Tag Archives: preggers

Dreams of Boston: From Chasing Boston to Chasing Baby

22 Apr

Today was the 2016 Boston Marathon. I planned on BQing this year to secure my spot for 2017 but life happens – literally. My body is not my own.

I find myself 9 months pregnant and determined to not let my fitness and fitness goals get derailed.

I’ve had a wonderful pregnancy but let me tell you this – pregnancy is hard. I will be honest and say I miss my body. The body that carried me through many races. Fit, trim, lean and light.

To date, I’m sporting extra pounds that have found a new home in my thighs and arms aside from the belly. I’m very accepting of this. Yes. But the change is still challenging.

I don’t want to sound vain – only honest. For those of you pregnant mamas that scroll through feeds that showcase the ✨ glowing claims of how fab it is to be pregnant and you just don’t feel it – I’m telling you that sometimes we filter the ugly (the thoughts, the feelings, the emotions, the symptoms). It is most definitely not all rainbows and butterflies. At times it is a stab to your ego. I’m not trying to undercut the miracle of pregnancy – because I do love it, but with it there are accompanying struggles.

Struggles of self-acceptance. It’s normal.

There’s some boilerplate bullshit out there shaming women who admit to feeling insecure with their pregnant bodies. Don’t listen to them. Embrace the #hormotions. The highs and lows. It is part of the journey. Enjoy the marathon. It might not be Boston, but it is #40weeks of training!

Hopefully in the next few years I’ll look back on today with a BQ under my belt – back to the fit, trim, lean and light #runnergirl I am with Ori and daddy waiting for me at the finish lines!

Thanks for stopping by!

XO

Valgal

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The Pitch – My Relentless Pursuit to Run 13.1 Miles for Two

30 Mar

Hello lovelies!!!

 

Happy Badabump [insert Hump if you’re not lucky enough to endure unprecedented weight gain despite workout efforts, heartburn (from water), hunger pangs at 5a that are only satisfied with a slice of toast with a light spread of natural peanut butter and drizzle of honey, kicks and jabs from within that wake you up but melt your heart, the insatiable appetite for an entire bottle of wine – Chardonnay, Prosecco, or Malbec – because close to 9 months of sobriety is a bitch and I’m jonesing for a buzz, oh yeah, and upper/lower back pain] Day to you all!!!

 

Anyway… Let’s get to the content.

 

Well holy guacamole runner friends – this mama-to-be ran a half-marathon pregnant! Yes. Pregnant. All of 31 weeks of me and my little macaroon hit the pavement running. If you’re reading this and you follow me on IG and/or Facebook I’m certain you saw my photo spam that documented this incredible journey. Anyway, I’m here to give you a little glimpse into how I convinced my man to let me run 13.1 miles for two to mark the most epic and total experience ever.

 

A little disclaimer: The Rock n’ Roll DC Marathon Series is significant to me. I ran the Rock n’ Roll DC Marathon Series in March 2014 and it marked my first ever participation in the full 26.2-mile trek to the finish line. I trained for months on the unforgiving apparatus – the treadmill – during my first winter in the District classified as “snowmageden.” Despite running on the treadmill with an even incline, I finished the race and with far too much energy left in the tank – after the hills and all. The energy stores left in the reserve triggered my affair to find perfection. I would go on to run more marathons as the ultimate test of my running ability. Fast forward to the Rock n’ Roll DC Marathon Series in March 2015 – this would be the third marathon I would complete. Having just come off the residual high of missing a BQ by 4 minutes (I ran the Marine Corps Marathon October 2014 with bronchitis and stopped several times to hack a lung or two) I was more than ready to race and secure my spot on the Boston Marathon starting line. I was certain I’d qualify and at the very same race only one-year prior that ignited this passion. My legs were light. My body told me I found the balance between training and rest days. I was at my perfect race weight. I was alert. I had no fear that I wouldn’t give 100%. I hadn’t exhausted my limits. I would BQ. I was flying. “Light. Easy. Fly.” was written on my hand for support during the moments when the fun of running manifests itself into drudgery. But BQ I didn’t. The significance of this race was the mounting wave of pain that overtook my right hip . After a failed BQ attempt, an arthrogram (painful) and x-rays I was told surgery would be the placeholder for a BQ (at least for a while) to repair the FAI and large labral tear. I didn’t know what was worse. The constant state of excruciating pain felt on my right hip or the fact that I’d be forced to be immobile for 6-9 months post-surgery. That reality led me down a rabbit hole of emotions and what-ifs. Thoughts of losing all athletic ability, losing muscle and form, endurance capabilities, maximal aerobic capacity/peak VO2, etc. I was devastated. Ugh!!! I was told by the doctors that surgery would help me – it’s the setback for the ultimate comeback. But I didn’t care. I wouldn’t be running. And life without running is not life – at least not for me.  Then through Immaculate Conception (wink wink) my body decided to carry a life – and voila – I found myself 31 weeks pregnant and flirting with my third Rock n’ Roll DC Marathon Series  – but this time I’d only tackle the half-marathon – that is, if everyone cleared me to run because of baby girl and my hip. Talk about the significance of this particular race. Each one marked a pivotal moment for me in my exploration of mind, body, spirit and ability.

 Note: I’ve been running with FAI and a labral tear since diagnosis. The pain is not terribly significant since distance has been minimized. It’s there. But tolerable.

But let’s talk about this third Rock n’ Roll DC race, my being in the third trimester and the arduous pitching I had to conduct to make the sale. Because I was a runner before being pregnant and maintained my activity during pregnancy I was cleared outright by my doctors to participate in the half-marathon. The only convincing, pleading, marketing, selling, and solicitation I had to do was with Andy – the father of our unborn child. His concerns were that of my health (especially my hip) and baby girl. Granted he knows I would never jeopardize the health of our baby he had his worries, despite what the doctors said. Naturally, I petitioned him. Every. Single. Day. 

 

Because his obstinate stance opposing my participation running a half-marathon was met with my obstinate stance for participating, we missed each coupon code and price reduction incentivizing runners to join.

 

Then shit got real. 

