I left the doctor's office with instructions to basically sit on my butt for the weekend and monitor my blood pressure. I went home to the couch and called work to let my division office know I wouldn't be returning. I emailed over the appropriate documents, including a new form for my maternity leave to start.
Posts tagged ‘Pregnancy’
Confession: My pregnancy heartburn is painful and debilitating. Some nights I can’t sleep. Others I toss and turn, even after taking a Pepcid. So I’ve spent a good deal of time since my first trimester looking for foods that would be delicious but wouldn’t agitate my painful acid reflux.
My go-to breakfast during pregnancy has been oatmeal. Lots and lots of oatmeal. I’ve been eating a lot of instant apples and cinnamon oatmeal for the past seven months. I wish I had time to make steel cut oats or something more fancy, but the truth is that I warm up my bowl of oatmeal when I get of my office at school and eat it as I prep for my 9 a.m. class.
So when I got an email from Sweat Pink a couple weeks ago about myOatmeal.com, a website that lets customers make their own organic healthy oatmeal combination that includes selecting the oats, adding flavors, adding fruits or/and nuts and sweetener, I jumped at a chance to try a different type of oatmeal than I’ve been eating for the past 30 weeks.
I immediately sent an email for a free code to score a bag, hoping I would be one of the lucky ones to respond soon enough.
I’m so glad that I was, particularly because since I hit the third trimester, my heartburn has become exponentially worse than it was. I was given a coupon code to purchase a medium-sized bag from the site, which is 2.25 pounds.
I set out to make my own concoction immediately.
First off, the site order site reminds me of a check list for ordering a salad or sandwich from one of my favorite local delis. Lots of check boxes, lots of choices.
Each choice leads to another set of choices, including a long list of options for added flavors. I was overwhelmed by the options.
I’m ashamed to admit, then, that I didn’t get as wild and crazy as I would have liked. I was incredibly tempted by the Snickerdoodle and Strawberry Shortcake flavors. Then I saw the Vanilla Frosting. And Cookie Dough.
I chose two flavors: Cinnamon Roll and Apple Pie.
I know, so predictable. But I know what works for me, especially right now, so I figured I’d stay with choices I knew were safe. I opted to add some raisins (another selection screen), but no nuts and a little sweetener for my blend. I also added some dried apples.
I opened the custom-made package I received immediately and the first thing I noticed was the smell of the oatmeal. None of my store-bought instant oatmeal smelled as delicious as the package from myOatmeal.com. I sniffed it for awhile before I actually made myself a bowl.
Once I did, I knew I’d made the right taste choice.
I made myself a bowl for dinner one night (because sometimes that happens when you’re a pregnant woman) and sat down for ridiculously nutritious dinner. It was filling and tasty. My only complaint was that it wasn’t as sweet as the boxed oatmeal I’m used to, but I’ve had a need for sweet things for the past couple weeks.
My package has been split up into many bags this week so I could take them to work to eat before class, and I made some “protein balls” for quick snacks to satisfy my cravings between meals (see below).
The oatmeal is satisfying enough to get me through my class and to the noon hour, which is saying a lot right now since I tend to want to eat everything that is put in front of me.
The best part is that the Oatmeal is completely customizable and your blend can be sent to you once, every two weeks, every month, every two months or every three months. The smell alone is worth ordering, but the oatmeal selection is solid too.
Even better is that the oatmeal hasn’t caused me the horrible heartburn that’s been plaguing me for months now.
You can make your own blend at myOatmeal.com by clicking the “Build Your Blend” button in the navigation bar. Just be warned: There are a ton of flavors to choose from so you may need some time to seriously consider the array of delicious choices.
And it’s healthy.
[yumprint-recipe id=’1′]Disclaimer: I was provided a code from my affiliation as a Sweat Pink Ambassador to review myOatmeal.com, but the opinions are my own.
This was last year, after my course best at See Jane Run in Alameda. It was a ridiculously hot day to race, but one that was made much better by champagne and a nice medal, with shoe laces attached, at the end.
I’m looking at a completely different, incredibly exciting reality now. Looking down at, I should say. This photo is from my prenatal massage, thanks to a gift card from my mom, earlier this week. At nearly 31 weeks, I’m waking up multiple times during the night and feeling rather uncomfortable in everything I do.
