Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Elinor update

El delivered her son, Reed MacNeil Russell, yesterday at 12:02 via C-Section. The CS followed an attempted home birth and she transferred to the hospital Sunday night, 24 hours after her water had broken. The contractions she was having at home, albeit very painful, were too weak to allow her to fully progress through the labor in a reasonable amount of time. She labored at the hospital with Pitocin to strengthen the contractions for another 15 hours and pushed for 5 hours. Unfortunately, after that super ultramarathon of work, Reed would not descend the birth canal and was starting to show signs of exhaustion (as was El). She has maintained an incredibly positive attitude and is delighted to have a healthy baby boy. He is nursing very well and mom and dad are recovering as well as can be expected. Reed is currently in the nursery due to breathing a little fast and needing a tiny bit of oxygen, but is expected to be able to sleep in the room with Rob and El by tomorrow night.

And, yes, for all of you who are obsessively checking my blog, I am still very pregnant.

Perfect little Reed. The little thing on his head is his IV for antibiotics. He is on antibiotics preventatively, as rapid breathing can be a sign of infection. All of his lab tests, however, have come back negative and indicate that he does not have an infection (YEAH!!). The wires attached to his chest show the nurses his heart rate and breathing rate. They were able to reduce his supplemental oxygen even further this evening, also a very good sign.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Last Dinner Date?

Hopefully our last non-parent dinner date was last night. Mikey took me out to Zheng for super spicy curry in another effort to get things moving and have a nice Saturday night! So far, no luck, but today is another day!

Click on the above photo to enlarge and read our very appropriate fortunes...

Things in my body are changing to say the least. The baby has gotten really low in the last couple of days, so low that I cannot walk normally and am in quite a bit of pain every time I move. I hope that is a sign that labor is impending and not just another pregnancy symptom that I'll have for the next 3 weeks. The prego barfies have also returned with a vengeance. I lay on the couch for hours each day thinking I'm about to barf, but never actually do (until last night, after which I felt much better). I'll retch and retch but nothing comes up. It is the wierdest thing, I will lay there for a long time, almost crying because I just want to puke to get it over with. Then, all of a sudden, the cloud lifts and I feel normal and good!

Sweet Elinor finally went into labor last night after many efforts (read her blog for a detailed list). Poor girl was 13 days overdue and is in labor as we speak. I spent the day with her yesterday and she was SO READY to have that child. Keep her in your prayers! She is also doing a home birth.

Mike and I are on our way out to get some fresh air and a nice hike. I'll keep blogging so you all don't have to wonder what is going on!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Prego Pics

My friend Katrin came over a few days ago and took some pregnancy photos of me. She used to be a wedding photographer but has been out of the business for a few months. She has been dying to take some photos, so I obliged. It turned out to be a great time and here are some of my favorites from the session. I am about 38 weeks pregnant in these photos. Hopefully, these will be the last belly shots I take!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Last pregnancy turns??

Sweet Mikey took me to Sunlight (the local ski area) this afternoon for a few after hours turns. It felt great to get some good exercise, even if the lap took about 2 1/2 times longer than normal. A friend of mine, Julie Kennedy, did the same thing 18 years ago and gave birth to Hayden the next day. I am keeping my fingers crossed!

After a week of 70 degree weather, it has been tough to get back into winter mode. This is a view from our deck from a few days ago, before the snow started sticking to all the trees. It has been snowing all week long! Sunlight had 15 inches of fresh snow today.

Big Belly Mama skinned up 1800 feet of vert this evening!

On the summit of Sunlight with my sweetie.

Coming down, almost dark.

Monday, March 23, 2009

A few more pics

Mom sent me a few more photos from her time here, so I had to share. Mike's birthday was last Thursday. As a joke, I made a fake gift certificate saying that I had spent $245 on a spa day for him. (You can click the picture below to read it.) Anyone who knows my husband realizes how completely out of character that would be. All the man wants is gear, of course, and I'm glad I married a man that prefers climbing gear over spa trips. It was the worst gift I could think of and he COMPLETELY fell for it. He was really sweet about it, too, and gave me a nice hug and a weak "thanks, honey!". What he was thinking though, was, "man, I wonder how many bolts I could buy with $245?!".

I even had my mom write and misspell our names to make it look more legit.

Later, when we were out to dinner, I gave him his real present, 34 climbing bolts. 33 for the years he has completed and another for a great year ahead. Mike LOVES to establish new climbing routes in the area, and bolts are necessary to do so.

Another shot of us before BDay dinner with Mike's brother Danny. Danny is engaged to a woman from the Czech Republic, so we are all headed to Europe in July for their wedding.

