Natalie’s Birth Story

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After about a month of writing this in pieces when I had a few moments, finally it’s done! The story of Natalie’s birth…

It’s around 10 am on July 1st and my phone is buzzing on the kitchen counter.

“Hi, I’m calling to confirm your induction of labor for July 9th.”
In case I didn’t go into labor by 41 weeks, my doctor recommended that I schedule an induction. But no… my doctor said the 5th.
“Well we’re backed up because of the holiday weekend so our first opening is the 9th.”

I was pissed. Irrationally so (my pregnancy hormones got me going). I called Pete and explained how upset I was. I brought him coffee at work and actually cried about it. He agreed to leave work early and come with me to my check up that afternoon. So I left, went to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription (and cried there too for some reason). Then I took Emmaline to get some frozen yogurt (not knowing this would be our last “date” before the arrival of her little sister).

Afterwards I drove back to pick up Pete and we got to the doctor’s office around 2:30 pm. Because of the upcoming holiday, this appointment was with a different doctor than I usually see. He had more questions than usual, which was fine. I voiced my concerns. Apparently one of my answers sent up a red flag, though. When they asked if I had felt the baby move today, I said yes… But not nearly as much as usual. I didn’t think that my answer would be the defining moment that it was… but I guess they take those comments seriously. Since I was already past my due date and experiencing decreased fetal movement, there was a good chance I would have to be induced that day.

Normally they would have recommended that I get a non-stress test in the office, but because of the holiday (AGAIN… see a pattern here?) they didn’t have any appointments available so they sent me over to the hospital. To labor and delivery.

I made a few phone calls and got my sis to agree to watch Emmaline. After they set me up in an antepartum room for some tests, Pete left to take Emma home. There was a lot of waiting around. Probably 3 hours or so until they moved me to a labor and delivery room to deliver the news (I mean, I figured once they moved me that they were going to suggest starting the induction process). The baby looked fine, but my BP (which had been low for the entire pregnancy) had suddenly spiked. I wouldn’t need the dreaded CRB or Foley catheter balloon, just pitocin. So I signed the paperwork and got hooked up and ready to go.

When I wrote Emmaline’s birth story, I left out a lot of the dirty details. I promise not to be graphic here, but I wanted to share some of what I experienced for anyone who is facing an induction with pitocin (because everyone makes it out to be such a terrible thing). Skip this paragraph if you’re not comfortable reading about this. With Emma, my cervix wasn’t “ready” so the doctors used a 12 hour Foley balloon before they started pitocin. This time my cervix was considered “favorable” so I didn’t need the balloon. At around 7 pm they started the drip (pitocin is synthetic oxytocin- a hormone that your body normally produces during labor) at 1 milliunit/min and increased it by 1 every half hour. The goal was to have my contractions coming every 2 minutes or so.

By 10:30 pm my pitocin drip was up to 6 and I was starting to feel extremely uncomfortable. The contractions were about every 2 minutes and getting stronger. I had already talked to anesthesia earlier and signed off on an epidural, so all I needed to do was make a phone call. The procedure itself wasn’t painful at all and soon I was numb and feeling much better. I had to lay on my left side for awhile because the medicine had spread mostly to my right side first.

My parents showed up around midnight for company, but after about an hour I started to get tired. The doctor checked me and I hadn’t made any progress, so anticipating another long labor like Emmaline’s I decided to send my parents home so I could try to get a little sleep. The nurses came in to help roll me on my right side and I asked for an Italian ice.

Just as I finished my snack… I started to feel contractions coming every few minutes but on my left side only. Then they continued to get stronger so I knew I wasn’t imagining it. I called in the nurse, and she rushed to help me; first she rotated me back on my left side and, when that didn’t work, she called the anesthesiologist to give me a bolus of medicine. The doctor checked me again and I had progressed some, to 5cm ( I had been at 3cm since my appt earlier in the day).
But the contractions continued to get stronger… And then I started to involuntarily shake, which I remembered happening when we were getting close to the end last time. The doctor came in to check me again… All of a sudden I was 9cm and my water broke (which explained the shaking). And then she said,
“I want you to concentrate on NOT pushing right now, ok?”

Then she left, and there was a lot of scurrying and putting on scrubs and wheeling carts around. I wasn’t feeling so hot… Like I wasn’t sure about the whole “NOT pushing” comment. I must have looked pretty rough because someone asked if I was ok and I responded something like “not really” and they went to get a doctor again.
“Yes, she’s at 10 and plus 2.” Just like that, suddenly it was go time. Stirrups and all that business. And then a few minutes later, Natalie was born!

