Thursday, July 19, 2012

I Was Never Going to be the Pregnant Woman Who Ran a Marathon

I met up with a friend tonight who was willing to walk very, very slowly with me for about 40 minutes. Really, these days, if I walk the .75 miles from work to the train station, I'm pretty proud of myself.

So, I was walking/waddling down the street to meet my friend, and I started thinking about the pregnant woman who ran/walked the Chicago Marathon in October 2011 (or was it 2010?). Now I could "Google" this story and get the facts straight, but instead I'm going to be lazy and pregnant and go from memory here.

Anyway, a year or so ago, a full-term pregnant woman participated in the Chicago marathon. If I remember correctly, she ran the first 13.1 miles and walked the second (or she did a combination run/walk for the entire 26.2, really it doesn't matter, she could have crawled the entire thing, we're talking about a FREAKING MARATHON here). The woman finished the marathon, went into labor, had a meal, headed to the hospital, and gave birth to a healthy baby. The end. The Chicago Tribune (or some paper) wrote a story that made it clear that the woman's doctor had given his/her blessing for the woman to participate in the endurance event.

Then people went batshit, judging this woman for endangering herself and her baby by running/walking the marathon.

So I'm not going to pile on the criticism--I remember being surprised that the doctor was totally cool with this plan, but whatever, we choose our choices. There are way better things to judge people for.

But now, myself being a full-term pregnant lady, I can't actually fathom how this woman did it. You would not only have to be in elite athlete shape to begin with, but you'd also have to be having a rock star pregnancy from week one to actually stay in the kind of shape/mindset you need to be in to train for a marathon. What's more, I imagine you'd have to gain minimal weight because the approximately 20 lbs I've piled on since December has definitely taken its toll, and I know I'm on the pretty average end of the weight gain spectrum. It goes without saying that your pregnancy would have to be complication free, but moreover, how does one maintain that kind of energy while your body is growing another human being?

Here's the thing. I have said it before: As much as I'm a slow moving, not super comfortable pregnant woman in the midst of one of the hottest summers on record, I'm pretty sure I'm having what most people would consider an "easy" pregnancy. I still get sufficient sleep; I haven't had much chronic pain; I was able to stay active throughout the majority of my pregnancy... blah blah blah. Now, I wasn't in elite athlete shape by any means, so whatever, I get it, I was never going to be the woman who ran a marathon pregnant. But as good as I have it, and as consistently active as I've been, my mobility has taken a nose dive in even just the last three to four weeks, not to mention that my body gets very sore from minimal physical activity. If I tried to run/walk 26.2 miles at 38.5 weeks pregnant, I be carried off the course on a stretcher after about three miles.

The mind boggles.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Journey of 1,000 Miles Begins... Something... Whatever... Nevermind: 38.5 Weeks and Counting

Today, my mom answered her phone, somewhat hysterically, with this greeting:

Nevermind the fact that when I talked to her yesterday, she asked me to call her after my doctor's appointment, which was this morning. Nope, not in labor.

God pregnancy is weird. It's a weird journey full of feelings I can't quite fully describe, but I'm going to try right here, for better or worse, in this blog. You're welcome.

I have reached the point in pregnancy where "real time" has become irrelevant because I am fully convinced that a) I've been pregnant most of my life, or at the very least, two to three years. The time before I was just some huge ass pregnant person is a vague memory that may have actually been a dream; and b) I will be pregnant for the rest of my life. This hard basketball-and-a-half of a stomach that moves separate of me and has a mind of its own will be a permanent fixture on my body until I die of old age decades from now. 

So there's that. 

But in reality, I know that this pregnancy will end sometime between "any day now" and the next three weeks.

And yet, despite feeling like I've been pregnant FOREVER, there is a big part of me that is completely not freaking out (yet, maybe?). At this moment, I truly feel like she'll come when she's ready, barring extreme tardiness, at which point she will be evicted--it's the hospital's policy, etc. I'm not anxious about her arrival, which I think translates into not being excited about her arrival. Or maybe that's because when people ask me, excitedly, "OMG Are you SO excited?" I can't get it up enough to answer in a way that appropriately conveys and equal or greater amount of excitement.

I am excited, but just not in a shout-it-from-the-rooftops way.

But I may feel differently tomorrow. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Final Frontier: Full Term (37 weeks)

In case you were wondering...

This is what full term looks like.

Pretty huge, but as I read through the boring Baby Center July 2012 board posts (where did all the cheating boyfriends and teen moms go?), I am feeling very, very lucky. I think I'm officially having an "easy" pregnancy. Not to say that I'm not sick of feeling like I can't move like I should be able to move. For example, things that were annoying or feats of flexibility late in the second trimester of pregnancy--like bending over to tie my shoes--now fall on a scale of downright painful to completely impossible.

