Remove “No”

Running a marathon is incredible for so many reasons. I loved the catch up time with great girlfriends, the regimented training schedule and truly, I enjoyed running the races. For many reasons I am thankful that I have had the chance to join the proud marathon-running community. I am the one on the right in the below picture and my beautiful friend Laura is on the left. She was my ROCK through both marathons.

Mile 17

These days running a marathon seems like a super past memory, but, I will tell you, in some way everyday I think about the lesson that I learned mile 21.

Pretty sure, this is what my face looked like at Mile 21 –
Mile 26

I know for each person it varies slightly but right around mile 21, running is absolutely brutal. Your body tells you (emphatically) that you are straight up crazy, and it is time to enjoy a lovely brunch and for the love of God STOP RUNNING!!! But, the crazy part is, this is where, the physical side of running is so much less crucial than the mental game – you just say no. I told my body no at mile 21. No! You are not done running, we are so close, and this is not over yet. Of course I do also remind myself that of course brunch is coming and I will stop running soon. This moment of self doubt was so similar to the feeling of being dilated to an 8 while pursuing a natural childbirth and wanting to be done. What did I also do then? Well no, technically it was my incredible team and nurse saying no. But the word No was said and I was reminded that I cannot quit, I am so close.

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My point is, I am not in marathon-running shape, heck I can’t run a 10k at this point. But each time I go to the gym or go on a run, I inevitably hit the point where I want to say no… And I don’t.  The human body is incredible, but the power of our mind amazes me even more. I happen to live on top of a beast of a hill and each time I get the chance to run it lately, I so badly want to stop but, my pride or my stupidity or whatever won’t let me. Barnes Hill you are not winning this! 

So, next time you are heading up that mother hummer of a hill, just say no!! You can stop, just not now. 

The RIGHT way to parent.

This blog has been neglected lately. It is hard for me to write in a fairly fitness-focused blog when my “fitness” at this point includes walking (not marathon running), pushups on my lunch time break (not fantastic crossfit workouts) and schlepping around my five month old in a car seat (can we talk about how flipping heavy those things are????).

Lately, my life is figuring out the intensely difficult task that is being a mom of two boys, working and trying to remain sane while still only getting a very limited amount of sleep.
Since my blog is obviously reflecting this period of time for me, I thought I would talk about a topic that in some way I think about every.single.day.

Mom wars.

Let me give an example. In high school, there was this group of girls, the dance team girls, and they were seriously cool. Being a choir-geek, I did not effortlessly fit in with those girls. I didn’t get invited to the sleepovers, or the parties, I just didn’t fit. I think many would say that they liked me well enough, just didn’t fit the “cool kid” mold.

On the other side of the Shelton High School parking lot (sticking with the high school analogy), is the jocks. These ones I VERY MUCH did not fit in with. They were basketball, volleyball or softball playing ladies who had a ton of shared experiences and were all super close knit. I didn’t have a sport, I just didn’t fit.

Don’t get me wrong, I had a ton of friends, many of whom I still think fondly of today. But, I didn’t cleanly fit into any one specific clique.

The same cliques exist in moms – stay at home moms, working moms, attachment-parenting moms, formula vs breastfeeding advocates, cosleeping vs. cry it out or sleep training, vaccination vs not, etc. Here is the thing, I have heard myself say on many occasions suggest we all just do what our gut tells us to do and use the best information at that point in time to try and figure out how in the hell to balance this crazy thing that is parenting.

But, here is the thing. In the back of my mind, I always seriously think…but, MY choices are the right ones. Believe me, I do agree with the statement I made, but, I also do not apologize for feeling like my way of parenting is the best. For me, five years and two boys in, I am doing the best that I can with the resources that I have and I truly feel like I am making the choices that my boys need me to make. But, here is the thing, you (whoever you are), I am sure are doing the same thing. You are making the choices that your child(ren) need for you to make and are also doing the best that you can. I suggest, we all stop apologizing and dancing around the issue and simply admit that our parenting is the right method, but, also understand that it only is the right method for me and my children.

I think this thought process can be extended to all controversial aspects of parenting, or all controversial issues in general. The beautiful India Arie wrote in her song, “One” that “We can debate until the end of time who is wrong or right or we can see ourselves as one cause it all comes down to love”.

Keep on, mamas! Trust your gut, because I know I will continue to trust mine.

   
 

Juggling, life today and thoughtfulness

Motherhood has always been a juggling act for me. When my firstborn was young, I really attempted to make the juggle appear seamless. Look at me – I can have a career, remain in fabulous shape, parent a young child and be a wife. I had it all! Except the thing is, no one has it all. I pushed myself to exhaustion, asked too much of my spouse and missed some key moments in my Aiden’s first year. Every person you follow on social media, every star, NO ONE HAS IT ALL. Some can fake it, some can maybe believe it for a time. But, juggling is a fine art that only works when every ball is moving in harmony. If I have learned anything about parenting, that is simply not reality.

