It’s been almost two months since we had Koa. It is unreal that that much time has passed. It’s like a crazy time warp. On one hand, I can’t believe she’s already almost two months old, on the other, I feel like I’ve never been without her.
We’ve come through the initial stage of trying to figure each other out and have entered into a really comfortable time of just enjoying being together. This sense of comfort with where we are has allowed me to start getting back into training and dreaming about what the future holds for the 2013 race season.
Interestingly, I was given the okay to workout by my midwives three days before this years Ironman World Championships. This race in Kona last year was the last triathlon I’ve done. I would be lying if I said this wasn’t emotional for me. It seemed like every step of the process reminded me that I’m not the same athlete I was. My running clothes are snug, I have to Body Glide my thighs to keep from getting chub rub and the Garmin pace data doesn’t lie either. I saw the photos online of friends who were at this years Kona. I remembered standing in the same places and experiencing the same things. It was an interesting flurry of emotions in those first days back to training. Obviously, I am so grateful for where I am in my life right now, but I couldn’t help to mourn a little for the body and fitness that I had worked so hard to achieve.
Triathlon is not something that has come easy to me. I was a mediocre high school athlete, at best. In college, I started running casually, but I wasn’t breaking any speed records. When Ryan suggested we do our first tri in 2007, I hadn’t been on a bike in years and didn’t know how to swim. It wasn’t exactly the makings of a triathlon success story. It’s been a long, hard road. I’m really proud of how far I have come, but I’m also terrified of never getting it back. It’s this fear that made getting back into working out so emotional. Triathlon has become such a huge part of how I identify myself. I’ve been afraid of losing that.
When the morning of Kona dawned, I had prepared myself for an emotional day. I didn’t really know what to expect. I got up and picked up Koa from her crib and hugged her, she snuggled against me and there was nothing but happiness in my heart. No sadness. No regret. Just pure happiness.
Having a daughter has also changed my perspective on fitness and training. When I am tired and really don’t feel like getting a workout in or I’m sore, I realize I’m not just doing it for me anymore. I know I am at my best when I am exercising and fit. Koa deserves that. She deserves a mom who feels good about herself and is proud of her own accomplishments. How else is she going to learn to feel that way for herself as she gets older? I want her to learn these things from me.
So, with a joyful heart and a sense of responsibility, I’ve gotten back into training. The body is an amazing thing. After a few slow workouts under my belt, the fitness started to come back around. My run paces have started to creep down. My wattage on the trainer has been surprisingly solid. My first swim back was slow as hell, so, yeh, back to normal. Ha.
The signs of quick progress have been encouraging and have given me permission to get excited about what the 2013 race season could hold. I’ve reached out to my coach about getting things started again and the race stalking of my competitors is in full swing. So, it appears, I won’t be exactly my old self. I’ll be a better, mommier version.
I just cannot believe that one month has passed since Koa came into our lives. I just can’t believe it. I don’t actually even remember what life was like before her. I don’t want to.
Each day that has passed has been its own new adventure. Each day she does something different. Each day she grows a little more. Each day I learn something new about myself because of her.
It’s been a month, but still I’m in shock. At least once a day I look at her and just whisper to Ryan, “That’s our daughter. I have a daughter.” It boggles my mind anew every time it occurs to me.
It’s been mostly a very smooth month. Despite the inauspicious start she had, spending a few days in the NICU, she is growing into a very strong, alert and lively baby.
She’s a mover and a shaker for sure. It’s funny, when she was in the NICU one of the nurses came in and told me that she was kicking like she was riding a bicycle. Ryan and I laughed. Yep. That must be our daughter. She does love her nap time, but, man. When she is up, she is moving. Her arms and legs are constantly flailing like she’s a little baby windmill.
She eats like a champ. She was such a small little thing when she was born, 6lbs, 9.8 ounces. Her weight had dropped to 6lbs, 1 once after 4 days, which is normal. Once we got breastfeeding up and going I was so afraid she wasn’t getting enough. You can’t, obviously, measure what they’re eating. We had a follow up appointment 8 days later. They say the goal is to gain an ounce a day. Well, in those 8 days Koa had put on 13 ounces. The weight gain has continued, as evidenced by the fact that every day her clothes get noticeably smaller. She only has a few more days, I’d guess, in her newborn clothes. She’s a lean, long baby. I’m not sure whose child she is, actually.
She’s mostly a pretty darn pleasant baby to be around. I don’t have anything to compare it to, but it’s about what I was expecting. We were really spoiled in the first week. She didn’t cry. Like, at all. It was actually making me nervous. All she did was make these small squeaks. That’s her nickname now. I think I might call her Squeak more than anything else. On day 6 she cried for the first time. By two weeks she had mastered it. She’s a quick learner. She still doesn’t cry too, too much, but she has her moments. Mostly, those moments occur every night between 9pm and midnight. Good grief, does this girl hate bedtime. The whole bedtime process lasts at least three hours every night. The good news is that that is Ryan’s shift. Ha. Otherwise, when she gets fussy, she is easy to soothe. It really comes down to her one true love. Boob. It’s the answer to all her life’s problems. In my head I imagine she just really loves her Mama and wants to be with her all the time. In reality, I know she is just using me for my jugs.
The breast feeding thing makes for an interesting dynamic between Koa and Ryan. Ryan is such an affection guy. You might not realize this about Ryan, but he is a lover. He expresses it frequently and needs it in return. He was SO excited to be a Dad. I don’t think either of us realized just how little a baby would interact with its Dad early on. Ryan changes diapers like a champ, but, otherwise, there isn’t too much he can do. Koa is too young to “play”. Really, all she wants is to eat and sleep. Ryan can’t really help with either of those. The poor guy tries to hold her, but she just ends up trying to latch on to his neck and screaming when it doesn’t get her what she is looking for. It’s a no win for everyone involved. I know it can be rough on him sometimes. I remind him that right now is my time. I’m absolutely positive that before I know it, she’ll be a total and complete Daddy’s girl. I’m going to enjoy my time with her now before the inevitable happens.
