Monday, October 29, 2012

3 Years Already

Yup. Click this.

I’m awake. I think I ate something bad at the Plevna Bar last night. Maybe chicken strips and sweet potato fries were a bad idea at 39 weeks pregnant. Regardless, I’m in the bathroom, and I think I’ll stay here for a while. 

Stephan’s awake. He asked me if I’m ok. I told him I’m fine, I just can’t leave the bathroom. He’s worried.

Stephan is wide awake now. He tells me that he’s going give me until 5:15 to feel better before he drives us to Glendive. I insist it’s not necessary, this will all go away soon. He convinces me that, since we have a doctor appointment at 11am anyway, it wouldn’t be a waste of a drive, just a little safety net planning. I argue. Stephan stops listening. 

Stephan has started packing the car. He drops the dogs off at Kodie & Clint’s house, gets my purse from Gary’s house, and makes himself espresso. Meanwhile, I have no idea this is going on. I’m trying to deal with the Toilet Pain. Stand up? No. Sit down? No. Lean over? No. My body tries to prove to me that it’s not what I think it is. I’m still not buying it. 

Stephan drives the car around to the front door so I don’t have to deal with stairs. I’m wearing yoga pants & a green shirt with enormous SmartWool socks and too-small slip on shoes. Stephan’s rocking black sweat pants and a Jack Daniels t-shirt. It’s pitch dark and a light snow is starting to fall. 

We pull into Baker to get gas. Gary’s there- a fun coincidence since he was also the only one at the gas station the night we first arrived here 3 years ago. He waves at me through the window and tells Stephan he hopes I’m not mad at him (Gary had been pushing for an October baby when I was insistent it would be November). Stephan eats a hot dog and drinks a Mountain Dew. I have a stopwatch in my hand to time the “gas pains”. This means nothing to me, as I still believe it’s just something I ate. I grab onto Stephan’s shoulder with my left hand every time I feel one, just to let him know I’m still in pain. The car ride isn’t fun. 

We arrive in Wibaux, just over ½ way there. The snow is starting to slack off. I curse the car and try to figure out how to get back to Plevna without ever sitting in the car again. Is there a train? A bus? It’s not to far to walk…

I squeeze Stephan’s shoulder when I [finally] realize that I’m in labor, and that we’re probably going to have a baby today!

We’ve finally arrived in Glendive. Outside the off ramp is a gas station. Stephan stops there to use the bathroom and to get me something to eat. I ask for apple juice and a doughnut, “Let me tell you what I want in a doughnut…” I get specific. Glazed. Not doughy, as close to a Krispy Crème as you can. Stephan leaves me to time the contractions. If they’re 5 minutes apart or greater then we’ll get a hotel room. 3 minutes or less and we’re off to the hospital. He gets back from the bathroom and we take off for the hospital. 

We walk into the ER, Stephan much faster than me. He’s got the paperwork we pre-signed a month ago, my purse and our overnight bag. 

Katie is our nurse. She gives me a big pink gown that immediately reminds Stephan of a circus tent. We realize we haven’t called anyone to tell them we were at the hospital, so Stephan called his parents and mine to let them know today’s the day!

Doctor Stewart arrives and checks my ‘progress’. She has to see patients this morning and promises to return around 10:30.

I’ve moved back to the toilet. My brother had cautioned me not to poop on the baby. To avoid this I make the extra trip to the bathroom just to make sure nothing like that is going to happen. Once there, I wanna push. Stephan calls Katie to tell her about this new development. She rushes over and tells me NOT to push; she’s heard of people delivering babies on toilets and prefers not to do that today. 

I’m back on the bed. Since Doc isn’t available, Katie checks my progress. She leaves to get Doc right away. I can still move freely so I try every position we can think of to get me more comfortable. I keep telling Stephan I want to push and he keeps reminding me not to. During one contraction my water breaks. Stephan, startled, says, “Did someone just throw a water balloon at you?” Stephan runs to get the nurse.

Doctor Stewart is back. She checks me again. People just keep telling me NOT to push. Doc’s next instructions were to give a little push, and then let it go right away. She puts her fingers in my hand and tells me to focus my energy into squeezing her fingers instead. All of this sounds ludicrous to me. I start to get discouraged, but I don’t say anything. I just keep concentrating. 