A poor photo, but here is the nursery in completion. Notice my red toenails--my mom insisted :).

Working out. Mom and I hiked about 5 miles every day while she was here. This week since she left, I have had a running resurgence. I've run the past 4 days straight! It has been in the 60's or 70's for the past 10 days and is now blizzarding outside.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Picture update!

My awesome mom actually swept my walls and ceilings for me. She cleaned things I didn't know were meant to be cleaned. My house looks better than it has EVER. Now I better hurry up and have this baby before Mike and I mess it up!

Mom and Mike on the dirtbike.

Mike rode the bike up to go backcountry skiing last week. He looked silly with skis strapped to his back!

More motorcycle pics. Our sweet 72 year old upstairs neighbor leaned over her deck as I was getting on and asked me if that was a good idea. I just smiled :)

Rob and El took it for a spin, too.

Sari, her radiant smile, and Juniper came over along with Rob and El for a little BBQ last night.

Really pregnant ladies look funny when they hug.

Mike and our friend Bobby skied Mount Sopris this morning. What a gorgeous start to the day. Mike has been great about staying in cell reception now that I'm ready to pop. He actually called three times on the tour today!

Bobby with his tough face on.

My sweet and happy man playing in the mountains.

Sopris has a spectacular rocky ridge to the summit.

Tracy and Sarah threw me a baby shower about a month ago and I just picked up the photos. This one is of Tracy getting a good squeeze from Amee.

All the lovely ladies in attendance.

Sarah, me, and Tracy.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

37 weeks and change

Mike and I had our second and final childbirth education class today--poor guy had to hang out inside on a 70 degree Saturday! He's out climbing for the afternoon, so I should have a happy man tonight. Homebirth childbirth ed classes are brief--we get to skip everything about hospital protocols, pain relieving drugs, etc. Basically, we have learned that nothing will happen to either me or our baby without our permission and that Jasmine (our midwife) essentially just allows my body to labor in its own way, free of interventions. There will be no time limits, no coached pushing, no forced starvation. As I like to say, we'll just roll with it. I can honestly say I am entering this process with very minimal fear. I expect that my body knows what to do and that I am capable and strong. I expect our baby to be fine and do not fear birth defects or complications. I feel at peace.

Jasmine did another home visit with us yesterday. I am right on track and she doesn't anticipate an early arrival (even though losing the plug got my hopes up a little). I am about 30% effaced and the baby is nice and low, so it could happen tonight or in a month. She eased my tension about expecting the baby any moment and I feel much more relaxed now. Plus, I still feel pretty darn good (especially for being sooo pregnant) and actually went for another run yesterday, just to see if I could. I did my regular 4.2 mile loop from the house that I run all the time while not pregnant. I ran most of it (well, maybe waddled is a better description) and walked some. I'm going to try to do the same today. Who knows, maybe it will shake things loose a little. Running itself is not too painful, but when I get home and relax for a bit, everything tightens up and I have a hard time walking. Even so, I just can't help myself. It is REALLY hard to take the runner out of the girl. Speaking of running, read El's post comparing birth to ultramarathons. It is great! She is a week overdue right now!

Mike took me for a dirtbike ride last night. NOTHING compares to riding a dirtbike on a bumpy road to get contractions moving. (He is taking El for a ride tonight). I had to make him stop just so I could get off the bike and breathe a bit. When I get closer, I could see doing that every night!

Monday, March 16, 2009

No baby yet

My sweet mama arrived a few days ago to help me get everything in order for the babe's arrival. Initially, we had it planned so that she would get here sufficiently early to get things together without actually being here for the delivery. But, now that babe seems to be in a hurry, she might get to see the birth after all. She plans to leave Friday morning, so we'll just have to see! It has been awesome having her here. I am on Spring Break right now (for the next 2 weeks) so am not working. She is cooking and cleaning for me, hiking with me every day, and generally just keeping it together like she does so well. Here are some photos of our nursery. Keep in mind that EVERYTHING was given to us either as hand-me-downs or as gifts. We love it, it's perfectly haphazard for a Schneiter.

A bookshelf full of amazing books and a very cute rocking chair from my aunt Patty.

The bassinet from when my brother was born, changing table, etc. Mike put up the toy in the middle of the room "just to play with it" tonight.

My glider and new curtains mom and I made today.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

One step closer

I lost my mucus plug this afternoon after a brisk 4 1/2 mile walk with my super prego friend Elinor. She is due on Monday, so the idea was to get her to go into labor (as was yesterday's idea and will be tomorrow's). It also happens to be PERFECT weather here right now, so it's not hard to convince us to get outside. We had fun talking about our running goals for the Spring and Fall--she's a fellow ultragirl and we have plans for a few races together. Whenever we see runners these days, we tell them how jealous we are. We are both officially done running until after D Day. I tried to run a couple of weeks ago and actually made it about a mile and a half but could hardly roll over in bed that night because my pelvic ligaments were so sore (not worth it).

