Thursday, November 15, 2012

Finding time

It feels like the best part of the last nearly 9 months has been a battle to find ways to fit exercise in (apart from the few months when I just totally gave up). 

By late October, I wanted to get back into it, but was starting to feel like I was fighting a losing battle.  Not only was Toby awake all night, but he was sleeping in in the mornings with his wee head resting on my arm, removing any motivation I had for a morning sweat session.  I'd looked forward to walks with Toby after cutting down my work hours, but then shortly after I started looking after him again, he decided buggy sleeps were no longer for him. 

THEN, I got my a into g and started post bedtime runs twice a week with a couple of women from my ante-natal group.  But separation anxiety hit.  All of a sudden, he not only needed me to put him to bed (not Phil), but also started waking at random intervals, screaming unless I attended to him quickly.  I gave up on my evening runs after heading out after pumping, when Toby had been asleep for a wee bit, and coming home 20 minutes later to find out he'd been screaming for 19, even when Phil got him out of bed to "play".  Bedtime also went from 7, give or take 10-15 minutes, as it had been for about 6 months, to 7:30-8. 

I was *this* close to giving up again, but fortunately one day I was so desperate for a run I asked Phil if I could head out during Toby's dinner time.  That didn't work, but I did manage to sneak out during bathtime, and my new routine was born. I'm now getting 20 minutes in most weekdays (including some with the jogging stroller, but that is very mood dependent), and I mix it up by including tempo and fartlek efforts in it to make the 20 minutes more "worthwhile".  I'm getting out for slightly longer in the weekends- doing 5km on Saturdays, and a gradually increasing longer run on Sundays (I'm up to 7km now).

It's not much, but it's showing me that every bit counts.  I've taken over 4 minutes off my Saturday 5k over the last few weeks, and my old tempo effort is now my easy pace.  My 3k pace is slower than my marathon pace, so it's not as if I'm running well, but I feel good again, and I think I'm not too slow for a hippo on legs!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Choroid Plexus Cysts: A post I plumb forgot to write

About a year ago, when I was 20 weeks pregnant, I wrote:

The 20 week scan, which confirmed that Chip is healthy and all major organs are present and correct and doing what they should. There was an "incidental finding" which, combined with googling and deciding I could read ultrasounds real good, sent me into a complete tailspin over the weekend, but I am now happy to rely on the medical profession who are unanimous that there is nothing to worry about. 

I always meant to come back to that "incidental finding" later in the pregnancy, or once Chip was born healthy, perfect and in one piece (Apgars of 9 and 10, y'all, you can only get a little more perfect than that), but apart from a false start somewhere along the way, I forgot.

Until yesterday, when I read my buddy Brittney's report of her 19-week scan, and I was transported back in time to the ultrasound room at Angelsea Imaging...

"See here, and here?  These are cysts on the brain... they're sort of pockets of water.  Back before we had the blood tests for Downs they were kind of a big deal, but not anymore....but I have to note them, so they'll show on the report."

At the time, all I heard was "no big deal" and something  that sounded to me like "coroplexis".  We had a healthy baby boy baking away in there, all four chambers of the heart were fine, the blood was moving properly, we had avoided all of the scary things I knew could come up at the 20 week scan (an aquaintance lost her baby after discovered it had anecephaly, another had discovered a missing kidney and a bowel problem requiring major surgery, and so on and so on), and there were cupcakes for sale next door. 

But of course, I am ME, so I went back to the office and started googling.  I soon realised that what we'd seen were "choroid plexus cysts", three words that plagued me for the next 18 weeks and 6 days.  Basically, choroid plexus cysts are nothing to worry about at all, in and of themselves, but (along with a massive number of other things), they can be a "soft marker" of chromosomal disorders; really, one chromosomal disorder, one of the nasty "incompatible with life" ones, trisomy 18.  One article suggested that the finding of a CPC increased my chances of having a baby with Edwards Syndrome eightfold.  If CPCs are combined with other "soft markers", the risk of having a trisomy baby rises exponentially. 

I'd had good blood test results, so my initial risk of having a baby with T-18 was about one in a gazillion (lots of thousands, anyway).  The CPCs took it to one in many hundreds, or fewer thousands; one of those anyway.  I can't remember the detail, and going back into my emails at the time is just soul-destroying.  There were no other soft markers mentioned during my scan, and we'd seen the baby's hands waving (clenched fists is a hallmark sign of T-18).

So, you'd think I'd be OK, right? Wrong.  At first I was just a bit sad, but that night, I decided to google some MORE (slow learner here...), and to have a look at the DVD we got from the scan "for reassurance'.  Reassurance- HA!  This Expert on Ultrasounds here managed to convince herself that the baby had a short femur, a too large head circumference, a munted umbilical cord, and a few other soft markers too.  I also managed to invent some kind of potential problem with my bloods- I can't even remember what it was now! In the space of an hour on google, my baby had gone from a baby with a one in a many many hundreds chance of having an abnormality to a baby who was almost certainly going to DIE.  I knew I was being silly, but I spent the best part of that weekend crying, reading T-18 blogs and preparing for the worst. I read lots of reassuring forum threads, but it still didn't seem like it was something "common", it still felt like it was just me.

