Last week I had the good fortune to witness in real time one of the many extraordinary benefits of running in daily life. Last Tuesday, September 11th, Gaby gave birth to a healthy baby boy, to whom we of course fell instantly and conjointly in love with and to whom we have rededicated our lives. But the story here, at least for this blog’s sake, is in the hours preceding his birth.
Gaby’s contractions began very early, in the pre-dawn hours of Tuesday morning. During which I mostly continued sleeping and Gaby tossed and turned, no doubt analyzing the patterns between the contractions. As the sun came up what did Gaby then decide to do? First, she instructed that I continue on with my ritual and go for a run, explaining that she would be fine. Second, she decided to go for a walk. It would make her feel better during the contractions, she said.
Wanting to stay close to home, Gaby marched the few blocks over to the University of Virginia track, exchanging pavement for the highly technical rubberized soft surface of Lannigan Field. At the track Gaby apparently felt good and decided to run. Run? During labor? Yes indeed. Five miles later Gaby returned home, called her doctor and we casually made our way to his office for a checkup. She was dilated and the baby was on his way. Later in the morning we checked into the hospital and the full on delivery began. Less than six hours after Gaby ran five miles at the track out came our son, Trail Alexander Gorman. Gaby was amazing, and delivered naturally; just the way she had hoped. This story has been told many times over the past week by yours truly- in person, via text, email, phone, Skype and so once more, via this blog, won’t kill me. (I’ll even recycle the same drollery many friends and family have already heard or read: what a double that was.)
Gaby remained in excellent shape throughout her pregnancy thanks to running. This fitness carried over to her feeling [mostly] in control and confident during labor as well, which fortunately turned out to be a success. Could it be that Gaby’s labor some women might refer to as ‘easy’ was in large part a result of her fitness? That running the morning of her birth actually even helped with her labor? And, now, her recovery is going really well because of her running fitness also? Definitely. In fact, the doctors and nurses at Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville, where Gaby delivered, all of whom were impressed, seemed to agree on as much.
For me, witnessing Gaby in action was and is yet another basic, inspiring reminder of the natural importance of health and fitness, and that there is simply no better- or easier- way to bridge a happy and healthy lifestyle than to get outside and run as often is possible.