The other member of our family, the Rooster, is just the most fabulous big sister. I seriously could not be more thrilled with how she is adjusting. The first day we brought Koa home was a little nerve wracking. Roo was really inquisitive. Couple this with the fact that she is about as gentle as a bull, I was on high alert. Each day since, she has gotten better and better. Really, within a week Koa was already part of Roo’s pack. When Roo comes in after being outside, she frantically runs around looking for Koa. Once she finds her and sees that everything is okay, she goes about her business. She has to know where her baby is. She also loves to marinate Koa in dog saliva. She licks her feet and her hands. Her favorite is to kiss her little face, especially if there happens to be milk dribble. The best thing Roo does, though, is to alert us when Koa needs a diaper change. She’ll walk across the room, sniff Koa’s butt and then look at me like, “Um. Are you going to do something about that?” It’s a very helpful feature.
All in all, we are all adjusting really, really well. Not a day goes by that I don’t realize how lucky we are and give thanks for it. It hits me most at some of my favorite times with Koa. Like, when I get glimpses of her “smile”. She’s too young to smile in reaction to things, but she is doing practice smiles now. It’s like her face just starts to randomly go through a bunch of different expressions in order to practice them. In our quiet time together, when she smiles I just cannot think of anything I’d rather be doing or any place I’d rather be.
I am in absolutely no hurry to rush these first months away. She, literally, is getting bigger before our eyes. I’m excited to watch her hit different milestones, but, at the same time, the thought of time passing by makes me really, really sad. I thoroughly enjoyed her first month, but please, Time, slow down.
Koa is already off all oxygen and doing great. We had our first chance to nurse and despite her rough day, she did really well. She really is a warrior….and judging by her volume, her pipes are in perfect working order. Ryan had his first chance to hold her and she went from crying to peacefully looking at her Daddy in a split second. She’s already got him wrapped around her finger. We took lots of pics. More to follow.
Koa Rose, our little girl, came into the world earlier this afternoon. She appears to have swallowed some meconium and is going to need to be in the nicu for a few days, but in her few hours there, she is living up to her name and doing re…
ally well. Koa is Hawaiian for warrior and she has certainly been that. They are gradually reducing her oxygen and she is responding really well. I know I’m biased, but I think she is beautiful. Introducing, our sweet girl….
Holy cow! Has it really been since April 2nd since I posted? This time as passed by so quickly. It’s crazy how fast your life goes when you’re counting it in weeks.
A lot has happened. I don’t even know where to start.
When I posted last time we were dealing with the finding that Keiki had a little cyst in its brain. Its unfortunate that that was my last blog post because my silence since then might lead you to believe we’ve been dwelling on that. This could not be further from the truth. In fact, the C-word came up at our house last week and Ryan’s response was, “oh yeh. I had forgotten about that.” We really have. I was afraid it would taint my pregnancy joy. It hasn’t. After doing a ton of researching, talking to our doctors and midwives and hearing from other really supportive women who’ve gone through the same thing, we realized it was really nothing to worry about. So we haven’t.
What that experience did do was to make me a little more introspective. Instead of blogging regularly I started a journal called “Letters to Keiki”. I’ve been writing my feelings about this pregnancy in a journal that I will give to our little one one day. I’ve shared things that I will want it to know. That’s taken my time away from this blog.
It’s time to get back, though.
So if we haven’t been spending all our time worrying, what have we been doing?
Well, in April, shortly after my last blog, we debated what the first song we wanted to play for Keiki would be. It was a very serious discussion. All kinds of ideas were tossed around. Should it be Nine Inch Nails, the Cure, Dave Matthews, Billy Joel? In the end we settled on Madonna, Crazy For You. What can I say? I was born in 1980. Madonna was a goddess to me and we both love the song. It was actually one of the songs we played at our wedding ceremony. And, really because, I am already crazy for this kid. Ridiculously, head over heels crazy for it. So, there we sat with my earbuds on my stomach playing Madonna.
We had our first Mother’s Day! I was completely taken aback when I was wished a Happy Mothers Day for the first time. A cashier at Whole Foods was the first to say these words to me. I seriously don’t think I stopped smiling for the rest of the day. I don’t feel like a mother yet. For me, that won’t happen until I’m holding Keiki in my arms, but it was OH so nice to hear.
I swam in the Jim McDonnell lake swim. I had wanted to find something that I could train for while being pregnant. I was still rehabbing a foot injury and couldn’t run, so swimming became my outlet. In May I did the Jim McD Triple Dip. It was a 5k swim on Saturday followed by a 2 mile swim and 1 mile swim on Sunday. I won’t lie. It was tough. That is A LOT of swimming for me. It was so nice, though, to cross something off my bucket list while pregnant. I was pretty darn proud of that.
We’ve started on the nursery! This has been SO much fun. We still have a lot of stuff to do, but there is a crib in there now. It has become our favorite room in the house. It makes me smile because I will catch both Ryan and Roo in there just hanging out. We put one of Roo’s beds near the crib and it’s her favorite place in the house to hang out. I think she is going to be a fabulous big sister.
I’ve kept up with my working out. I’m so grateful that my foot has heeled and I’ve been able to get back to running. It’s not fast, but I’m running. I’m also grateful to have friends who are pregnant who have kept me motivated. My friend, Meg, who’s just one week behind me with her own pregnancy has kept me driven to keep running. I have other friends, Katie and Justina, who’ve kept me driven to keep swimming. They were both swimming long distances right up to term. I am surrounded by really strong, pregnant women and moms that keep me inspired. I am so grateful for that. I have been listening to my body and taking breaks when I need to, but I’m still out there and loving it. Last week was my 31st week of pregnancy and I was still able to log13 glorious miles for the week. I’m not breaking any speed records, but I’m really enjoying myself. I hope I am able to continue this throughout.
Keiki is getting to be a big, strong baby. It’s been so fun to see the progress. I’m at the stage where everyday I notice him/her getting bigger. It’s just been so mind blowing to feel her/him grow right beneath my hands. When I feel my stomach now, all I feel are limbs. It’s so hard to believe how much bigger it’s going to get. Right now Keiki is probably about 18 inches and 3.5lbs. In the next 9 weeks, it will likely grow another 3lbs and maybe another inch or two. 3lbs in 9 weeks!!! Wowza.