But that's just pregnancy. So despite the normal pregnancy I can't tie/see/wear my shoes complaints, I have had very little persistent pain (no sciatica, no constant hip pain... knock on wood). I have minor acid reflux once in awhile, but I've also developed quite the taste for Tums, and since acid reflux gives me an excuse to treat Tums like candy, I'm kind of calling that one even. And, I am still comfortable sleeping, even though I now wake up once a night to go to the bathroom. Based on what other people seem to experience, the fact that I'm still getting a comfortable, good night's sleep seems like a small miracle.

But the truth is that things change quickly. At 35 weeks and six days, I was sleeping through the night. At 36 weeks on the dot, I started needing a late night potty break. I am realistic that my good fortune could change at any time, but I am hopeful that the next three or so weeks will be bearable.  

Moreover, I'm feeling a little less freaked out and a little more Zen about all this. In some ways, I've realized that I'm as ready as I'll ever be, I've become more accepting of labor and delivery being what it will be, and I'm getting excited for this next big chapter in our lives. Not to say I'm not scared of raising a human bean, it's just that, after all this time, she's thisclose to joining the world. A whole new person is on the verge of joining us, and I'm going to be her mom and MM is going to be her dad. How is that not exciting?

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Baby's Room: Sleepy Time

One has to wonder about oneself when the most exciting thing that's happened all week is coming home to this:

Our crib mattress arrived!

Even though I've spent hours putting together our baby's room, the naked crib and exposed wire bottom just made it feel incomplete even though she won't actually be sleeping in her crib immediately.

My mom bought us the Kendall Crib from Pottery Barn to match the furniture we bought off Craigslist. We went with the Safety 1st Heavenly Dreams Crib Mattress, which seemed like a reasonable, middle of the road choice. It fit the crib perfectly.

Maybe it's new parent guilt, but I felt compelled to offset the middle-of-the-road, completely reasonable crib mattress with an arguably over-priced organic crib mattress pad.

The sheets are also from Pottery Barn, but I passed on a bumper (apparently now they are considered very unsafe), crib skirt, quilt and other matching pieces.

The whole set up: The baby blanket on hanging on the wall was my baby blanket. You can see she has a small collection of toys and books (kind of a sad collection of books -- we'll get more) on the shelf. The plate on the wall is from a Peter Rabbit collection.

I think the only thing that would make this room more complete is an actual baby. 

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

36 Weeks: Looks Like We Made It

To July anyway.

There is a decent chance I will have a baby this month (but with my due date so close to the end of the month, there’s also a decent chance I will have a baby next month). The July 2012 board has gone from rants about cheating boyfriends, baby showers, and family drama to birth annoucements, castor oil debates, “is this labor” questions, and “is anyone still pregant” posts (my personal favorite because for a due in July board with approximately 15,000 members, the obvious answer is ‘uh, yeah, it’s only July 4’).

It’s kind of less entertaining.

It’s getting hot in here... I picked a hell of a summer to be very, very pregnant. I’m relieved if I see that the weather report includes high temperatures in the 80s rather than the 90s or--good lord--the 100s. For as beautiful as it looks outside, I’ve spent the majority of my days inside, in the air conditioning. More than 15 minutes or so outside, and my fingers and feet swell up. It’s less than ideal.

This means that I haven’t been running. My last run/walk was at 33 weeks, and I blame the weather (rather than my ever-diminishing fitness level). Running was getting hard--there’s no denying that--but once temperatures hit the 90s+, I realized that my running days were over for the time being. I knew it was coming, but I wanted to make it to 35 weeks before I started walking exclusively.

Exercise in general is becoming more difficult. I haven’t exactly been hard on myself during this pregnancy about keeping a workout schedule, but I would say for the most part, I had been pretty consistent about working out three or four times a week. Now... eh... not so much. I’m trying to get back to yoga, but the class I like starts at 7:30pm, and as an example, yesterday I fell asleep on the couch after work and work up at 8pm. Sometimes, my body just does not want to keep going until 7:30pm.

Other than exercise, up until 36 weeks, I was telling people about how good I felt; how I was sleeping through the night (even without bathroom breaks); how I was still comfortable. It’s like a switch flipped on Sunday, and in the last four days, I’m waking up every night to go to the bathroom; I'm tired all the time; and I generally just don’t feel that great. I’m functioning, but my guess is that this is just going to be how it is for the next 25 (or so) days. I still don’t have back pain, and while I feel like a clumsy whale walking around, I don’t have a problem getting comfortable to sleep, so I’m grateful for those things.

Perhaps this is the way it’s supposed to be, so that those of us who have some fear going into the great unknown of birthing and parenthood can stop being scared and start being ready. I’ve started looking forward to being considered “full term” (in four days) and knowing that this is truly, truly temporary. While I don’t believe this babe is going to come early--or even on time--it’s undeniable that the end, and a new non-pregnant beginning, is near.

In the meantime, MM and I are planning to do things like installing the carseat and packing our hospital bags. We’re going to take this weird middle-of-the-week day off to relax and stay out of heat, clean out the car, and maybe semi-organize the basement. Happy 4th everyone!