We are four days away from the greatest endurance sport we’ve ever participated in – parenthood!
Baby girl is due to arrive on August 12! (But let’s be honest, if she’s anything like me, she’ll be arriving casually late!)
It’s crazy to think about the past nine months. There are parts that seem to have crawled by. Like January, February and March during the dead of winter. Then, there are parts that flew by. Like when we found out we were having a girl and we began to tell more people and it finally started to feel real.
The last nine months have been filled with endless to-do lists, research, shopping, conversations and preparation. But it’s also been filled with so much fun, adventure, new experiences, growth, change and excitement.
It’s also crazy to think about the fact that we were actually pregnant on Thanksgiving! Granted, we didn’t know yet, but baby girl was definitely there. (I actually ran seven miles on Thanksgiving morning and felt like a million bucks!)
We found out we were expecting the first weekend of December. *Cut to scene where the faintest line appears on a pregnancy test and my husband and I lose our minds for two days straight*
That weekend was filled with multiple pregnancy tests, Googling and then FINALLY being convinced that we WERE, in fact, pregnant.
We broke the news to our immediate family (parents and siblings) on Christmas and then swore everyone to secrecy since it was still so early. We wrapped up little signs that announced we were pregnant and had our family open. It was a perfect surprise and I’ll cherish the videos we took of it forever!
We stayed quiet about our news for several weeks and I honestly LOVED it. I was working remotely at the time, which made it super easy. But I also know that even had I been in the office, I could have easily hidden it. I had absolutely no symptoms. I wasn’t nauseas or sick or even tired. I had no weird taste, smell or food aversions. I wasn’t sleeping all the time or cranky or emotional. In fact, I often re-questioned it – wait, was I REALLY pregnant? Maybe the tests weren’t accurate? Maybe the ultrasound tech misread the sonogram??
Fast forward to about week 21 where I had stayed indictably pregnant until the tiniest baby bump finally started to appear. But even then, you’d really have to know me to notice it. During my first 7 months of pregnancy I gained 12 pounds.
I’m honestly one of the lucky ones because pregnancy has been… *looks around cautiously and whispers* … very easy for me. I never even felt the famous “pregnancy fatigue” that everyone talks about. I’d even venture into the realm of those annoying women who claim “I LOVE BEING PREGNANT!” Because I actually do. It’s been a dream come true. I often joke that I’m the most non-pregnant, pregnant person.
Still, I know how lucky I am based off friends who have had tough or even miserable pregnancies. However, I believe a solid foundation of good habits played a big factor in my easy pregnancy.
I eat well. I sleep well. I drink a ton of water. I manage stress and I move my body every.single.day.
Before getting pregnant I was working out six days a week because that’s just what worked for me and helped me feel my best. From week 1 to week 26, I continued working out six days a week. Then I dropped to five days a week between week 27 and week 30 and actually started a new job around this time! (Yep, very on brand for me because I like to do lots of new stuff all at once – ha!)
I found it challenging to balance office life with workouts and pregnancy and had to eventually be OK with dropping my training down to about four days a week. Since then and even into almost week 40, I’ve stayed pretty consistent at around four days.
It’s been wild to watch my body change, especially as an athlete. And it’s been humbling to take all of the changes with confidence and acceptance. I still remember the first time I had to modify high knees and tuck jumps during one of my workouts and I thought to myself – WOW! This is getting real!
My only two pregnancy symptoms in late third trimester have been heartburn and the occasional lower backache. But both are pretty manageable with medicine and/or rest. I still sleep really well too, even without a massive pregnancy pillow like so many of my friends told me I must have.
Going into pregnancy, I knew I didn’t want to spend nine months being bored and miserable. I think that’s why I pushed so hard to continue healthy habits and enjoying life. I know friends who turned into cranky hermits and women who couldn’t even go out to dinner or to a friend’s house because pregnancy was so hard on them. And although I do believe every pregnancy is different and there are some women who really draw the short end of the stick with symptoms – I also believe a huge chunk of it is your mindset.