 

The last-call for registration was during the Health Expo for package pickup. Hello, this was two days prior to the race. My sales pitch obviously lacking. Andy wasn’t budging. Couple my plea to run with a higher cost to race – I didn’t see a favorable outcome. This wouldn’t be an entry fee paid for in the race with my unrestrained willingness to push myself to collapse and PR. No. This is an entry fee I want to pay so that I could run effortlessly with a moderate heart rate to feed ego and pride – to say I did it. To say I ran for two. (But don’t I most days of the week on the treadmill for $29.99/month?)

 

I channeled my inner teenager. I flooded him with texts. Message after message pinged his phone as if we time traveled back to when we were teenagers and he pulled some dumb shit (okay, me too) and I was appealing his requests.

 

I explained why I had to run. And I am sharing my mini dissertation with you so you can get a glimpse of my conjunction of life and running.

 

“…my being pregnant is really a marvel to me. I haven’t lost the lust to run and it is who I am. I don’t want to be like the norm because of the lack of perfection (my being pregnant, not a race weight, etc.) as a reason not to participate. I have the intuitive and instinctive nature to care for my daughter – unborn or not – and me. If I need to walk I walk. It’s not about racing. It’s about being a part of a community and a tribe that is unlike anything else. It’s about me being out there – moving – slowly – and with the grace of God and my will behind me. It’s about showcasing that you can be fit and active and pregnant at any size and at any stage. It’s my play time. Where I can be interacting freely in an environment that I love – and outside with nature – in my element. It’s liberating. It’s euphoric. And I miss it terribly. It’s so much more than running. It’s my lifestyle. And I know you came back in my world when I was prepping for a surgery – but you don’t know who I am and how liberating and free it makes me. I found myself through running and it’s because of running I’ve found confidence and self-acceptance. It’s gives me so much joy. It fulfills me.”

 

And there you have it. Like an overdramatic 16-year old girl I was committed to convincing the man I love to accept me.

 

So what did he do? He went ghost on me. The sound of silence was loud. Unbearable.  Each passing 45 minutes I glanced at my phone. Nothing. Not even the little dots to indicate he was typing. I was convinced I wouldn’t be running. He won. My determination to run was no match to his contrarious petition.

 

Then I got the call.

 

The call of calls. My florid of texts worked. He granted my request!

 

I was in shock. Giddy. Childlike enthusiasm came over me. You couldn’t wipe the grin from off my face. I was smiling ear to ear. Big. Wide. Showing all my teeth! I giggled. I shrieked. I jumped up and down. No kidding. I was time warped  back to being 16 when he asked me to prom – I couldn’t wait to announce the news but more importantly, dress for the occasion! Except this time I wouldn’t need long preparation, a fancy dress, my hair all done up, or makeup – only the essentials – colorful compression socks, a matching headband, sunglasses, my Garmin (I’m eyeballing the new Garmin Fenix Sapphire 3  but it’s totally unnecessary as I’m 8 1/2 months pregnant), iPod, a hair tie and my Newtons.

Fenix Sapphire 3

 

So there you have it. I signed up…

 

Not to race. Not to smash a PR. But to simply run.

 

And run I did.

Thanks for stopping by!!!

 

XO

 

Valgal

 

PS – My experience running for two covering the distance of a half marathon at 31 weeks pregnant will be posted shortly. I’ve had the case of pregnant brain and speaking let alone writing complete sentences has presented me with a great challenge – that and maintaining a focus without being distracted “Squirrel!” Ha.

My Life Between the Miles: Cancer Can Suck It

12 Feb

Good afternoon lovelies!

 

It’s been a few short but evidently growing weeks since my last post from this mama-to-be! Can you believe it that we are at 26 weeks and 5 days – 2 whole days shy from hitting 27 weeks, which per American Pregnancy Organization puts me in the third trimester!

 

Where did the time go?

 

Time is fleeting. Andy and I have met so many unfortunate and fortunate realities over the course of our newest beginning to include that as parents-to-be but more romantically, our new beginning as Andy and Valerie – getting our shit right for the final time (it took us 16 years to get here – and the path wasn’t all that linear).

 

Anyway, I’m so fortunate to have Andy by my side. He has and continues to be my rock. Life is full of obstacles, burdens, blunders and at this moment the dichotomy of life and death has blinded my foresight – something I affirm to be a great strength of mine. There is so much ugliness in the world. Some of it is intentionally committed. Some of it takes shape as cancer. Some of it is concealed by mental disturbances. All of it is part of the journey of life. But I dislike it nonetheless. I accept that the ugly helps to contour the beauty.

 

And while I openly charge cancer for assault, disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace, drug trafficking, extortion, harassment, identity theft, robbery, securities fraud, and theft to name a few – I recognize that these convictions do not dilute the love in our eyes. The love is stronger. Braver. More courageous.

 

Cancer can break you. It can break your loved ones. What’s healing is the love that manifests from places and people previously unknown to be there – but they were always there – silent champions for hope. There is so much magic in love. I can’t get over how such a dark truth can blossom unyielding love, hope, admiration and prayers that light hope. I’m moved.

 

I’m nearing 27 weeks of pregnancy. Baby girl will be here in 13ish weeks! I’m incessantly happy over becoming a mother. And I can’t stop thinking about how my sweet girl has given life to those I love – with whom she’s never met. She is already a savior. She is my little Saint with mighty force in her belly kicks. She has already saved me from focusing on the things I cannot change.

 

It is because of my unborn daughter that I can see past some the ugly and stale states of reality in my peripheral vision. She is all I see. And when I see her I see my mother-in-law. I see Ori being held by a woman who embraces hard things with a brilliant smile, a fierce attitude and a gentle touch. This is the image I have. Every. Day. It feels like a memory. It envelopes me with warmth and peace. It’s like describing a color I’ve never seen before but I know that it looks and feels like love. One. Of. A. Kind.

 

At times I pray in silent obstreperous fits pleading for a cure. It’s not rational but do you know or have you known a rational pregnant woman? Cancer Can Suck It.

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For any of you out there forced to struggle with grim realities, I hope you find magic in the moments that are ordinary. I hope you have a tribe of people who uplift you.

 

I am exceedingly blessed to have a man with whom he shares his heart with mine, who finds magic in the routine, acceptance in chaos, and loves courageously. It is because of him we are welcoming a daughter in this world who will embody his free-spirit of which he learned from his mother – a saint of saints. With each passing day I know that our little girl is one day closer to meeting her grandma. I can’t wait for the day I can take a photograph of the moment imprinted in my vision. Those two girls will have so much love in their eyes. (okay, I am sobbing).