Natalie Abigail- 6 lbs 3 oz, 19.5 inches... Born July 2nd at 2:25 am

Natalie Abigail- 6 lbs 3 oz, 19.5 inches… Born July 2nd at 2:25 am

So that’s about it. A much friendlier 7 hours versus 28 last time. I have to say (again) that L&D nurses are incredible. I’ve been feeling good recovery-wise and am looking forward to getting my running game back. I registered for a few races this fall (more on that later). Also [disclaimer], if anything I wrote above is medically inaccurate… I’m not a doctor.

Oh, Baby…

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Yep. The time is drawing near. Of course I haven’t written in awhile because this is supposed to be a running blog and I haven’t been running much at all.

I’m running (probably mostly walking… err waddling) the OK 5k this weekend. It’s one of my favorite races and I’m still the course record holder there after all these years so I plan on showing my face and hopefully making it across the finish line without going into labor! Thankfully it’s only 3 miles so we should be fine (okay, that’s not going to actually happen… although it would make for a good story!)

I did sign up for a training program put together by my high school coach (for after the baby is born and I’m cleared to run). I had already signed up for a half marathon here in Albany this fall, so I think it will be just what I need to get myself motivated again. I’ve been perfectly happy coaching myself for awhile, but I remember how I felt trying to start up running after Emma was born and it was HARD. If it all goes well, and I don’t get kicked out or something, I may continue with it for my Boston training. But… I am getting ahead of myself.

So, honestly I’m not feeling great lately because my stomach has shrunk to a very small size (not my belly, my actual stomach… where the food is supposed to go). I was up all last night feeling sick, so Emmaline and I took a trip to get smoothies this afternoon at a yoga studio/juice bar nearby called All Good Things (which is where the photo above was taken). I think that seems to have helped for now, but I know I’m probably not going to feel 100% again for a few weeks. So, until then I’ll be laying low and snuggling with my little cutie pie (and watching a lot of Pixar movies in the afternoons). If anyone wants to bring me a smoothie, I won’t turn you down.

‘Til next time.

Cinco de Mayo (and April winners)

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Cinco de Mayo without margaritas is like… the saddest holiday. But, I’ve made it through once and I’ll make it again. Guess I’ll just have to make up for it with some extra guacamole.

Emmaline is saying… “outside”… she always wants to go outside. It’s fun trying to type with a toddler on your lap.

So, how am I celebrating Cinco de Mayo? First, I’m headed to my first ever appointment with a chiropractor. These extra 25 lbs have been doing a number on my lower back and sacrum lately, and with my history of that sacral stress reaction last year, I don’t want to take any risks.

Next, I’m going to take Emmaline and Bella for a walk. My workouts have been a little scattered, but most afternoons I’ve been able to at least walk 2-2.5 miles. I’ve had a few decent (but short) runs lately, but I’ve learned to be flexible and just do what feels comfortable. We have HUGE hills in my neighborhood, so I’m usually okay to run the flatter sections and walk the very steep uphill/downhill sections. My neighbors probably think I’m crazy. I’ve gotten a few comments like, “Wow, you really have your hands full!” since my daily workouts involve pushing a stroller and hanging onto a dog leash, and Bella is constantly pulling me in different directions.

And finally, I’m going to make a Mexican feast that I found on Pinterest (that will likely not turn out as perfect as the photos, but there’s no harm in trying). I won’t be drinking a margarita but I’ve already put in a request for one when we get home from the hospital. Only 7 and a half (yes, I’m counting halves) weeks until my due date!

Here are the winners for my April Giveaway!
Multi-function Eye Cream- Anne MacKay
Amp MD Roller System- Joanne Pasquale
Microdermabrasion Paste- Kristyn Suarez
Essentials Body Lotion- Anita Qualter

I’ve already sent the winners notifications- congratulations!!

So tell me… what are you doing to celebrate Cinco de Mayo?

April Giveaway

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I can’t believe this, but I have never, ever done a giveaway on my blog. I think that means I’m not even a blogger yet. So let’s get this going!

Awhile ago I mentioned that I had started a business venture with Rodan and Fields, a new skin care line from the doctors who created Proactiv. (If you want to read more about why I started this business and how it relates to running, here it is: Running, pregnancy, and skin care)

Anyway, I have a few giveaways on my Facebook page that I wanted to share with you all. So here we go… first giveaway!