I never really got over it, but it got a lot easier.  My midwife told me she pretty much always had a lady whose baby had CPCs (she laughed- good naturedly- when I told her about my googling... somehow she'd predicted that one).  I didn't come across anyone else with CPCs for a little while, but I did learn that a few bloggers I followed had had other soft markers come up during their anatomy scans, and their babies all came out just fine.  Then Lisa had her scan, and found out that the baby who was to become the gorgeous Miss Charlotte had bilateral CPCs like Chip.  And I learned from that that Heather's KB also had them- I hadn't even noticed in Heather's original post, which I'd read a few weeks earlier.  I still worried that my baby would be the exception, but I stopped bawling and planning for the worst, and started worrying about different bad things instead. And then eventually Chip was born, and after a few months of constant worry about SIDS, I'm not worrying so much about random scary catastrophes, and instead worrying about the basic stuff, keeping him fed, slept, healthy and happy.

So why write about this now?  So the next time someone googles Choroid Plexus Cysts, there's just one more good news story coming out in the search results (even if they have to scroll forwards a few hundred pages to get here!)

Monday, September 03, 2012

9 months on...18 months off?

It's no secret that I put on a LOT of weight during pregnancy.  Drastically cutting down exercise and drastically increasing chicken nugget consumption will do that to you.

It's also no secret that the weight didn't exactly melt off me.  You just can't keep 20 extra kilos a secret, no matter how cleverly you dress.

I've dealt with the extra weight remarkably well, in an emotional sense.  I think I've kept my "Ohmigod, I'm soo fat and uuuuuugly" meltdowns down to two or three.  I also think there is FAR too much pressure on new mums to get back into shape, and I grit my teeth every time I see someone who's only a few kilos above pre-preg weight moaning about looking better than I ever have!

But...I do want to lose the weight.  Actually, I need to lose the weight.  My GP agrees.  It's not just about looking good, or getting into tri-training shape again, it's about getting healthy, especially if I want to get pregnant again in the not tooooo distant future.  And without a lot of spare time for exercise (...though I'll have a bit more stroller time soon, as I am dropping my hours), that means looking hard at my diet.

So, when I went back to work in June, I also joined Weight Watchers online (yep, I'm a bit behind on blogging), and started using their online pro points tracker.  I chose to do Weight Watchers for a few reasons: another new mum mate was doing it, I'd heard good things about the new pro points, it was online (and with an iphone app available), and I knew they had a plan for breastfeeding mums.

I've enjoyed tracking points- it's a bit easier than calorie counting, and the site is fairly useable (but far from the best I've used).  The best thing for me is having someone else decide what my daily target is, instead of worrying all the time whether I've picked the right arbitrary number.  The next best thing is that pro points are (mostly) great, and encourage fairly healthy behaviour.  They're based on fat, carbs, protein and fibre, not pure calories, so there's an incentive to eat good food.  I am particularly enjoying the fact that (most) fruit and veges are point free.  Because I'm both fat and breastfeeding, I get a huge daily allowance, and can eat pretty much what I want without digging into my weekly allowance provided that I'm mindful with what I eat. I did struggle a little being dairy and wheat free, as that meant no yoghurt, no cottage cheese on crackers, and so on, but I got used to it, and into a reasonable daily pattern.  I didn't notice any negative impact on my supply, but it's hard to measure that when my supply isn't great to begin with!

Since starting Weight Watchers, I've lost 8kg. I have no idea how heavy I was pre-birth, or whether I lost or gained in those early weeks, so the start weight comes from when I was about 6 weeks post partum. 8kg over 3 months is a slooow weight loss, which I can pretty easily blame on too many days of not sticking to my points, and also on the last month which has been hugely messy with work travel, then eating like a pig to up my supply again post- surgery (wisdom teeth. four.  general). I have about 13kg to go before I'm at my initial goal weight, and a good way to go after that before I'm in fighting shape.  It will be a slow journey, but I'm confident I'll get there- eventually.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Happy Fathers' Day!

Happy first fathers' day to an amazing husband and father!


Kate & Chip

Monday, August 20, 2012

6 months of breastfeeding (and 3 of pumping): Some things I've learned

 [Insert romanticised breastfeeding shot here... Oh wait, I don't have any]

For a researcher and a worrier, I had a surprisingly laissez faire attitude to breastfeeding during pregnancy.  I knew some people couldn't, for various reasons, so I knew I had to approach it realistically (similarly to how I approached drug free birth), but I think that was literally all I knew.  My plan was to feed, if I could, and for as long as I could and just to pump when I went back to work.

We're 6 months in now; a point that's gone from being my minimum to being my mid-term goal to being, well, today.  In that time, we've had our share of challenges (marathon feed sessions, stomach upsets and dietary changes, fussy feeding, nipple confusion and more), but we've also been very lucky.  I'll be completely honest; some days I want to just throw in the towel, but the good things so far outweigh the difficult ones, that I'm truly thankful for every day we manage to keep going.  This post will probably focus more on the difficult bits, so please, keep that bold bit in mind.  There is, quite simply, pretty much nothing I love more right now than breastfeeding Toby...when it's good.  When it's bad? It's pretty much the worst.

