O/T: spectating for the disney princess 1/2 marathon

I had the most amazing weekend. I headed down to Disney World to cheer on Chrissi Lillard and the rest of the Running for Sophie and Madigan’s crew. It was one of the most inspirational experiences I’ve ever experienced. The energy, the tears, the cheers… Everything was so over the top amazing.

I got to Disney around 3am, and Chrissi picked me up (only after a few hurdles… Haha). By the time I was at her cabin at Fort Wilderness it was too late to sleep, so we stayed up until the 5k. Let me tell you, I am not a racer. Thankfully we had a blast. We photo bombed every character and it was just awesome. I had such a great time with Chrissi and Jen at the 5k. Stayed up the rest of the day, helped pass out tshirts to the runners. Hurt my foot some how bad enough that it impacted the rest of the weekend, but I sucked it up and went on. The pasta party on Friday night was a blast. We had a great time. Then sweet Tara pushed me around in a wheelchair so that I could enjoy a little fun at Epcot

Got up the next morning to watch Chrissi’s mom finish the 10k. Chrissi has amazing qualities, and many are from her mom. She helped runners on the course and they announced that at the end. It was a very touching moment. I cried. I don’t cry. But I cried.

Watching Morgan, Mya, Riddick, Sadie and sleepy Mason in the kids races was so fun! I was so proud of my kiddo Morgan. Her determination and spirit is amazing. And I think she scared Jen at least 10000 by sneaking up on her.

Handed out more tshirts, hung out with Lauren and family for lunch then headed to see Chrissi for dinner. Lots of talking. Got matching Madigan pins. Mickey silhouettes with pink hearts. Now I have to find one for Sophie :). Headed back in a 26 dollar can (ouch!). Went to sleep excited for the 1/2.

We met with with the group before the race. Giving hugs, taking pictures, crying of course. Then we headed to Epcot’s monorail. Cheering is a lot of walking and poor Tara and I were limping along as she hurt her leg and I hurt my foot but we pushed on. Once on the monorail you head to tickets and transportation, walk down and up ramps to get on the magic kingdom monorail. Once off there, you can find a spot along the course. I wanted to be near the castle but it was pretty filled up by the time we got there so we opted to sit by the bakery on Main Street.

Cheering for the half was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. It was awe inspiring. Mike was the first in the pink shirt. That was so cool. Seeing Jack pass by us was just amazing. His heart was in it for his beautiful girls and I was so proud to know my Mr Jack. As more and more pink shirts passed I was just so excited. Becky, Rachel, nick and their crew came through. So proud of them for finishing it together. Robyn and Marty in their awesome pink shirts. Tara and I cheered our hearts out, not only for our team, but for everyone. It was so fun to yell for the princesses and princes! Sadly we missed Debbie but we were so proud of her. I think we missed Rebecca in there some where too. Then Stephanie came up. It was amazing to see her. I’ve known Stephanie for a long time so seeing her meet this goal was just amazing. I tear up thinking about it.

Then came Regina, who looked like she had this thing in her pocket. She was made for this race!

My memory is fuzzy, but I think Kristin was next. She may be switched with Lauren and Jonathan but either way she texted and asked for a banana. We didn’t have any and I couldn’t find any so she got craisens instead. I’m certain those craisens made the difference. Haha.

I think Lauren and Jonathan were next. Lauren…. What can I say? I am so proud of her. She put her heart and soul into this race for the girls. When I look at all she’s accomplished I can’t help but tear up knowing how she struggled and fought for this race. She deserves to wear her medal every day. And Jonathan! Jonathan is a “real runner” but he stayed by Lauren’s side every step of the way. He is a huge part of the success. I’m so proud to know this power couple!

Vicki, Jen and Chrissi came next. When I saw them I knew that it had been a hard 5 miles. But the tears and the smiles and the cheers came stronger.
Vicki is a “real runner” in that she runs a crazy fast mile but as she passes she held tight to Chrissi’s hand. Vicki is a big part of why I could be there. She let many of us stay in her room. Thank you! I still owe you a drink. Jen, my dear chicken, who was the first friend I made in Maryland. Can you believe it chicken?! YOU DID IT ! Remember when we used to try to work out in the apartment gym?! You freaking completed a 1/2 marathon!!!!!! Chrissi, my darling friend of so many years. My words fail me when I try to articulate how proud I am. You could have given up, and no one would have blamed you for a second. But you pushed on. You went for it. You did it for your girls!!!!!!!! You. Did. It. Wow. I could feel the girls cheering you on with me. So proud of their mama for never letting them be forgotten. They will live on in each person that ran. Each person that asked what Sophie and Madigan’s Playground is. Each person that read the #runningforsophieandmadigan sign. Each person who saw our neon pink shirts. You and Jack did it!!! And we are so proud.