I’m not going to talk about weight gain, outside of saying that I’m carrying baby girl mostly in the front. My shirts would fit if I didn’t have a big baby bump in the way. My thighs are a little thicker, but I’m still wearing maternity jeans from the second trimester. Only now am I moving into larger shirts, just because the bump is growing more and more each week.
But overall, I’m not feeling a great urge to lose weight, yet. Maybe in the next nine weeks that will change.
I do, however, have a great want to get back to fitness. And running. And being able to actually do asanas at yoga without having to move my legs out to avoid my belly.
That’s why I’m incredibly grateful to have been chosen, for a second year, as an ambassador for See Jane Run. The Oakland-based running store hosts its San Francisco Bay Area run in Alameda on June 22 this year.
Baby girl should be about two months old by then. Last year I ran 13.1 miles.
This year, I’m planning on doing the 5K. My first run “back” and my first 5K in a very long time. I’m considering it a “baby” step for myself. I know the route, I know the parking situation. I know nearly everything about the location. It will be comfortable and fun, even if I am uncomfortable doing it (who knows what shape I’ll be in then).
I’d like to think I’ll be running more than a 5K by then.
Part of my plan is to be able to run twice that far to be on track to run the 2nd Half Marathon of the San Francisco Marathon on July 29.
Two races signed up for already.
Today, though, I got an email about the bigger picture for 2014. Let me make it clear: Baby girl’s arrival is going to be the biggest event of my year. My husband would agree.
But I want something else too: Another chance to earn a PR at California International Marathon in December.
Sign ups begin March 1. I’ll likely deliberate it for awhile before actually signing up, but I really, really want to run 26.2 again this year. I don’t know if that is even a feasible goal, but I’m hoping that it can and will happen.
I’d like to be back in Sacramento with my husband and baby girl taking on this year’s challenge.
To get there? Those baby steps I mentioned before. All starting with See Jane Run in June. It’s perfect that I’ll be surrounded by so many inspirational women my first race post birth. I can’t think of a better way to introduce baby girl to racing than at an event like See Jane Run.
The good news is that I have a 10-percent off coupon code for See Jane Run Alameda’s 5K and Half Marathon for my blog readers so that you can join the party to. Interested in signing? Use SJRAMB243 to secure the discount. Even better, the code is ALSO good for online or in-store purchases from See Jane Run and its website.
Plus, some of the Bay Area See Jane Run stores will be hosting kick off events on March 1 to celebrate the official start of race season and promotion of the awesome events.
The kickoff events begin at 8 a.m. at See Jane Run’s San Francisco, Oakland and Danville stores. Representatives from Moving Comfort, Altra Running and 2XU will be on site at each store (for more details about which presentation will happen at which store, click here). Each kickoff starts with a run, also walker friendly, and includes a clinic about half marathon and 5K training.
It’s time to get serious about training, or in my case start planning for the next step of training in my post-baby come back to running.
I don’t want the title to sound like a complaint. My husband likes to remind me that WE WANTED to have a baby. We consider this little girl a huge blessing. And we are incredibly excited to welcome her in a couple months. (Also: I look like crap in that picture. I don’t even care.)
What I didn’t know, though, was how difficult it would be to see my body change so dramatically in such a short time. My “baby belly” didn’t really show until December when I was a bridesmaid in a friend’s wedding. But I started feeling “pregnant” nearly immediately.
Consider my last long run before I found out. I was exhausted. I could barely keep my pace. I kept stopping and sitting down. What was supposed to be a 15-mile run turned into a 12-mile run when I just couldn’t go on anymore. I stopped my Garmin and walked back to my car, thinking, perhaps, I was just having an off day.
That weekend I took a pregnancy test and immediately suspended my marathon training. I had 15,18 and 20 milers on the schedule for my next three weekends after that. I took the test because I could barely get up in the morning. I was having problems staying awake during the day. I knew, only weeks into the first trimester, that there was NO WAY I would be able to run a marathon at the end of September.
The positive pregnancy test meant that I slowly started pulling away from the running world, and this blog, and retreat to my everyday life. Why? Because, despite signing up for a bunch of races in that first trimester, I kind of knew I wouldn’t be running long distances for awhile. If I would have accepted it earlier, I likely would have been able to unload some of those race entries.