I have also LOVED not knowing whether Keiki is a little girl or a little boy. LOVE it. I love the surprise that is awaiting us. I am so happy we decided not to find out. It has made this journey even more fun, I think.
Really, I’ve had the easiest pregnancy ever so far. I actually kind of feel like a brat even admitting that. My back has hurt quite a lot at times, but that is really it. I just hit 31 weeks yesterday. 9 more until our due date!! Being pregnant has been a more fascinating process than I could have ever hoped for. I’m at the point now, though, were I just CANNOT wait to meet the Keikster. I want it to stay put for at least another 6 weeks, preferably 7. But, I’m getting antsy.
I’m also really pleased with where all my numbers have been. I passed my glucose test with flying colors. My blood pressure is good. Keiki’s heart rate is always strong and solid. My weight gain is in a good place. I’m up just under 20lbs at 31 weeks. I’m pretty pleased with that. Especially since my belly is measuring right on schedule, 30 centimeters exactly at our 30 week appointment.
I feel so fortunately that this baby has cooperated and taken it easy on me. I know that I am lucky and I am grateful for it. It’s also pretty shocking how unemotional and serene I’ve been throughout this process. I’ve heard horror stories about how emotional people can get, but it seems to have had the opposite effect on me. I think it’s because I get so high-strung and emotional about tri training that taking a year off is actually having a calming effect on me. I am so uber competitive with triathlon. Not having that in my life right now has made me less roid- ragey. Turns out triathlon makes me more hormonal than pregnancy. Good to know.
I have thoroughly enjoyed being pregnant. With that being said, I am REALLY looking forward to hitting a hard workout again. Every week I go to my tri team’s track practice and do my slow jog. It’s nice to do, but, man, every now and then I just want to drop an interval in. I can’t wait to just get the engine revving again.
So that’s where we’ve been. Keiki, Ryan, Roo and I have just been chilling out and trying to get things ready. I’ll try to be better about posting from here on out. We’re in the home stretch and I want to remember every minute.
We had our 20 week sonogram on Monday, April 2nd. I had been looking forward to this since our last one 8 weeks ago. Now that I was feeling Keiki on a daily basis, I felt more connected to him/her. I couldn’t wait to see it on the screen again.
The technician showed us all the parts (well, almost all the parts. We didn’t want to find out the gender). It wiggled and squirmed. We smiled and laughed, and then the doctor came in.
He reminded us that our 12 week nuchal translucency test (a fancy test that checks for your risks of chromosomal disorders such as Down Syndrome and Trisomys 13 and 18) had come back showing that all our numbers looked great. We were in one of the lowest categories of risk quoted for those types of defects.
Then, he said there was something he needed to show us. He zoomed in on an area of its cute little brain and said words that immediately sobered us.
Choroid Plexus Cyst
A what? I felt the air leave my chest and the room got quiet. A cyst? In my baby’s brain? What does that even mean?
The doctor went on to tell us that this is a normal finding. If they sonogram 100 women a week, they’ll see it at least twice. It’s in a part of the brain that doesn’t manage emotions or thought. It doesn’t increase your risk of cancer, cause mental retardation, increase your likelihood of becoming a cat person or a Republican. It basically does NOTHING. Most articles about it refer to it as a normal part of brain development.
Why, then, is it so scary?
Well, some researchers have found a correlation between this type of cyst and Trisomy 18. One third of Trisomy 18 babies will have this cyst. However, less than 1% of babies with this cyst will have Trisomy 18. It’s that old math Set Theory coming into play. 1/3 of Set B are also Set A, but only .05% of Set A are Set B.
Set theory aside, the fact that there is ANY correlation is scary as hell to an impending mommy. To make things scarier, I have a personal bias in the matter. My sister, Kristine, born before me, had, and died of, Trisomy 18 complications.
There it is. The elephant in the room.
Now here are some facts.
My sisters condition is not hereditary. My babies have no greater chance of having Trisomy 18 than anyone elses babies.
Researchers don’t even agree upon whether there IS any correlation between having an isolated Choroid Plexus Cyst and Trisomy 18. Some have found a very slight correlation while others have found no correlation.
Everything else about Keiki looks perfect. All the other “real” warning signs of Trisomy 18 are not present. Keiki has two sizable and functioning kidneys. Its bowels and heart appear in perfect working order. Its feet and hands are correctly formed and operational. Its facial bones are all in place. Its bones are all proportionate. There is no inappropriate fluid around parts of its brain. All of our hormones are at fantastic levels. Keiki looks fantastic in all other areas.
In addition to those, there are things that just, personally, make me feel better. Keiki is strong. I have known this for weeks. (S)he’s been kicking so hard that Ryan can feel her way earlier than expected. (S)he’s actually measuring big right now. (S)he was 11 full ounces on Monday, three days ahead of schedule. This might be the last time EVER an Albrecht is accused of being “big”.
Still, though, it’s near impossible for a mother to stop worrying….or even a daddy, I’ve found out. Sure, this is not at all the news that Ryan and I were hoping to get on Monday, but we just have to have faith in the real data and our doctors advice.
It’s funny, one of the things they look at to rule out Trisomy 18 is the position of the hands. A constantly clenched fist is indicative of a problem. Keiki was moving its hand open and shut the whole time in our sonogram. At one point, it raised its hand to its face and gave us the peace sign. The technician snapped the picture. We look at it now and laugh. It’s like (s)he was telling us, “I’m fine, Mom. Chill out!”
Our doctors only response was that he seriously wouldn’t worry about it. He wouldn’t even go through any other testing if he were us. In fact, the risk of miscarriage after an amnio is greater than Keiki’s risk for having this become anything other than nothing.
This leads me to question, then, the necessity of even testing for these “soft markers”. Almost across the board these markers mean nothing when found in isolation of any other factor. I’ve seen articles written that indicate that upwards of 10% of pregnant women will be told they have 1 of these markers by itself (of which, the CPC is only one). That’s now 10% of woman who are likely going to spend the rest of their pregnancies wigging out over nothing.