At this point, my oldest is four and a half and my youngest is three months. Today I have cried because I felt like I was failing with my oldest and cried out of frustration that my youngest only wants me to entertain/nurse him around the clock (not happy with anyone else) – which is exhausting. Today, in a weak moment, I went onto social media and saw people at dinner together, on trips, and felt so completely alone. I know from parenting Aiden that this season is temporary. The time when your little requires you all day long does end and a season of a bit more freedom returns. But, even knowing this logically, I still felt a bit empty tonight. I miss my friends. I miss quiet and calm. I miss clothes fitting and my body. I miss running as a stress reliever and relaxing coffee dates. I miss feeling like me. I know some sense of normal will return at some point and like any season, this one will pass. But right now, in this moment, this season is a bit hard.

I will never again attempt to appear that my juggling act is seamless. I recognize that if one area in my life is thriving, often times another is suffering. Social media is a wonderful thing, but it tends show a rosy reality that may only capture part of a picture.

I have two boys that love me very much and an incredible husband. I also have nights where dinner consists of red wine and red vines. Some days I get in a wonderful workout and other days, simply going through the motions of the day is exhausting enough.

I hope that one day I can invest in the friendships that I so miss, that my boys will know that at the very least, their mom tried, that I am a good partner for my spouse and that I can fit in some career around all of that. But for tonight, the juggling act feels a bit half-hearted and there does not seem to be a lot of balance.

Maybe tomorrow.

Birth Story – Harrison Tate Hulbert

I realize that this story truly has nothing to do with overcoming fitness related barriers. But, I have taken a huge absence from my blog and wanted to document my second son’s birth story. Feel free to scroll right on by if birth stories are not your thing! All pictures shown in this post were taken by my amazing friend Faith, who was the doula attending our birth.

Birth stories are something that I read religiously with this pregnancy. I felt like as I read the words of women, I felt the most “ready” that I could be to bring this little boy into the world. As my due date approached, I read more and more birth stories. It really felt me feel a bit more peace about the process.

On the morning of Halloween, I was feeling very discouraged that I was five days past my due date with no really convincing signs of labor. So, I made a castor oil milkshake and Josh and I set off on our day – we had errands to run and were planning on going out to breakfast. If you happen to know anything about using castor oil as a way to kickstart labor, it is NOT a pleasant process. I spent the majority of the day rushing from one bathroom to the next. It was not fun! But, like clockwork, contractions began and became more and more consistent over the course of the day. By two o’clock the contractions were coming with more frequency and appeared to be about 10 minutes apart. Josh and I walked the neighborhood and I took a bath when we returned. During each activity, the contractions did not lessen, which I took as a sign that this was not in fact false labor.

Around six, I was having difficulty talking through my contractions and Josh and I decided it was time to head to the hospital. As soon as we got there though, I immediately regretted coming. I felt like we came too early, and that we would just be turned away. One of the reasons that I did not want to come to the hospital too early, was that I have people coming from out of town to attend and assist with H’s birth. My sister was driving from Portland, my sister-in-law was attending, my mom, and my doula Faith was driving down from Seattle. When I was checked, I was still only dilated to a three and 70% effaced. I was so discouraged! They checked us in to a room though as my contractions were coming around two minutes apart at this point.

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Once I was checked in, I had to be monitored for ten minutes, and both of the nurses commented on how intense my contractions were, but how strong and good Baby H’s heartbeat remained during each contraction.

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After the monitors were removed, I set off for a walk. I walked and walked and only returned when they asked to monitor me again. During that next monitoring session (about 30 minutes later), I had an especially hard contraction and Baby H broke my water. It was the craziest feeling having a huge pressure, hearing a noise on the monitor and knowing just what it was!

From that point on, each contraction felt different. It was so apparent to me that the fluid cushion that was between H’s head and my cervix was now gone. I could feel each with so much more discomfort!

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Once they removed the monitors again, I set off on a walk. Like the contractions, this walk felt different as well. With each contraction I had to stop and could no longer talk and laugh in between. The nurse came and saw me and felt I should head back to the room. I was absolutely positive that I would have more progress when checked. I was so incredibly disappointed when the nurse checked me and I was still only dilated to a 4. My doula explained that dilation truly is only a piece of the puzzle and it is not the only indication of progress. I remember listening to her and trying to believe her words, but, also feeling like I most likely still had a long road to go until Baby H would be making his way into the world. Our nurse said that she felt like my baby would be delivered by 9:30 that evening. I thought she was absolutely crazy and kept thinking that they were both wrong and I needed to mentally prepare to feel this way for a long time.