Life doesn’t stop just because you’re pregnant. We still do ALL the things and even though I was nervous and it felt crazy to start a new job at seven months pregnant – it’s been THE best decision. I have also loved being pregnant in the summer. In fact, I rolled my eyes at the 900 people who made comments about surviving the summer heat during pregnancy. I’ve always loved hot weather and summer is my favorite season. I’d much rather wear a flowy, cool dress than cover up in eight layers and a massive coat. Summer is all about adventure and being outside – and we made the best of it!
We’ve gone swimming, hiking (we hiked 10+ miles in Lake Tahoe when I was 21 weeks pregnant!), tubing, kayaking, paddleboarding, boating and even jet skiing. We’ve been to multiple weddings, grad parties, a cabin and random get-to-gathers. Pregnancy has never once hindered us or made us feel less fun. And I was so thankful that COVID was so scarce all summer, which allowed us to have a regular baby shower, attend in-person baby classes and my husband even hosted a “huggies and chuggies” party where we received over 1,800 diapers from family and friends.
I’ve enjoyed running for two over the past nine months. To date, I’ve ran 322 miles while pregnant. (Thanks to KT Tape and learning to ignore my comically slow Garmin times!) You turn into a bit of a spectacle running down the street with a big ‘ole belly and going through a workout in the free weight area – but again, it’s been pretty on brand for me! I love to push the envelope in terms of what my body can handle and do and I know myself very well so I knew I was being safe.
I’m at the point now (at almost 40 weeks) where I can only run about 2 miles at a time. I ran 3.2 last weekend and my hips were pretty achy after that. Consistently over the past several weeks I have been running twice a week. But I still do a lot of spinning and elliptical workouts. I’ve also incorporated VersaClimber classes, weight training, weight machines, TRX and resistance bands. I even got the greenlight from my doctor to attend hot yoga classes, although I haven’t been to one since about week 25 because I didn’t like having a belly during chaturanga!
Still, as we approach our due date I’m not immune to all of the emotions that come with becoming a parent for the first time. (Although I imagine these feelings probably happen whenever someone has a child, be it their first or eighth!)
You feel like you prepare, make lists and get everything together and done, but you’re still left wondering if you’re actually really ready. It reminds me of similar feelings before Ironman Lake Placid. You spend all of this time training, researching and preparing, but at the end of the day – you’re at the mercy of whatever happens to you on race day.
You might get a flat tire, the weather might be awful, your digestive system might not cooperate, your gear malfunctions, you get injured. The list goes on and on…
It’s the same thing with pregnancy, labor, delivery and then finally coming home with a tiny little human. We attended all of the classes, we asked all of the questions, we read the books and blogs, purchased the baby gear, we prepared her nursery, meal prepped two week’s worth of dinners and made a plan for how we want things to go. But at the end of the day, we really are at the mercy of whoever this little baby turns out to be.
I’m nervous for all the change, but excited about this next chapter. A part of me is also sad to be almost done with pregnancy because I’ve really enjoyed the experience and I know how lucky I am. I’m nervous for maternity leave because I’m the type of person who likes to be busy (not that I won’t be with a newborn), but sitting around at home all day sounds awful. I’m anxious and intensely curious about labor and delivery. I’m also nervous for how our pets, especially our dog, will handle a new baby. It’s crazy to me to think that there will suddenly be a third person in our house with us! And it’s weird to think that after almost six years of marriage (and over 10 years of being together), it won’t be just my husband and I anymore.
Despite all of the uncertainty right now, one thing is for certain…I know we will never be in this same place again. I’m nervous, scared, excited and overjoyed – and that’s all OK. I want to cherish these last couple days and remember every little movement and kick and remember every little nerve and excited moment that my husband and I share together.
Despite everything and all of the nerves and fear, carrying our baby over the last nine months and knowing she will soon be here is magical. There are times she feels so real and there are times when I still feel like it’s all fake because I cannot fathom what it possibly means to be a parent yet. I can’t wait to see what she looks like and see my husband with her. I cannot wait to hold her for the first time and find out who in the world she is.