Liza Howard. Ultrarunning Mom.

Ultrarunning Mom

Ruby Jane, Hoka’s & Power-walking prohibition

I was beginning to feel a bit desperate to have this baby last weekend.  My parents had been in town almost two weeks, I was still pregnant, and the October temperatures were still breaking into the 90s.  I’d get up in the morning dreading the disappointed faces I’d see at the breakfast table.  (To be fair, that was all in my head. My parents and Eliot were nothing but wonderful.)  I’d stopped walking Asa into school.  I couldn’t take the “Still pregnant?” exchange with my mom acquaintances.  “Yup, still pregnant.”  Fake smile.  “You should try…”

Really, I’d kind of resigned myself to a c-section on Friday the 18th.  The OB for Old Ladies didn’t want me to go past 40 weeks, but the midwives had given me a 41-week reprieve.  I was bummed about the c-section because it would mean a longer recovery time and a longer time before I could run again.  (And, of course, because of all those other vaginal delivery benefits for the actual baby.)

So I headed off to bed on Monday night resigned to another three days of waiting.  Then at 10:10pm my water broke.  Actually I’m not quite sure what happened at 10:10, but it seemed like it merited a call to the midwives.

“So I think my water broke.  It’s nothing like last time, and I’m not having contractions, but something’s happened that I’m going to call “my water breaking” because I’m 40-weeks pregnant and I really don’t want a c-section.

The midwife told me to try to get some sleep and come to the hospital in the morning.

I like this midwife a lot, so I kept my “Sleep?!? Yeah right lady!” comments to myself.  That is to say, I shared these comments loudly with Eliot.  And then the contractions started in earnest.  Whereas the water breaking determination was gray, the contractions were entirely black and white.  And they were intense right off the bat.

So we knocked on my parents bedroom door, said goodbye, and headed off to the hospital.  I only made Eliot run one red light.  “Just run it!!!!!!!” It was past 11:30pm, no one was on the road, the light skipped us on a rotation, and I drove an ambulance for a number of years, so I have looser relationship with traffic lights than I might otherwise.

Here are some of the most memorable bits of the next 12 hours.

After three hours of fairly intense laboring, being awful to Eliot, and a good bit of vomiting, I decided I’d have an epidural.  My blood pressure immediately bottomed out. 60/40.  The Catholic in me instantly felt guilty about choosing the painless birthing option.  Then I got busy trying to aspirate all the water I’d been drinking over the past three hours.

The anesthesiologist was called back in and he and the nurse watched the monitor as my blood pressure climbed out of the basement and I began to feel better.  And then he told me about his Hoka’s.  You read that right.  The anesthesiologist was a Hoka-wearing zealot, and one of the nurses had mentioned I was a runner – and the next thing I knew we were discussing his recent Hoka purchase.

“I heard you’re a runner.”   He pulled up his pant leg and lifted his foot into the air where I could see if from the bed.  “Then you should know about these!”

“Ahhh yes, Hokas.”


He complained about the price and I expressed sympathy.  Then he told me he wasn’t a runner.  He just wore the Hoka’s for work.  They’re the new Crocs.  Surreal.  I will say that the Hoka conversation turned the anesthesiologist from a terse, all-business epidural-giver into a very personable and encouraging fellow. Thanks Hoka.

After that I was told to try to get some sleep again.  (Really?!!?)

I amused myself for a while by forcing Eliot to reenact the scene from E.T. with the red pulse oximeter light on my finger.



The rest of the night disappeared and we were busy leg-holding and pushing by about 9am.  And I tell you what, my numb legs are heavy.  My second sorest parts after the delivery were my arms.

Funniest moment during the delivery:

Midwife to Eliot: “Time for you to move down here to help catch the baby, Dad”.

Eliot: “Should I take my shirt off?”

Everyone in the room:  ????

Me:  “He’s been working out.”

Eliot (kind of flustered): “I mean I have a t-shirt on underneath…”

It was hysterical to me and I chortled away between contractions.

Eliot told me later that he just wasn’t sure how messy things were going to get since the midwife was all gowned up etc.  – and he liked the shirt he was wearing.

That was when I made my peace with the epidural decision.  There would have no chortling or levity if I’d labored without it.  And the laughter, which everybody joined in on, was great.

Ruby Jane was born at 10:10am, exactly twelve hours after my water may or may not have broken, and right on her due date.  She weighed 7 pounds and 8 ounces.  And she’s a very pretty little girl.


I’m calling this picture, “Already Wrapped Around My Little Finger.”  And I’m teaching her to say, “I want a pony, Dad.”

Here’s another nice photo of Ruby’s other male admirers, my Dad and Asa.



We had to stay an extra night in the hospital because Ruby’s bilirubin levels were very high.  Phototherapy does not make for a restful night in case you were wondering.


Thankfully she was fine by morning – and she’s stayed not-yellow since.

I’m going to save more stories for tomorrow because I’m typing all this with one hand while I bounce the Ruby in the other arm.  And I’m standing to add a little swaying to the bouncing.

PS.  I ran 2 miles on Saturday and Sunday.  And I’m set to run 3 miles today.  I had to run because I was given strict discharge instructions not to power-walk for six weeks.



15 thoughts on “Ruby Jane, Hoka’s & Power-walking prohibition

  1. Steve Quick says:

    Welcome Ruby Jane! How you manage to be funnier than me and run more than me while having a baby is, well, something you probably understand better than I do, because you’re probably smarter than me too.

  2. Richard says:

    Fantastic news Liza – have been watching the Ultrarunning-mom-grapevine for an update, so pleased to see it has all worked out well. Love the ET picture and Eliot with his new lady; she looks adorable, and he looks smitten – he won’t know what’s hit him in the future ???? All the best for now and keep well. Congrats again!

  3. Anna says:

    Liza, congratulations! 10:10 is a really great time, my favorite time on the clock. Ruby Jane is a lucky girl and I can’t wait to read more about your adventures.

  4. Gene Taylor says:

    Big Congrats from your friends in Wisconsin!!!

    • Liza Howard says:

      Thanks Gene! It’s a lovely time of year here in Texas now and my parents are still here helping out and life is pretty great. I just need to work on my typing with one hand skills.

  5. Sarah says:

    Aww, cuteness and congratulations all around. Have you demanded a belt buckle? I would.

  6. Ama Runs says:

    Congrats on your beautiful baby girl! Loved reading about the delivery. I almost spit out my coffee when you retorted, “He’s been working out.” :) You’re such an inspiration as a runner and a mom! Love your blog!

  7. Rob M says:

    Congratafrigginlations! It’s been great following along and super good news things went well.

  8. Lisa says:

    So happy for you Liza!!! Ruby Jane is a perfect name for a beautiful little girl!
    I thought about you the other day as I’m gearing up to train for a half marathon. I was so eager to read all about the birth! Glad you avoided the dreaded C- section too. As you know, my daughter is Ruby Lee- Ruby Jane also has a nice Southern air to it!

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