 

Thanks for stopping by!

 

PS – I love you Andy, Yoshie, and Oriana.

 

XO

 

Valgal

 

(I’m off to run now-Blog about running for two to follow)

Thoughts From 22 Weeks of Pregnancy

14 Jan

Good morning, lovelies!!!

Happy hump day – am I right!? We are half way through the week! And that means I am half way between 22 weeks entering 23 weeks! Wow. 

Time is flying by.

I was looking at pictures of my bump from 8 weeks, 10 weeks, 12 weeks, even 14 and 16 weeks pregnant. To think I had a bump then makes me feel a bit silly. You see, baby girl is finally showing. My bump is not terribly large but her appearance is 100% visible. I would have never thought that seeing my belly expand would cause such a happiness effect transcending in all areas of my life. 

At 22ish weeks, baby girl weighs approximately a pound and measures close to 12 inches. Mama bear has gained 9 pounds to date hoping that it’s all belly and blood volume – though I’m positive I may be expanding everywhere. The anxiety of being miss fitness and miss healthy who dabbles with the aphrodisiac – chocolate, almost daily (did I just admit that?), has moments of low self-esteem because of the changing body I witness in the mirror. But in those moments, which I’m embarrassed to admit, I try to recall the very reason why my belly is poking out in the shape of a small balloon resembling a kiddie basketball. This helps put my mind at ease. I’m not sorry for admitting that it is not easy to embrace new curves. I don’t think this is vanity. It’s reality. It’s our conflict with the permission for the first time in the world consumed with women’s shape and size where we are offered slight amnesty for our hips widening, ass growing, etc. after being brainwashed for 30 years about beauty. It is the most perverse state of ambivalence. Knowing that you’re creating a soul within yours yet being grossly consumed by what is and is not acceptable scripted by the demigods of pregnancy brought to you by American culture. The body shaming is real. Pre-pregnancy, pregnancy, post-pregnancy – it is at all stages where we all look different from each other as well as from our very own selves. And my current different suggests that I’m on a right of passage to motherhood. And it is that alone where I offer up my very own deference – to myself.

I’m able to give myself permission because it wasn’t until I was pregnant that I realized why I am here. To be a mother. To offer my heart unconditionally to a soul that is made of me and my sweetheart. That is euphoric! Speaking of euphoric, the feeling of acceptance is disguised as euphoria from the magic of feeling our baby girl kicking me. It silences all the oddities and anxieties of pregnancy.

That’s right… baby girl is kicking which means this sweet soul is getting stronger! Each night come 9p our little Oriana pokes and jabs me in a series of 3 or 4 quick kicks. She’s getting ready for the track meets! I don’t have the words in my head to describe the feeling of peace she gives me. The entire world stops. The moments are isolated to just me and her. Fleeting moments of just us two. She fills all the holes inside my heart. I never knew how much I needed her. And I equally never knew how much I needed him. My commitment to my partner is renewed each day and with each kick of our baby girl. That high school crush is revived and real. I look at him and I’m giddy. I’m carrying his child 14 years later! I’d never hit rewind other than to relish in those teenage days with my first love when I used to commit the fashion faux-pas of matching my eyeshadow to my blouse. Ha. I may have learned makeup and contouring now, but this love, this love grows. And our love is growing inside to the rhythm of my heart leaving me with so much more love in my eyes.

Nothing, I mean nothing else matters. All the chaos. All the problems of the world. All the problems of my own world. All the annoyances and disturbances. All these things are muted by the miracle that is kicking me – reminding me that I am indeed wonderfully made. Reminding me that my body is capable of so much more than looking sexy in a little black dress. I can’t wait to put on that little black dress by the way. Our baby is teaching me to have patience, kindness, calmness, purity of heart and humor towards my body. For that I am grateful.

I am also grateful that my body allows me to run 22 1/2 weeks pregnant. Cheers to you all for embracing new curves, pregnant or not, and maintaining and active an healthy lifestyle with an active and heathy mind.

Patience is essential while attaining our goals. And my patience has transformed to a 40 week marathon of growing a precious soul.

Thanks for stopping by!

XO

Valgal

The Sweat Life at 21 Weeks of Pregnancy 

4 Jan

Good morning, lovelies!

 

And Happy New Year!!!

 

Oh boy, I mean, oh girl – this is the year we welcome our little baby macaroon into the world! I can’t believe we have already passed the half way mark!

 

I keep stating the obvious – that my energy level is much better in comparison to the first trimester when I didn’t have the inertia to run let alone roll out of bed. This makes me blissfully happy because I feel like myself again.

 
I’m also blissfully happy because I’m finally “feeling” and “looking” pregnant. Even though these adjectives do not have me feeling like myself, the transition is authentically mine – it’s an experience devoid of self-shaming criticisms – at least now. Feeling and looking pregnant has helped me to counter all my prior negative feelings I battled when I looked in the mirror in the early stages of pregnancy. The stage when it looked like I washed down too many bags of gummy bears with Kilt Lifters (one of my favorite beers) creating a softer than sought core…you know, the thickening of the waist without the baby bump…

 

Fortunately I’ve entered the stage where baby girl is making her debut. I have a new roundness that I love and cherish because it’s her – our baby girl! I accept her presence with unabashed alacrity unlike any other challenge or journey I’ve embarked upon.

 

Anyway, baby girl and I had quite the weekend – two phenomenal sweat sessions! Saturday we welcomed 2016 by embarking on a one hour run covering 7.31 miles at an 8:12 pace followed by yesterday’s intoxicatingly addictive cycle class!
Here’s a brief recap of Lava Barre’s VCycle:

 

 

Yesterday I welcomed 21 weeks of pregnancy & celebrated by indulging in a new class of the sweat life – Lava Barre’s VCycle! Holy guacamole! This indoor ride focused on cardiovascular endurance (I got that ✔️), strength and core (baby girl is occupying that) while incorporating weights and a special kind of choreography on the bike 🚴. Newsflash: This mama-to-be struggles with choreography – and they were asking me to add rhythm and move while spinning intensely through the hard resistance on a bike…yeah…that was a sight to be recorded for laughter! Shoot, at one point my right foot came flying out of my shoe that was clipped in! How does that happen?! Although I struggled a bit with some of the moves and laughed at my clumsy ways, I loved every sweat minute of it and with new friends.

