I’ve had a list of names for my future child since I was a kid myself. What’s funny is that once I was pregnant at 31, most of the names on my list changed. (Part of this is due to David and I being teachers. Certain names are an automatic no.) We didn’t want to find out the sex of the baby until s/he was born, so we created two lists. We haven’t shared those lists with anyone yet because we aren’t sure if our family will grow in the future or not, so we are keeping those lists private. I also wanted to make sure we had a list so I wouldn’t do something drastic in a time of emotional (and drug) overload. I told David if I asked for a name other than what was on one of our lists, to wait a while before committing, ha!
Oliver made the list of boy names, but Olivia was not on our list of girl names. Several people have asked if we just chose a name that could go either way since we didn’t know the sex. Oliver felt more right on the list so it stayed. I love the name Olivia, but it didn’t make the cut. There are meanings behind every name on our list and I thought I would share how we came up with Oliver.
It will come to no surprise that some of the names on the list are Disney inspired in some way. When we were brainstorming and looking at lists, we came across the name Oliver. Of course I immediately thought of one of my favorite childhood movies, Oliver and Company.
We let the name sink in for a while and then we felt like the name was meant to be on our list. Oliver is an orange tabby cat that lives in New York City. Why is this important? We used to have an orange tabby cat that passed away a few months before I got pregnant with Oliver. (And now Oliver has ZaZu’s chair in his room!) I ran the NYC Marathon with the hopes of achieving a certain time goal that was my, “pre-motherhood marathon” goal time. I knew after having a child, training and running marathons might not be about time at first so I wanted to give my all to see what I could do. I finished with minutes to spare under my goal. NYC is a special place, but I feel a closeness to the city now that I accomplished a dream there and felt it was one last “sign” that I was about to become a mother.
I haven’t created a blog post yet about the first few days of Oliver’s life, so some of this will likely be repeated later. But in short, Oliver was in the NICU for a couple of days and I had a hard time coming out of the medicine. David and I did not want to name our child until both of us got to hold him. I didn’t get to hold my son for several hours after he was born, so he didn’t get a name immediately. (Which drove the birth certificate lady in the hospital nuts, but come on!)
Below you can watch the moment Oliver received his name! His middle name is Robert, named after two of my grandfathers. I’m sad Oliver won’t ever get to meet them, but we look forward to telling him about them.
I want to start by saying we are very, very lucky and blessed to be Oliver’s parents. I am writing this from my perspective as a first-time mom. It has taken almost 8 months for me to begin this post because I’ve had a much harder time handling Oliver’s arrival and the first few months of his life than I could have anticipated. Our story is “not that bad” compared to some, I realize that, but for first timers, it hit us (mostly me) harder than I could have imagined. I think that’s why I’ve had a hard time opening up about it. I know so many people have had harder times with their pregnancies and deliveries that I felt like I would be “complaining” to share our story. After reaching out to a few friends and reading some articles, I realized that I’m okay in my emotions and thoughts surrounding Oliver’s birth. In hindsight, I see how much we have learned about life and ourselves. We are forever grateful to the hospital staff. They were truly incredible and I hope to deliver at the same hospital if a second child is in our future.
Oliver was due on September 11, 2016, but didn’t make his arrival until September 20th. Leading up to his birth, I just “knew” he would be early. I think I was stressed about him arriving early due to our schedules and a house emergency. I also had in my head that I would go into labor naturally and able to give birth without an epidural, with the help of David and a friend serving as an additional coach. I don’t have any great reasons for wanting to try to give birth without the epidural, it was just on my heart. I wasn’t opposed to getting one if I really got to a point where I felt like I needed it, but I made plans with my coaches to help me through it. David is a good coach, but I knew his emotions would step in once I was in a lot of pain so I added my friend to also serve as a coach. She has given birth (twice) before too, and is a runner. I felt like it was a good combination to help me towards my goals.