Tara and I then got on the monorail to Tickets and transportation then onto the monorail back to Epcot. We ran into Stephanie’s parents. We tracked that we walked about 6 miles for this race, hey maybe I can do a 1/2 marathon ;). Once back to Epcot you walk to the trees and back to the spectator area. There are a ton of bleachers but you kind of have to push through to get a seat. It wasnt too bad though. I had gotten the platinum ch’ear squad but I opted to sit with Tara in the free seats until it was time for Chrissi to come through. We cheered for each of our friends as they crossed that finish line. It was such a surreal experience. After Vicki, Regina, Lauren and Jonathan finished we started to get a little nervous. See, you can be swept in this race. They can take you off the course and I was scared that Jen, Chrissi and Kristin had been swept.

I went to sit with Jack. We were nervous together. You could tell they were starting to wrap things up. Emptying trash cans and such. But then I got a text from Jen!! They were almost there!! When I saw them I burst into tears. I couldn’t believe it. There was my amazing Chrissi. She had done it!!!!! The announcer then announced why they were running, for Chrissi’s beautiful girls, Sophie and Madigan. Mickey, Minnie and Goofy were there, hugging and kissing and cheering them on as they crossed over the finish line! Confetti cannons and cheers! It was amazing.

Jack and I hugged and sobbed and hugged and sobbed. Then Jack and I ran to greet them (okay, not gonna lie… I ran while jack quickly walked… Because we all know if jack were running I wouldn’t be able to keep up hahah). It was like out of a movie. Jack grabbed Chrissi and hugged her and we all cried.

This weekend was amazing. It was hard. It was sad. It was happy. It was laughter and tears. It was old friends meeting up to support our beautiful friend and each other. It was literally life changing.

Thank you from the very bottom of my heart to Jen and Kristin for crossing that finish line with Chrissi. For bringing her through highs and lows. You are my heroes. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.












Maddox’s Birth Story

This is the story of my third kiddo’s birth. It was a crazy situation but turned out pretty amazing.

I feel as if this story begins before the night I went to the hospital. My first child, Riley, who was born when I was only 19. I knew very little of birth. I knew very little of the world, really. I was induced on my due date because of… well… there was no reason. I didn’t have any idea what it even really meant. All I knew was that I was going to have a baby. I had a fast but incredibly intense pitocin induced birth. He came so fast that I was unable to have an epidural. This opened my eyes to the idea of what birth out of the norm could be like. I’m glad I felt it. It sparked an interest in birth. Fast forward to my second. I had read and read but was still not confident in my choices. I still thought that what the doctor said would go. I was induced for a second time. I went through that birth without an epidural as well, but I knew there had to be more. After discussion upon discussion, reading book after book, talking to mom after mom I knew that midwifery care was for me. I knew that I could have the birth experience that so many women had, where they felt empowered to birth.

I woke up out of dead sleep on Thursday, Thanksgiving, night. I was 37 weeks and 5 days with my third child, having had contractions for weeks on end. But this felt different. I was in so much pain I couldn’t control myself. I knew something was wrong. The pain wasn’t contractions, there was no rhythm it was constant. Jeremy called the midwife who said it sounded like a kidney stone. I agreed. She suggested a warm bath. Over the next two hours I tried everything. Tylenol, hot compress, shower, birth ball, walking, laying down, but the pain got worse. I sent my friend Chrissi a text to see if she had any suggestions. Eventually I decided the pain was too bad and I needed to head to the hospital. I’m so glad now we went to where I was delivering instead of the closest hospital. My poor hubby had taken Tylenol pm that night because of a bad headache. He never takes anything so it hit him pretty hard. Chrissi offered to come get me and take me to the hospital. I was in so much pain I began vomiting as we pulled in after the 30 minute ride.