 

Pregnancy hasn’t been a breeze but I’m finding that this second trimester really is the honeymoon stage. Baby girl is growing and measures 10.5 inches and 12.7 ounces!

 

I’m determined not to wish away these moments that I’ll want back one day. I’m so thankful for this gift of life I’m carrying and with each passing day I’m moved by how fearfully and wonderfully made I am [all women]. I’m thankful for the gifts bestowed upon me – a healthy baby girl and this body to protect and nourish her.
And there you have it friends – a little tale about my deviation from running for two.
May you all have a blessed week!

 

 

Thanks for stopping by!

 

XO
Valgal and baby macaroon!

Marathon Training – Running for Two

29 Dec

Good afternoon lovelies! I hope you’re having a wondrous Monday so far! I always love Mondays. I believe Mondays set the mood for the week – therefore, if your Monday starts off right, well then I only see smooth sailing, even if the sea gets a little rough. And what work week isn’t a little rough? What after-work hours aren’t a little rough?

 

Discussing rough, I’ll tell you what’s rough – let me introduce you to marathon training. I’ve trained for three marathons and I’ve discovered what it is about them that is rough. It’s not the aches and pains. Nah, those are manageable and kind of dull. It is the patience. There is a whole palette of patience that paints your body and mind with the dramatic hues of hope, despair, rejection, and anticipation that make the journey of the marathon rough.

 

It’s true love though.

 

Anything worth doing is going to be difficult. If it were easy it would lack the artistry of hope and the intensity of the colors of fire. The mental strength to run forward, through the hurt, through your minds rejection, through the lies, through the life you left you behind is the sum of strength that beckons anything is possible.

 

And anything is possible: Having the patience to complete a marathon has nothing on having the patience to accept your changing body so that soon you get to meet your little one.

 

What I have learned training for a marathon has inadvertently carried over to my life between the miles. But most importantly, it has found its way to help soothe me during pregnancy and its encompassing unknowns.

 

I’m quickly learning that marathon training isn’t as rough as pregnancy. What is rough during pregnancy is acceptance of your changing, growing body. I won’t lie – I have cried a few times about my body morphing into something I don’t recognize. I hate to sound vain but I’m here to be honest. I’m hypersensitive to the changes happening to my body because I’ve been training for marathon after marathon keeping my form, abs, ass, legs and arms tone. Now, well now it doesn’t matter. Baby is coming! And I wouldn’t dare do anything to harm my little one with strict eating, new eating regiments, dehydration tactics, hardcore training followed by more training. No. My abs, ass, legs and arms are getting a little less tone regardless because I’m creating a life. My waist is slowly giving way to the growing bump – this I’m excited about! But to say I accept all, emphasis on all, the changes with the gracious glow of pregnancy would be a farce because I don’t. For me, pregnancy is as beautiful and magical as it is a mental minefield. Honestly.

 

I blame the self-absorbed and self-centered culture that poisons the internet stating that basketball bellies for pregnant women, although not the norm, is what should be sought after. Seriously?  How can I control how my baby grows? I would love to have a basketball belly! But I stand all of 5’2”. That’s right a full 60 inches. Baby girl can only grow so far with my short stature and torso thus she will cause me to grow a little wide. This is the problem. Not that I’ll grow wide, but that I’m fed, like other pregnant mamas all this bullshit that if you’re short, you’ll get fat. If you’re carrying a girl, you’ll grow wide and better plan to carry an extra few lbs. Seriously. The internet feeds you bullshit and isn’t even gracious enough to offer up a glass of merlot to wash it down. Gosh I miss wine. Troll the internet and you’ll see copious amounts of literature warning pregnant moms-to-be “How to avoid gaining too much pregnancy weight”, “The skinny pregnancy”, and this should make you chuckle, “How to avoid weight gain during pregnancy.” Yes. These are real taglines. How to avoid weight gain during pregnancy…ya…that’s a winner. What the eff?

 

Anyway, what I was saying is that acceptance is rough. I don’t mind in the least bit my growing bump. I am the most ecstatic about that! To put it simply I feel sandwiched in the nonsense that comes from so many articles about pregnancy and what not to eat, what not to do, what workouts to avoid, what not to drink, etc. The nonsense paralyzes me. And consequently, I become nonsensical – like I have this innate fear that I’ll end up taking on a new shape with similarities to George Costanza – short and stumpy but with hair. I know. I know. I sound foolish but I’m being candid about my illogical concerns.

 

It is because of my illogical concerns that I take to running. Well, it’s not the only reason but running does help to silence the bullshit. Running also helps to make sure George Costanza never appears looking back at me in the mirror…hehe.

 

Anyway, let’s talk about From Chasing Boston to Chasing Baby and running for two in the second trimester.

 

Today I am 20 weeks and 1 day pregnant.  I ran 5 miles today at an 8:11/pace per mile. This is slower than norm for me but hey, baby is growing! It’s beginning to feel that running for two parallels a lot with marathon training. I am forced to go slower and breathe consciously with intent. I have to focus and exercise patience for a slower than normal cadence for hours which leaves me vulnerable to boredom. I am in each moment recognizing each little twitch or discomfort and making a friend with it rather than speeding up and playing with intervals to mask the pain.

 

Little baby girl is teaching me how to run comfortably at a slower than average pace with a whole lot of added weight and pressure in my front section. I used to be able to run 26.2 miles without ever having to take a bathroom break. Running in the second trimester has me desperately seeking a bathroom after only 2.5 miles. The pressure on my bladder from running is unlike anything I’ve ever felt before. I have to always make a mad dash to the bathroom every 2.5 or 3 miles for relief and then the cycle starts again.

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In addition, the weight of my breasts is getting quite uncomfortable. I know I’m kind of an anomaly – having a breast augmentation or two performed while also trying to run competitively – but again, back to their weight – oy vey! During my runs I find that I’m squeezing my shoulder blades together to ensure I have proper form. It may look as if I’m running with my chest intentionally out to make them all perky  and guess what, I am – so enjoy the view (just don’t jump on the treadmill next to me or I’ll give you a caviling grimace). If I didn’t do this my shoulders would roll forward and my lower back would hurt more than it does.