Doc checks again. She gives me to go ahead to push. Doc puts on her working clothes: huge, blue boots, a gown, gloves and a hat. The bed transforms in seconds. This pushing is serious. Stephan keeps telling me to “ground out,” which means to push all the energy out the bottom of my body. I rest between contractions and lock eyes with Stephan so I remember to breath and enjoy the peace between pushing. 

Part of a thought runs through my mind, a phrase I heard over and over again in a meditation I’d listened to during this pregnancy, “…ready to join all the women who have ever gone before you, and all those who will come after you…”

The baby’s head is out to the nose. Stephan tells me one more push and we’ll have a baby. I can see the exploding excitement on his face. There’s one push left, but I need a break. I take a quick deep inhale. 

With one last set of 3 pushes the doctor tells me to reach down and pick up my baby. The baby is slippery, warm, wet, and soft. He is very dark purple, with a swollen head and lips. He’s moving, but slowly, and I don’t hear any crying, but that doesn’t bother me. I hear the doctor ask Stephan if he saw if it’s a boy or girl. He takes a second and says, “It’s a boy!!” I can’t believe it. A boy? Really? The nurses are on top of me rubbing the white coating into the baby’s skin. A boy? Sawyer’s here?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Picking up the Pieces


But while I'm down here, enjoy this quote. It's from Nora Ephron's commencement address to the Wellesley Class of 1996.

(Totally reprinted without permission.)

Don’t let the number of women in the work force trick you — there are still lots of magazines devoted almost exclusively to making perfect casseroles and turning various things into tents.
Don’t underestimate how much antagonism there is toward women and how many people wish we could turn the clock back. One of the things people always say to you if you get upset is, don’t take it personally, but listen hard to what’s going on and, please, I beg you, take it personally. Understand: every attack on Hillary Clinton for not knowing her place is an attack on you. Underneath almost all those attacks are the words: get back, get back to where you once belonged. When Elizabeth Dole pretends that she isn’t serious about her career, that is an attack on you. The acquittal of O.J. Simpson is an attack on you. Any move to limit abortion rights is an attack on you — whether or not you believe in abortion. The fact that Clarence Thomas is sitting on the Supreme Court today is an attack on you.
Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Overheard: Home from Work

Him: Wow, the kitchen looks great. And the house is spotless.

Me: Yeah. I kinda want to go for my 5 mile run now.

Him: You just ran 17 miles in 4 days.

Me: Yeah.

Him: Aren't you exhausted?

Me: Kinda.

Him: You're not living up to this diagnosis or anything are you??


****I'm editing this post; something I rarely do. Rereading it, I have no idea what I was trying to say. So here are the scraps of a post for you to put together. Just think of this as an interactive "What was she thinking???" post.****

The title to this blog was not referencing the dairy alternative. Soy, in Spanish, means "I am."

The post was inspired by someone looking at me and saying, "You have an adult brain now." Something about your brain forming behaviour connections until you are 25 years old. After that, it's all disaster-management as opposed to distaster-prevention.

Then someone else made fun of that fact that I love of Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and The Lord of the Rings.

I included this link to my award winning lighting designer capabilities.

I kept up the Spanish references... and included one gratuitous link to a Star Trek website: "All of those things se fue (Spanish: Have gone). Are in the past. Today, I am. Soy. I have an adult brain and I'm choosing to exercise it starting..... ahora."

***Geeze. I'm tempted to delete this whole post. Maybe hypomania isn't as great for blogging as I first assumed.***

Monday, October 22, 2012

Night Run

Want to totally freak yourself out? Are you in a running rut and haven't done anything different lately?

Well grab yourself a headlamp, taillight, and reflective vest and head out the door after dusk. It totally reminds me of what it used to be like driving Stephan to work in Montana.

Except there are skunks. And streetlights. 

And also- that weird thing where a route I run weekly is totally different. I noticed so many new things within the scope of my Cabelas headlamp; elevation changes I never knew existed, uneven pavement, gas powered lamps, not to mention all of the halloween decorations that are up right now. There are also so many more smells at night. Admittedly, I was sniffing regularly for skunks, but I smelled fire, poop, fall, garbage, more poop, leaves, lots of my own sweat, and sewer smell. I watched my breath pass in front of the beam of the LED's in clouds. I traced my shadow across pools of street lamps. 

The voice that usually has to create things for me to worry about was given a task: Keep Anna upright in the dark. And it performed very well! Being concerned with so many actual physical dangers got my brain to shut the hell up for 30 minutes. (I also ran pretty fast!)