…and we’ve certainly done our share of wigging out over here. I’m a data person. I took comfort in the numbers. Still, though, there is a part of me that combined this finding with what my own mother had gone through with my sister. That part of me is petrified. There is now, like it or not, a shadow over the former happiness of this pregnancy for me. I am hopeful that this shadow will dissipate in time, but it’s there for right now. Just in the last two days since hearing this news, it’s gotten better. I am hopeful that I’ll continue to make progress. I keep apologizing to Keiki for being sad and somewhat less excited. It’s not fair to the poor little thing. It’s done nothing wrong.
I’ve also allowed myself to cry. I’m not a crier. I cry easily over sappy things like commercials or the Nation Anthem (a good version of it gets me every time), but I don’t usually cry when I’m sad. I usually quickly gather my pieces, put on my big girl panties and suck it up. This time, though, I just had a good cry fest. I don’t even know what I’m crying over. Everything points to Keiki being just fine, but I guess I’m crying because I’m scared.
That brings me to the next thing I’ve realized in this process. I am now, already, officially a mother. Someone told me that there was a cyst in my baby’s brain and it was the worst thing I have ever heard. It hurt infinitely more than hearing that I might not be able to race at Lake Placid because of injury. It hurt more than any rejection I’ve ever felt. It hurt more than I could have imagined. I love Keiki. Already more than I love myself.
Last week I cared about my foot injury and when I could run again and if I was putting on too much pregnancy weight. This week none of that matters. I don’t care if I ever do another triathlon again. All that matters is Keiki coming into this world healthy. That is it. I feel like, for the first time ever, this is truly what it means to be an adult. Nothing mattered before this.
I am comforted, though, by the belief that this will just be the first in a long line of worry. Long after Keiki is born healthy and whole, I will worry and cry when (s)he gets sick for the first time or cuts her knee for the first time. I’ll worry when I drop Keiki off for its first day of daycare or when someone breaks its little heart for the first time.
I know this worry is a part of me now. Now that I am a mom. Worry only means I have the capacity to love. And that love is growing more every minute.
This weeks awesomeness more than made up for last weeks crumminess.
I had my doctor’s appointment last Wednesday to get the x-ray to see what was up with my foot. As I sat in the lobby, I prepared myself for the worst. The worst was that it was broken broken and would require a plaster cast and that I wouldn’t be able even swim. What I got, instead, was my best case scenario. X-ray looked completely clear! I was so relieved. It could have been a small stress fracture that isn’t showing up on the film or it could have been a bone bruise or it could be a tendon/ligament/muscle issue. Either way, Dr. Lane recommended another two weeks just to be safe and a bonus week if I wanted to be an extra good little girl (which I do). I had already been in my boot for a little over two weeks at the time. Another three weeks won’t kill me. It’s actually pretty comfortable. I’d rather be safe than sorry. I have no major races on the schedule this year. I want this thing to heal well and correctly. Then, I got the really great news……I not only got clearance to keep swimming, but he said I could ride as well!!!! Yay!!!! Basically, anything that doesn’t cause me discomfort is A-OK! I was ecstatic. I’m pretty sure he has never seen someone so thrilled to be told to wear a walking cast for 3 weeks. I was just over the moon!
That same evening we were driving to the Team FeXY happy hour and I had my hand resting on my stomach. Up until that point all of Keiki’s movements had been “squirming” feelings. No real jabs. Out of the blue, though, Keiki kicked so hard that I got a jab that I actually felt in my hand. Whoa! That was cool. It was just the one little kick, but it was so wonderful.
The next day, Thursday, I took my first bike ride in weeks and my first ride outside in months. Ryan and I rode for an hour and averaged just under 16 mph, including all the stops along the trail. Definitely slower than the fall, but it just felt so great to get out there. It didn’t bother my foot at all. I was really relieved. I love my bike. Love it.
Spandex, however, did not feel as awesome. I felt a lot of pressure in my gut from being on the bike. At first I thought it was just the position of the bike. I later realized that I’m pretty sure it was just my bike shorts constricting me. I might alter an old pair to put in a maternity band. I think that would help a lot. My hope is that I’ll be able to ride outside for a while. I can see the positioning of the tri bike getting uncomfortable relatively soon, but I can always ride the paved trail on my mountain bike. I’m pretty sure I will be able to do that for a while still.
The next day, Friday, was another gorgeous, summer-esque day. We went out for another 2 hour ride. I definitely was bonking at the end, but I think that was more from my recent lack of training than it is from pregnancy. I think that will get better in the coming weeks. I’m confident that I can gain some fitness back. I’d also like to keep my long ride time at 2 hours for as long as I can. If it turns into a slow putz, then so be it. I’d just like to keep the time up there. All in all, I managed around 50 miles between the two rides, which I’ll take for right now.
I didn’t swim as much as I was hoping for, but I still managed a 6500 meter week, 4,000 of which was in my one long workout. Swimming feels so fantastic right now. Even at the end of the 4,000 meter workout, I just felt like I could continue to swim forever. I have officially signed up for the full 3-event Jim McDonnell swim extravaganza. It’s a 5k swim on 5/26 followed by a 1 mile and then a 2 mile on 5/27. I’ll be 27 weeks by then, but I’m pretty confident it won’t be a problem. I’ve got a plan to get me there. I’m excited to have something to train for. 5K is a distance I’ve never done in a swim and I’ll be happy to check something off the bucket list.
As I’m feeling better, Keiki is getting stronger. I was lying in bed on Saturday night and we were just about to turn off the lights. All of a sudden I felt another big jab like I had felt on Wednesday. I told Ryan to quickly give me his hand and then placed it in the spot. Within a matter of seconds, Keiki kicked him twice. You should have seen Ryan’s face. “Oh, my God. I felt it,” was all he said, but his face was one of the best things I have ever seen. I felt myself tearing up like the first time we saw its little shadow on our 8 week sonogram. Sharing that with him might be my favorite moment so far. I was just lying there watching Ryan and Ryan was lying there watching and touching my stomach. It’s one of the happiest moments I can remember. Of course, I always love my husband, but in that moment I felt like my heart was going to explode out of my chest. It’s the type of feeling I’ve had in our happiest and saddest moments.