 

Running in the second trimester has been an easier goal to achieve in comparison to the first trimester. I’m able to fight through the fatigue and make it to the gym. When I get into my rhythmic cadence, I find a source of great strength that helps counter the obstruction of said fatigue and twinges of dull pain.

 

The colorful palette for running for two makes me feels beautiful. It has me marvel at our bodies capabilities to do hard, rough but equally miraculous things. Running for two teaches me to have more patience than I ever knew possible despite marathon training. Running for two gives me hope that I will continue to grow as a person, and with this body and baby, into a person I want to be – a mom. I turn to running because I it helps me become a person who is better, accepting, peaceful and happy.

 

Running was never stale. Running for two proves it never will be. Running for two paints me in a florid of colors I’ve never seen before. The palette of patience paints my body and mind teaching me to love myself unconditionally while I grow this miracle within – just the thought sends an electrical current through my body. The emotional hues of hope, love, and anticipation to meet this little one paint me with naked delight.

 

Running for two is the only journey I know now.

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Thanks for stopping by.

 

XO

 

Valgal and Baby Girl – aka Baby Macaroon

Old Wives’ Tales Gender Prediction 

24 Dec

Good morning, lovelies –

Merry Christmas Eve!!! Today my little framily is driving to Wisconsin to visit our parents. Little Mika-chan, our adorable, lovable Boston terrier who can’t get enough play time or cuddles, Andy aka Baby Daddy, our little 5 month macaroon in mama’s belly and I are all cozy in our car for the 13 hour trek. Now granted, what should be a 13 hour drive is likely to be 15+ hours because this pregnant mama has a bladder like her puppy – I just can’t hold it!
As we are driving, conversing over our upcoming move to our fabulous new digs, discussing the preparation of baby girl (oh emmmmmm geeeee we are having a girl!!!), and listening to talk radio address a myriad of topics such as: the most painful place to get a bee sting (I got it right – although I’ve never been stung), politics, gun control, sports, sports, sports, I decided to blog. Why not? It’s not like there’s enough entertainment in this small shared space. I blame my short attention span on preggie brain.
 
And preggie brain wants me to cover the topic of Old Wives’ Tales Gender Prediction.
I bring this up because since discovering I was pregnant I continually surfed the net for telltale signs of what baby macaroon is. 

An overwhelming majority of data suggested baby macaroon was a boy. Not to mention 85% of friends, family, and co-workers speculated that baby was a boy too. I didn’t know how or why. I didn’t start to “show” until earlier this week and I’m not carrying high or low. Friends say my “showing” looks like I ate a hefty burrito from Chipotle. And baby, that burrito is just chilling like a brick in my stomach as if I literally ate Chipotle. 
Anyway, let’s delve into 10 Gender-Predicting Old Wives’ Tales! 
1.) How Low Can You Go?
If I’m carrying high? Girl.
If I’m carrying low? Boy.
Me: I’m wasn’t showing when I first looked into this. I’m still not showing enough! This is Bologna. Baby prediction: Inconclusive.
2.) Body Clues
Legends say that if I’m having a little girl, she’ll steal my beauty. So, if I’ve got acne and other not-so-pretty skin blemishes, I’ve got a little princess coming my way.
Dry hands and cold feet are signs of a boy. So, if I’ve got these ailments, I should break out the baby blue.
Me: Hmm. First and foremost, I never really had acne. I get sporadic whiteheads I attribute to my insatiable appetite for the sweat game – running! I believe in sweating at least an hour a day! This pregnancy has me sweating a little less often but needless to say, I sweat! So my so-called acne has been no less no more the same.
Also, I just began using a new a.m. and p.m. facial routine with Philosophy products. Holy moly I love, love, love this new beauty routine. My “glow” isn’t from pregnancy. It’s from these products that stimulate skin rejuvenation. I’ve never felt more beautiful sans makeup! I believe these products have helped to reject acne during my pregnancy, too. I was and continue to feel beautiful.
My feet have been colder than ever and my hands remain the same, soft with bouts of dry. This is because I wash dishes by hand, without gloves, all the time. But if I were to take Body Clues literally…
Baby prediction: Boy.
3.) The Ring
I’m supposed to grab that wedding ring of mine and see how it swings! 
If it swings in a circle, we would be promised a girl; back and forth little macaroon would be a boy.
Oh shoot, what wedding ring? You see, Andy and I are not your traditional type. If you’ve read my blog from the beginning, you know I was always a bit obstinate to follow the traditional yellow brick road path to “happiness.” I rejected the idea. Then I felt guilty and hopped on the LSD fantasy hoping to find euphoria in Emerald City with the ring, the marriage, and the white picket fence. But my mood-altered state found me unfaithful to myself. 
I made some hard decisions. I ditched Emerald City and consequently I was labeled the Tin Man, “If I only had a heart.”
The irony is, I followed my heart. My heart led me to my sweetheart. And now I have two hearts that beat for him within me. There may be no wedding ring but our love is in its purest state. He is all I needed for spiritual redemption. 
So my sweetheart and I grabbed my grandmother’s beautiful gold ring arguably equivocal to the unconditional love that a wedding ring should represent. We tied it to a piece of string, and hung it over my non-existent belly.
Me: The ring swung back and forth. Baby Prediction: Boy.
4.) One of my favorite songs is by Sting, “Be Still My Beating Heart.” 
If baby’s little heart rate is under 140 beats per minute (bpm) it means mommy and daddy are having a little boy. If it’s over, daddy’s going to have a daddy’s girl!
Me: Ultrasound 1 – Heart rate 165bpm.

Ultrasound 2 – Heart rate 160bpm.

Fetal Doppler – Heart rate 155bpm.

Ultrasound 3 – Heart rate 147bpm.
Baby Prediction: Girl.