I’m finding, though, that at 30 weeks, my body is betraying me more than I ever thought it would. Health worries I thought I didn’t have anymore and coming back. My body is changing daily now and I never know what to expect. It’s exciting, because it means she’s coming soon, but it’s also so foreign to be in a body I don’t feel like is mine anymore.
I haven’t been on medication for four years, but the fact that I once was comes up in nearly EVERY appointment with my OB. At the beginning, it frustrated me. Now it’s just part of life.
Early in my pregnancy, I was given a new glucose meter to measure my blood sugar. I hadn’t owned one since right after my husband and I bought our house in 2010 and I purged a ton of stuff.
I was supposed to use it four times a day. But my hands started mildly swelling, and I couldn’t get any blood out. None. I would massage my fingers, put a rubber band around the finger I was poking, run my hands under hot water, etc. Nothing worked. I would get more upset with it than was really good for me or the baby.
So I stopped. Instead I opted to get my blood drawn for regular average sugar tests. So far? All within normal. But I can’t get past the fact that I’ve been on the medication before.
What irked me more than anything was the “you need to work out X amount of minutes a day.” I was already. The fact that my doctors didn’t seem to listen to me during my appointments when I told them I ran and did yoga was even more bothersome.
THE LEGS AREN’T WHAT THEY WERE
I lost 15 pounds when I first got pregnant. I didn’t have morning sickness. Instead, I just couldn’t eat anything. I picked apart my food for the first 14 weeks. I only ate small meals. I’d start eating something, then stop and give the rest to my dogs.
I was also too fatigued to run a lot at first.
The result of those two things was a decline in my leg muscles. It didn’t take long, particularly because I went from running 100-plus miles a month to 20 or so. My husband always told me that I really wanted to lose weight, I’d have to stop running as much. Turns out he was right.
When I did get back into it, in the second trimester, there was a noticeable difference in my running. My legs felt tight, and weak. They haven’t recovered.
EVERYTHING IS SWOLLEN
My feet, my hands, etc. Before anyone jumps to “that could be a sign of something bad,” I know. My doctor and I have had numerous conversations about pre-eclampsia. We’ve talked about me going in for twice-weekly monitoring of baby girl’s stress level. My blood pressure is checked regularly.
Swelling is part of pregnancy for some women. I’m one of those women.
My running shoes don’t fit. Neither do any of my heels. In the past four weeks none of my flats have fit me well.
Worse even is that my wedding ring has been in our home safe for weeks because I haven’t been able to wear it out of the house.
The swelling makes me very uncomfortable. When I clinch my hands, it hurts. Obviously walking around is painful after awhile as well.
BABY GIRL HATES RUNNING
Maybe she doesn’t, but she sure seems to. My husband is concerned about pre-term labor (which is a real concern for us with my health history) and asked me to NOT run during the third trimester. Yoga is fine. Walking is fine. But no high impact. The funny thing is that I’m OK with it. I’ve been fine with it since I started getting Braxton Hicks contractions in the middle of two mile runs.
I also started responding to the baby when I feel as if she is sending me messages. Some runs were fine. I felt as if the movement had rocked her to sleep. Other days, I felt as if I was making her incredibly uncomfortable. She started kicking my bladder uncontrollably and then didn’t calm down about an hour later.
She would kick me relentlessly after. I started feeling as if she wasn’t all that comfortable when I was running, particularly in the past couple weeks of running.
So I stopped.
Now I’m sticking to yoga, but even that is becoming harder. I’m 30 weeks today. I’m going back and forth about registering for another few sessions of yoga. At this point I only am looking at five sessions at a time … because I had a couple weeks were I was too uncomfortable to go.
All of these things are making it hard to feel like “me” right now.
Confession: Running, for me, has become more than just a way to stay fit. It’s also away to keep anxiety at bay. A couple years ago, I didn’t deal with it as much. Today? It has a tendency to rear its ugly head at the worst possible times.
Throughout my pregnancy, I’ve been trying to run two-milers where and when I could. I had a great maternity support belt and near the end of my second trimester, I felt really strong when I ran.
