Notes from the cocoon

October 6th, 2014

Nora’s birth was even more emotional than I had thought it would be. My grandmother had passed away two days before, so there were huge, sad, bittersweet, circle-of-life type feelings swirling around in me on top of the all-encompassing love I felt the second I laid eyes on Nora.

Our bodies are pretty amazing things. I keep looking at this wonderful little creature and thinking we made her? From scratch? This perfect little being? Man, I love her. The birth itself was wonderful – I know it’s easy to say that now, since all memories of pain just evaporated the second I saw my baby, but I truly feel lucky that I was able to have the exact experience I was hoping for.

<3

On Labor Day we went for a hike on Tiger Mountain to pick mushrooms, and I started feeling some contractions. I assumed it was just a continuation of the false labor symptoms I had been having all weekend (False Labor Day, I called it) and was somewhat in denial about the fact that they hurt much more than Braxton-Hicks when we were in the car on the way home. They were strong enough to wake me up in the early morning the next day, and a couple hours later, it finally dawned on me that wait, I think this is the real thing! I was only 38 weeks and 2 days along, so even though I suspected she would come early, I thought I had more time.

I got in the tub, which felt amazing all through labor (along with having warm water sprayed on my lower back and an ice cold washcloth covering my eyes, which allowed me to retreat into an introverted pain cave of sorts, where all that existed during contractions was myself and the music I had on – I realized early on that what I really needed to focus on to get through labor was to stay calm and avoid getting caught in the panic spiral of doom), and then we went to the hospital when the contractions got closer together. JK kept our families updated, and at 11:25 PM, just about the time when our people were starting their work days back home in Norway, little Nora made her appearance.

Happiest moment ever

If you’re local, I highly recommend the midwifery clinic at Evergreen Hospital in Kirkland. The midwives provide excellent prenatal care and support during delivery, and you have the added peace of mind of delivering in a hospital, with operating rooms and a NICU right there in case something should happen. Evergreen is also a certified baby-friendly hospital (the very first hospital to get certified in this country!), so you can get all the help and support you’ll need for breastfeeding.

Little Babysaurus

I have never taken care of a newborn before, but Nora made the transition pretty easy for us. She’s been a very happy baby so far, and her Dunstan Baby Language skills are great, especially “neh!” (feed me, peasant!), “eh!” (burp me, peasant!), “heh-heh-heh” (I’m uncomfortable and probably working on a diaper present for you, peasant!). She’s also added her own word to the vocabulary: “flarn! flarn!” (how dare you undress me, peasant?!) – my only issue is lack of sleep, which obviously comes with the territory. It’s not really Nora’s fault, it’s just that I have always been a horrible sleeper, and feeding and changing her at night wakes me up so much that it can easily take 1-2 hours for me to fall back asleep, which is extremely annoying when sleep is pretty much the only thing I need right now. Oh well, it’ll get better.

First hike!

So far, we’ve taken Nora out on two hikes on Tiger Mountain to pick chanterelles, but other than that, my interest in hiking seems to have disappeared completely these days. Five weeks in, all I want to do (except sleep, natch) is just to snuggle with this perfect little creature in our cozy little nest at home. I’m sure my love of mountains will prevail, and when it does, I’ll post more updates. Apart from this initial post, I don’t think I’ll want to post much about Nora except for hiking-with-a-baby type updates, since a) this is a hiking blog and b) Nora didn’t sign up to be blog material. This will admittedly be hard, because she is obviously the most amazing baby ever and I want to share all the cute things she does, but I’ll do my best.

(How can I not share things like this themed mushrooming outfit??)

Themed outfit

In the meantime, my little lady and I will stay swaddled here in our little cocoon, simply enjoying life.

My little loaf in a basket

Welcome Nora

September 9th, 2014

Our little baby Nora was born a week ago today, at 11:25 PM on September 2, 6lbs 13oz of absolute perfection (if I do say so myself). She’s amazing and we’re in love!

Nora

These days

August 28th, 2014

These days, we’re taking it slow. I don’t really have much choice, given that I am now gigantic and even the act of turning over in bed requires significant effort accompanied by loud grunting, but it also seems wise to get as much rest as possible now before our lives change forever. I am currently 37.5 weeks, and I’m torn between wanting to meet this little belly-dweller now and wanting to stay pregnant as long as possible – I love pregnancy, aches and pains and all. Hopefully I’ll get another chance someday.