I am trying not to get all excited about labor being around the corner because everything I read about losing the plug says it could be a few hours or another two weeks. Without going into too much detail, there have been other signs of impending labor as well. To complicate things, Mike is out of town (a 4ish hour drive away) for the weekend on a last-chance-boys'-desert extravaganza. He has very specific instructions to get to cell reception at least once a day to make sure little Schneiter is not fixin' to sprout. He left with my blessing in hopes that nothing happens this weekend. My mom is driving up from Jackson and will be here tomorrow afternoon. Our original plan was for her to come plenty early to help me get all the last minute details taken care of, then she was supposed to go home and come back a week or so after D Day. Our plans may change! Wish me luck!

Sunday, March 8, 2009


It's about 60 and sunny this Sunday afternoon and I am laying on the couch. I just went for a fantastic 6 mile hike and 6 miles these days warrants a little couch time. For the past hour or so, I've been going through our website that Mike manages, mikeandjoy.net, reminiscing about our myriad adventures and wondering what life holds for us in the future. I came across the post below and thought I would share it. I feel like lately I have been mourning the loss of my athleticism, which is a large part of my identity (and sanity). Although temporary and absolutely worthwhile, this change in my daily lifestyle has been hard on me emotionally. Poor Mike has had to deal with me without my normal endorphins (honestly, I do not think that has been super easy). The post below is a detailed account of the Squaw Peak 50 mile trail race that Mike and I ran last summer about a month before I got pregnant. It was very difficult, and although I swore I would never do another 50 after it, I am, of course, already planning my next one (summer 2010). It felt good to read about facing such a challenge and suffering through to the end.


Squaw Peak 50 Mile Trail Race in Provo, Utah

Joy’s account of the Squaw Peak 50

When I convinced Mike to sign up for the Squaw Peak 50 miler last December, I guess you could say I had not adequately researched the race…or I may have never brought up the idea. Now, about 18 hours after finishing, I keep finding myself thinking back to that winter day—was it really my idea? I’m riding in the van on the way to Yosemite, with 800mg of Ibuprofen in my system and an ice bag rotating between my right IT band, right ankle, and both shin muscles. After 14,000+ feet of gain and loss, needless to say, I am hurting. I truly think yesterday was the most physically demanding day I have ever experienced.

The day began early…very early considering my anxiety kept me awake the entire night despite my 2 glasses of red wine. As the alarm sounded at 4 A.M., the first “plink…plink…plink” sounded on the van’s metal roof above us. The forecast called for mostly sunny and 65, so we did not worry. As we casually greased our feet, filled our water bottles, and downed some espresso, the sprinkling turned into full on raining. Luckily, we both decided to carry light rain jackets despite our confidence that the weather would clear soon. Many runners (220 started) simply cut armholes in plastic trash bags, thinking they would toss them at the first aid station.

5 A.M. came quickly, and we were off. The first two miles warmed our cold muscles, a slightly downhill bike path before turning onto the trail for the first major climb. The trail rapidly became so slippery that with each step up, we slid 1/2 step back. Both runners and rain fell constantly. As we wound up the mountainside, rain turned to sleet and then to snow—big, downy flakes that stuck to the ground and covered the trail. By the 3rd aid station atop a windy, blizzarding pass at 12 miles, 20 runners had already dropped out. But, most remained strong and kept moving to stay warm, descending the pass as fast as possible to get out of the elements. By that time, the rain lightened to a sprinkle and the running became more pleasant, winding through misty forests and foggy peaks.

Miles passed to the bottom of the pass, during which time I met up and ran with three other runners—2 men and a woman, all experienced ultrarunners. Through the rolling terrain on the way to the next big climb, one of the runners kept our pace up by counting steps for us. “Okay, 100 steps” Chad would say, and we would all run 100 steps before walking again. We did this over and over and over, and the steady pace allowed us to stay ahead of the competition behind and overtake runners ahead. At the halfway point in the race, the 4 of us were around 30th place, with Susan and I the 4th and 5th women. I wanted to pick up speed and run more, but they all warned me to conserve energy as there was still a lot of race ahead. Besides a bit of nagging pain in my right knee and a little fatigue, I was feeling very good, confident that I would place well in the race. All 4 of us stuck together, maintaining our places, to the infamous aid station #8.