That was until a couple weeks ago when I suddenly started getting sharp pains in my abdomen where baby girl is currently taking up residence. I thought, maybe, she was starting to kick up in my ribs. I stopped running and took a shower, then sat down on the couch for awhile.
The pain didn’t let up. I ended up calling the advice nurse. I’ve also had some foot swelling, which means my running shoes aren’t fitting me as well, and other “symptoms” during the week. My husband and I were kind of freaking out. Turns out it was likely just Braxton Hicks contractions, which are painful and not really threatening.
I was told to keep my feet elevated. Drink a lot of fluids, as I normally do. And maybe ton it down on the workouts.
The downside is that the activity has been really helpful in keeping my weight in a “good place.”
That’s my bump at 27 weeks. I’ll be 29 weeks tomorrow. I’m getting bigger and bigger each day. My center of gravity is WAY OFF what it typically is when I run marathons.
I’m also noting some atrophy of my leg muscles, which is making me a little sad. I’m gained about 15 pounds so far. The numbers keep inching up on the scale, closer to the 200 mark that I fought so hard to come down from four years ago. But this is a different kind of gain, obviously. I know that she’s gaining if I am.
The bottom line of the pain? My pregnant running is likely over. I stopped yoga for a couple weeks too, just to be safe.
The problem, though, is that the anxiety is starting to creep up again. In horrible ways.
Someone asked me the other day if I was “worried” about anything leading up to baby girl’s arrival.
I’M WORRIED ABOUT EVERYTHING.
The first trimester all I thought about was the risk of miscarriage. After regular bleeding the first eight weeks it was on my mind all the time. My husband, the optimist, kept telling me not to worry. But I had more ultrasounds in those early weeks than I want to admit. I kept going back to my OB just to make sure everything was going well. My blood pressure was high when I went in for those first appointments because my anxiety was through the roof. I just wanted to get in and make sure baby had a heartbeat.
The second trimester all I thought about was viability. Unsolicited advice often leads to worries, particularly when people who are trying to be helpful (I think), start talking about pre-term labor and preemie babies. I started to think to myself “I just have to make it to 26 weeks,” which is when baby’s chance of survival outside the womb increases dramatically. Every week after just adds to her chances.
I can’t say it’s not without cause that I’m worried. My doctor has noted my past diabetes diagnosis and those high blood pressure readings as reasons to worry. I’ve been told I likely will be induced if I don’t go into labor by my May 4 due date. In fact, baby may come early if my OB becomes worried about her at all. But ALL of those things just adds to my anxiety.
The third trimester all I think about is stillbirth. Statistics put the number of stillbirth at 1/160. When I spend time on my Baby Center birth board, though, I’m confronted with the reality more and more. It’s scary. It’s more than scary, it’s petrifying. My doctor and my husband told me to stop reading forums. I should know that myself after moderating forum comments for more than a year as an online editor.
If I distract myself during the day, I don’t think about it as much. But every now and then, if I don’t feel her wiggling around. Everyone keeps telling me that as much as I worry before she is born, I will worry more once she is here. I believe it.
Running kept all those ugly thoughts away. Now I’m relying on yoga to calm me. Baby girl isn’t quite sure she likes the yoga anymore either though. She’s been kicking up a storm when we do our last meditation exercise. And I’ve had to run to the bathroom more than I’d like. I’m thankful the yoga instructor has been very supportive of teaching a pregnant student.
On that note, we’re very much preparing for her to arrive. Her room is done, one of the things I made sure I did before I went back to school. Last weekend, my husband treated me to an early Valentine’s Day gift and we splurged on a 3D/4D ultrasound in a nearby city.
We found out that she really, really looks like him. I love the image above because she looks exactly like him when he’s sleeping. He has a closely-shaved haircut and that same nose. I was excited to see her face. We also confirmed, definitely that she is a girl. I’d been worried since our anatomy ultrasound.
It’s good she’s a girl because her name is already up above her crib.
My baby shower date is set. My best friend Jennie and my sister are throwing it. I’m so thankful for that.
And my husband is getting nervous/excited. He bought her some baby leggings a couple weeks ago.
The green is the color of my glider rocking chair. Her room is a mixture of sage green, chocolate brown and pink accents. Nothing over the top girly.