5.) “Craving-In”
The Old Wives’ Tale preaches that if I crave sweets it means I’m going to have a little girl. If I crave salty and sour we are welcoming a baby boy.
Now this one is interesting. Again, if you’ve been reading my blog as a friendly stopper byer (did I just make up a word?), or if you know me as a close friend, co-worker, family member, or if I’m someone that you used to know, then you clearly recognize that my palate for sweet and sour remains the exact same as it did when I was 8 years old jumping up and down, doing flips on the trampoline and into the pool, fueled on nothing but Fun-Dip and sour ropes! Yup. That’s still me when I “crave-in” to my sweet tooth. Pregnant or not. 
I have had no real cravings that I can acknowledge other than: I prefer fizzy drinks like sparkling grapefruit water. I like things extra-spicy. Call me dragon-breath. I equally love a small handful of frozen gummy bears (grapefruit gummy bears are my favorite) or sour gummy bears. I enjoy pickle juice. But pickle juice isn’t new. Being pregnant is an excuse to drink it without judgment. Plus it’s great for distant runners because research proves it helps to alleviate cramps. And like always, I could seriously live off of fruit. My favorites have now become staples in my diet and must-haves every. single. day. They are: grapes – any variety without seeds; kiwi – oh my gosh kiwi!!! Mmmm; apples drizzled with honey and a dash of salt; and oranges.

Me: Baby Prediction: Inconclusive. Mama bear likes it all! But what does spicy mean?  

6.) Chinese Prediction Chart
Chinese birth charts use my age at conception and the month I conceived to determine the sex of baby macaroon. 
This one is funny because it is claimed to be 90% accurate. Considering my age of conception, I used both 29 and 30 because we just don’t know! It was my 30th birthday celebration for close to one week. Champagne. Wine. Dinner. Dessert. Wink. Wink.
Me: Regardless of age of conception being 29 or 30. Baby prediction: Boy.
7.) Morning Sickness
The tale says that if I was stricken with a queasy stomach during my first trimester to think ribbons and bows. If I sailed through my pregnancy I should be dreaming blue.
Me: Sick. Sicker. Sickest. All. Day. Plus vomiting. Queasy. Tired. Vomiting again. Baby prediction: Girl.
8.) The Linea Nigra
This is that ‘dark line’ that has appears on the baby bump. It is apparently the key to working out whether I’m carrying a boy or a girl. Rumor has it that if the line continues above my belly button, I’m having a baby boy. If it finishes below my belly button, I have a baby girl bun in my oven. 
Me: My lovely baby bump has a faint dark line that extends above my belly button. Baby prediction: Boy.
9.) The Dreaded Weight Gain
According to the Old Wives’ Tale, if I’m carrying all of my extra weight out front, baby is a boy. If my pregnancy pounds are piling on all around me, I’m expecting a daughter. Also, if my breasts are growing, I should expect a girl. If my breasts remain the same, I’m welcoming a boy.
Me: My mother recently asked me to look at my ass naked. I abided and started laughing! She said, “Val, does it look the same?” I responded, “Yup. Same ol’ small ass. You can’t mistake me for a Brazilian from behind, shucks!” Mom laughs, “Well then sweetheart, you must be having a boy!”
A little about my weight gain. I’m currently 19 weeks and 4 days. I swear it wasn’t until a few days ago when my bump became a permanent accessory. I didn’t gain an ounce during the first trimester. To date, I’m up 7 lbs. (please remember not to compare. I’m very active and baby is very healthy!) No joke, most of my weight is in my tatats. These melons are HEAVY!!! I could knock someone out. And my back is killing me! Owwwweee! I would’ve never imagined my breasts would get this large and they are still growing!!! Shit! But as far as where my weight has distributed elsewhere from my bosoms… I’m slowing losing my waist, and the bump is growing outward rather than wide, for now. 

Baby prediction: Boy.
10.) Baby Names
The tales claim that if I (we) can only think of specific names for a boy or a girl, we will have that particularly baby. 

Me: Andy and I immediately came up and solidly agreed on a girls name. It was so natural. Contrastly, we went back and forth on the topic of boys names. So many of them are so banal (insert yawn). But after revisiting our list a few dozen times we selected a boy name that resonated with us. Baby prediction: Girl.

 

Let’s talk about the Old Wives’ Tales Gender Prediction results. Baby is all over the gender map! 

Baby Prediction: Boy – 5
Baby Prediction: Girl – 3
Baby Prediction: Inconclusive – 2
While I was convinced Andy and I were having a baby boy because of all the noise people echoed in my ear and the gender prediction results, we were and continue to be overwhelmed with incandescent happiness that we are welcoming a baby girl in May 2016!!! She is already just like mommy and daddy challenging the standards (gender predictions)!
I have made several decisions that do not follow “the system of tradition.” To keep the streak going, we introduce you to smiling Oriana Teresa Shreeve. Yup, we are sharing her name! She already has our hearts. She is, quite literally, our Golden Sunrise!
  
What was your experience with Old Wives’ Tales Gender Predictions? Were they accurate? Please share! I can’t wait to hear from you!

Thanks for stopping by! 
Now it’s back to the car ride! I think it’s about time for my shift!
XO
Valgal, and baby girl Oriana aka Ori-chan! 
*Chan expresses “cute” for little girls in Japanese! 

The Anatomy Scan & Baby’s Little Runners Foot

16 Dec

Hello lovelies,

I hope this post finds you feeling as radiant today as I feel! Who knew a little weight gain and a growing belly would have me all jolly and dazzling to match the season! I’m loving these days. But I did not love last Friday afternoon.

Last Friday Afternoon – The Level 2 Ultrasound:  – The Anatomy Scan

I was counting down to December 11, 2015 at 2:30p for weeks. This was going to be the big reveal of little baby macaroon’s gender. Boy. Girl. Either one, it was another day to celebrate! December 11th was going to mark the day where daddy and I get to bond a little bit more to our growing baby *cough cough* my growing belly.

But God had other plans like he often does. And hey, I’m okay with that. But what I’m not okay with is the lack of courtesy and bedside manner that I’ve quickly become aware of from other “first-time mamas” that is the apparent norm for ultrasound techs. (I know this is a huge typecast and I know there are several ultrasound techs that are darling – my first one was! Anyway, I’m sorry if you’re in the profession – I’m sure you’re the exception to the rule. I do not mean to put you in such a box…I’m only speaking from experience.) Newsflash Tech: This is my first pregnancy – could you meet me with some grace?

The Anatomy Scan: Part I

The appointment was at 2:30p. I drank 32 + ounces of water between 2:00p and 2:30p to make sure my belly was nice and full for the ultrasound. 3:00p and we were still in the waiting room. 3:15ish – yup, an “ish” we were walked to room number 2. I desperately had to pee. I was uncomfortable.