The things I wish I'd learnt, pre-baby:
  • breastfeeding "ability" isn't binary; it's a continuum (and yeah, ability is totally the wrong word; I'm lazy, yo).  It's not a "can do" or "can't do" thing; rather, there's a big line between Ms "Breastfeeding is straightforward for me" and Ms "Breastfeeding is impossible, or as good as impossible for me" and most people will fall somewhere around the middle of that.  It wasn't a matter of crossing the "yep, we can do it" line, with smooth sailing from there, the way I'd sort of imagined it.
  • breastfeeding "ability" (using that inapt word again) is a Mum thing and a baby thing
  • even when things are going well, breastfeeding is pretty hard sometimes (*at least from what I can tell).  Even if you don't have an under supply or an oversupply, your supply is probably on the high side or the low side (or sometimes one, sometimes the other). On the high side? You may deal with leaking, pain, engorgement, a spluttering windy baby.  On the low side, you'll probably deal with near constant worry and guilt.  Either way, being a tiny creature's sole source of food can be a bit overwhelming, which brings me to....
  • "I'll just pump" is a totally oxymoronic phrase for SO many people, whether supply is on the high side or on the low side.  First, there's the pumping itself.  It can be damn hard to fit in, plenty of people can't [easily] "let down" for the pump, and you have to be careful with how you go about it, because the whole breastfeeding supply demand thing is so important in the early weeks.  Then, getting your baby to take a bottle (it's been fine for us, but not for plenty of women I know).  THEN, making sure the baby still likes YOU once they've gone bottle (that one has been a bit more challenging here).  And finally?  When you take that break and someone gives your baby that liquid gold- YOU HAVE TO PUMP AGAIN (if your supply is on the high side, because or else your boobs will explode, if it's on the low side, because or else your too-smart body will decide it doesn't need to make that milk any more). Plus, if you're pumping a lot, it can affect your supply
  • not knowing how much your baby is getting can be TOUGH: no matter how much I read about why it doesn't matter how much he gets (in volume terms), like almost all breastfeeding mums, I sometimes wish for a breast gauge.  Although pumping and working has been tough, I've been glad to know how much he's had to drink during the day 4 days a week, and to share the responsibility for keeping his tummy full.
  • it's not all smooth sailing just because you're out of the "fourth trimester".  Distractible four month olds, fussy five month olds, then teething, then toddlerdom.  We've just come (mostly) out of a couple of months of distracted, fussy, feeding and fortunately things are going smoother now.  But smoother still involves kicking, pulling off, scratching, squeezing, twisting, talking, grumping and so on...
I'm sure the next 6 months will have their own challenges- I hope we can get through them, and that I get to write another (maybe on-time) breastfeeding week post next year!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Belated breastfeeding week post 1: A little self congratulation and a lot more luck (and gratitude)

Totally unrelated photo

A 7-day trial.  Weekends at work; weekdays away from home.  A 5.5 month old baby. Two boobs.  One pump. A dwindled freezer stash (...thanks to Toby's addition of a 10pm feed at about 4 months).

From the day I returned to work in June, this trial loomed on the horizon as the single biggest threat to my "goal" of keeping Toby fully on the boob to 6 months.  And Toby sat on my mind as the single biggest threat to my ability to do a good job for my boss and, more importantly, for our clients. 

And now it's over, and it worked out better than I expected, and Toby is still fully breastfed, and I'm sort of proud, even though really it was: a) no big deal; and b) all down to other people and dumb luck.

I was amazingly lucky that Phil was still off work and able to travel out of town for the duration of the trial; there's no way we could have done it otherwise, as my stash just wasn't big enough (again, thank you 10pm feed...). 

I'm lucky to have an understanding boss who let me slip back to the hotel room to pump at lunchtime, and who excused me from a few nights of client dinners so I could spend time with my boys (and, well, work...). 

I'm lucky that Court lunchtimes are rather generous, and that our hotel was very conveniently located (I pumped in a room at Court for an earlier case up there, but it was a bit of a pain!)

I'm lucky that Court starts at 10, so even though I usually spent my mornings working, I could pump before heading out the door, and sometimes even sneak in some extra snuggles.

I'm so grateful that all of those stars aligned and made it possible for me to be lawyer-Kate and mum-Kate at the same time.  And I'm incredibly grateful to have a job that, while hard, is flexible and supportive. 

...but in amongst all of that gratitude, I confess to feeling a little bit bad-ass, and a whole lot awesome. And now it's time to take a whole lot of fenugreek, as a week and a half of reduced pumping means I have a lot of catching up to do!

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Back to the Forest

On Saturday, my sister and brother in law invited us to Rotorua for a spot of mountain biking.  It had been nearly a year since my last visit to the forest, and even longer since I'd last hit the trails (last time was just after we found out I was pregnant, and I decided to play it safe and walk...)

We managed to get Chip, baby paraphernalia and bikes ready, and leave the house with just enough time for Phil to pick up a date scone in Tirau, before arriving at the Waipa carpark for our traditional "Rotorua picnic".   I loved stepping out of the car with the baby and watching his eyes light up as he looked around, taking it all in.  He's at such a curious stage at the moment, and it's thrilling to watch.

Chip was not too impressed with our picnic (hence the dummy, which is usually strictly for bedtime and car trips!), so I ate fast before packing him into his stroller and walking loops of the paddock.

Once we'd all had our fill of chicken, chippies and homemade deli salads (coleslaw and egg and potato), the girls took Chip for a walk up the hill on the forestry roads and 4wd trails.  Our Phil & Ted's explorer handled the trails very well! It was a bit surreal as there has been a LOT of logging since we last went.  In the picture below I'm standing next to one of my old favourite trails, which used to be totally covered in trees!

After 40 minutes, Chip woke up (as predicted), and it was time for his picnic, and an al fresco nappy change. 

He wasn't too excited by his stroller on the trip down (I think the wails meant something along the lines of "I'm NOT tired, I've SEEN THESE BELLS BEFORE and WHY AM I NOT OUT IN THE TREEEES?") so I grabbed the mei tai wrap I'd stashed under the buggy, and tied it on.  He liked that better, and spent the rest of the walk gazing around at the trees.

Then it was our turn.  We stuck to the easiest of easy trails, and I still felt like a total noob.  I used to be fitter than my sister, but less technically capable.  Well, this time, I was definitely lagging in both areas!  I'm glad the MTB has so many gears- I sure needed them.  That's what 20+ extra kilos will do, I guess...