I’m excited that I’m “almost there,” but I’m also truly missing running and it’s ability to keep the bad thoughts at bay. I am starting to put together a plan for after she comes. Today I found out that I will be a See Jane Run Ambassador into the 2014-15 year. So baby’s first race will be the 5K in Alameda on June 22. I’m excited about the journey to get to the start.
I’ve started and stopped this post so many times in my head that I decided I had to finish it before 2013 was over. So today, on the last possible day I could, I decided it needed to come out.
A year ago exactly, I was 24 hours from an emergency room visit that led to another one, seven days later, where my gallbladder was removed during emergency surgery.
I remember looking down at the holes on my stomach realizing that the scars would never go away. More emotional wounds would open up in the following days, but my husband and I had decided, in my hospital room on Jan. 8, that I would not be returning to my job at the newspaper I once loved so deeply I could only imagine being dragged out dead.
My heart was broken because I knew no other way.
My wounds, in those early days of 2013, were both physical and emotional. My nerves were ravaged. My body was spent.
But those very trying early days of 2013 were also filled with an overabundance of love: From my husband, who promised me I’d find my path and things to “keep me busy.” From my close friends who helped me through and offered guidance. From my students, who showed me there was more to journalism than a city newspaper with declining circulation and staff numbers. From a former colleague who, without seeing any of my work, jumped on a chance to hire me as a freelancer.
Love surrounded me.
That love healed me in ways I will never, ever be able to explain.
And that love led me to her:
When I found out I was pregnant in August, I thought I would blog every single milestone of it on here. I worried about this blog becoming less workout related, more mommy-ish.
I would start posts over and over again, but something kept stopping me: a new-found need to keep private matters very close to my heart, between my husband and I.
I’m not ending this blog by any means.
In fact, I have posts about running during pregnancy written (of note, there hasn’t been a lot of running because baby doesn’t seem to enjoy it and likes to remind me of that) and yoga (that has been essential in recent weeks). I’m yearning for my 10-milers, while only being able to squeak out two at a time right now on the treadmill.
I surprised myself last week when I register for the 2nd Half Marathon of the San Francisco Marathon for 2014. My due date is May 3. The race is July 29. I’m hedging my bets on a hope that I’ll have a natural delivery and be able to get back to running quickly, for my self and my sanity. I’ve been missing my mid-length runs of six to eight miles especially.
But my center of gravity has recently shifted enough to cause me issues. My saving grace has been my Gabrialla Elastic Maternity Belt. I bought one on recommendation from another blogger. I can’t recommend it enough.
I’m getting bigger and bigger, obviously, as I get closer to my due date. My first trimester was rough. I slept a lot. I’ve never been more thankful for a forgiving freelance schedule and part-time teaching position. I was sleeping 12+ hours a day at one point. I fell asleep nearly everywhere I sat down. I also had to stop running as a precaution, for awhile, because of bleeding. (Sorry for the TMI, but sometimes this sort of thing is linked to running. My OB told me it was likely not the running. It happens to a lot of women.)
As I worked through all this, I realized that I didn’t want to share, let alone overshare, things about my life. Call it innate need to keep my private life private, but I just felt like not blogging every element of my life was the most appropriate action.
My husband has always been a more private person than me. Part of the reason I used my maiden name professionally for so long is because I wanted him to be able to keep that privacy. Scary things happen to journalists. My grandmother used to get phone calls for me because she was the only person in the phone book listed with the same last name.
I didn’t want that happening at home.
So when my husband asked me not to blog specific things, I listened and understood.
At 20 weeks, though, we found out that baby is a girl. Or at least according to our ultrasound tech, who said: “I wouldn’t tell you if I wasn’t sure.” I’m still having moments where I think we should maybe have that checked again. That’s my anxiety peaking up …
In any case, at 22 weeks I’m feeling as good as someone who is watching all her running clothes slowly shrink up can. It’s kind of been funny to figure out which of my workout clothes still fit me on any given day. As much crap as Lululemon has received recently for comments made by the founder, my Lululemon clothes are stretching nicely over my belly.
A different in belly shots, though you can’t really see much since both photos are shot at different lengths from the mirror. On the right, I’m wearing my 2011 California International Marathon shirt and a Lululemon Run: Swiftly shirt in my regular size 10.
