Thursday, 9 February 2012

The long road back to fitness

Alex is eight weeks today and I find it hard to believe that in just eight weeks that little bundle has managed to take over our lives with such unrelenting force. 

But he has and ecstatic as I am, there have been days when I have been struggling too. Saying goodbye to your previous life - forever - can be terrifying and in this case it needs to happen incredibly fast. And even though everyone says so and you have been warned in advance, it is impossible to fully prepare for its wide-reaching effects until you actually live through them. 

So, yes, there have been days when I have just been too tired to walk out the door (thank goodness for Lisa forcing me and Alex to do so) and the stress from Alex's colicky crying is sometimes unbearable too. You just don't want to see him crying, your little bundle of joy, you want him to be a contented little baby and when that doesn't happen, well, as an inexperienced new parent, it is not that hard to start questioning your own abilities to deal with baby. 

This is where the support of my more experienced friends comes in and it is truly invaluable. For now I am still taking each day one by one, hanging in there until the colicky phase is over and rejoicing on days like this one, when Alex is a bit better and we are both able to get some decent sleep. I am in awe of how much of a different person I am when I have slept through a wholesome five hours uninterrupted and a few more interrupted (and so grateful to the little one for letting me do so - thanks Alex!). 

Alex finally getting some nighttime sleep! 

So, today I will be able to even go running, which is just great, because although I have started to run again, there are some days when I am just too tired for any mental or physical activity. 

I had thought that getting back to running would be relatively straightforward. Once the stitches healed, once there was no physical discomoft anymore, then it would be OK to start putting in the hard work required to regain some of my former fitness. I knew it would be hard, and as we get older, it is harder and harder to make 'comebacks' and it also probably requires more and more work to get back to where you had left off (assuming you are able to do so at all). 

But I wasn't prepared that I would also have to overcome a permanent state of tiredness, which makes it unbelievably hard to motivate myself some days. I have a treadmill at home, which is very convenient on these cold winter days, but I find myself staring at its bulky shape and thinking, "oh dear, I don't even have the strength to go upstairs and put on my running gear". That was the case yesterday, when I only felt better after napping for an hour and a half at about five o' clock in the evening. And running just went down the drain. And days like these are a bit of a waste in my book and bring me down.

But today, I am pretty sure I will be able to do the workout I had planned for Tuesday, when I had to tone it down to a easier one, and then skipped yesterday. A 40-min run at 6 min/km followed by 6 x 2 min  at 5min/km. This is the level of aerobic fitness I am in post-pregnancy, and I know it is going to be a long way back. 

At least, I do have the incline set at 1% (which I never did in the past), which I know makes things even harder, and I do do my stretches and strenghtening exercises afterwards as well. I want to be a more rounded athlete this time round. I even managed to do a hill session one day, to help me gain some strength - and hill sessions are not my strong point! But I figure now is a good time to do them, now that I am not strong nor fast, so let's cheer for slow hard sessions like hill runs!

But you know what? I am not in a hurry. I will get there when I get there. And when I do, the added bonus will be that Alex will be here to cheer me when I cross the finish line (and soon he will be joining me on those runs and beating me too!).

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

The next chapter: Alex

It has been a hectic few weeks, to say the least. 

With days passing by in a haze, sometimes even merging into one endless sequence of events. Or should I say, non-events, unless you consider as events the constant flux of baby feeding, burbing, nappy changing, putting baby to sleep, catching up on laundry etc. and then over and over and over again, until you drop! A groundhog day, really.
And actually, there is no dropping out, this is a 24/7 call of duty and you'd better be there and up to it asap.

So, yes, Alex is finally here with us, a cute little creature with inversely proportionate demands! But we love him so much for it, he had been long awaited for by both of us, and as days go by, it is getting incredibly harder to imagine our life without him. 

Alex is strong-minded, demanding, inquisitive, ravenous, strong, he is our very own little froggie (his favorite position of sleeping in my lap!), a dream come true! And I am sure we will get to find out more and more about him as the weeks and months and years go by. 

Here he is, waving hello to you in his sleep! 
I hope you will agree as to the level of cuteness, I know I know, I am not the most objective person on earth to be the judge of that, but nevertheless... 

Perhaps you can sense how entralled we are to have him here, and it is unconditional. 

But I am not going to be idealistic and say how easy it has been for me. Having to recover from the c-section and immediately start taking care of Alex, in the way that the NHS works (by the way, the NHS, all the surgeons, consulatants and midwives, have been incredibly great, though you do get handed the baby right away, compared to the Greek system of midwives watching the baby for you at the beginning), it was tough and meant that there was no sleep right from day one. I think I may have been very near to exhaustion a couple of times over the past few weeks (Alex is 7 weeks on Thursday - already!).

But I am still here and things are picking up (hopefully) and I have even started to slowly get back into running- which is a major indicator of our life maybe at some point attaining some degree of normalcy. But more on that soon. 

So, up to now it has been a battle for survival and also a case of getting used to my new role of mum (and Colin's as dad). I have to admit I don't really feel like a 'Mom' yet, I feel like I am trying so hard for Alex to be safe and sound and I am trying so hard not to screw up here, but that's about it! I do have the irresistible urge to squeeze, kiss, hold and dance with Alex all day long, though, is that serious Doc? :) 

My major goal these days: being able to walk Lisa two times in the day, which basically means getting the boy ready to go out twice! I never suspected it would be such a challenge, what with the constant rounds of feeding, burping, changing nappies, etc. etc. that I have already mentioned! But it is, and requires a healthy dose of determination! If I manage to take Lisa out for her walks (ok, there is a compromise, one long walk of at least an hour) by 6, before Colin arrives to take over, this is a very good sign indeed that me and Alex are managing and actually doing OK! 

Which reminds me, better start getting him ready for the walkies. It is time already!