I rarely blog about everyday life anymore, so here are some favorite instagram moments to share.

Loving the $5 bouquets at the Farmers Market Beer belly vs baby belly

Usually we’ll be out hiking on Saturdays, but this summer we’ve spent those mornings at the Redmond Saturday Market instead, buying our weight in peaches and beets and purdy flowers. | Beer belly vs baby belly – I’m going to miss carrying this bump around.

Back on Tiger Another Powerline sunset

We were planning on going to Paradise for my 36-week hike, but every fiber of my being has been screaming at me to stay close to home lately, so we went to Tiger Mountain instead, scoping out some mushroom spots for the fall. | Still walking, walking, walking on the Powerline Trail – it’s still too hot to walk in the middle of the day, so I stick to mornings and evenings.

The neglected garden is doing surprisingly well 36 weeks

Our poor, neglected garden (crouching and bending hurts too much to do any thinning or weeding) has been doing surprisingly well, in fact this has been our best tomato year yet! Maybe I should neglect them next summer, too. | Belly naps = JK’s new favorite thing. Feeling that baby kick will never get old.

Bean curry with dessert from the garden Happy little moments

The perfect gestabetes meal – bean curry with garlicky mushrooms and kale plus a handful of garden strawberries for dessert. Gestational diabetes really hasn’t been as bad as I thought it would be (although I really look forward to grabbing a piece of fruit without having to pair it with protein), the fact that I’m used to cooking almost all our meals at home means it’s so easy to control what goes into my body. That said, I’ve eaten a taco salad from Qdoba for dinner every single night this week, because nom. | Reading Ina May Gaskin and willing autumn to arrive early with a fall bouquet from the market.

Waiting for babby Wellie + belly

The boys in the nursery, ready for the arrival of their little sister…or just confused about what’s going on. | Wellie bonding with the belly.

Pumpkin loaves Guinea bear

Prepping freezer meals for the postpartum period, like these pumpkin loaves. I think I’ll probably stick pretty close to the gestabetic diet even after I’m not diabetic anymore, but I’ve heard that pumpkin loaves and peanut butter cups are essential foods when it comes to nursing, yes? | Dad-in-training, being all sorts of adorable. Also: yoga ball in the background – bouncing on that thing feels really good for my SPD, I wish I had started doing it months ago!

Gestational diabetes multitasking Summer!

It’s been a great year for blackberries on the Powerline Trail, even the dogs have become pros at picking their own berries from the lower branches! | It’s still summer on the trail, but I really am ready for autumn. Bring on the pumpkin spice, orange leaves, and cooler temperatures…not to mention our little one.

Bench and Snow Lakes

August 26th, 2014

34 was the week I went from feeling amazingly energetic to feeling really, really…pregnant I guess, at the drop of a hat. Actually it was at the drop of a baby – she’s shimmied down low, ready for her big arrival, and in the meantime I’m waddling around like I’m carrying a bowling ball betwixt me legs. Our 35-week Hike-a-Thon hike needed to be short. Short, but awesome.

View towards the mountain

We got a late start after going to a birthday brunch at Plum Bistro (where my gestabetic self made the ultimate sacrifice by not partaking of the mac n’ yeaze – see, fetus? See how much I love you already??) before driving down to Mount Rainier to a new-to-us trail – Snow and Bench Lakes.

Berry delay Pretty trail

The hike was a success right from the start when we found huckleberries lining the trail. Apparently we were gorging ourselves with such concentration and gusto that we missed seeing two bears that were hanging out a little ways off the trail, but oh well.

We finally hiked moseyed waddled on when I decided I was way too hot and needed to cool off in Snow Lake post-haste.

Double cooling

…and what an efficient cool-off it was. I don’t know why, since it’s a shallow lake and not at a terribly high elevation, but this was one of the coldest lakes I’ve ever been in – much, much colder that the turquoise, glacier-fed lakes we’ve been in before. Brr.

