Ten months ago I was in my final semester of grad school.
I was engaged and planning our upcoming wedding.
I was not expecting to find out that I was… well, expecting. I certainly wouldn’t have insisted on the open bar if I had thought I wouldn’t be able to enjoy it. At least everyone else got to.
Other than the extra guest only us and my Maid of Honor knew was in attendance, our wedding went as planned. It was a party and people treated it as such. I could bore you with details, but you weren’t there and probably aren’t too interested. This isn’t TheKnot. I accept that. Instead, here are a few highlights.
So what’s happened in the ten months since then? And why haven’t I been here?
Despite all odds, I finished my last semester of grad school. I have now completed all course work for my MEd, and can go do my practicum hours at any time in the future that it’s convenient. Jim and I decided pretty early on that we wanted me to be able to stay home with our kids while they are young. After talking with my advisor, the plan is to complete my practicum hours when I’m ready to go back to work full-time so my experience has timeliness on its side.
After school was done I kept working at the bar until ten days before my due date. Honestly, I think having such a physically demanding job and being on my feet so much helped me feel great for most of my pregnancy. I went into my last shift feeling really sad about leaving for a few months, and likely only returning in a limited capacity. There were several times when I was near tears as my regulars gave me hugs, well wishes and more than a few baby gifts. Then there was this interaction with a random woman.
RW: “What are all the hugs for?”
Me: “It’s my last shift before I go on maternity leave. I won’t be back until the fall at the earliest.”
RW: (gently grabs my hand as I’m pouring her cocktail) “Sweetie… do you have a home?”
Me: (Staring like a deer in headlights) “Umm… do we have a home?”
RW: “Yes sweetie, do you and this baby have a place to live?”
After her husband screamed “Why the F*&K would you ask that?” she explained that “the only people she knows who get themselves pregnant these days end up with their homes in foreclosure. It’s sad.”
Yes, we have a home. No, it’s not in foreclosure. Yes, this is the craziest thing that happened during my pregnancy.
With that, I was ready for some time off.
Now, back to why I wasn’t here at all during those pregnant months. I thought about blogging a lot. There were times when I opened my laptop, wrote a page or two, then hit delete and slammed the Macbook shut in frustration. Pregnancy brain hit me pretty early on. In retrospect, it was likely a combination of pregnancy brain, A&P exam prep and wedding plans that sent my brain into a “VIP Only” area. If I wasn’t going to be tested on it, billed for it or meeting it in nine months, I couldn’t keep it straight. I’m still working through it, which I will use as an excuse for why this post is so all-over the place. I’ll get back in my groove at some point. Bear with me.
Along with pregnancy brain, the internet is a special kind of cruel to pregnant women. You can’t win in any arena. A pound under the AMA recommended 25-lb weight gain, you’re putting vanity before your child’s health and must be reported to DCF. A pound over, you’re a fat, lazy slob who is certainly going to be teaching your children terrible habits. No matter what you do, never, NEVER ask about wine during pregnancy. Trust me on that one. Just head over to the “What To Expect” message boards and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
At the end of the day I decided to leave the blog alone for my pregnancy mainly because I didn’t know how I was going to feel. If there’s anything more unpleasant than a grumpy pregnant woman it’s a grumpy pregnant woman with a blog to spew her rage at the Internet. I knew lots of women who swear they never felt better or more confident then during their pregnancies (I call bullshit on 90% of them). I also know women who refused to leave their homes unless necessary after the six week mark because they truly didn’t feel like themselves or someone they even knew. Like most women, I fell somewhere in the middle of these two groups. I had my days when I felt horrible and I had my days where I felt incredible. Most days, I felt like an alien version of myself who awkwardly moved around with a medicine ball of increasing size under my shirt.
So, on May 25, after 107 hours of labor.. yes, you read that correctly, ONE HUNDRED AND SEVEN HOURS… Hayden James made her grand entrance into the world via C-Section.
The past six weeks have been amazing, exhausting and every feeling in between. Getting to experience every holiday, milestone or mundane activity as her first has added excitement to every single day. Celebrating the 4th of July with her this weekend was even better than we had hoped since she LOVED the parade and fireworks.
A photo posted by Brittany Kooienga (@mrskooienga) on Jul 4, 2015 at 8:05am PDT
This Wednesday I have my postpartum checkup where I am hoping to get the go-ahead from my doctor to start working out again. She knows that I plan to ring in the big 3-0 with a half-marathon that morning so I need to start training ASAP.
I’ve decided to go with Hal Higdon’s Beginner Half Marathon Training Plan to prep for the Cape Cod Half Marathon on October 24. This race has one MAJOR hill that you get the joy of running not once but twice… ugh. But since I know hills aren’t going anywhere in races I may as well start training for them.
So I’m back, in more ways than one. I can’t wait to share the highs and lows of getting back into racing after a baby with everyone. Most of the blogs about postpartum workouts I’ve found seem to be a little one sided. Women who were already nearly elite-level athletes that jumped right back into 7:20/miles and easily qualified for Boston by the time their babies turned one. I wasn’t that fast to begin with and I don’t know if it will be that easy for me.
But I’m excited to find out!
How did you get back into a training routine after baby? And if you had a c-section, I want to hear from you even more! Am I forever doomed to have this little indent, or is my doctor telling the truth when she says it goes away for most women.