I’m raffling off a Multi-Function Eye Cream ($60 value).

Eye cream giveaway

Eye cream before and after

Here are the rules:
-All new Preferred Customers in the month of April will be entered in the drawing (this applies to anyone who has already made a purchase this month… I got ya covered)
-Anyone who sends me a referral for a new Preferred Customer will also be entered
-Anyone who shares this blog post on Twitter- make sure you tag me (@miss_mollie) when you share!
-Anyone who shares this blog post on Facebook- make sure you tag me on Facebook as well

But wait… there’s more! I’m also sponsoring a giveaway with my Rodan and Fields team worth over $300!

There will be 3 winners for the following Prizes:
*Amp MD System (with 60 night serum capsules)

*Microdermabrasion Paste

Microderm Paste

*Essentials Moisturizer

Essentials Moisturizer

Here are the rules:
-All new Preferred Customers in the month of April will be entered in the drawing (I’ve already entered you in the drawing if you made a purchase in April)
-Anyone who sends me a referral for a new Preferred Customer will be entered in the drawing as well!

If you have any questions about the giveaway or about the products, send ’em my way. The drawing will take place at the end of April, so you have until the 30th to get your entries in!

Moving forward, moving back…

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The process of moving has taken up basically all of my brain power for the past two weeks. I’m exhausted. I have run once since my Shamrock 8k. If you know me, you know that’s weird.

The rest of my time is split between taking care of my ebullient and precocious little girl, writing training plans and following up with my coaching clients, and growing my new skin care business. I haven’t been reading as much as I would like (or writing as much either). But I can’t seem to change the number of hours I get in each day, so there are some things that maybe aren’t as much of a priority right now. Such as showering.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to move “back home” and if it has really been what I originally thought it would be like. In reality, I think it has turned out a lot better. Things that used to bother me don’t bother me any more- like having to drive 10-15 minutes to get everywhere, the winter weather, and whatever else angsty teenagers complain about. Yes, I was one of those kids who would slam their door and blast music on a regular basis (but I was a good kid, really, just way too emotional). Hey, the music in the 90’s was pretty good too, you can’t blame me for wanting to listen to that instead of my parents.

So… moving forward. I can’t hardly believe it myself but our little girl will be here in about 10 weeks! I have a few 5k races planned this spring in addition to spectating at the Boston Marathon next weekend. I find it hard to believe that it’s been a year since I actually ran Boston with my sister, and two years since the bombings. I’ve never actually spectated at Boston so I’m looking forward to catching a glimpse of a few of my favorite runners- Shalane, Kris, Jennifer C (before you move abroad!), and Steph (my sister)of course.

And right on cue, Emma is up! Catch you all soon.

After the Boston Marathon last year (and probably the only finisher's medal I'll ever hang on my wall)

After the Boston Marathon last year (and probably the only finisher’s medal I’ll ever hang on my wall)

Shamrock 8k Recap

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Phew! What a whirlwind of a weekend. Let me quickly (ha) recap my race and some other things that happened this weekend.

Our travel was delayed by a few unforseen circumstances (including snow, what was the heck was that about?)… We arrived at our hotel in Virginia Beach at 12:30 am. The kids (Emma and my niece Mia) promptly woke up from sound sleep and started chasing one another around the room, so needless to say we didn’t get much sleep that night (sorry to whomever was in the room below us- we really tried to get them to calm down).

I woke up around 6 the next morning, but I guess that wasn’t enough time… because I looked at my watch thinking I had plenty of time and did a double-take when I read 7:15 already. I scarfed down as much of a Picky Bar as I could and pushed Pete out the door at 7:25, which left us 20 minutes before the scheduled start time of our race. Unfortunately we were staying on 6th street and the starting line was on 30th street, almost 2 miles away. Pete had to eat breakfast while running, and I was doing my best waddle-shuffle, frantically checking my watch at every street to see if we were going to make it. Luckily we did make it with a few minutes to spare, but it was a close one!

My original goal had been to run around 7 minute pace for the 8k, but with the travel and lack of sleep and accounting for pregnancy-related factors I adjusted my goal to somewhere between 7 and 7:30 pace (around 35-38 minutes for the 5 miles). In the beginning I did my best to relax, but there were a LOT of people around me bobbing and weaving. I was concentrating more on not being tripped than on my actual pace. I came through the first mile around 6:45, and I was surprised to run that “fast” and still feel pretty good. I made a conscious effort during the second mile to just maintain my pace and kept repeating “relax, relax” to myself in my head. The second mile was around 7 minutes.

