Stanley's Birth

Baby Stanley arrived on August 16, 2017, at 12:51pm. He was 7lbs, 10oz, 21 ¼ inches, and his head was over 14cm. Stanley was almost two weeks late. His birth was hard on me, but he is so worth it. After about 42 weeks, the placenta can become weak and may fail to give baby needed nutrients, so I was advised to induce. I did not want to get induced, but it was for both the health of Stan and me. I went to the hospital on Monday, August 14th. It was a slow start and it took awhile to get to 3cm dilated; but then, I went from 3cm to 8cm in less than an hour on Tuesday. I thought for sure Stanley was going to make his entrance, but I dilated slowly from 8cm to 10cm. There were some scary moments where Stanley’s HR went too low, my blood pressure too high, and my pain went through the roof. But thankfully Patrick was by my side, keeping me calm.

Once I got to 10cm, I began to push. I always thought moms pushed the entire time in labor, but this is not the case. I pushed for 4.5 hours and Stanley was stubborn, unwilling to make his entrance. Apparently four hours is a long time to push. After 4.5 hours, Patrick and I had to decide: use a vacuum to suction Stanley out or get a caesarian section. I got emotional as I didn’t want to do either, but we decided on the vacuum. Because of the extra danger, there was a lot of doctors and nurses in the room and a full team outside the room ready to rush me off to surgery if needed. It took three separate contractions with the vacuum to get Stanley out, but he arrived. His HR had dropped and he was unresponsive, so the NICU specialists grabbed him as soon as he came out. All I could do was cry. At that time, I had no idea if he was a boy or girl, and all I wanted was to hold my baby. Thankfully, Stanley quickly recovered and he was in my arms. I still tear up thinking about that moment.

Stanley’s exit was rough, which meant the doctor had to spend over an hour stitching me up. I had to stay in the hospital because of my high blood pressure and fever. We ended up spending six days in the hospital. Patrick was such a trooper through it all! The day I was discharged from the hospital, I got five additional stitches. I went home and still had pain, so I went back in a few days later. I found out that some of my sutures came out. I needed more stitches so I had to go back to the hospital for surgery. It was a long few days, but I’m happy to report I am now walking and enjoying my time with Stanley pain free. My parents and sister came out to Portland and were lifesavers those first few days. My mom cooked us three meals a day and would take Stanley after his 7am feeding so Patrick and I could get in another hour or two of sleep.

Stanley is so little, happy, and a very good baby. Patrick and I are adjusting to life as parents and love it! My favorite time with Stanley is when I breastfeed him. I have realized though that I will have to be strategic in when I exercise based on when Stanley eats. 

I went to the gym 18 days after Stanley's birth to try some light exercise (elliptical and strength work). It felt great to sweat again, but I did miss Stanley.

I plan to listen to my body and slowly progress my training. I hope to start running soon. I will start with run/walks (example: three minutes of running followed by two minutes of walking four to six times for a total of twenty to thirty minutes).

As an athlete, I often want to do more than my body will physically allow. I am trying to remain patient and remind myself that Tokyo 2020 is a long time away.  I have no race schedule set yet. I plan to decide on my first race back after seeing how my first few months of training progress. Until then I will cherish these moments with Stanley. 

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This was the last time I ran. I can't wait to get back on the trails. I ran throughout most of my pregnancy and loved this support belt: the FitSplint 

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My love 

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He's so little ❤️

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Family photo at 2 weeks 

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This is me saying goodbye to Stan before heading to the gym.  

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After Olympic Gold

Five years ago I became an Olympian. It was a bitter-sweet moment, leaving me proud to be an Olympian, but also leaving me feeling blue. I gave my best effort at the London Olympics, but came up short after a flat tire on the bike portion of the triathlon. It was a trying time for me. And for Patrick. Patrick and I were a relatively new couple and had just started living together. He had never seen me so sad; but having him there allowed me to heal and redirect my focus on the next Olympics in four years. Because of my blues post London and because of what I read and heard from others, I thought there was no way I wouldn’t experience the post-Olympic depression after Rio as well. As an athlete I devote time, energy and thought, and I experience emotional and physical stressors in hopes of performing at my full potential on a single day. The chances of success are slim, but that’s what makes the effort worthwhile.

I prepared for four years in hopes of performing on a single day. I knew I could fail and assumed no matter the result, I would enter a state of post-Olympic blues. However, I have been pleasantly surprised that the blues never came. Instead, post-Olympics I was allowed freedom and opportunities, and I was left with feelings of accomplishment and gratitude.

Winning gave me the freedom to follow my dream of having a child. I am currently pregnant and on my “maternity leave.” As soon as Baby is born, I will go back to work, preparing for Tokyo 2020. Until Baby’s arrival, I am taking time to hike, visit my family and friends, buy our first home, and watch Patrick in his cycling races. My time is also full of media and sponsor engagements as I try to earn a salary in a non-racing year.

My feelings of accomplishment and gratitude are what I attribute to avoiding the post-Olympic blues. Some days Patrick will just look at me and say, “Can you believe you won?!?” All I can do is chuckle. I am proud of that race and the work and investments my team and I made to cross the finish line in first. But mostly, I feel grateful. The team investment around me was enormous and when I reminisce or see my medal, I smile because I’m thankful for people like my coach, Jamie Turner, and my husband, Patrick Lemieux. Both men invested fully in my goal and allowed me to show up on August 20th ready to compete at my full potential.