“Thank you so much for my baby,” was all I could say to him. I just felt so overwhelmed by the moment and so grateful to have it.
Since then the jabs have gotten stronger and more frequent. Sunday night was a particularly active time. I woke up the middle of the night and the thing just kept kick, kick, kicking. I grabbed Ryan’s hand again and it just kept kicking away at him.
We had a routine midwives appointment on Monday. Everything looks great! She asked me if I had felt it moving yet. I told her that I had actually been feeling it for the last week and a half and that Ryan had even felt it over the weekend. She said what I already had suspected. It’s pretty darn early for it to be so strong that Ryan can feel it. While I find this exciting right now, I began to realize what this could mean for down the road. Keiki is probably only 8-9 ounces and 8 inches long at this point. Can you imagine what this kid is going to do to me with another 6.5lbs?! Yikes. Ryan said that if this kid has my quads, I’m in trouble. I’m telling you, I’m breeding a warrior here.
My favorite part of the midwives appointment is always listening to Keiki’s heartbeat. This time, it’s heart rate was 142, which is on the low end of average. She said that if we believe in old wives tails, that means it’s a boy. I’ve already been thinking that it’s a boy, but you just never know. In my head it’s a boy. When I talk to it and envision it, I’m envisioning a boy.
The way I’ve explained it to friends is that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Italian food and Mexican food. I couldn’t pick which I love more. I love them both equally. If we end up with a girl on delivery day, it will be like I walked into an Italian restaurant and ordered my favorite, gnocchi (I’ve updated this example since its original telling. I’ve decided I like gnocchi better than eggplant parmigiana) and instead they brought me my favorite Mexican dish, a chili relleno. It would take my head a second to process that it wasn’t what I ordered, but it would still be freaking awesome! After telling a friend this story, they said if we have a girl they are going to call her Chili.
We have our 20 week sonogram on Monday. We are NOT going to find out. It’s going to be hard, though. I definitely want it to be a surprise, but it’s going to be awfully tempting to look if the sonogram tech goes to the general area. Ryan said he’s going to blindfold me. I mean, if it’s a boy who takes after his Daddy it would be hard not to see, if you know what I mean 😉 (that one was for you, dear). Haha.
All in all, I am still feeling absolutely fantastic. Better than I have ever felt. I’ve definitely confirmed that the case of the blues that hit last week was definitely injury related and not pregnancy related. As soon as I found out the results of the x-ray, I’ve been my usual self. I’m actually really enjoying feeling pregnant so far. Especially since Keiki is moving regularly it is awesome to never feel alone 🙂
I would be remiss to say that Keiki is not the only athlete in this house. Roo Roo started Agility II class and is loving it. The first class was a refresher on jumps (which she rocks at) and she also tried the weave poles for the first time. It’s so funny to watch her. She cannotwait until it’s her turn and she is super competitive. She also barks at the dogs that are better than her, like she’s talking trash. If she wasn’t a dog, I’d swear she was actually my child.
The 17th week (leading into a full 18 weeks on 3/20) was a hard one. I have not been that emotional throughout this pregnancy so far, but I made up for it this week.
The first question everyone asks of you is, “How are you feeling?” Truthfully, I feel better than I ever have. I have really enjoyed these last few weeks of pregnancy. I’m at the stage where I have all of the benefits without any of the downside (physically speaking, anyway. It sure would be nice to drink and race, but I can live with that.)
What crushed me this week was the boot. This damn walking cast.
What I found was that the normal pregnancy weight gain, the inability to bike or run, the perfect weather, hearing and seeing all my friend’s and teammate’s stories about their awesome, sunny bike rides and pregnancy hormones all massed together to create the perfect storm of self-pity. For the first time ever this week, I felt like I had nothing left to call ME.
I had started swimming more (and have been feeling great in the water), but I couldn’t do anything that I loved to do. I couldn’t run or bike. I couldn’t even take Roo for a long walk, like we had both been growing accustomed to. Every morning she looked at me hopefully and then just begrudgingly went back to bed after she realized we weren’t going anywhere.
To make matters worse, after 2 weeks in the walking boot, I felt like my foot was getting worse. I still had not gotten an x-ray 1.) just as a precaution of being pregnant and 2.) because if it was a stress fracture, it might not show up on an xray until 2 weeks after the incident anyway. I was beginning to worry that it had fully fractured and was healing in the wrong place. All kinds of worst case scenarios started running through my head, the worst of which would be a plaster cast. If I couldn’t even swim, I don’t know what I would do. I started to imagine 6 weeks in a full plaster cast that would keep me off my feet and out of the pool. Then what?
It occurred to me through this week that I have a full-blown addiction to exercise and training. I need to workout like I need to breathe. Not in an unhealthy abundance, but I just need to do something at least 5 days a week or I just feel like I’m worthless. So much of my self-esteem is driven by exercise and athletics, that I just don’t do well when those things are taken away from me.
I finally decided that I needed concrete answers. I did some online research about pregnancy and x-rays, learned that I would need thousands of foot x-rays in order to have any chance of hurting Keiki. Dr. Wong wrote me a script for an X-Ray and off to Reston Radiology I went.
I had issues the moment I arrived. For starters, if you’ve ever been to Reston Radiology, you know that they “admit you” the same as you would get if you were at the hospital. You go to one of their desks, sign a bunch of crap and then they put a hospital bracelet on you. I was sent to another location of theirs for my first sonogram. I got two bills from them for that day. One was for the services rendered (the sonogram), but then I got a completely separate bill for around $200 for being “admitted” to the hospital. You have got to be kidding me! I’ve never seen any other place do this for radiology tests. It’s a load of crap. I can’t see any other reason for it, other than them working the damn insurance system.
When I realized this was another branch of the same damn place, I immediately regretted coming to them. I sat in the lobby, waited for them to call me to the desk to do paperwork. An older woman processed my paperwork to admit me. I told her I was pregnant.