Somewhere in the first mile- I'm in the orange (pop) arm warmers. Photo courtesy of Jen B.

Somewhere in the first mile- I’m in the orange (pop) arm warmers. Photo courtesy of Jen B.

At this point we had run two miles in the direction of our hotel and were rounding first street to head up the boardwalk toward the start/finish area. I got squeezed from the outside by another runner, which happens sometimes in road races, but I suppose the guy on my inside felt I was encroaching on his space so he actually THREW me and elbow and attempted to push me hard away from him AND hold his arm out to maintain his space. I, of course, gave him some lip service and sort of pointed out “hey, preggers here” but he ignored me! Then I turned my head and stared at him and asked him if he heard me, to which he finally responded “yes”. Then I took off and never saw him again. I was shocked that someone would act like that in the mid-pack of the race. People are usually supportive of one another and don’t show such poor sportsmanship. I feel a little bad for probably embarrassing him because I’m sure he didn’t know I was pregnant when he threw me a ‘bow, but I had to look out for myself and the baby. Ok, moving on.

Miles 3 and 4 were on the boardwalk with a slight headwind. I ran both miles around 7 minutes and felt pretty good. I passed a lot of runners on the boardwalk but there were a lot of people noticeably slowing down, likely from starting out too fast.

On the boardwalk nearing 4 miles. Photo by Jen B. again.

On the boardwalk nearing 4 miles. Photo by Jen B. again.

We then turned off the boardwalk to the left and ran up the parallel street, Atlantic Ave, for a half mile. I decided to try and pick it up at this point, mainly because I felt good and also because I had to pee and just wanted to get it over with. We turned once more to the right and back onto the boardwalk in the opposite direction. Finally I could see the finish line (isn’t that the best?) I ran my last mile a little quicker, around a 6:45, and crossed the line in 34:20, averaging a little under 7 minutes per mile. I think the flat course and extra blood volume helped my time a bit.

The Shamrock 8k was a fun race, and one of my favorite race distances. But the highlight of the weekend was Emma’s first race! She ran the Leprechaun Dash later that morning along with her cousin Mia. They separate the kids into age groups for each year, ages 1-5. It is the cutest thing!

Emmaline was very excited about her race number (and they printed the kids' names on them too)!

Emmaline was very excited about her race number (and they printed the kids’ names on them too)!

So they all lined up and the announcer told them to “Go!” Emma did such a good job running straight for that finish line. I cried a little bit when we crossed the line, thinking about all of the races she has ahead of her and all of the other fun things she will get to experience. I know it’s silly, but I was so proud of her.

Shamrock 3

Shamrock 2

Emma got her medal, which she wore all day and refused to take off. We stayed by the finish to watch Mia run her race. She is getting so fast! Then the kids ran around and giggled the two miles back to the hotel.

This is where I imagine Emma is explaining to Mia what happened in her race...

This is where I imagine Emma is explaining to Mia what happened in her race…

That’s about it. We got in late last night and I had an appointment this morning- 26 week check up and glucose challenge. Yum. Fingers crossed that I pass this time, because I failed by a few points when I was pregnant with Emma and would prefer not to go through the 3 hour test again. I did things a little differently this time so I’m hoping my research pays off!

Running, pregnancy, and skin care

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Running is still going. I ran a marathon relay a few weeks ago and lucked out with the shortest leg possible, 5.4 miles. The past two weekends I managed a ten mile run and eight mile run, so I know I’ll most likely make it to the finish of my 8k race this weekend in one piece. I hear there’s some type of bonus if you give birth at the finish line, but the baby isn’t quite ready for that yet unfortunately. (This is, of course, an attempt at humor, but I realize it’s not even that funny. It’s more of an inside joke, but I couldn’t help myself. Sorry.)

Totally different topic, but I promise it will all make sense in a minute…

Why didn’t anyone tell me that tanning beds are a bad idea?


Ok, maybe some people warned me, and maybe I ignored them. I mean, we basically had to wear bathing suits year round and I figured I’d look better with a slight tan… which turned into me looking like one of those orange guys from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Oompa loompas, I think they’re called.

