my favorite year-round routes. My foot was acting up a little in the beginning of the run, but it warmed up as I did and hurt just a tiny bit! I am so happy!! Mike called when I reached the top of the mountain and told me I had to be back home in an hour, showered and ready to go, he wouldn't tell me what for. I had over 3 miles to run and a 20+ minute drive to make it, plus had to get ready and I just barely made it. When I got home, he gave me directions and sent me back out the door. My sweet man had scheduled a full body massage for me as a surprise! I have been pretty irritable lately with the long hours, lack of running, and prego hormones. This afternoon was just what I needed. Now I have to control myself and not overdo it. I remember having a similar experience when I was pregnant with S--foot pain due to Relaxin weakening the tendons and ligaments in my feet. I also need to figure out how to combat the nausea! I'm 18 weeks and nauseous most of the day, worse than in my first trimester. Ugh.



Mike raced in the 12 Hours of Sunlight this weekend with his friend Bobby Lowe. It's a skin up, ski down course and whoever does the most laps in 12 hours wins in his/her respective category (solo, duo, 4 person team). Mike and Bobby pulled off consistently very fast laps, all in the 30-35 minute range, but that was only good for 2nd place. The winners were still breaking 30 minutes/lap after having done 10 or 11 laps each! The course involves a 1500' climb, transition from skinning to skiing, and then the descent. Breaking 30 minutes is incredibly fast, especially after going hard for so long. The racers enjoyed gorgeous weather this year. I remember several years ago watching our friend Mark Regier race the same course, but it was about 50 degrees colder and the race was 24 hours instead of 12. I'd call this an improvement.


I had a request for a post on having a natural birth the second time around. I have given this much thought and would like to share my ideas on the subject. If I were honest, I'd have to say that I'm more fearful this time. Having experienced a natural birth, I know how difficult and painful it is. Last time, I wasn't afraid because I didn't know what to expect. Last time I also said "been there, done that, next time I get an epidural!". Why then, you ask, would you choose to go through this again? In my opinion, the benefits to a natural home birth outweigh the risks and difficulties. I know I won't have any pain relief, but epidurals often, through a twisted chain of events, lead to unnecessary C-Sections. I know I'll feel everything while pushing the baby out, but I am convinced that feeling everything allowed me to slow the pushing down, support myself where I felt I needed it, and thus keep all my parts intact. I am also convinced that my quick recovery was due to the natural birth: running at 10 days post partum and road biking at 12. I also know that second labors are usually quicker and easier than first labors. It took me 12 hours of hard contractions every 3 minutes, vomiting, and me thinking I couldn't handle any more, than I must be in transition....to get to 1 cm and 85% effaced. I almost gave up. Many women that have already had children walk around in the end of their pregnancies dilated to 2 or 3--I think of that as 12 hours off my labor time! The biggest factor in my decision to have another home birth is the memory of our new family going into our bed together the night Selah was born. After getting cleaned up, Mike and I just layed in bed and stared at her in pure adoration. The three of us bonded very deeply that night, and that experience would have been completely missed at a hospital. In our hospital, at least, the beds are slightly smaller than a twin and the babies are not allowed to sleep in bed with the mothers. I really really really want to have that bonding experience with my family again. I would appreciate the thoughts of my readers on the matter, as I understand how controversial home birth can be.



And of course, belly shots! Mike took these tonight, at 18 weeks 2 days.



Baby is sitting quite high this time. I was out of my regular jeans at 10 weeks with Selah, but I'm still buttoning normal pants with this one as long as they're low and stretchy. I swore I wouldn't gain 45 pounds again, but I'm already up about 15. I was up 20 pounds at 16 weeks with Selah, so better this time but still not great.



Mom found the following photos from Christmas and just sent them. They're so cute, I had to share:



Selah and Wesley. She talks about Wes every single day, but it usually has something to do with pooping, farting, or boogers. Sometimes she talks about how he throws her in the air and gives her toys.



Puzzles with Aunty Stef.



My gorgeous girl.



My gorgeous mom. She uses Rodan and Fields, by the way. Try to tell me her skin doesn't look unbelievable for a 58 year old! If you're interested in looking like her, email me at tidbitsofjoy@hotmail.com or check out my website, Jschneiter.myrandf.com.



Cute family photo despite the snow giving us a funny blurred look.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

She's figuring it out

Today was a very successful ski day for the girl! She bumped up her normal 3 runs to about 10 and was all smiles all day...well, most of the day. She is just 1, so we can't be too picky! She has learned to ski with much less assistance and now gets speed checks from us here and there, but often will ski long stretches by herself. It is SO FUN to see her learn and to see how fast she improves. She'll be schooling me by the time she's 4! It turns out that all of the Aspen mountains have free skiing for kids under age 6, so we get several more years of this.



Cheese!




video


5 minutes into the ride home, love those active days.

Friday, February 4, 2011

16 weeks and sadly not running

I'm well into my second trimester and although this pregnancy overall seems easier than the first, I find that the nausea is dragging on and I have an annoying injury I can't seem to shake. Until about 2 weeks ago, my running was going really well. I was sticking with 40-50 miles/week with runs up to 17 miles and feeling strong. I feel like I could have kept that up no problem, but seem to have developed some sort of soft-tissue injury in my right arch. After a great week of running (including that 17 miler), my arch started bugging me a little after runs. In my normal sensibility, I completely ignored it and did about 30 miles in 3 days. Big mistake, the pain started keeping me up at night and my foot ached all day. So, like any regular person, I figured one day off should fix it. The next day, I went out for 10 minutes and was limping so bad that I had to turn around and painfully walk home. I then took 6 days off! In a row!! Serious sacrifice here! After the break, went out for an easy 5 miler, had no problems most of the run, but started having twinges by the end and again was kept up at night with the pain. I have now taken another 5 or 6 days off and the foot still hurts just walking around. I actually have a palpable lump in the middle of my arch and it's swollen. Luckily, there was a warm spell here and I was able to get out on my road bike a couple times, did some rock climbing, some skinning up the local ski hill, and today went for a swim. There is just nothing like running, though. It's the only sport I've found that I can get ready for in 3 minutes, do from my front door, no partner or special equipment needed, and can get a killer workout in an hour. I miss it terribly and am desperately trying to let this foot heal so I can get back to it.