“Oh, I’m not sure we’re going to be able to do this on you then,” she says. Between her tone and my stress I interpreted what she said as “Oh, and yet you’re STILL opting to have an x-ray on your dumb foot? You are already a bad mother.”
I was already highly stressed and wanted to yell at her to cut the crap and do her job. You’re a desk person, lady. You know nothing about what you can or can’t do.
So she makes this big show of calling a tech about whether or not I can have an x-ray. I can hear from the conversation that the person very clearly said yes. She hangs up and tells me (in a judgy fashion, that I swear I wasn’t imagining) that I’ll just have to sign a disclaimer. Ya think? I’ll have to sign a disclaimer? The same freaking disclaimer that EVERYONE who comes in here has to sign? Fine. Save the ‘tude, lady.
So, I fill out all the paperwork, get my $200 bracelet and am told to go sit in the lobby again.
Now I’m sitting there, terrified that my foot is broken, annoyed that this lady is judging me and pissed that I’m going to spend $200 for the good fortune of sitting in their lobby. So, I did what any person would do. I started asking Google whether pregnant women can have x-rays. I have one hand on my belly (apologizing to Keiki for being such a flake) and one hand on my phone.
I’d find a science-based article……”The level of radiation in an xray is of insignificant amount and in no way will be enough to cause damage.”
And then I’d find the forum type answer where SALLYSMOM309 (who’s decidedly not a medical person) would write, “OMG. I wouldn’t have an xray while I was preggo!!!!! If there’s a chance of damage 2 the baby, y would U?!”
(As an aside: if you are pregnant, stay away from websites that just allow any old moron to post a response. If you read enough of these, you will eventually be too afraid to leave the house. The world is full of dark, scary toxins and physical traps waiting to attack your unborn child. Any number of these threats will most certainly cause your child to spontaneously combust. Your best bet is lay in bed, keep your movement to a minimum and do Kegels. Lot of kegels.)
My stress began to grow. I called Ryan almost in tears. It just didn’t feel right. I walked to the desk, had her cut off my bracelet and hightailed it out of there. I felt like I was escaping from prison.
I went home and just let Ryan hug me instead. Emotional basket-case.
I regathered, called my midwives office, confirmed that it would be completely fine to have foot x-rays and then called Fox Mill Foot and Ankle to schedule an appointment with Dr. Lane. He’d helped me out with foot and ankle issues last year. I liked him. He exudes trustworthiness. He can x-ray me and read the results right then and there. AND, he doesn’t charge me for a plastic bracelet or have Judgy McJudgerson as his front desk person. Appointment is on Wednesday (3/21), so I’m going to just keep swimming until then and keep my fingers crossed.
This week wasn’t all bad. In fact, parts of it, were very, very good. In my attempts to make lemonade with my lemons, I swam 12,000 meters, which has to be some kind of record for me. I’ve decided that if I get a good outcome from my Wednesday foot appointment that I’m going to register for the Jim McDonnell trifecta. It’s a 5k swim on 5/26 followed up a 1 mile swim and then a 2 mile swim on 5/27. It’s something I’ve never done. It would be awesome to check something off my bucket list while I’m pregnant. I’ll be 27 weeks pregnant at that time. My midwife gave me the A-OK.
Also, when I last wrote, I had felt Keiki moving at about 3pm for two days in a row. For the next day or so, I didn’t feel as much as I had in the previous days. Fortunately, my midwife had told me this was completely normal early on. She told me not to expect it everyday once it starts. A lot of it will depend on what part of the uterus the baby has decided to set up shop in for that particular day. By the end of the week, though, look out! This kid was on overdrive. Sunday and Monday were particularly awesome. On Monday, Keiki rock and rolled all day long. The coolest part was feeling it move while I was swimming on Monday. That was so strange. It felt like I had fish swimming around my guts while I was swimming myself. Weird. It’s still just squirming sensations that I’m feeling. No real “kicking”. I’ve read a bunch of different explanations from other pregnant woman about what this feels like.
It feels like butterflies
If feels like bubbles
It feels like <insert description>
In my opinion, it feels like there is a kid living inside you squirming around. Exactly what you would think that feels like, it feels like. There’s really no other description necessary for me. It feels like Keiki is doing those underwater flips we all did as a kid.
It’s been so nice to have confirmation of its existence, especially during an emotionally tough week. I lay down sometimes when it starts and just put my hand on my belly and talk to him/her. I love it already. The love grows stronger everyday that it becomes more real. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Keiki would start moving like crazy in a week that I really needed a pick-me-up. Monday is the day that all the xray craziness went down and Monday was also the day that Keiki wouldn’t stop. Like it knew I needed the support. I’m already happy that we have each other. This is going to be a great, amazing journey.
So, as a full 18 weeks comes to an end on Tuesday, I’m excited, nervous and a little scared for what results I might get on Wednesday appointment, but it’s nice knowing I have my little company along for the ride.
(Note: there have been updates since the 18th week date on 3/20. I will post more of those later today. For the purposes of record keeping, I’m trying to keep this blog segmented by weeks.)
Alright. I just need to knock this out. I can’t keep up with the kid now and I don’t even have it yet. Yikes.
14 weeks- (feb 14-feb 21)
On the heels of the Feb 19th George Washington Birthday Marathon relay, I was pretty content with my decision to not run the Boston Marathon. I made it my goal to keep my long run at 10 miles for as long as I possibly could.
Nausea has gone away (although, I never really had a lot), but I’m still sleeping like total crap. Awake almost every night from 2-4am. Suckage.
I am BEYOND excited for the next few weeks because starting at 16 weeks, there’s a possibility of starting to feel the baby MOVE! Yay! I can’t wait.
15 weeks (feb 22-28)
I took the pressures of running a certain distance and keeping to a set workout schedule off my shoulders. Instead, I ran to enjoy the weather and to feel good. I NEVER allow myself to do this. I was really a nice change. It allowed me some experiences I have never had.