They took me into triage and gave me pain medicine. It took hours to get the pain to even a manageable point. I was in pain after only an hour or two of the larger doses of demerol. Once morning came, one of the midwives, Paula, came to talk to me. Her recommedation was that I be induced because the large amount of pain medicine could be dangerous for the baby if continued. While they were pretty sure it was kidney stone, the problem may have been baby placement which the birth would relieve. I was given some options and after a lot of discussion with everyone we decided to go ahead and have a gentle induction. The options included: Going home with percocet and hope the pain went away, get an epideral & pitocin and go into labor, attempt to deal with the pain & take phentanol as needed and be induced with a cook’s catheter and low level pitocin. I chose the cook’s catheter and low level pitocin. While it was not what I wanted, at that point I had been in so much pain that I was very fearful of heading home and trying to mask the pain with percoset. This is where I feel that midwifery care really helped me. Had I had a doctor that wasn’t interested in my wishes, they would have pushed much harder for a hard induction. Paula was respectful of my wishes, knowing that even if I couldn’t have the natural birth I wanted, I had choices and that was one of the most empowering times.

At about 2:30pm I got my last dose of phentanol for the kidney pain and they inserted a cooks catheter. I was already 3cm and 70 percent effaced and had been taking evening primrose oil to soften my cervix for a few weeks. They put me on a low dose of pitocin as well. After about an hour I was able to get up. I rolled a ton on my birth ball while listening and laughing at my birth playlist, which included “You’re Having My Baby” from the Glee soundtrack. Then I went to the bathroom and the catheter came out! My midwife checked me and I was already 6-7 cm! The midwife asked if I wanted my water broken, and since I was already 6-7 I said yes. She went ahead and broke my water. I allowed her to break my water because I had a feeling that if my water was broken, the baby would arrive quicker and that would allow me to avoid upping the pitocin or more medical interventions. I couldn’t believe I had progressed so quickly and really was in relatively low amounts of pain. This experience was already 100 times better than my previous inductions. I truly feel like it was because of the huge amount of support that I had. Decisions that were made were mine. They were informed, supported, well thought out decisions. And I was surrounded both physically and emotionally by people who loved me, both in the room and from afar. Also, I was encouraged to move with the pain, I was encouraged to moan, hum, or anything else that would help me move through the pain. My midwife was very encouraging to do what felt best to me. She helped me to know that this was my experience and to not be embarrassed by my more primal side.

I got back on my ball to move him lower into my pelvis. We continued to roll with each contraction until my midwife suggested getting in the tub. At first I said I’d rather get in the shower but after one contraction while standing I knew it would be too painful. I rushed to the toilet because I knew so many women who found some pain relief from sitting on the toilet. While I had a couple of contractions on the toilet, Chrissi filled the tub and I got in. The water was so refreshing and calming. This is when I think the contractions got very intense. I started really vocalizing them. Working through each contraction with humming, o’hhing. Jeremy sat in the bathroom and held my hand as each contraction peaked. Knowing he was there and encouraging me was so beautiful to me. Near the 5th or 6th contraction I remember talking to Maddox. Reassuring him that the world wasn’t scary, that I could hold and love him outside the womb and he would be safe. Within another contraction I started feeling a little pushy so out of the tub and onto the bed. My midwife trusted that I knew what my body was doing. I was about 9 cm and the midwife encouraged me that I could push and she’d pull the cervix aside if needed. I pushed but knew he wasn’t quite there. As they got ready I knew he’d be here soon. I had been in so much pain from the kidney stone that I was afraid my body couldn’t handle the pain of pushing. I was afraid that my birth had been so fast that the pushing stage may be hours. But I was able to let go of that pain and within two contractions and pushes he was born into the world at 5:40pm, only about 3 or 4 hours since the start. This experience was so much better than my previous inductions. This felt so much closer to what birth should be like. While I know it wasn’t completely natural, for me I was able to get a lot of what I wanted. I was able to move, laugh, cry, get in the tub, vocalize. After the birth it was everything I wanted. He was placed directly on my chest. He snuggled with me and was able to latch on right away. His cord was able to pulsate and I was able to bask in the first precious moments of his life. It was truly love at first sight.
Right afterward, Antonette, a friend & doula, came to come get the placenta. I’m so thankful because the placenta pills were amazing They helped so much with the postpartum depression I was so afraid that would engulf this amazing experience. I was moved to the post partum room quickly after that. Then, I was sent for a CT scan where they found both of my kidneys have stones in them. The kidney pain went away shortly after the induction started. After the birth I had to have uretal stints put in. After further investigation I had 13 kidney stones, one that was lodged in my ureter and had to be taken care of.

While my birth wasn’t perfect, it was the best birth I could have had under the circumstances, and truly changed me as a mother. My bond with Maddox is unbreakable. It is as strong as the contractions were that brought him to me. I am so thankful for all the women who helped me to achieve this bond.