Needless to say, this was NOT a zombie run. I actually had the music turned way down low for fear of not being aware of my surroundings. I'll save zombies for broad daylight. You know, when it's totally pretend. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

When Running is Unhealthy

I had a bad day.

That's not entirely true. I had a pretty good day, but then someone asked me a deep philosophical question that threatened to open a bunch of mental doors I didn't think I was prepared to open. I was so upset I threw on my shoes and went for an unscheduled run. I started out way too fast. 8:30 per mile (a full minute faster than my fastest 5k pace) and just vowed to never stop.

The paradoxical vocal chord dysfunction triggered almost immediately. I didn't care. I didn't slow down; I just kept pushing. I knew I wasn't getting enough oxygen, but I just kept turning my legs over. I needed my brain to shut up for just a minute. It never happened.

What ended up happening was a total emotional breakdown in the middle of the second mile. I inhaled, and exhaled a sob- a long, painful, burning, breaking-down wail. I slowed to a walk and all the thoughts I wanted to outrun slammed into my chest and crumpled my face into a masque of pain. I was a mile from home, so I had some time on my hands.

I'd like to say I worked through a lot of things. I wish I'd been able to finally see clearly the answers to my questions. But after a 2 minute walk-break I set my jaw and kept running. The thoughts slowed down as I started crying, not from emotional pain, but from the physical pain searing through my throat and chest. I turned the run into a battle against my body- against my need for oxygen- against the physical cues to slow down.

I didn't resolve anything. All the questions are still there. The only thing I did was add 3.2 unproductive miles to my training week, potentially injure my throat and lungs, and exhaust myself for the rest of the day. I used running as a punishment instead of a reward. I used it to hurt myself instead of become stronger. Maybe I'm typing this as a warning to you. Maybe I just need to have this recorded so I never do it again. Whatever it is, here it is. That's what I did. Don't do it again.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


People often notice that I love to read. I saw this quote today and it perfectly sums up why I do:

"What an astonishing thing a book is. It's a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you're inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly at you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic." Carl Sagan

I'm reading The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas right now. I love it. I'm lucky enough to be reading it on a Kindle, so I have an instant dictionary with me for all of the SAT words and period references... but it's elegantly readable, and so far, very funny. I tend to read one book per week, but this one is pretty long, so I'm happy that it'll occupy me for a while.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

When to Change the Plan

Stephan and I have trained for all of our distance races with variations on Hal Higdon's training plan (while never actually using one of his plans). It includes one long run per week, and 2-3 shorter runs that increase incrementally as you get closer to your race. You never bump up more than 10% of your miles per week. You get a "rest" week about every 3-4 weeks or so (a week with lower total miles), and you have a 1-2 week "taper" week where you decrease your miles before race day. You also never run the full distance before the race.

I'm in charge of posting the weekly mileage to the family calendar and Stephan and I cross out the runs as we complete them.

But we're getting a little bored of the novice plans. So I looked up a different plan. A plan from Nike. This plan has 2 long runs per week, and increases 20%, has no rest week, runs much more than the race distance a month before the race, and puts a 12 mile run three days before the 13.1 mile race at the end of the plan.

We've been working on this schedule for about a month. It sucks. We're going back to the old way. But we've trained for so many races by now that he and I were able to put together a plan that works just out of our own heads. It's kinda fun to make up the training plan. I remember how religiously I took other people's planning: like it was the second set of commandments that Moses handed to a running buddy who mistook them for a relay baton and headed out to finish his leg but never came back.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

From the Caterpillar's Point of View

"How exactly does one become a butterfly? You must want to fly so badly that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar." Trina Paulus

I have no idea who that author is. I just came across the quote this morning and it's fueled a day's worth of ruminating. Are you here to check on how the bipolar II is going? Great. That's what I'm talking about today. Specifically all the things that have changed, or are changing, in order to accomodate a life without drugs, and also without straight-jackets.

Therapy is fun. No, really. I'm actually enjoying it. I get to talk to someone for 50 minutes and neither of us is naked. Also, I get to sit down. Totally new experience.

Awareness training is also fun. But this is more fun in the "time to get your crayons and your pencils..." sort of way. It's watching a 90 minute video every week and doing homework. You know, all the things Anna actually loves doing (see the 15 minutes I spent as a grad-student).

Also, ACT therapy is interesting... although it's the reason I feel like I'm in a grade level below kindergarten. I tried to explain this to Stephan. It went like this....