I’m still very grateful for long tank tops that have extended the life of my regular clothes, though by the time I go back to teaching in late January I’m pretty sure it will be ALL maternity clothes for the next few months.
So there’s been a lot happening in my life over the past couple months.
I’m finally getting to a point where I’m ready to share my triumphs, fears, successes and apprehensions again. But after sharing so much in late 2012 and early 2013, I really wanted this first part of my pregnancy to be private and special to my husband and I.
I can’t promise a quick return or regular posts again, particularly because I still very much want this blog to be health and fitness centered. But I am letting myself add in the stuff about pregnancy and our baby girl on the way.
As can be imagined, I’m extremely excited for 2014 to begin. I’m excited about some potential (as in I’m crossing my fingers tightly) career happenings on the way later in the year, the amazing work I’m doing now (so many website builds, so little time) and, of course, our little one coming.
I’m also looking forward to eventually getting back to running more frequently. One step at a time. Always moving forward. Because now I know another way.
First: I’m a horrible blogger. I know. I want to apologize, but the truth is that between freelance projects, my students and a wedding I’m going to be in next weekend, I’ve been so busy that I just haven’t had time.
Second: I’m barely running.
The first trimester of pregnancy left me incredibly tried. This second semester has made me feel even more incompatible with pregnant running, especially now that I’m feeling baby more.
Because baby likes to kick me in the bladder.
And I’m ridiculously thankful for baby kicks, even if they are like little ninja chops to my bladder.
I’m also thankful for long running shirts that still cover my growing, nearly 18-week along belly. And Spandex. I love Spandex. Because you can’t go wrong with stretchy pants when you are expanding every day.
In the past three days, baby has allowed me to get THREE solid workouts in.
Right now that’s huge for me. I ran two miles, then felt like baby was punishing me for it on Tuesday. I went back to yoga on Wednesday. Then this morning I did my own Turkey Trot on the treadmill and ran a 5K.
I’m not fast. At all.
And I can’t handle the distance, which meant that I didn’t get to run the Inaugural Berkeley Half Marathon last weekend. But I’m still trying to put one foot in front of the other.
I’m getting there. But it’s kind of hard to blog about running and health when I haven’t been running all that much.
That said, I’m thankful for a lot this Thanksgiving:
- Baby, obviously. I’m thankful for the little flutters and kicks, even the nasty ones, that I’ve been getting lately. We’ll find out baby’s sex on Dec. 16 and I’m excited to know, even though it doesn’t matter either way to me.
- The little bit of running I am doing. I can’t handle a 10-miler, but I feel good even after a two-mile run. I haven’t been able to say that in a long time.
- Maternity pants. I want to wear maternity pants all year round, even if I am not pregnant. Maternity jeans are ridiculously comfortable.
- My job. It takes a lot out of me, but it’s also incredibly rewarding. My students surprise me every issue with their talent and creativity.
- My treadmill. I’m too afraid to getting too far from home right now. So I’m a treadmill rat. I’m not even sorry.
- Time with my grandmothers. I’m lucky both of my grandmothers are still alive and I am able to enjoy spending holidays with them.
- A bridesmaid dress that still fits. I got it big in May when it came. I’m lucky it came big. No extra alterations. At least right now…with 10 days to the wedding I’ll be in next weekend.
- My dogs. Because they are awesome.
- My husband. He puts up with me. That’s more than enough.
- My health. So far no positive test for gestational diabetes. All my blood sugars have been within normal range. I feel good. I know I will feel better if I am more active, but for now, I’m excited to be “healthy.”
There is a lot more I’m probably not remembering.
This year Thanksgiving gives me a lot of reasons to be thankful…even if running long distances isn’t one of them.
A year ago I was sitting in an emergency room calming down after being administered an emergency Xanax. My very taxed brain was relaxing for the first time in weeks. My body was coming out of a panic-induced tension.
A year ago, I couldn’t have imagined what I would be like today. Because I didn’t know how I would get through the next hour. Or the next day. I didn’t know how I would wake up and take on another day.
My confidence was replaced with sadness and fear. My voice trembled when I spoke. For weeks I had a tendency to burst into tears and cry for hours. I had to excuse myself from rooms to do just that for months.
A year ago, I temporarily lost myself. I broke down.