Leading up to Oliver’s birth, I had weekly appointments with my doctor. I never dilated or showed any signs that I was going to go into labor. My doctor reassured me that sometimes it just randomly happens and the checks don’t mean much either way. Well, I made it to 40 weeks and my doctor didn’t want to go past 42 weeks so we scheduled an induction. It was basically “which day of the week do you want to give birth?” Ha! Since David was in the middle of marching band, we decided earlier in the week would be better so we had at least a week and a half before he had his next contest. The earliest opening the hospital had was to be checked in at midnight on September 20, 2016, so that’s what we did. The weekend before our scheduled induction, we tried most of the “sure ways to go into labor” and Oliver just showed that he was very comfy inside my belly! Everyone says that your birth plan won’t go according to plan so I convinced myself that I didn’t have a plan, but I guess I did without even trying. From friend recommendations, I knew my chances of needing surgery would go up since I was being induced and I knew it was a possibility, but I don’t think I thought it would happen. I also told myself that since I was being induced, I was going to have an epidural much sooner than I would have if I’d gone into labor on my own.
I decided to go ahead and go to work on Monday, September 19th. I felt like the entire month of September I was working on completely random short-term projects at work because I could be absent at any given time. I could have taken the day off, but I knew I would have just been a nervous wreck at home and I would much rather save that time for when my sweet baby would be here. We decided to only tell our closest friends and family that I was being induced. Sometimes the process can take a while so we didn’t want to post about it on social media and cause worry if they didn’t hear from us. (And boy did the process take a while!) I followed my instructions to not eat after 9pm (which ended up meaning a LONG time without food, but more about that later) and calling ahead of time to let the labor and delivery nurses know that I was still planning on coming in at midnight. My nerves started to really hit me at this point. I just called to check-in to have a baby! OMG!
At first, I was very shy about everything. I was worried about things like my gown opening for the nurse to see. That changed within a few hours, ha! After using the restroom, they began the inducing process. Once I was hooked up to the monitors, we realized I was already having contractions, but I had no idea! Crazy! I had to stay still for two hours for the process to start correctly. Since I was also on fluids, you better believe I was counting down every second of those two hours. I had to go to the bathroom so much during this time!
Later in the morning, my doctor visited and it was time to start the Pitocin. At first, it was fine. I could gradually feel things but very manageable. The Pitocin was then increased, a little too much too, and I was barely able to catch my breath. And I really wasn’t able to relax for the exams to check if anything was happening. (By the way, it took a while for things to start happening!) I decided it was time to go ahead and get the Epidural to help me relax, and I already gave up the idea I could do it without medication when I had to be induced.
I was very nervous about getting the Epidural. Of course I don’t know anyone that was experienced a major complication with one, so what if that meant I was going to be one with a complication?! I was also nervous about David because he really doesn’t like needles. We got through it okay – even with someone coming in to talk to the anesthesiologist while she was working on me!
As soon as the Epidural started full working, we began moving me around in different positions to see if I would progress at all. The nurses used a peanut ball, which proved to be quite humorous at times. At one point, David helped the nurse reposition me and my leg ended up dropping. Of course, I couldn’t feel my leg so I thought the bottom part of the bed fell…nope, just my leg!
While I know the Epidural helped my labor, it was very hard to not feel like I had any control over my body. It was the weirdest experience to see my legs being moved but I could not feel them at ALL. The doctor breaking my water was another weird experience. It seemed like I felt pressure being released, but had no idea that I was soaked and was shocked to see blood.
In the early afternoon, I jumped in progress fairly quickly, so the nurse told me to call my friend that was going to take pictures and we can began practice pushes.
I tried any and everything I could with multiple nurses, and the baby wasn’t making much progress at all. At one point, the nurses did tell me that the baby had dark hair and an ear. 🙂 I was so out of it, though, it took me a few contractions before I realized they were talking about MY baby! I began to get very frustrated as we continued pushing. I really was trying my hardest, but I could not feel anything and barely knew the difference between the good pushes and the bad pushes. I kept reminding myself (and everyone around me) that I have finished 11 marathons, SURELY I could do this. After three hours of pushing, we talked with my doctor.
