Thursday, April 24, 2014

Baby Sidney, St. Anthony's, and the 2014 Season

Warning, this is a long one... It's tough to cram everything that has happened in the past week into a few short paragraphs, so be prepared...

One week ago I was carrying the biggest training load of my life, had a very pregnant wife, and was looking forward to a few down days as we approached Sidney's due date.  We checked into the hospital for an induced labor after Ashley had a bit too much swelling and high blood pressure.  I was  anxious to say the least and excited about what the next 24 our would bring.

Fast forward 5 days later and my life has changed... a bit.  Ashley's labor took 48 hours after induction and 4-5 different options to get Sidney out before it stalled at 9 cm dilation.  It was the most stressful 48 hours of  my life.  Ashley developed a fever, continued to swell (didn't think that was possible), and contracted chorioamnionitis.  She was in pain and getting worse by the hour so we moved to plan B (or E or F... not sure at that point!) for a Cesarean section.

The procedure went well and was conducted by an all-star team of surgeons and OBs she knew from her residency.  One of my athletes even got to cut the cord (I was relegated to behind the surgical curtain for safety and to make sure I didn't pass out!)  Sidney Arin came into the world at 9:53 on Friday April 18th weighing 8 lbs, 7 oz and a whopping 23 inches long!

It definitely was a highlight of my life and I'm quite convinced that my little girl is going to go on to do big things in life.  She even made Internet news on Slowtwitch!   Luckily, she hasn't become a Prima Donna yet, but her grandparents are doing their best to make sure she feels like one.

After the surgery, Ashley developed some nausea and had some pretty nasty hemorrhaging that kept us on edge though the night.  We finally made it to the recovery room around 3am and promptly passed out for  a few well-needed hours of sleep.  The next 3 days were filled with tests and treatments including a blood transfusion and antibiotics for Ashley and a bilirubin light therapy for Sidney.  I changed my first diaper (then 40 more!) and learned how to care for my two ladies with the help of the awesome nursing staff at VCU.

On Tuesday, after 5 nights of stress and little sleep, we were finally given the green light to be released from the hospital.  Ashley still had a blood press of around 150/90 and could still barely walk more than a few steps to the bathroom but being home is sometimes the best cure.  We tackled our first attempt at the car seat and made the trip home feeling relieved to escape!

Now that we are home, we are settling into a new routine with the help of Ashley's parents who are here to help for the week.  Ashley is slowly getting stronger and Sidney is, well, a newborn baby!  Ivan was happy to see us and doesn't seem to mind Sidney as long as he still gets his walks.  I've been able to get back to training although it seems like it's been an eternity since I was the overtrained, fit athlete that started this process!

With the complicated last week and the challenges we still face with Ashley's recovery, I've decided not to fly down to Florida for St. Anthony's this weekend.  My family needs me and I couldn't imagine leaving them to race right now.  I'd be on the start line physically but I'd be 1000 miles away mentally.  I am as focused as ever on racing, but my family is my first priority.  

With a new found reason to race well (diaper $$ anyone?) and new found "dad strength", I am chomping at the bit to get to the start line for the season.  I will be in Knoxville in 3 weeks hungry, fit, and ready to roll.  I've got fantastic support from my sponsors, my friends and my family and that makes anything possible.  Thank you to everyone who has reached out with support and notes of congratulations over the last few days.  If I can survive the last week, I can do anything.  2014 will be a year to remember in more ways than one.


  1. Eric , A big congratulations to you and Ashley and a bigger welcome to baby Sidney. And you thought racing was tough. Welcome to the brotherhood of Dads. May your daughter have a happy and healthy life.

  2. Congratulations guys! Hope Ashley is feeling better now.
    And Sydney looks like a BIG GIRL in her car seat. Can't wait to meet her!

  3. So happy for you guys! I'm sorry to hear about the struggles, but glad everyone is doing well. Please tell Ashley I say hello and hugs to all of you!

    1. This is Jen Easter, by the way. :)

  4. Hi Eric! I popped on here because I was chatting with a coworker (whose hubby competes in triathlons and I shared that I had a high school classmate who was a pro at it and she asked for your name so I was going to send her your page) and then I saw this update. Gosh, what a WILD ride you and Ashley had into parenthood! I'm so sorry for that but I loved this updated. Welcome to parenthood, is the epitome of a life/game changer but as I'm sure you're already discovering all the highs more than make up for any of the lows. Congrats again to you and those girls of yours!