Though situated at 33.5 miles, AS#8 is known as the emotional halfway point of the race, and deservedly so. For 6.5 miles past it, the terrain is very difficult, with a steady uphill grade that culminates in a 1500-foot climb over one mile to a peak, complete with 2 false summits, 39 miles into the race. Mike recalled to me later, “My heart sank when I rounded the corner and looked up at the mountain ahead. I couldn’t believe it when I saw the string of runners heading up the snowy ridge to the summit.” It is only about 7 miles from AS#8 to #9, but the distance takes between 2 and 3 hours. Susan and I stuck through this section together, and though I did not say this out loud, I promised myself I would never, ever, ever run another ultra again. The climb was incredibly steep, snow-covered, slippery, and miserable. Towards the top, I pulled slightly ahead. About 20 vertical feet shy of the final uphill segment, my nagging right knee completely seized. The pain was incredibly intense, leaving me alone and sobbing with 10 miles of downhill ahead of me. Susan caught up, handed me 3 Ibuprofen, and kept going. I could see AS#9 just downhill from where I was, and my goal was just to make it there. I truly did not think I would make it past the aid station, which was 5 difficult miles away from the nearest road.

Just when I was giving up hope, Chad ran up behind me and asked what was going on. He happens to be an anesthesiologist and was carrying Ultram (a high octane anti-inflammatory) and Lidocaine patches (you stick them on and they make whatever they touch go numb). As Chad dug through his bag of goodies, who but Mike ran up to us! All this time, I figured Mike was way ahead of me, but he was actually behind me. I was so happy to see him! Mike helped me to the aid station, I taped the patches on and waited for them to take effect. It took about 40 minutes of very mentally draining time. I watched many women pass me by, and every time I stood up to “test” my knee, I would nearly collapse in pain. Mike waited with me there the entire time. Finally, my knee felt good enough that I thought I could at least hobble down to the road to avoid being carried out. With Mike by my side, we slowly descended the mud and snow-covered trail. The farther we went, the more effect the Lidocaine had, and I started to think I could finish the race. By the time we arrived at the last aid station (#10), with only 3 1/2 miles of paved downhill, I knew I could finish, and was actually able to run to the end. Thankfully, Mike continued with me to the end and we crossed the finish line together in 13:33. Although I was very disappointed at having been slowed by nearly 2 hours, I was elated at having finished what I thought was impossible.

Still smiling after 13-1/2 hours!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

35 weeks!

I am almost there. We are almost three. The baby dropped noticeably this week, meaning that labor will most likely start within the next two to three weeks. I'm really trying not to get my hopes up, though, because it could be another 7 weeks! (I will technically be "term" in two weeks, so hopefully baby will wait that long.) I know it is lower because my heartburn, which has been fairly severe, has completely stopped, and I can feel a lot of pressure from the baby's head in my pelvis. I've also been having TONS of Braxton Hicks contractions, often in patterns but rarely painful. Here is my latest belly shot at about 35 weeks.

Mike went skiing this afternoon above our house and took these photos, which I thought were pretty cool. I thought I'd share.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Weekend in the Dez

Mike convinced me to head to the desert this weekend for a little climbing (him), hiking (me), and camping (us) with our Durango friends Steve and Kristen. I say he "convinced" me because I was appropriately afraid that I would not be able to sleep on the ground, especially considering I can't even sleep in my own bed these days. I didn't sleep a wink, but I dare say it was worth it. The days were beautiful and blue, a welcome respite from the winter and a taste of Spring around the corner. Saturday evening was filled with yummy food and great conversation amongst friends. Kristen indulged me by staying at my pace for the weekend, hiking around and watching the boys climb--what wonderful company!

Mike took this photo of K and I above their route. We all hiked to the top and the boys rappelled in to begin their climb.

They climbed this beautiful splitter on Sentinel Spire, a 4 pitch route called Medicine Man, 5.12.


Today (Sunday), K and I left the boys while they climbed the above tower, aptly named "Defecating Monk". If you look closely, you can see the monk facing to the right of the photo, squatting to drop a turd out of his anatomically correct behind.

I dropped K off up above the Monument, where she ran the Monument Trail down through the Monument to meet me and the car at the other end of the trail. It was perfect--she got some real exercise and I could hike alone at my poky and very pregnant pace. She got about 9 miles in and I did 4 or 5.

The boys' sarcastic register entries atop the Monk. The tower looks much bigger than it actually is (about 30 meters) and apparently the climbing looks much better than it actually is.

Happy despite the tower's shortfalls.

The boys attempted a second tower this afternoon while K and I soaked in some rays. I got my first sports bra tan of the season!