At this point, I was emotionally and physically exhausted. I begged David to make a decision regarding trying to push longer or just go to surgery. He was able to get me to calm down a bit and we decided together to just go to surgery since my Epidural was starting to wear off and I couldn’t handle the pain very well. The decision was made, I was to have a c-section. It wasn’t an emergency situation, but it wasn’t planned at all. I’ve never really had a surgery before, and I can’t explain my feelings as the prep started. They had to wheel me down without David. He stayed in the room to gather our belongings.
They wheeled me down to the surgery room and I felt like it was a complete out of body experience. I couldn’t grasp everything that was happening. I remember stressing to the anesthesiologist that I was worried about the drugs not working because when I get dental work done they always have to give me one or two extra shots to numb my mouth. He reassured me I would be okay and gave me multiple “tests” to make sure I wouldn’t feel anything. I remember my body going numb in another way. I also couldn’t stop shaking. I wasn’t cold, but the shaking was uncontrollable, which they said was normal. Can’t Stop the Feeling! played in the surgery room during prep, and it put me at peace that everything was going to be okay. During my pregnancy, I told the baby that Can’t Stop the Feeling! was “our” song since it was so popular that summer and it described how I felt anxiously awaiting the arrival of my baby.
While I waited for David to arrive, a former student and now friend of mine, was able to scrub in for the surgery since she was a labor and delivery nurse. I will never forget her bending down, brushing the hair out of my face, and asking if I was nervous. She gave me all the reassurance I needed in that moment. I was very excited but also very scared at that time. (Thank you, Robin!)
David arrived and then the doctor entered shortly after. I started to feel pressure, and again, it’s hard to exactly describe what was happening. I couldn’t see the details exactly and I felt “out of it.” I’ve heard the surgery to get the baby out hardly takes any time, and I remember thinking it was taking longer than I expected to meet our baby. The next thing I know, my doctor was practically on top of me trying to get the baby. Since I had been pushing for three hours, Oliver was partially in the birth canal. Our doctor was amazing and able to pull Oliver out safely, even though it was trickier than a planned c-section. Robin saw Oliver as he was being born and noticed that his fist was beside his head. This is the explanation as to why I couldn’t push Oliver out . . . and he still puts his fist beside his head today!
“It’s a boy!” I remember the doctor saying and then I got to see my baby boy for the first time. Of course I was overcome with emotion. It was a special moment when I first looked at David after seeing our son for the first time. I remember an overwhelming feeling of something being wrong, I realized I hadn’t heard our baby cry yet. I turned my head to David and started asking over and over if something was wrong. He was trying to make sense of the situation and keep me calm and I finally said, “David, we should hear his cry by now!” Then out of the corner of my eye I could see them bring in what looked like an incubator for a mediflight. I began to really freak out. We FINALLY heard his cry a minute and a half after he was born. The LONGEST minute and a half of our lives! We found out later that Oliver scored a 2 on his 1-minute Apgar test, but later went to a 9 on his 5-minute test.
Oliver was taken to the NICU shortly after our family photo was taken and I went to recovery. The first few days, specifically the first 24 hours, of Oliver’s life were some of the hardest days I’ve ever lived through. My plan is to write about that in another post. Again, I want to say how well the doctors, nurses, and staff took care of us and our family. The recovery process has been much harder than I could have anticipated. Even though I thought I was prepared for every situation, that minute and a half that I thought something was wrong with our baby stung for a long time after the fact. I also didn’t realize that not having that instant skin-to-skin moment and picture would break my heart. (I still can’t watch this Pampers commercial without crying.) He’s a happy, thriving baby now. I still want to write about my journey to this point to help myself heal, and maybe someone else will be helped too knowing they aren’t alone!
Thank goodness for NYC adrenaline! It got me through day 2! My luggage was supposed to arrive first at 11pm, then 3am, then 6am, so I didn’t sleep very well in fear that I wouldn’t hear the call that my luggage had arrived. We got up early to head for the TODAY show! (My luggage was at the hotel by time we got back, yay!) We were looking forward to this TODAY show because it was the annual Halloween show!