Going into the Rio Olympic Games, I never thought one race could change my life or define me. I believed it had the potential to be a defining moment in my athletic career, but I never thought it could define me or my life trajectory. Winning changed my life more than I thought possible. When strangers find out I’m an Olympic gold medalist, their perception of me immediately changes. Patrick and I bought a house with a shower that was unusable, so we hired contractors to install a working shower. After days of work, the contractor stopped me, saying, “I just have to tell you, going to Rio is pretty special, but winning is just amazing! We’ve worked on a lot of houses, and my boss and I agree this is the coolest person’s house we have worked on.” I smiled. How kind, I thought. I’m just me, though, nothing special. His comment reinforced how one moment changed how others perceive me (both on and off the field of play). My favorite part of this changed perception is being able to connect with younger athletes. Patrick and I started a fund to help junior athletes; but, I believe my text and phone conversations are more valuable than the money we contribute. I love waking up to texts from juniors giving me an update on racing, training and life. I recently spent time with a local tri club in Portland and I loved seeing the enthusiasm on the juniors’ faces. They were thrilled to ask me questions and I loved sharing my experiences. My Olympic medal doesn’t define me, but it allows me to make some pretty neat connections.

Although I didn’t get the post-Olympic blues after Rio, and the Olympics brought me more joy than I anticipated, it doesn’t mean I didn’t go through a low. I go through a low every year after race season is over. I spend hours, days, months, and years focusing on one race or goal and the mental (more than physical) fatigue builds until it bursts. I don’t believe my low was because of the Olympics, but instead from needing a break from triathlon. After Rio I was ready for the season to be over, but had previously committed to one more race: the WTS Grand Final. I continued to train, but, my heart wasn’t in it and I dreaded the training daily. I wasn’t having fun and I needed a rest. Also, I was ready for my dream of having a child, but was advised to wait to conceive. Zika was talked about in the media pre-Olympics, but post Olympics there wasn’t much chatter. Patrick and I got tested for Zika and waited the recommended three to six months before trying to conceive. This was probably the biggest contributor to my low: my dream of having children was put on hold.

Thankfully, my low didn’t last long, and was lessened with time, the NYC Marathon, and Patrick and I given the go-ahead to try to conceive. Being Olympic Champion was always the goal, but my dream has always been to have a family. I’m so grateful Patrick and I are married. If you know me, you know how amazing Patrick is and I am so excited to see him be a dad. He’s going to be amazing.

 2012 Olympics  

2012 Olympics  

2016 Olympics

2016 Rio Olympics. Photo thanks to Delly Carr

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Patrick post Rio Olympics ❤Photo thanks to Delly Carr

Baby Update Part III

Now that I’m in my third trimester, we are having more baby appointments and less travel, which I love. Baby’s heart rate was 133 at the last appointment. I find it so interesting how Baby’s HR changes so much throughout pregnancy.

I am growing every day and my body is slowing me down. I am exercising less, which allows me to nest. I have yet to buy the most important item: a car seat. But I did have a baby shower (thanks sister Elizabeth!) and now have most of the gear needed for baby’s arrival.

How many weeks pregnant: 30.

My guess on gender: A boy.

Pat’s guess on gender: A boy.

Food aversions: Ground pork is my only current food aversion.

Food cravings: Is salt a food? I am putting salt on everything, excessively.

Sleep: I am sleeping about 10 hours a night. During triathlon training I could never sleep more than 8 —  this baby making takes a lot of energy. I am also sleeping on my back. I’ve read this is a no-no, but my doctors and PTs say this is just fine as long as I am comfortable.

When I feel my best: I feel my best when running.

When I feel my worst: I feel awful at the end of the day. I also dislike how quickly I get full, and then I am starving five minutes later. My stomach has shrunk and I’m not able to eat big meals, except for breakfast. For some reason when I wake up in the morning there is room in my belly for a big meal, but come dinner my stomach seems to have shrunk.

Biggest area of growth: My stomach is growing and growing.

Times I go to the bathroom during the night: On average, I go to the bathroom three times during the night.

Belly button in or out? My belly button is neither an innie or outie. It’s quite strange to look at as the belly button is flush with my stomach.

Wedding rings still fit? Yep! My hands/fingers have not swollen yet.

Best moment of being pregnant so far: Feeling baby move.

Worst moment of being pregnant so far: Since my last update, there hasn’t been too many complaints from Baby or me. Yes I am slower, and can’t exercise as much (or as quickly) but that’s not the goal this year. The goal for 2017 is to have a healthy baby :)

On my to-do list: Patrick and I finally got furniture (from BabyAppleseed) for the baby nursery so we are going to be putting that together shortly and organizing Baby’s room. Patrick and I are still sleeping in our guest room as our bedroom currently has no bed nor dresser. We still do not have a couch or TV or dining table chairs, but they are ordered and on their way, so soon we will be relaxing in our home as we hoped.

Training: I am running quite a bit less than last time I wrote an update. I ran 40 miles last week and swam around 10,000m. Swimming is difficult for me as I get sharp pains in my stomach when I push off the wall too quickly. I have learned that pregnancies are all so different. Some women can’t run, while for me, that is what feels best. Other women praise the pool, while I notice discomfort. I love listening to my body and adapting as necessary. I have been commuting more on my bike and I ride my bike about once a week (when it’s safe to do so). As my training decreases, my physio, PT, and massage increases. My body is becoming more prone to injuries and rolled ankles with the relaxin and lack of coordination. I take every day as it comes and do what feels best on that day.

Thanks for following my journey. We are looking forward to meeting baby Lemieux.

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We love breakfast and Patrick likes it even more when he doesn't have to make it! 

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At the baby shower with friend Katie.  

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Thanks Elizabeth for the shower! 

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Spending time with family and friends in WI

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Had a great time at The Island House in the Bahamas. 

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Volunteered at a local tri club here in Portland. Love seeing the enthusiasm these youngsters have! Thanks Strive for having me. 

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Ran for those who can't (I can no longer run this long nor fast!)