About two weeks ago, I had one of those experiences runners often fear but rarely encounter. While on my normal loop with a friend, we came upon a man with two dogs on the side of the bike path. As we approached, one of the dogs let out a little growl, so we edged around to the other side of the path to avoid it. As we passed, the dog ran after me, lunged, and sunk his teeth into the back of my thigh. I was shocked and shaken and even had myself a nice little cry. After getting my leg cleaned up in the closest bathroom, I went back and located the owner, who denied the dog ever having had such encounters before. He also assured me the dog was current with all of its shots. I decided to get his information anyway. This man lives in a neighborhood that is FULL of little kids and the dog bit me right at eye level on a toddler. I thought I had to do the neighborhood a service by contacting the police. Soon after getting off the phone with the officer, I got a call back telling me that the dog actually had a history of biting (3 times!!) and was not vaccinated. Needless to say, I opted to have the officer fine them for a vicious dog. The dog was also quarantined for 10 days to make sure it didn't have any signs of rabies. As far as I know, the dog was returned to his owners after the quarantine. The whole experience was more traumatic than I thought it would be. I had to take a round of antibiotics, which I hate to do even while not pregnant. I had to flush the wound out by myself, which hurt really freaking bad, and I still have a nasty looking wound nearly 3 weeks after the incident. I will most definitely have a scar from it. While I'm not a dog owner, I would hope that my response would be very much more apologetic and concerned than this owner was and I would seriously consider putting the dog down. He was nonchalant about the whole thing and hardly apologized for his dog, who was completely unprovoked and not defending its own territory. OK, that's enough whining from me, but here are some photos for evidence:

I took this about 24 hours out.


This is 10 days out. The scab is a little smaller than a dime.


Last weekend was wonderful. Mike, Selah, and I were all together the entire time and we just had so much fun. Saturday was beautiful, sunny, and unseasonably warm, so we headed to a winter crag for some climbing. Selah got to try out her new harness and I got to reawaken my arms after months of no climbing. We followed the climbing with a hot springs soak and yummy dinner. Sunday was supposed to be a little cooler, so we packed the car up and headed to the desert. We were also treated by Selah to a 7:30 wake up time! Incredible! We went to Colorado National Monument and when we got there, found out the road over the monument was closed, perfect for our roadbiking plans! We had the privilege of riding through the beautiful canyons and steep cliff faces with the road to ourselves. After riding for a few hours, we caught the last rays of sunlight and headed to the crags once again, this time to sandstone splitters. Here are some pics to document the weekend.


Selah enjoying her bar on the way to the crag. Check out the sweet shades on that babe!

Selah climbing in her chest harness. Since little kids don't have hips, they could theortically fall out of a harness if turned upside down. The chest harness makes this pretty much impossible and is much safer. It fits Selah juuuuust barely right now but should fit her until she grows hips!


While she does enjoy climbing, it is usually for a very short amount of time. She is however, easily entertained by rocks, dirt, flowers, sticks, spiders, waterbottles, and the like. She truly loves being outside and I am SO thankful for that!



Selah and I on Sunday near Fruita. While there was still quite a bit of snow on North-facing slopes, the road was clear enough to ride. Selah had fun pointing out all of the things she knew, such as rocks, which she says are for "climin", birdies that fly, airplanes (aepanes). When I asked her what kind of animals lived in the forest below, she swore that deer did not, but she thought cows did and probably moose, both of which "eat snow for dinner". She is also into colors, well color, because everything is "green" right now. So, I just stick to asking her what color trees, frogs, grass, and such things are.






Post ride hike to the crag in the beautiful evening light. Selah rode on Mike's shoulders most of the way, but wanted to get down and hike herself for the last part.




She tried climbing again and got about 10 feet off the ground, at which point she asked to swing and spin on the rope. She has no fear of hanging on the rope.



Selah and I have recently had two opportunities to take free mommy-daughter ski days. These days are so fun! While she still has basically zero control over the skis, she loves it and keeps asking to go.

On our second run on Snowmass last weekend, Selah fell asleep halfway up the chairlift and remained asleep through me getting her off the lift, skiing all the way down with her in my arms (she snored while my arms shook with fatigue), getting both of our skis off, and finding a sunny bench to sit on. She ended up sleeping for a good hour while I basked in the sun.

Once she discovered the gondola, which she keeps calling a truck, she just wanted to ride it up and down and up and down and up and down. The skiing was over, gondola rides are apparently MUCH cooler.


This is how all of our outside days end. Aaahhh.


My last big news? I officially gave my boss notice that I will not be returning to my job next year. As a family, we decided that I need to spend more time at home and less time stressing and working. These consistent 60 hour weeks are just too hard to maintain. To supplement our income, I have joined Rodan + Fields Dermatologists as an Independent Consultant. I am absolutely loving it, my business is thriving, and I can't wait to see where it takes our family. It is so nice to know that every hour I invest in this company is an hour I invest in myself. If you want the best skin of your life or could use some extra income, send me an email!