After the TODAY show, I picked up my luggage and then Deanna and I went for our last run before the big day on Sunday! And of course, we went to Central Park! The day was absolutely beautiful, and NYC actually gets a fall season, so the trees were especially gorgeous! I ran a 5k with a smile on my face the entire time, such a dream come true!
After we completed our run, we made our way to the TCS NYC Marathon finish line! A little more than 48 hours later, we would both be crossing that line as NYC Marathon Finishers!
After our run, we headed back to our hotel to get ready for the rest of our day!
My friend, Stephanie, lives in NYC, and was around when I was in town so we met up! She treated me to some delicious tea while we had a chance to catch up on the last 8 years. Stephanie and I went to OCU together, where SAI brought us together. This was one of the highlights of my weekend! Stephanie is a beacon of light and getting to spend a little time with her was encouraging as I headed into marathon weekend!
Deanna and I were lucky to be one of the few Team for Kids runners that were able to participate in the NYC Marathon Opening Ceremonies. We got to meet other participants that fundraised and trained at the same time we put in our efforts. It was neat to visit with first-timers as well as the veteran Team for Kids runners.
Before the ceremony officially started, we were delightfully surprised with getting to meet kids that have directly benefited from our fundraising efforts. (All the feels, y’all!!)
The opening ceremonies began with Team for Kids as we marched around the NYC Marathon finish line, and then a group from every country represented in the marathon followed. Each group carried their country’s flag, some of each group dressed in their traditional attire, and most groups showed off some musical and/or dancing traditions. WOW! It was incredible!
So, Deanna and I were hungry so we decided to leave the opening ceremonies before they were officially over. (And we were trying to limit the amount of time on our feet!) As we were leaving the grandstand, I spotted my good friend Meb. Just like when I met him in July, I was starstruck! I’m sure Deanna thought I was crazy, all I could say was, “Meb, Meb, Meb, Meb,” as I poked her shoulder to get her attention.
Meb went to take center stage and we left for dinner! We met up with Deanna’s husband, her daughter, and her daughter’s friend. (Again, have I mentioned how cool it was to travel with real New Yorkers?!) We ate at a wonderful meatball restaurant, they even encouraged marathon runners to eat there! (I didn’t mention I was a Royals fan while I was there…)
After dinner, it was bed time! Friday night was our night to sleep because on Saturday night our excitement would keep us up! (Okay, and the fear that we would miss all the alarms and wake-up call with the time change!)
Oh my goodness, so it’s been way too long since I’ve updated my blog! I get so worried that every blog post has to be perfect, when in reality I need to just write so here goes…
(I still will update with my training posts, but for now, I am going to talk about NYC!) 🙂
The start of day 1! Obviously I was looking forward to this trip. I love to travel, and I love weekends that I get to be surrounded by people from all walks of life coming together for one event. I have previously been to NYC twice, once on a personal trip and once on a band trip. I have enjoyed my time in NYC in my past two visits, but it was never a place I loved…until this trip.
While I was happy to be in NYC, shortly after taking this pic I found out that my luggage was not in NYC with me. Luckily, I packed all of my running gear in my carry-on, so I wasn’t too stressed. (And David helped me track everything while I was out enjoying NYC!)
After taking care of all the paperwork for lost luggage, I was ready to meet my friend, Deanna, at the hotel so we could get to the expo! I used Uber for the first time and then Deanna and I made our way to the expo! (BTW, it was super nice getting to travel with a native New Yorker!)
Of course I was really excited for this opportunity to run the NYC Marathon, but I was also extremely happy for Deanna as she was running her FIRST full marathon! Bib pick-up was very easy! Since we were with Team for Kids, we walked right up and got our bibs. This was the first marathon expo where I didn’t feel like I was going to throw-up the entire time because of nerves. At the time I was worried that I wasn’t excited, or maybe since we went to the expo on Thursday instead of the day before it hadn’t hit me yet, but as the weekend went on, I realized I was just confident in my training, and finally understood that whatever happens on race day, happens. I accomplished 18 weeks of training and raised money for an incredible organization…no matter my finishing time, I felt like I had made a difference!