We ended up doing about 50 minutes in total, and by the end I was having a fantastic time.  Still not riding anywhere near as confidently as I had been pre-pregnancy, but loving the feeling of riding, the wintry forest air, and so on.

Chip spent my ride sleeping in the stroller again, so we thought we could probably get away with a quick trip to the pub.  Forgetting of course that of COURSE we could get away with a trip to the pub.  Chip LOVES pubs, and has barely cried in his three pub visits so far...

Yep, he's our son....

The pub was a bit too exciting after a bit for a wee baby, so we had a feed in the car before driving home for bath/feed/bed, while the boys braved Hamilton on the night of an All Blacks game, and came home bearing bentos! 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

A new diet for a new mum

As I've posted about before, when Chip was about 5 weeks old, a lactation consultant recommended that I eliminate dairy to see if it would help Chip's gut problems.  It (or something), so I've stayed off dairy since.  And that's not just milk, yoghurt, cheese and sour cream.  That's everything that those things are IN, including most processed food, baking and so on.  Then, when Chip was 11 weeks, a naturopath suggested that he was also highly sensitive to wheat and yeast, and that I should eliminate those as well.  
I've now been dairy free for about 3 months, and (mostly)* wheat free too for nearly two months, and we're currently in the process of "testing" Chip to see if he's grown out of his sensitivities (...or, let's be perfectly honest, to see whether he was ever actually sensitive at all).  We have some EBM I expressed prior to giving up each allergen, so we're starting by testing those.  Before I add them back, I'll also test him without his Gaviscon, as we don't want to be medicating something I can manage with my diet...
...especially since, while it's been a challenge, it hasn't been SO bad! Some of me actually doesn't want to go ahead with the testing!  (I'm going to anyway, partly because if he can tolerate them, I want him to be exposed to them!).  I get lots of yummy, healthy food in, I don't *think* it's affected my supply (though remember, my supply isn't great to begin with), and it's making it a bit easier to stick to my Pro Points (...more on that later...)
Here are the pluses-- to ME-- of cutting out dairy and (most) wheat:
  • it forces me to be prepared, as eating out is so much harder
  • I can resist loads of naughty things I can't resist for the sake of weight loss for the sake of Chip's comfort
  • it forces me to eat healthy whole foods
  • it's encouraged us to be "creative", or at least move away from some of our staple dishes
  • we've learned how nice some of our staples are even without the cheese- I'll certainly be able to cut down on the piles of colby we used to have in our Monday "ombles" (omelette/scrambles), and on our Mexican nights
But here are the downsides:
  • dairy is a great source of calcium and lean protein, and I do get a bit sick of my alternatives
  • bread is a very useful thing to have on hand as a new SAHM, especially a new SAHM of a kid who likes to nap on people - it was tough adjusting to not being able to just make a sandwich or some peanut butter toast when I needed to EAT but didn't have time; especially given that I also couldn't just grab yoghurt and fruit! (yes, there are gluten free breads, but they generally taste like butt, and Chip may also have a sensitivity to yeast, sooooo....)
  • although we can eat a large variety of things, I am getting a BIT sick of potatoes and rice, and sometimes I really just want a pile of pasta with parmesan cheese (and other stuff, I suppose), or a cheese toastie, or a plate of Watties spaghetti
  • when you tell me dark chocolate is the only treat I can have, my natural response is to EAT ALL THE DARK CHOCOLATE.
And here's a pretty normal day in the life, foodwise:
Breakfast: porridge with chia seeds, banana or dates, almond butter and oat milk [Comment: Oat milk is by far the BEST non-dairy milk out there; I sometimes accuse Phil of using cow's milk!]; decaf coffee.
Snack 1: Crunchy oat-based muesli bar [Comment: not the healthiest snack-bar choice, and I'm definitely missing being able to choose whatever I want from the muesli bar aisle!] or rice wafers with peanut butter.  Fruit (usually an apple or a pear)
Lunch: Almost invariably, a chicken salad using one of those packets of shredded chicken breast (not the pulverised fakey kind, the actual chickeny kind).  Since it's winter, a lot of my favourite salad veges are out of season, though we can sometimes find these at the Farmers' market.  But winter veges make a good salad too- mine's usually prepackaged salad greens, red cabbage, carrot, radishes, microgreens or sprouts, and maybe grated broccoli stem.  I sometimes bulk it out with chickpeas, blackbeans, or falafel made with one of those mixes found in the chilled section, and add some flavour and creaminess with hummus or salsa and avocado.
Snack 2: Vege sticks with hummus or peanut butter, fruit (usually kiwifruit and a mandarin)
Dinner: Last night's dinner was chicken and white bean chilli, a favourite of ours.  Our other planned meals this week include koftas with salad, hummus and falafel, stir fried tofu, and Monday-egg foo young.
Dessert: a piece of fruit, maybe a couple of dates, and a mini bar of Dark Ghana.  Cup of nursing tea.
*by "most" wheat, I mean that I avoid bread and wheat flour.  However, I do occasionally have a handful of glucose based sweeties, and although we are using tamari at home, I won't freak out if there's a bit of soy sauce in a restaurant meal.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Starting from scratch

During my baby break yesterday (3 x 5 minutes walk/2 minutes jog), I realised I was running like an overweight newbie.  Jogging for 2 minutes at a time was about all I could handle.  My shorts were painfully tight.  It wasn't just my speed that was ploddy; my gait was too. The idea of flying through a 20km run like I was 10 months ago was, quite frankly, absurd.