We were greeted by the tech. “Hello, so you’re here for the first trimester scan?” Me: “I sure hope I’m not in the first trimester! We’re here for the anatomy scan!” Tech: “When are you due?” Me: “May 15th!” Tech: “You’re two days too early. You’ll have to come back.” The tech lacked any empathy in her tone. She was cold. As cold as the room. Me: “I’m sorry but my doctor advised me I could’ve come as early as Monday. I chose today because today’s my day off. I don’t get maternity leave so I’m being as conscientious with time off as possible. Today fit my schedule otherwise I would’ve been here Monday had I not wanted to be so conservative with time off.” Tech: “I’m sorry, you’re too early.” Me: “No. I’m sorry. We’re here because the doctor said we could be here.” Turn on waterworks. Streams of tears rolled down my face. I wasn’t making a sound but the tears were loud enough for her to hear my disappointment. Tech: “I’ll go check with Dr. Rafael if I can do the scan. I hope you know we probably won’t see gender parts. You’re too early. I’ll be back.”

Me: I thought to myself, homegirl is a bitch. Capital B. Who the f*ck is Dr. Rafael. I glanced at Andy. I could tell he was just as put-off. 5 minutes later the tech returned. Tech: “Okay, lay down. We will do the scan. But again, we probably won’t see anything.” Me: “Okay!” Then I thought to myself that it would be okay if we don’t get to know the gender, at least I get to see baby! Tech: Didn’t even look at Andy who was standing near me and with a dictator tone instructed him to take a seat at the back of the room. Me: I was unable to even see Andy at that point. I thought this tech was a passive-aggressive bitch. Capital B x B. Power tripping fool.

For approximately 45 minutes there was silence. The one question I asked was interrupted by a snarky remark. I figured I’d mirror her lead so I kept my mouth shut. That’s right – Valerie kept her mouth S.H.U.T. The tech didn’t tell us anything. She didn’t say what she was doing, what she was looking at – absolutely nothing. It wasn’t until we were nearing the end of what was the first part of the session when she said, “This is the baby’s brain. This is the baby’s foot.” The tone of her voice was detached and unfriendly.

I thought silently but my face probably gave away my annoyance, “Thanks for the excitement lady! I mean shoot, it’s every day I get to see pictures of my growing baby – thanks for making this moment so remarkable!”

Ugh. Her lack of enthusiasm wanted me to slap some sunshine on her cold ass face and then top it off with glitter and more sunshine. I wanted to triple layer it on. Frostbite doesn’t hit as hard when it has to work through layers. I mean, her cold shell would be bound to emit destruction and I only wanted to slow down the freeze of her glance and bitter tone.

Break

The tech instructed me to pee. FINALLY! Dear god I was holding it like a champ. I wanted out of that cold room and her frosty presence. She also told me to walk around a bit to see if I could get the baby to open its legs.

Whaaaaaaat?

I didn’t know she even saw the legs!!! Why didn’t she tell me? She toggled through screens at such a rapid speed I had missed it.

I returned from peeing and it felt glorious! I then proceeded to dance like a fool for 10 minutes willing baby to wake up and to spread open those little leggies!

The tech came in.

Anatomy Scan: Cold Encounters Session 2

Baby didn’t open legs.

The tech wrapped things up and told us that we would have to come back because she didn’t get images of the heart chambers. She then advised us that perhaps during the next visit they could determine baby’s sex. I asked, “Is baby measuring okay? Like average for gestational age?” Tech: “Yes. The doctor will give you a report later.” She printed off pictures and handed them to us and walked us out.

The End with the Ice Queen

Post-Anatomy Scan

Andy and I walked out. We were slightly disappointed about not knowing the gender but more upset about the ice queen. I left feeling anxious and scared. To not even be spoken to had me miffed. To not be given any peace of mind like, “Baby’s brain is measuring average” etc. I know there are liability issues but there are also medical charts that spell forth what is average. From speaking with other moms I am told that techs can speak a little about measurements especially when they fall in the average range. I was so uneasy and shaken up. The day I was looking forward to with such elation ended up enveloping me with uncertainty. I remember thinking, is she avoiding telling us things because honesty is tough? Oh my gosh, honesty is tough – it’s a difficult pill to swallow. Shoot. Something’s wrong. Something’s wrong because there’s news we may be uncomfortable with.

I took to Google.

Shit! Never take to Google. Google is bad. Bad. So. Very. Bad.

I had a whole lot of feeling and I had no clue what to do with it. I crammed a bunch of heavy, ugly news in my mind. Not good.

We called our family to report the news. Gosh were they worried because they expected our phones calls so much earlier. Remember the 45 minute delay and a pregnant girl’s super full bladder who desperately had to pee? Oh yea, I was so doing the pee-pee dance in the waiting room. Did I unintentionally omit that? Anyway, we gave family peace of mind and informed them that we would know the gender soon. I felt like a liar. How could I be giving peace of mind to others when my mind was distressed?

I planned to call my doctor Monday to make a follow-up appointment. Monday couldn’t come fast enough.

Monday

When Monday came around there was another blow. The ice queen said the anatomy scan report was complete. No redo would be ordered. You can’t have an anatomy scan for gender only. I was astounded by the size of this woman’s balls. What a liar! Yes, she was an ice queen but a liar too? I talked to the nurse about my issue with the news. She apologized and said she’d discuss it with the doctor and that they’d call me by close of business. She then proceeded to tell me the results of the scan – Good! No anomalies. Everything is measuring and looking good! Oh thank gosh!!!

I hung up the phone both frazzled and delighted.

Delighted: First thing I thought: Baby is okay!!! What a relief. My heart warmed.

Frazzled: I was frazzled because most importantly, how do the doctors know baby’s heart is okay when there are no images of the heart?  Not knowing the gender wasn’t as pressing.

Monday: Close of Business

5 o’clock took forever but there she was. My doctor was calling me. To save you time the news – we get a redo!!! Commence happy dance. I haaaaaaappppyyyyy daaaaaaanced allllll theeeee wayyyyy hooommmmme!!! I had the sunniest disposition coming home I could’ve melted the ice queen if she took one glance at me. 

Baby Macaroon: Pictures

Until our next appointment I stare at these pictures daily. I haven’t met baby macaroon yet but my how attached I am to this little love nugget. I can’t get over the experience of this little babe growing inside me. I am changing every day. I am appreciative of the things I never knew my body capable of. I never knew I could find peace with growing in size. I’m enchanted by my abilities (and women’s really) to create life.