For starters, Roo Roo and I have been on a few runs where we just worked on her running leash training. I’ve never done this in the past because I was too worried about hitting my paces. If she stopped to sniff or poop or lunge after a squirrel, it always annoyed me because I might be 5 seconds too slow for the mile. These new runs with her, though, have been lovely. She has always pulled ahead. I started working with her and literally within 5 minutes she was running by my side like a good little girl. I just never gave her the time or the chance before because I was so worried about getting my run in. What a proud mom I’ve been this week! We’re really enjoying our runs together.
Another fantastic thing is that I’ve found a new running buddy in my friend, Zoya. It’s been so wonderful to just run for the enjoyment of running. Zoya will do almost any pace with me. I learned that Russian people cannot say no to pregnant ladies. This is a valuable tidbit of information. I will have to keep this in my back pocket. Anyway, Zoya and I ran together for 10 miles on a gorgeously sunny, crisp morning on the C&O canal. We talked. We laughed. We stopped to take pictures. We even forgot to turn around when we were supposed to. I can count on one hand the times that I’ve forgotten to turn around during a run because I was enjoying myself so much. I definitely felt labored on this run. While aerobically I was mostly fine, I just felt tired, like I wanted to lay down and take a nap during it. I’m pretty sure I could have. It would have been rude to make Zoya wait for me though.
Now that I’m not doing Boston, I still need a goal. I can do 10 miles. I’m already registered for the Reston 10 miler on March 4. I also register for the Charlottesville 10 miler on March 31. That will give me a nice solid running base through the end of March. I’ll reassess then. For now, I’m just enjoying doing whatever I feel like doing. The running is slow. My easy training pace is around 9:40s. That’s about 1:10/mile slower than my easy pace was just 2 months ago. Oh well.
I’m still sleeping like total crap, but, sadly, am getting pretty used to operating that way. I’ve found that if I just turn off my 6am alarm, I can still wake up naturally at 7am and be fine. Otherwise, there is really nothing I can complain about pregnancy-wise. I’d actually feel a little better if I had ANY pregnancy symptoms because as it is, I’m having trouble believing it. Other than feeling like a sausage in my clothes, I’m feeling fantastic.
16 weeks (feb 29-March 6)
Miracles happened this week! Out of the complete blue, my running felt FANTASTIC! I went out for an easy 5 mile run on Friday and it just felt effortless, like it used to. I had trouble keeping it slow. My body wanted to break into an interval for old-time sake. The music on my ipod did not help. While I’m pregnant and focusing on just keeping a solid, easy base, I need to take Nine Inch Nails and Korn off of my playlist. These do not lead to easy runs. It’s just not possible. I did this run on the treadmill and while I still fit into my running clothes, I look like I have gone on a burrito binge for the last 2 weeks. I find myself just wanting to tell the person next to me that I’m pregnant, not fat. The fear of them thinking (or knowing) I’m crazy has kept me from doing this so far. Although, I was in a body pump class this week when one of the regulars came up to me and said that I always look like the picture of fitness. I said thank you and told her that it was nice to hear because I’m pregnant. Phew. Once less person thinks it’s just burritos 🙂
A combination of feeling fantastic with the spring-like weather had me getting the urge to plan a tri season. Obviously, this one is pretty much bagged, but I’ve started plotting and planning next years return from the ashes. Ideally, I’d like to do something like a marathon or half marathon late season 2012 to get back into the swing of things. Then it’s looking like a combination of 70.3s and Xterra for me. I’ve got my eye on St. Croix 70.3 for 2013. A little vacay/race return? Sounds perfect now. I’ll have a 9 month old. Whoa. That’s the goal for now, we’ll see what the future brings.
For now, I’ve got the Reston 10 miler this weekend. Last year I did this race in 1:12:35 and placed 1st in my AG. This year, I’m looking to finish with a smile on my face. Ryan, who has been busy studying for his CFP exam, has informed me that he will have the time to come out and cheer, “Since it’s not like I’ll have to wait around for the awards ceremony.”
Nice. The man does have a way with words.
As the weekend approached, the second miracle occurred. Again, out of the clear blue sky, I started sleeping through the night. It has been MONTHS since this happened with any type of consistency. I’m hoping it’s not a fluke and that it continues, but I’ll take what I can get for now.
The morning of the 10 miler I woke up having slept like a log. Zoya and I started together, but then she was going to break off and do her half marathon pace. When we started out, I was cold and my muscles were tight, but we just kept it easy around 9:30s. After a few miles, I warmed up and like earlier in the week, I felt invincible on this run. For the first time since I’ve been pregnant, I felt like “me” again. Zoya and I talked and chatted the whole time, so my effort was fine, but my pace just magically increased from what it has been over the last few months. At one time Zoya told me we were running under 8 min/miles! While it was only for a fraction of a mile that that occurred, the run average time started dropping into the low 9s and then the high 8s. Around mile 5, Zoya did a check in with me. I told her I was feeling fantastic. Seriously, I was. The weather was perfect, the sun was shining and the miles came effortlessly. I took one step and that all ended. I don’t know what happened, but something instantaneously bad happened to my foot. I knew immediately something was wrong and told Zoya to go ahead. It was a pretty signficant sharp pain in my foot. I hobbled for a bit and thought I was going to have to call Ryan for a ride. After about a mile, though, the pain became tolerable again and I was able to push through. Call it endorphins or whatever, but I was happy to be moving again. I still finished in under 9 min miles, which I was just beyond thrilled about.
Last year: 1:12:35 (must have lost the garmin file)
As soon as I crossed the finish line, my foot killed me. I could barely walk on it. I hobbled around for the rest of the day. By late afternoon, I couldn’t even put weight on it. I had to start using my crutches (which I, sadly, have ready to go at any given moment).
Went to my go to sports injury guy, Aleck Wong, on M0nday and was told what I already had suspected. It’s a likely metatarsal fracture of some kind and I need to take it easy. This week it’s a walking boot and no running (duh) or biking. I can swim my little heart out though. While a bummer, I’m trying to think of it as a nice forced break from running and a return to total health. I’ve still been dealing with some nagging aches and pains that surfaced last year. I think this could be a blessing in disguise. My goal had been to run (or shuffle) until the end of my pregnancy. If I take care of this properly now, that can still happen.