I thought about my friend Ally, another new mama triathlete.  She'd mentioned that her comeback race would be the same as her first 10km race.  Because she did it when she was just starting out, she may beat her original time, despite being barely 2 months post cs when she does it.

And that made me realise that I never really started from scratch, the way a lot of athletes do.  I started walking at 16, and lost lots of weight doing that.  Then added some casual swimming, up to a k at a time.  Later, I joined a gym.  When I started running, I was rubbish at it and puffed like a puffer fish.  But I weighed 61kg or so, and I was fit.  My first half-marathon was a 1:54. Yeah, I took 12 minutes off in that first year of running. But I never got those massive improvements a lot of others get, partly because I started off fairly fit and fast.

But now I am (sort of*) starting from scratch.  I weigh god knows how much.  My abs have been decimated.  My muscles have forgotten what to do.  Jogging at 7:00/k pace for two minutes took it out of me.  That's much slower than my slowest half ironman pace.  It's slower than some of my steep offroad race paces!

Anyway, there's something I find freeing and exciting, rather than frustrating, about starting from scratch.  I get to return to the heady days of seeing results! Of setting and beating (post baby) PBs.  I've been doing this so long, I haven't felt like that in years!

Here's to starting from scratch!

*Of course, I'm still not REALLY starting from scratch.  Sure, it was tough on me to jog 7:00/ks for 2 minutes today, but if I were starting from scratch, I wouldn't have 7 years of running under my belt.  I wouldn't have those 20km runs I was doing a year ago.  But let me have it, ok?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Hot Potato Chip: Week 39

Here's Chip, now better known as Toby, early in the morning on what would have been 39 weeks!

We're now home and settling in slowly.  More to come when the little dude gives me a break...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Hot Potato Chip: Week 38

38 weeks today, and although I'm feeling pretty good, I'm hoping that I only have a couple more of these updates to go!  Chip shows no signs of making an appearance any time soon though...

What we ate: I've been trying to focus on healthy lunches, with a fair degree of success.  Having my fridge and oven to hand means there's no excuse for eating toasted peanut butter sandwiches! My favourite re-discovery has been twice baked potatoes (or kumara) stuffed with cottage cheese, cheddar, veges, and topped with whatever else I have in the fridge.  Today's mexican kumara was particularly scrummy!

How we moved: I've been slowly getting into a maternity leave routine, but we're sharing one car and I'm not as mobile as I once was, so it's not always easy.  Anyhoo:

Tuesday: Rest (much needed)
Wednesday: 40 min swim
Thursday: 45 minute swim; walk to yoga; yoga
Friday: 1:00 walk with a friend
Saturday: Rest (but had quite a big day wandering around Raglan)
Sunday:40 min swim with Phil
Monday: Rest

Where we went: The plan was to join Phil and a friend of ours in Auckland so they could go to Roxette. But when the concert was cancelled, we decided to head to the beach instead, and had a lovely picnic and wander in Raglan.  Bliss.

What we wore: Stripy singlets and shorts. Being at home is bliss.

What we bought/got given: I think we made it a whole week without a purchase.  Wow!  We did a lot of setting up though- Chip's room is nearly done!

What changed: Nuttin' much.

Exciting moments: Putting the bassinet up in our bedroom.  So cute!

What I miss:  Being mobile- I've been carless for a couple of days this week, and I've really noticed my lack of independence.  Today I walked my errands, but it was pretty tiring, and it would have been great to have been able to pop onto my bike, or just to walk into town without it being a big excursion! (we'll have a second car available after the baby comes, it just hasn't been worth it to organise it yet)

And it's about time I put a new belly shot up! (I've been slack taking them, and my 37 week photo was of my bare bump and not for public consumption!) I've been thinking the bump hasn't grown much over the third tri after it's early poppage, but it's plenty big now and has dropped a bit too: 

28 weeks
38 weeks

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Hot Potato Chip: Week 37

A big week for me and Chip- likely to be our biggest week as "one"! Chip is now considered full-term, meaning he or she could join us at any time (I'm not expecting this, though I am starting to doubt that I'll go very late... we'll see).  I also finished work last Thursday, and spent the long weekend feeling a million miles from Waitangi, celebrating Chip's impending arrival and my 30th birthday with a vast array of family and friends! 

What we ate: With a Mexican themed birthday barbecue, helpful guests for the weekend, and a baby shower it was a week of feasting!  Healthiness wise, it could have been a lot worse.  Fortunately summer means delicious fresh fruit and veges, and my family are healthy eaters, so we spent our nights together eating healthified lasagne and pan fried salmon with veges from the garden instead of Chinese takeaways and fish & chips.  The highlight of the baby shower was definitely homemade cinnamon buns, courtesy of my mother and sister.  Phil said they were the best he'd had in New Zealand, which is certainly high praise! Our Mexican menu (both beef and vege fajitas, homemade salsa and guac, black bean salad, and spicy Mexican rice) was a hit with our guests too!

How we moved: Not a lot- finishing work, entertaining guests, and planning what seemed like a zillion occasions meant it was a quiet week exercise-wise.  Tuesday's swim was cut short, thanks to reflux.  The only swim all pregnancy where I haven't made it to 1000m. Yoga was pretty uncomfortable on Thursday, as I brought the wrong yoga pants, and had to wear my work pants instead. I walked with my best friend and her 18 month old to the park on Friday, and paid for it with feet that stayed (badly) swollen all weekend! This coming week will probably be better, as my time is pretty much entirely my own!

Where we went: An emphatic "nowhere".  I barely left the house on Friday, Saturday or Monday, and didn't leave it all on Monday!