From that point on, I tried sitting on the birthing ball and pretty quickly it was apparent to all in the room that things were progressing quite quickly. In 20 minutes, I progressed from being dilated to a 4 to a 10. As a note, it really was only during this 20 minute period that I truly felt like I was out of control. Up until this point, the pain really had been manageable. I explained to all in the room, that I had now decided that I would in fact like an epidural and the nurse laughed and explained that at this point I just needed to push the baby out. She ran out of the room and tried to get my doctor.

My doctor had been called when I was dilated to a four and she was making her way to the hospital, but certainly did not expect that things would progress as fast as they were. When my nurse called again in the hallway for a doctor, mine still was not there yet, so the on call doctor ran in. It truly was just in time, because with three pushes, Harrison was here. He came out with such conviction that the on call doctor struggled to catch him. He was perfect.

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This birth, in every way, was so opposite from my first-born’s birth. With his birth, primarily because of how long everything took and how terrifying the end was, I just felt out of control. For so much of Harrison’s birth, I truly felt peaceful and confident in what my body was capable of. Only at the end did I question my self and the process. I truly am so proud that I was able to give birth for a second time without pain medication. I love that I got to experience birth the way that so many women before me have. But, I should also say, that with every choice that being a parent requires, no one way is appropriate for all. While this method worked for us with the births that we have had, it certainly may not be the best course of action for someone else and I certainly mean no judgment at all on anyone who has had a different experience.

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Harrison Tate has already brought more joy to our lives than I could have imagined and I truly am so thankful to be him mom. If he knows nothing else at this point, I hope he knows that he is loved and has an army of people that love him.

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Harrison Tate Hulbert

10/31/2014 9:22 PM

7 Pounds 12 Ounces 20 ¼” Long

Bump Update: Weeks 23 – 25!

Weeks: 23 – 25

Picture:
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Baby is now the size of a(n): Head of Cauliflower

Physically feeling: Pretty great! We have been having a heat wave in Washington State, so, I have spent many afternoons floating at the pool. Physically, I have had lots of aches and pains as baby grows. As my lovely uterus gets huge, I have had a lot of acid reflux and pain in ribs as they separate.

Diet: Yes. Seriously though, I have definitely had an appetite lately. I am definitely ready for each snack/meal time. I’ve been eating lots of fresh berries, white fish and cinnamon bears. I swear this baby loves cinnamon bears.

Exercise: Quite a bit more consistent but not back to my normal self. Still taking prenatal yoga, doing some swimming, taking spin and step aerobics (but, not consistently), lots of walks!

Emotional Scale (1-10): 6. I had a MAJOR meltdown over my weight last week. Besides that, I have been pretty consistent. It is extremely difficult to go from constantly being aware of my body (read, not letting the scale increase too much before taking action), to needing to gain weight for the health of this baby. This mental shift is not natural for me and is definitely difficult.

General thoughts: The baby’s room now has a theme! I made a few purchases this week and started a registry. Nice to get a few things moving in the right direction!

Thanks for reading my bump update!
K

A Game of Numbers

When I started this blog, the barriers that I pictured myself discussing were plateaus – I just can’t master a pull-up or a double under, I have a stubborn trouble area that I can’t seem to impact, etc. I really did not picture myself covering topics like mommy bullying, being an advocate for counseling or detailing my journey travelling for a long-term assignment for work.
I fully expect when I am past this stage of life (having a child), I am sure I will return to my intense goals and want to pursue the most fit version of myself possible. But for right now, my current barrier that I am overcoming is this…

The doctor’s office scale.
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Every other time in your life, an ever expanding body is reason for concern. Ummm…I weighed 130 this week and now weigh 135. WHAT THE HECK? During this odd time that is pregnancy, I have read a lot about the “right” way to gain weight, how much to gain, when to gain, etc. Having a history of an eating disorder, I cannot tell you how many counseling appointments my therapist has suggested that I get rid of my scale, for once and for all. She’ll remind me, like truly I already know:

What really is in a number?
Does a number accurately assess our strength?
Is a number a true prediction of fitness level?

If you have achieved your “goal weight” and yet cannot run a mile or do a full pushup, is that your ideal size? I think not. But…for every ideal image I have of dramatically throwing a bonfire and in a final burst of empowerment, burning my scale once and for all, I don’t. You see, for as much as I hate to admit it – I care. I care about that stupid number. Every bit of me hates how much I care.

I had a doctor’s appointment yesterday. I am 23 weeks pregnant. I have gained 15 pounds. Great, they exclaimed! You are right on track. Try to not increase your speed of gaining, but, stay consistent. All I could hear was my number. I hate that number. I get it, I know that weight gain is so important for a healthy pregnancy and the most important thing at this point is that I do everything in my power to have a healthy pregnancy.

However, a life of caring does not immediately go away because the goals for a period of time have changed. Continue reading