On the pregnancy front, I’m feeling a little superhuman- full of energy (until 3pm), strong, happy. That makes this boot thing a little more difficult to deal with, but it could totally be worse. Look out pool, here I come!
17 weeks (March 7-March 13)
Swam like a little fish this week! Total distance was 9,400m. Ack! I was aiming for 11K, but I just didn’t get to the pool the last day like I was hoping. That’s what this week is for, I guess. I guess the good news about being stuck in a boot while the early spring weather hits is that the indoor pool is much less crowded
Saturday was the FeXY trainer session finale. I was bummed to have to miss it because I can’t ride this week. I was going to the brunch that followed, though, and caught the last bit of the trainer session. I would be completely lying if I said it didn’t make me a little sad. For starters, I was sad to not be on my bike. I love riding and felt like a bit of a loser just showing up for the food. The other thing that surprised me is the reaction I had to seeing some of my friends starting to get into their “season shape”. I love this time of year in the tri season. You’re shedding some of your off-season weight and starting to begin to see your fitness hitting its stride again. I, on the other hand, am expanding and losing fitness. I know, obviously, it’s for a good cause and I am totally grateful and thrilled to be expecting. It’s just a strange blend of emotions. I feel like the triathlon bus is leaving and for the first time in a while, I’m not on it. I’m just standing on the street, waving goodbye. I don’t think it would be so bad if not for the addition of the foot injury. If I could just be the badass pregnant lady rocking the trainer session, I think I’d feel fine. Both together, though, is not fun. As my mom says, “this, too, shall pass.”
My youngest brother, Bobby, came to visit me this weekend. Bobby is 22 and does not have a background of fitness, but I asked him if he’d be interested in training for The Mother’s Day 4 miler in Reston and he said yes! Three weeks ago, I started giving him daily workouts and he hasn’t missed once since! I have been SO proud. Truthfully, seeing his progress these last few weeks has helped me deal with my lack of fitness progress. I can still look at paces and times, they’re just his and not mine. What has been even more amazing is watching how his outlook has changed on life in general since he started running. He says he has more energy, feels better about himself. Imagine that! Fitness can change your life! Who knew? So, he came to visit so we could go to Potomac River Running and get him fit for a pair of shoes. They hooked him up. It’s amazing what a great pair of running shoes can do for a person! I can’t wait to see how much further he can progress in the next two months before the 4 miler!! If you are on beginnertriathlete.com, you can look him up and cheer him on! He’s RRD1019.
I had a follow-up appointment with Dr. Wong on Monday. I was really hoping he’d tell me that I didn’t have to wear the boot anymore and that I could ride again. I had looked at the forecast for the week and was DYING to get outside and ride. No such luck. At least one more week in the boot and still no riding until next Monday, March 19th. Sigh. While disappointed, I totally appreciated his conservative approach. This is the same guy that I went to for my foot and subsequent ankle injuries in May and June 2011. He knew how important racing at Lake Placid was too me and was aggressive with his course of action. Who knows how differently things could have worked out if I had gone somewhere else? As appreciative as I was for his aggressive treatment then, I am equally so now for his conservative stance. There is no point in pushing it back. For what? I know the best thing to do now, is to let things heal. As an athlete, though, it just sucks. I want to enjoy the weather and outdoor rides for as long as I can. Blessing in disguise, though, right? So, for this week, it’s back to the pool again. My goal is 12K. I’m pretty sure I’ve never done that before.
On the pregnancy front, I’m still feeling superhuman. Except, 3pm is still my kryptonite. I shrivel into uselessness as the clock approaches the hour. I’ve had an exciting development, though. 16 weeks is the time in which they say you could experience movement of the baby for the first time. I was so anxious as 16 weeks approached, but then it came and went. Most first time mom’s don’t experience movement til closer to 20 weeks. Last week, though, I noticed some “squirming” sensations, but they were so fleeting and minute that I couldn’t be sure. On Monday, though, around early afternoon I was sitting at my desk and definitely noticed stronger sensations than I have had before. I told Ryan that I though for sure that his baby was awake. Yesterday at around 2pm it happened again. Definite, noticeable movement. Keiki is a mid-afternoon kind of kid. I haven’t really noticed it at any other time, just then. I will be so excited when it’s stronger and obvious. For now, it’s definite, but lighter. Ryan, I know, will be ecstatic when it’s strong enough for him to feel. Should be an exciting few weeks.
I am still sleeping like a freaking champ, which is beyond exciting. After so many months of not sleeping, I am so grateful have this now.
My weight is pretty good. I weighed in at IM Hawaii at 115lbs. I suspect that prior to fueling up that day, I was probably closer to 112lb. I hit Thanksgiving (not pregnant) around 117-118lbs, which is what I was targeting in the off-season. This morning I weighed in at 124.6. That’s about 7.6 lbs of pregnancy weight, I’m assuming, for 17 weeks. I’ve read that for women with a BMI of less than 18 that total weight gain should be about 28-40lbs. I’m really hoping to keep to the lower side of that range, but it will be what it will be, I guess. I’d like to aim for under 150lbs. In order to keep myself from eating for a litter, I started using a calorie app called, My Fitness Pal. It has been an amazing tool to a.) make sure I’m not gorging and b.) make sure I’m getting enough and the right kind of calories for the workouts I’m doing. It’s so easy to just throw up your hands and say “forget it, I’m eating what I want”. But, I’d really like to not pay for that after this process. It’s been a good accountability partner.
It’s funny, I’ve noticed to the touch, my belly has grown in the last week, but, still the pictures don’t look any different. At least to me they don’t. I’m in no rush. Things will happen when they happen. For now, I’ll just look forward to my mid afternoon (hopefully) daily appointment with Keiki 🙂
So, this week, again, my goal is to swim 12K and to do my little pregnant woman exercises (a short program I got from the bump.com) every day. I’m also REALLY excited that this Friday and Saturday is the exam that Ryan has been studying so hard for. It’s been 5 months of studying. He has been so disciplined. I’ve been very proud. I will be so grateful to have him back and engaged in the normal day-to-day things. I’ve missed him.