What we wore: Jandals.  I crammed my feet into work shoes for a perfunctory couple of hours every day, but was always in jandals by early afternoon (except when meeting clients!)

What we bought/got given: Loads and loads.  It's such a cliche to say it, but I was seriously overwhelmed by the generosity of our friends and family- as well as by their gift giving abilities! I am now feeling much more prepared for Chip's arrival! And a little teary!

What changed: The severe swelling is new.  Luckily, my BP is fine (124/80 today, compared to my pregnancy-usual of 120/80), and I haven't had any protein in my urine, so we're not worried.  I just need to work at keeping my feet elevated. Not easy when I'm also trying to sit forward to encourage Chip to stay anterior. Chip's head is also starting to engage, which is a step in the right direction, but nothing to be particularly excited about!

Exciting moments: My baby shower was just amazing.  It featured a baby triathlon (my team won), and hand decorating a bunch of onesies (amongst other things).  The whole day was wonderfully relaxed, with people coming and going- and made completely stress free thanks to the wonderful help from family and friends, who kept taking over the kitchen!

Race number!

Bike onesie, by my sister

What I miss: Being able to use those wonderful automatic fly spray cannisters.  I'm testing various natural fly solutions, but they're just not the same (and they leave the air smelling of soapy vinegar...)

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Hot Potato Chip: Week 36

Yet another week has flown by, and now I'm in my last week of work, and a week away from full term.  Hopefully Chip's going to stay put a bit after 37 weeks though- much as I'd like to meet it and know it's OK, I'd like it to bake a little more, I'd like to enjoy some of my maternity leave, and we're hoping Phil can get through a couple of big cases at work before rushing to the birthing centre.  So baby, please stay put until a couple of days after your due date, even if crazy Mummy tries to suggest otherwise.

What we ate:  Quick and boring meals, using lots of summer veges.  Pasta, eggs and so on.  The standout meal for the week was last night's: schnitzel, boiled (garden) potatoes, (garden) beans and corn on the cob.  Healthiness, be damned! (but hey, at least the meat has iron). Also, one of our plum trees is fruiting beautifully, and I've been enjoying plenty of those!

How we moved:  Another good, consistent week.  It's great having Phil swimming frequently, as I'll basically go to the pool when he does unless I'm completely exhausted.  I "make" myself do 1k, usually free+pull, then I'm free to putz around with breaststroke, and generally relax.  The water feels wonderful on my swollen feet, and it's a wonderful way to end the day! As well as 3 swims, I squeezed in two evening walks (plus the walk to yoga) and a yoga class.

Where we went: Nowhere.  Dude- I'm 36 weeks pregnant.  Where am I gonna go?
What we wore:  As little as possible.  We've been blessed with a couple of weeks of perfect pregnancy summer weather- crisp and cool mornings with sunny and warm afternoons, but it's still plenty warm for me most of the time.  A little bit of humidity has returned, so it's short summer dresses when I'm hanging out at home!

What we bought/got given:  We finished our baby shopping on Saturday- exchanging a bassinet, and picking up some bits and bobs for the car.   There'll be more before the day- things I don't realise I've forgotten, things I've been waiting until after my baby shower for, and things for the hospital bag.  But as far as my mega baby list goes, we're there!

What changed:  I'm increasingly puffy, but it's still not too bad by pregnant in summer standards! An odd and new side effect of pregnancyis clumsiness.  I drop everything I touch, and each time I'm tempted not to pick it up!

Exciting moments:  None really- this next week is going to be a biggie though!

What I miss: Getting out and enjoying the summer.  I'm so tired and we have so many chores to do over the next few weeks that I've barely seen the beach this summer.  And, in other foods I miss: Subway. Phil and I lived on it pre-preg; it was a post workout staple! If there's a chicken sensation to be had in early March, it may just have to be my first post baby meal!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Hot Potato Chip: Week 35

Another week, another weekly update! Time is flying.  Two weeks to full term.  7 weeks until I think I'm going to meet little Chippo!

What we ate: Watermelon.  Also, lots.  I am ravenous all morning, and much less hungry in the afternoons and evenings.  So I take second breakfast (usually a peanut butter sandwich) and a couple of morning tea options with me to work every day!  We've been getting into the meal planning zone a bit more recently- an important place to get used to, as we'll be living one income soon.  Gulp.

How we moved: I was awesome.  Swims on Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Monday (for a total of 6km), yoga and a walk to and from on Thursday, and an hour long neighbourhood walk on Sunday.  That's about 6 hours total- not bad given that I've been back to full time work.  We had a late night planned on Wednesday, so I decided to be smart and take the night off swimming and have a nap instead.  In the end, that meant I was groggy for our evening out, wide awake when we got home and went to bed, and exhausted on Thursday.  Shoulda just swum!

Where we went: The pub.  Yep, that now gets a special entry! Our local was hosting TVNZ 7's politics show Backbenchers, so we went along to show our support for our preferred party.  It started at 9pm, so was a lateish evening, but lots of fun to get out of the house on a summery night, drink cranberry and soda, and talk about grown up things like bikes and beer.

What we wore: One pair of my maternity togs are nearing the end of their useful life- they should fit, but the waistband on the bottoms has a tendency to flip down, bearing rather too much white, stretch-marked, belly to the good folk of Cambridge. 

What we bought/got given: I got a parcel from BRITT which was just the best thing ever.  Cute blankies and cloths, and the bestest little outfit, including a plaid shirt onesie and Chip's first pair of jeans. Aww! (and a pair of super soft pajama pants, which have put straight into my hospital bag)

What changed: More of the same.  Slowing down. Sleeping a bit less.  Feeling pretty good though- to the extent that one can feel "good" at 35 weeks pregnant.