Me: This is annoying. I feel like I'm taking a class on how to be a human being.

Him: Sure.

Me: I mean, what if someone told you that you need to be potty-trained, and you're 38?

Him: But... in this scenario you're peeing on the seat.

Me: Point taken.

Then there's acupuncture. I've had one treatment, and I'm actually amazed that the last 2 days have been relatively drama-free. I'm using it in conjunction with (complementary to, if you will) the rest of the therapies, so I will never be able to judge it as a stand-alone component. But still, it makes me happy.

While I was at acupuncture, the Oriental Medicine practitioner started talking about my diet. It's not too bad really. But then she suggested I cut out ALL dairy. All. Like, ALL OF IT. And I had a little tiny brain melt-down. Because, you know, I'm not changing enough of my life right now, you gotta mess with my food. And gluten. Stop eating that. The whole family. Dairy and gluten are out. Also, a cleanse twice a year would be good. Brain. Overload. Not. Paying. Attention. Any. More. Something about running also making my condition worse, but honestly at that point I was just giving her my best, "I'm totally listening to your lecture about how microwaves work, Dad" blank stare face. Too much.

Make up your own ending where I tie this all back to wondering if I'm really interested enough in flying to give up yogurt smoothies and pizza.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Overheard: In the Morning

Me: Can I give you lunch money in all 1's?

Him: Sure.

Me: Can I give you $17 in 1's?

Him: Yeah, but any more than ten 1's necessitates a trip to the strip club.

Me: Can I give you ten 1's and a 5?

Him: Sure. That's at least a Fantasy Club visit.

Me: I'm giving you no money. I would like you not to be surprised by that.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Today I...

... Drove in reverse the wrong way down a one way street

... Carried a dog in a Baby Bundler

... Cheered for the person who came in first at the Chicago Marathon

... Cheered for the person who came in dead last at the Chicago Marathon

... Had a cat funeral

... Came to terms with one of the more monumental days of my life.

6am Just Wasn't Early Enough

I wake up at 6am to run.

I wake up at 5am to watch people run.


This morning is the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. It is a race I once comemmorated by running from an actual Bank of America bank near my house to an actual Marathon gas station about 1/2 mile away. I'm already in DNation blue. I'm carbo-loading with leftover Pad Thai. I've packed a baby carrier for the puppy that will be joining us this morning. There's also a giant tent in my car, and about 3 days worth of snacks for me. Current temperature: 41F.

I'm so excited. And nervous.

As of this morning, they've raised $1,150,945.62

Each runner raised a MINIMUM of $900. Let's pretend that's an even $1000. What does that get us?

97,835 new cancer patients contacted with personalized, cancer specific information


28,775 car rides to treatment for patients


23,020 patients given free pain medicine to help deal with treatment side effects


11,510 cancer survivors trained to give hands-on support


11,510 disadvantaged patients provided case management services through an ACS social worker


25,322 wigs


23.020 parties for pediatric cancer patients, hosted by medical students

So.... there's that. And I better get moving if I'm going to start layering all my blue and red and grab a coffee before I head out. Stay warm today, and send a few encouraging thoughts towards our 900 DNation runners (and the 45,000 total runners) about to take off this morning.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

"What did you think was going to happen?" (part 2)

What a surreal experience. Seriously. First go back and read this post from a year and a half ago.

Funny, right? I mean, duh. Marathon training is hard.

You know what else is hard? Adjusting to a new mental health diagnosis. Case study: Monday sucked. It sucked from sun-up to sun-down. It sucked in the middle, got a little better toward the end, but then sucked hard when I learned that one of our cats had died. It was like a fire-drill of emotional whoooop de doooooo. By the end of the day Stephan and I just sat in bed together stunned.

So therapy on Tuesday was a blast. I showed up, got comfy in the couch, and retold the whole dramatic story. What a day right?

Answer: Welcome to bipolar II. What did you think was going to happen? Let's discuss medication again, and realize for a minute that this is new, you don't have many coping skills in place, and that... well... duh.

Touché mental health professional.

I was also cautioned to look out for emotional swings regarding the death of the cat.

Really? Emotional swings? No. Really?? (I realize sarcasm doesn't play well in a blog, so just imagine me rolling my eyes right now)

So that happened. But if you want to read a good story about trying to define yourself, and then sit and ponder how Anna's doing with the new information, a good place is this post right here