All kidding aside, I spent lots of time running outside 7 days per week for hours at a time as a D1 athlete, at day long track meets in the hot sun as a track coach, training for and racing marathons in my 30s, plus plenty of time on the lifeguard stand and at the beach. As I got older I started to notice little changes here and there in my skin- as my tan would fade I noticed tiny freckles on my skin. Eventually they weren’t tiny anymore. I could cover them up with makeup but that became time-consuming… plus I didn’t want to have to wear makeup all the time. Who does?

In 2007 I went to a medical spa in northern Virginia where I was living. I was prescribed a series of mini chemical peels. Unfortunately they didn’t do much and cost a lot of money. My skin looked a little better for a short time.

Fast forward to 2009 when I decided it was time to fix my skin issues- I had just gone on a trip to Hawaii and came home with blotchy uneven skin and horrible break outs. I went to a medical spa and paid for several microdermabrasion treatments as well as a line of products to even out my skin, clear up my breakouts, etc. Did it work? Well, yes… but I dealt with very dry, very red, irritated skin due to the highly concentrated retinol prescription I was given. My face hurt like hell. It would flake off in public. I wasn’t working full time then, but I was taking classes to finish my Virginia teaching license and I’m sure everyone in my class thought I was a complete freak. Eventually I tapered off my use of the products so my skin would have time to recover before my wedding.

Afterward I started working full time and stopped using the products on a regular basis. I made a few more visits to the medical spa but ultimately decided that the cost was too much and that I couldn’t go to work with irritated red skin. I was able to keep my skin problems under control and cover up the unevenness with makeup, but I wasn’t happy with how my skin looked at all.

Then in 2012 I found out I was pregnant. Emmaline was born in 2013 and I was left with a new set of skin problems- Melasma (dark patches of skin on my forehead, cheeks, and upper lip). It got bad over the summer before Emma was born, but faded a bit over the winter. Then it cropped up again this past summer while I was still breast feeding and marathon training outdoors (and of course going to the beach).

The day after Emmaline was born. My skin was very uneven and blotchy. Aww, she was so tiny.

The day after Emmaline was born. My skin was very uneven and blotchy. Aww, she was so tiny.

This past winter I began to notice even more changes- fine lines forming on my forehead, around my eyes and wrinkles beginning to form along my “smile lines”. These are all common trouble areas for women in their 30s.

Luckily I got in touch with one of my teammates and friends from JMU and she got me hooked on Rodan and Fields skin care. I’d been stalking her amazing before and afters on her Facebook, and I will be sharing mine with you guys as well (as if the above photo isn’t embarrassing enough). Rodan and Fields are the same doctors who created Proactiv, and they recently created a whole new line of products and tools to fix four common skin issues- anti-aging, sun damage, sensitive skin, and adult acne. The products themselves work so well, plus they are so much more affordable than what I had used before. And there’s no office visit required. Not only that, they provide you with a schedule to follow so that your skin doesn’t end up dry, flaking, peeling, and irritated.

I don’t ever again want to take a bite of my sandwich and have my skin literally fall off my face onto my plate.

I want to be able to run outdoors or at the gym and not have to worry about breakouts and blotchy skin.

I don’t want to have to wear makeup all the time- I’m not the type of person that likes to spend an hour getting ready.

I also want to start taking good care of my skin now, fixing my issues, and setting up good habits for the future.

And so… I’ve decided to take a huge leap and join the Rodan and Fields team as an independent skin care consultant!

I will leave you with some incredible before and afters. If you have any questions about R and F I’d love to hear ’em!

And here’s my new website so you can check out the products for yourself: shop R and F

Meghan was a Rodan and Fields customer who was so blown away by her results (in just two months of using Acute Care strips and Redefine) that she decided to become a consultant too!

Meghan was a Rodan and Fields customer who was so blown away by her results (in just two months of using Acute Care strips and Redefine) that she decided to become a consultant too!

This customer used Rodan and Fields for 5 months and it took 10 years off her face- She started using Unblemish to clear up her hormonal acne, then started Redefine for large pores, sagging skin, and wrinkles (as well as the Macro Exfoliator and AMP MD Roller tools). She also just recently started using the Acute Care (fill a wrinkle while you sleep) strips. And all of these photos are makeup free!

This customer used Rodan and Fields for 5 months and it took 10 years off her face- She started using Unblemish to clear up her hormonal acne, then started Redefine for large pores, sagging skin, and wrinkles (as well as the Macro Exfoliator and AMP MD Roller tools). She also just recently started using the Acute Care (fill a wrinkle while you sleep) strips. And all of these photos are makeup free!