After getting back to the hotel, Deanna and I went out for dinner at a local diner. I was already feeling the NYC love.
I slept in so only managed to get in 5 miles instead of my planned 7 so I could get to my hair appointment in time! After being featured on Runkeeper for sharing my goal, they sent me one of their new shirts! During my run I wore my old Runkeeper shirt, and wore my new shirt during the day!
When I came home I had no idea it would be my last time to return home to my kitty, ZaZu. Later that day we had to say goodbye to our buddy. 😦 Another blog post on another day to write it all out, but I wanted to share one of the last pictures I took of ZaZu. Already miss him so much!
Day 7, Sunday, August 30th: 14 miles
Today was just mostly a healing run for me. Heart was still very heavy after the loss of ZaZu. Jamie ran with me for the first 11 miles, and then I ran the final 3 alone with David checking on me. My heart hurts, but running helps me feel at peace.
Motivation hasn’t come easy this week, and today I didn’t have any plans to meet anyone so I ended up sleeping in waaaaay too late. The highlight of my run was running by a Pride of Oklahoma rehearsal – I got my own pep rally for the middle of my run! The weather was also crazy. It started out very hot, sunny, and humid. As you can see below, clouds moved in. I called David and he said only light showers were in the area. I could feel the cold air blowing in, but only felt sprinkles. By time I got to mile 6.5, the hot sun returned!
Well, today was not good for me. My motivation was low, and we started running around 8 AM to wait out storms in the area. The heat didn’t seem to really bother me overall, I just had a bad attitude. But, even though I shed some tears, I didn’t give up and got in all of my miles!
Since I wasn’t super stressed about time this morning (and David was close by if I needed to call in case of an emergency!), I did a little exploring. I found a beautiful park close to our house! It will be nice to run over there for shorter runs!
Workout summary: ran 3.12 miles; avg. 11:27/mile; 11:38 / 11:57 / 10:52 / 10:23 for .12.
Day 5, Friday, August 7th: rest day
Today was hardly a “rest” day since we had our wedding reception, but it was an unbelievably amazing day!! (More pictures to come in another blog post!)
Day 6, Saturday, August 8th: 9 miles
I knew I would be exhausted after the wedding reception, so Jamie was a real champ to take it easy on the pace! We saw some Sooner Football, and David and his sister made a wonderful SAG wagon!
I switched the days for my long run and my pace run thinking the extra day of rest would help . . . well, I was still exhausted from the wedding reception, so we started way late and race pace did not happen!
Since I couldn’t get in my long run, I took off a few morning hours of work to get the miles done…and I came home to see what the Jamba Juice Fairy (DAVID!!) left me!!! This was such a wonderful surprise after my first double digit training run for NYC!
Today I helped David unload all of Purcell NEW percussion equipment!
Day 3: Wednesday, July 29th: 5 miles
Workout summary: ran 5.05 miles; avg pace 11:11/mile; 11:49 / 11:19 / 11:29 / 11:00 / 10:23.
Day 4, Thursday, July 30th: 3 miles
This was also my last run for the month of July. My total mileage was 101(.5) miles!! I am so happy to reach 100 miles in a month again, and really proud of myself that the longest run was 10 miles…I’m running more frequently!
Day 5, Friday, July 31st: rest day
David and I were fortunate enough to travel to Lawton to see our friend Joe graduate from Army BCT school!
Workout summary: hung out with awesome runner friends!
Day 6, Saturday, August 1st: 6 miles
Great to start to August with a run with Jamie in Norman!
Workout summary: ran 6.01 miles; avg pace 11:47 mile; 11:50 / 11:37 / 11:34 / 12:04 / 11:35 / 12:04.
Day 7, Sunday, August 2nd: 12 miles
Fun run in Norman with several friends! (Even Stephanie in her ORANGE!)