Exciting moments: Washing the baby clothes.  So cute. The only time I'll probably ever be excited about baby laundry.

What I miss: I miss not worrying.  I've been a super anxious pregnant lady, usually without any particular reason to be. I realise that the worry doesn't end on D-Day, so not sure if this is really an acceptable "miss" or not. Also, sushi. I walked to work on the other side of the road on Monday and caught a whiff of sushi through a vent.  I'd never thought of sushi having a smell, but seriously- this was the best smell ever.  Definitely a contender for my "first meal"!

(Note: the NZ pregnancy guidelines warn pregnant women off all sushi, not just raw fish, so I've been steering completely clear of all my favourite haunts)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Hot Potato Chip: Week 34

It really seems like only yesterday that I was writing about week 33 (though week 32 seems an age ago).  Week 34 was returning to work, being tired, and slowly getting more uncomfortable!

Ready for work at 34 weeks
 What we ate:  I had a reasonably good return to work: lunches with lots of salads (including bits and pieces from the vege garden), lots of lovely summer fruit, and not too much chocolate from the snackbox.  I did, however, underestimate for the first couple of days just how much food I need to get me though a day of work at this stage, and had to keep popping to the convenience store (for cornflakes and tinned fruit- I managed to walk past the chips).  Phil and I also enjoyed a lovely meal out on Saturday night- in the buzzing metropolis of Putaruru.  One of last season's MasterChef finalists has started cooking for a new restaurant in the old hotel there, so we drove out for an earlybird venison dinner (us and the pensioners). 

How we moved: Being back into a routine plus some nice weather was a good combo for me.  I did something every day but Friday, totalling 5:40 of exercise- less than half of a big week for Old Kate, but not bad by my current standards :)  This is how it broke down:

Tuesday: 7km walk along the river path
Wednesday: 30 minute swim
Thursday:  25 minute walk and 1 hour of preggy yoga
Friday: Off
Saturday: 40 minute walk
Sunday: 50 minute walk
Monday: 55 minute swim

Where we went: Putaruru (see above).

What we wore: Work clothes- scraping the bottom of the barrel a bit now, so it's lucky I only have 3 weeks to go!

What we bought/got given: Not much actually, apart from some PJs and things for my hospital bag. I was a bit slack.  But we did a bit more building and organising, and I did a little more list writing so I'm not TOO panicked.  Only about 85% panicked!

What changed: I'm slowing down more, and struggling a lot more with sleep since last week.  I also may be having more braxton hicks- but it's not always easy to tell the difference between them and some of Chip's big press-y movements!  And lastly, my feet have grown at least half a size.  It's not just swelling (though that's started too)- the hormone relaxin causes the ligaments all over the body to, well, relax.  This includes the ligaments holding all the foot bones together.  Relaxed ligaments = spreading feet.  And it's permanent!  Not what this already wide-footed girl wants to hear!

Exciting moments: It was actually a bit of a stressful week. Nothing major, but I worried about things, struggled to get back into work, and had a couple of minor sads.  But the first of my February Forum babies was born, as well as the first two of my ante-natal babies! The list of babies between now and Chip is getting ever shorter!

What I miss: Sleeping on my back.  And being able to shave my legs/tie my shoes.

Monday, January 16, 2012

11 things about me

I'm sitting on the couch trying to find more ways to justify staying on the couch- I'm not particularly tired, just particularly lazy! So I was stoked when I saw that Britt had tagged me- I'm it, which means I have to post!

So, here goes:


[01.] You must post the rules.
[02.] Post eleven fun facts about yourself on the blog post.
[03.] Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post, and then create eleven new questions to ask the people you’ve tagged.
[04.] Tag eleven people and link them on your post
[05.] Let them know you’ve tagged them!
11 things about me:
1. It took me a year or two of cycling to learn to drink on the bike.
2. If I wasn't a triathlete I'd want to be a rower.  Or a cross-fitter.
3. Despite what all the diet books tell me, I firmly believe that some things are just better with a bit of butter.  Scones.  Popcorn. Jam toast. 
4. I'm addicted to Child of Our Time.
5. I am a real old stick in the mud when it comes to music.  I frequently discover a "new" song, only to find out it's 5 years old and horrifically overplayed.  And you will often hear me saying "Oh, is this that song from Glee?"
6. I have no idea at ALL how to garden.  This coupled with my black thumbs is a bad combination.
7. I can read (most) books at least three times.
8. I'm not a pet person.  I don't dislike animals- I quite like them.  But I've never truly loved a pet, and have no burning desire to get one.  This makes me feel like a bad person, but I can assure you I'm nice :)
9. I have wanted to go to Canada since I was about 5 years old.
10. I took Latin throughout all of high school. It comes in handy occasionally in European countries and pub quizzes.  And once I translated a Latin maxim that came up in a legal text without having to check the footnote.
11. I tend to be That Girl who Hogs the Singstar Mic.
Britt's questions for me:
1. Do you floss? If not, do you lie to your hygienist about it? Yes (in part thanks to Britt)!  But before I was a good girl, I stretched the truth on occasion.  
2. It’s Friday night. What would you love to be doing? I would love to be out for (quiet) drinks with a group of girlfriends.
3. Favourite movie of all time? The Sound of Music
4. Do you remember your dreams? Maybe once a month, on average
5. What’s the worst pick up line you’ve ever heard? I've never really had one used on me (*shame*).  Always liked "seen any seagulls lately?" "how about a shag?" though!
6. If you won the lottery would you quit your job? Yes.  I thoroughly enjoy my job, but we're about to have a baby, and I would love the financial freedom to stay home for longer.
7. Do you like mitts or gloves better? Gloves.
8. Do you use the library? Yes- I probably read 50+ books a year and buy about 2?
9. Would you rather travel to the future or the past? Future- nothing I'm particularly interested in seeing for real at the moment.
10. How much is too much to spend on a pair of jeans? Shoes? $200 would be my absolute limit for jeans, though I've probably never spent more than $160, and I usually buy the $60 chain store ones.  I'm going to treat "shoes" as normal shoes, not including specialty or sports shoes, or boots.  In that case, I'd also say about $200 as my limit, again with the most I've spent being about $180.  What's "too much" is a tricky one- I try very hard not to judge how people spend their money- but I'd probably start rolling my eyes a little north of the $300 mark.
11. Favourite song of the day? See #5 in my 11 things! My song of the moment is The Carpenters' Top of the World, cos I'm trying to make it my "Baby Theme Tune."  Oh, and I've also been playing "Life's a Happy Song" from the Muppets over and over again.  So much delightfulness!
My questions for you:  
1. Where do you sit when you blog?
2. What's your hot drink of choice?
3. When did you get your driver's licence?
4. Which toiletries are you "brand loyal" in relation to?
5. What accounts for the biggest proportion of your grocery budget?
6. Are there any authors whose books you will automatically buy?  If so, who?
7. Do you still read the paper newspaper?
8. Be honest- do you like McDonalds?
9. Do you prefer crosswords or sudoku? Or do you hate 'em both?
10. What is your least favourite household chore?
11. If I told you my birthday, could you tell me my star sign?