Cooling off More bump, always

We hung out in the water until our feet started going numb, then had our late lunch on the way out instead of at the lake, which was the one place on the trail that was buzzing with mosquitoes. When we got to the overlook where we sat down to eat, fellow hikers informed us that we had missed a bear wading in the pond below us by a total of two minutes. Aargh, seriously??

Our luck turned a little while later when a shrill marmot whistle alerted us to the presence of another bear – it was way off in the distance and scurried off into the trees before we could get a good photo, but still. It was a bear. And we actually saw this one!

Distant, blurry bear...

I have to say, I’ve loved this summer of hiking. We haven’t covered the miles we usually would have or been out as often, but we’ve thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and tried out a bunch of new, family-friendly trails that I think we’ll return to again and again in the future.

We’ve seen wildflowers and marmots and bears, jumped (and awkwardly slid, respectively) into lakes, and seen some excellent views. SPD made hiking a bit more difficult than I had hoped, but between my support belt and the natural high I get from endorphins, it was totally doable…and totally worth it. Have I mentioned that I really love hiking?

Bench and Snow Lakes | 2.6 miles | 700 feet elevation gain –

35 weeks

Waddle-a-Thon 2014

August 13th, 2014

I had three hiking-related goals for this summer: to cool my bulging belly off in a lake, to hike to Noble Knob, and to see at least one marmot. Check, check, and check!

Hello

I didn’t realize I would still feel this good in my third trimester, but since I have energy to spare, I decided to add another goal to my list and sign up for Washington Trails Association’s Hike-a-Thon again. I won’t exactly be pounding out the miles this year, but that’s what I love about hiking, especially in Washington – there are countless options for amazing wilderness adventures out there, no matter what your shape (round, mine is very round) or life situation happens to be like.

34 weeks down, sixish to go!

At 34 weeks, JK and I drove to Mount Rainier to look for my marmot friends. We always see them in the area around Sunrise (and the walking is easy), so we moseyed along towards Skyscraper Pass, listening for whistles and looking for lazy, flat marmot rugs hiding in the shade.

Towards Skyscraper

My wish was granted when one of the biggest marmots I’ve ever seen suddenly appeared on the trail right in front of us. There was much snapping of photos and squealing (from me, not the marmot). Just look!

Totes adorbs

Very fur! Much obese!

Poser

Such handsome! Wow!

I WANT TO SQUEEZE YOU

We found a lunch spot where I could keep an eye on our corpulent friend and several of his cousins, and then we turned around and hiked back towards Sunrise. It felt weird to just turn around without having reached a real destination, but since my marmot goal had been fulfilled and the heat was getting to both of us, we decided it was for the best.

Happy hiker

Happily, there were more wildlife sightings to be had – more marmots and some cliff-scaling mountain goats! There were lots of human wildlife sightings too, now that it was later in the day. Sunrise really does lend itself best to early mornings (unsurprisingly, given the name) – the light on the mountain gets washed out later in the day, and the hordes come out to play. It’s wonderful to see so many people out enjoying our national parks, but we were very thankful not to be sitting in the line that reached from the park entry almost all the way to SR410!

Go home, goat. You're drunk.

The wildflowers, on other hand, were rather lacking. The last time we hiked this trail, it was a veritable wonderland of blooms, but I think it’s just been too hot, dry, and generally un-Washingtonesque this year.

Fuzzbuckets!

– Sunrise waddling | 5 miles | 700 feet elevation gain –

I did manage to squeeze into my Hike-a-Thon shirt for a quick photo op. For obvious reasons, my hiking effort will be rather subdued this year, and after 36 weeks, I should start staying closer to home (and to the hospital) in case…things start happening. Luckily there’s an “urban hiking” category this year, so hopefully I’ll be waddling down my local trails until the end! Here’s a link to my previous years of Hike-a-Thon trip reports, back when I could cover more miles than a toddler but, ironically, could never quite fit into my Hike-a-Thon shirts.

If you’re a fellow lover of trails, please consider a donation – WTA does amazing work, both physically on our trails and for outdoor advocacy. If hands-on volunteering is more your thing, I recommend signing up for a WTA trail work party, which a) is like a free Crossfit session b) is surprisingly fun (you’ll hear some great stories from really interesting people) and c) you’ll leave with chocolate in your belly and a shiny new halo hovering around your head from all the good work you’ve just done.

Hike-a-Thon Hike #1

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