And this little life, just look!!!  Baby macaroon clearly wants to showcase that s/he will be a runner just like mama! Look at that runner’s foot (Dubbed by my good friend, Bryant )!!! I can’t get enough. These pictures keep my heart at peace.

Wishing your heart at peace, too. Today and every day.

Do you have any pregnancy stories? Do share!

Thanks for stopping by!

XO

Valgal and baby macaroon

Running (Sleeping) in the First Trimester – 

11 Dec

Good morning, lovelies –

I’m over here feeling fabulous – FINALLY! The trials of the first trimester are past me. I’m currently 17 weeks and 5 days pregnant and *gasp* feeling like my energy has come back, at least in the morning. Come 8pm it’s time for shuteye. The bed always wins. The bed + Netflix. (Who am I!?)

Anyway, I told you I was going to blog about running for two. I wanted to document my experience “From Chasing Boston to Chasing Baby.” I was adamant that I’d be maintaining my pre-pregnant running schedule but that goal made a liar out of me. Let me give you the details of the challenge “Coming home from work: Newtons v. Big Comfy Bed.”

Note: I’m going to be honest about my experience here with pregnancy. I’ve noticed there is a tendency to shut out the details that aren’t synonymous to the pregnancy glow. People are too afraid to talk about the downside to this fairytalesque miracle. Yes, it’s a miracle but holy heck there are bouts of misery. There are countless bouts of vomiting, nausea, anxiety, hormonal dragonesque fiery outbursts followed by waves of crying over the most idiosyncratic concerns. There are high and there are lows that are inexplicable.

To begin, I’d like to give myself a SHOUTOUT…I graduated with a Master in Public Administration December 2nd, 2015! Upon finding out I was pregnant I was beginning my last class with this program. The class was arduous. It took all of my concentration at a time when my body was crafting the fetus. This is the most crucial development! I wasn’t showing but my body and all of its major body organs and systems for the fetus were forming wiping me out. I’m someone who functions with 4 or 5 hours of sleep and suddenly I needed 8+ hours and ironically I could barely keep my eyes open come 2 o’clock. I was working, wrapping up school writing endless tedious papers on case studies on Regulations and Policy, making a baby, all while thinking I would have the energy to run 50+ miles a week.

Let’s get real.



I managed to do it all minus the running distance. My schoolwork took a considerable amount of my free time leaving me anxious to fit in running as well as mentally drained. I was feeling selfish because I had to run. If you want me around being all jolly and happy, you let me run…Plus the added bonus of running is that it is healthy for me and baby.

But if I wanted to fit in running it meant I would have to cut out any time I tried to carve out for social gatherings and date nights with my main squeeze. The main squeeze was flexible. Shoot, I conjure that he liked my busy schedule because that only meant more NFL, NBA and hitting the courts himself – uninterrupted from my incessant online searches of nursery ideas, cute onesies, baby essentials and the countless “isn’t this super cute!” Poor guy. What a trooper. It helped us maintain the peace and coincidently helped him dodge my emotional breakdowns. Case in point: The first time I heard the song ‘Hello’ from Adele. ‘Hello’ waterworks. I left him a voicemail about it laughing and crying, if you could distinguish the difference, saying it was a good thing he was playing ball because he’s missing an epic meltdown without warning. It’s quiet hilarious now that I’m sober from the hormones…  

So with that being my schedule – running was bound to take a backseat. Newtons 0. Big Comfy Bed 1. I couldn’t let my grades slip and hey, I have to go to work – Mama’s got to make that cash!!! But because running is an indispensable part of my life I fought the fatigue demons when I could and hit the treadmill. Newtons 1. Big Comfy Bed 3 (pretty accurate ratio). I always felt so esteemed afterwards. I would think those damn little demons were illusions and deceptive little devils casting spells of trickery. I wasn’t as tired as I thought…until the next day and the day after that.

That was really the case of running in my first trimester. When I felt well enough to run, I ran. I ran middle distance at a moderate pace. I monitored my heart and my breathing never felt labored. I didn’t “feel” pregnant. Only my mind was. I could run 10 miles on a Monday at a 7:45 pace followed by 6 miles on Wednesday at a 7:40 pace. The every other day routine was working for me when I wasn’t faced with incendiary fatigue or homework. The running was sporadic but I ran nonetheless.

Running/Working Out in the First Trimester:

Running: Weekly average 25 miles a week – A significant deviation from pre-pregnancy running.

Stairmaster: Aside from running I would hit the Stairmaster. If I ran prior to the Stairmaster I would do the Stairmaster for 15-20 minutes at level 7 – A nice moderate pace. If running wasn’t in the cards I would do 30-60 minutes on the Stairmaster at level 7.

Pushups: Approximately 3 x week 3 sets of 10.

Running Recap: I was told to run at a pace that the baby would allow. Baby allowed me to run as far as I could at a pace that was fast enough to keep my form tight and efficient. If I were to go any slower my hips would get a little loose and my right femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) and labral tear would threaten to immobilize me with perpetual pain. It felt refreshing to finish up a run while being pregnant! I would feel slightly challenged but ultimately badass because I was running with my little partner. Having always been a stubborn runner, intentionally dehydrated at times to ensure I was able to train in tough conditions to make race days more effective, running on empty, running with an injury (still am) I’m suddenly intentionally conscientious of this little marvel inside me growing. I’m no longer running to qualify for Boston tomorrow, or to burn off that delectable sugar cookie laden with butter and topped with sprinkles! No. Running for two has me in a new frame of mind and a much deeper place of understanding, acceptance and intimacy with myself. I’m running for the health of my unborn baby and me. I’m running to work towards peace and calm in the midst of the all-present unknowns of pregnancy and its affiliated imminent distractions and annoyances like fatigue, nausea, vomiting, exhaustion, need for sleep, ravenous hunger followed by violent vomiting…etc. This is no easy feat. But I’m doing it. And I’m doing it as best I can.

Stayed tuned for Running in the Second Trimester – HOLY HECK!!! What a difference!

Thanks for stopping by and reading my adventure “From Chasing Boston to Chasing Baby!”

 

XO

Valgal & baby macaroon

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