I tag Lucinda, Casie, Liz, Angela and anyone else who wants to play!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Hot Potato Chip: Week 33

It appears that this blog has officially become a "Chip: Weekly Updates" blog.  Sorry about that, folks, but I'm not exactly doing a lot in the way of triathlon at the moment...

Week 33 was our last week of holiday. We got home from our trip away late in Week 32, and had most of a week to potter around before heading away again for Phil to race.  It was good to have a few solid days at home to cook a freezer full of meals (seriously- I think we have 30 meals in there?), build a little bit of baby furniture and pretend to do some work in our garden...

What we ate:  I craved healthiness after our holiday indulgences, but didn't always do the best job of making good choices; and we were so busy feeding Future Kate and Future Phil that we didn't always pay quite enough attention to feeding Present Kate and Present Phil!

How we moved: I did a lot, but didn't do very much in the way of deliberate "exercise".  I think I ended up at one walk and two swims for the week. Plus a quickie swim in Pilot Bay.  But I also spent two solid days cooking, an afternoon in a hot garden, and a long morning spectating at a half ironman.  Given how much those things take it out of me nowadays, I'm not beating myself up for not doing more workout-workouts. Hopefully I'll do a little more this week, now that I'm back at work!

Where we went: Tauranga for Phil's half ironman.  Just over a 24 hour trip in total, and possibly a little too tiring for this gigantosaur, especially with the 3:30am wake up call! 

What we wore: Slouchy, round the home, kinda stuff.  Trackies, stretchy cotton dresses.  Old baggy t-shirts.  It was nice not to have to get properly dressed for a few days!   But then on Monday I had to put on work clothes again.  And learned that, sadly, my proper work shoes are now too small (pregnancy can cause your feet to go up a full shoe size.  Permanently).

What we bought/got given: Loads! I had a bit of a panic attack about being behind the 8-ball and went on a bit of a purchasing frenzy.  Baby clothes, feeding, changing and sleeping accessories.  Bassinet and cot mattresses and linens.  And some of the delightful things I need to put in my hospital bag for me!

What changed: Chip has moved from my right side to my left, which is good news for labour if Chip stays that way.  Clever baby! Other than that, not a lot has changed- I feel much the same as last week.  Tired, slow but not too bad.
Exciting moments: Clearing out the baby's room and building the cot.  The nursery is far from "done" (and we're really not "doing" much... it won't surprise you to learn that I'm not the sewing acres of bunting and painting the walls type...), but it gives both of us a warm feeling inside when we walk past and see the cot in there.  We also passed the one month til full term (37 weeks) point- and it's 4 weeks til full-term today! 

What I miss: Being able to shop for an afternoon without multiple loo stops and without getting sore feet after an hour or so!

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Hot Potato Chip: Week 32

What we ate: Sweetcorn and stone fruit! The next phase of summer food is well and truly upon us.

How we moved: Wellington was good motivation to exercise, even in the rain.  I missed my old favourite pools!

Tuesday: Rest (travel)
Wednesday: 45 min (hilly) walk
Thursday: 1hr (waterfront) walk
Friday: 50 min swim
Saturday: 50 min swim
Sunday: Rest (travel)
Monday: Rest

Where we went:  Wellington.  I'm sure the number of visits I've made while pregnant (this was #4) will help Chip recognise his or her true home town.  Right?

What we wore: Started off the week in lovely summer dresses and jandals (thank you, Glassons).  Finished it in jeans, wishing I had brought a jacket!

What we bought/got given: Lovely books.  Thank you lovely friends!  I spent yesterday mucking around in Chip's room realising just how much more we need to get. Ugh!

What changed: Chip has GROWN and is making me much less comfortable!  Finding a comfy sitting position can be tricky.  Finding a comfy sleeping position is damn near impossible!

Exciting moments: We passed the "2 months to go" milestone (well, in theory.  I suspect Chip will NOT be here 2 months from now), and entered Chip's birth year.  Woo!

What I miss:   Running.  Walking just isn't the same- especially in the rain!