I spent four months in therapy, putting myself back together. Recognizing that the cause was a job that I had spent too long trying to make better and fake people I’d spent too much time investing myself in was one of the greatest breakthroughs. Finally “separating” from said job brought a secondary emotional whirlwind that I worked through for even more months.
I waded through the darkest period of my life and the seeming loss of what I always considered mt first love only to realize that I never fell out of love with journalism. I never lost my passion for it. It just got buried under bureaucracy, middle management restrictions and office politics. It was buried under a deep depression that wouldn’t have become better if I had stayed.
I fought my way back to me by training for and running 26.2 three times, earning a 12-minute PR in April at the San Luis Obispo Marathon. I did my first out of state race in Portland. I bricked my half marathon schedule to achieve a significant half marathon PR and finish with a 2:16 in San Diego.
I ran because it was what I knew to do when things got bad. I ran because it was my way to cope.
Eight weeks ago, though, I remembered why I started running. At 200 pounds, I was a Type 2 diabetic on medication. I was sluggish and unhappy. I was also told, once upon a time, that I had Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and would likely have issues conceiving a child when the time came. (A surgery in 2010 found no issues with my ovaries, despite my hormone levels being way off.)
Get the weight down, health care professionals advised. Manage your diet better, the doctors warned.
There are things you don’t tell people when you start running. That was my thing. No one needed to know I was running to one day be able to have a baby. Because some things should be left personal.
To me, 2013 will always be the year of the personal best. Because I ran my butt off to put myself back together. Because my distance times improved.
But also because my personal best also means that eight weeks ago, my husband and I found out we will become first-time parents in May.
So as much as I will struggle to get through the one-year anniversary of the day that changed my life completely, I am celebrating the most beautiful “after” gift that I’ve received by way of the hell it took to get here.
The light at the end of the tunnel I so desperately sought a year ago burns brighter than I could have ever imagined.
Because I ran.
I’m going to start this blog post with the truest statement I can: My husband is a saint.
I know a lot of women gush about how amazing and supportive their husbands are, but I know everyday how lucky I am. When I met Thomas 11+ years ago I didn’t know that we’d be sharing our lives together this far down the line. I never envisioned us being at each other’s college graduations. Or getting married. Or buying our first house. Or having three dogs.
I didn’t know. I was only 17, though, not even a high school graduate. He was 20 and still trying to figure out what he wanted to do with his life. He was studying to be a photographer. I think both of us are glad he eventually chose engineering. (Because really, two unemployed journalists in a house? Bad news.)
We don’t have an easy relationship. But relationships are hard. They take work. Both of us aren’t afraid of working hard.
I’m hotheaded even on my best days. I have a sharp tongue that gives me an upper-hand in verbal confrontations, but often leaves my opponent feeling lousy. I’m stubborn as all hell. My voice, even when I’m not mad, has a way of moving past “indoor conversation” volume. And I can hold a grudge forever without it bothering me too much.
I’m the one who calls our insurance company when they over bill. I’m the one who negotiated with the car dealer last fall when we purchased our Jeep. I’m assertive, much to the dismay of some.
So when I emotionally “broke” last fall, my husband was left picking up the pieces for a woman he’d never seen fall apart so badly in more than a decade together. It scared him. Probably more than anything else in his life or our relationship had ever scared him. He lost the essence of who I was. He lost me.
Now, he’s not a timid type or anything to that nature. He’s a man who handles large-scale projects for a living. He’s a man who really “sees the forest through the trees” in every aspect of what he does. He’s ridiculously intelligent, which he would say about me in return, but in a much different way. I’m a creative type, I can visualize projects, pages, design and code, putting it all together in my head. He’s analytical. He sees numbers and measurements. He’s a “measure four times, then cut” kind of guy.
This may, we’ll be married for five years.
What it means to us? We’ve made it this far in a loving, amazing relationship. We’re doing a good job! Good on us for keeping it together!
What it means to outsiders? We should have had children four years ago.
I’m not even kidding.
I’ve been asked, in recent years, whether there was “something wrong” with me. I’ve been confronted, point blank, by someone inquiring if I was barren.
“All that running you do can’t be good for getting pregnant,” someone once told me.
Even better was when someone told me they could recommend a good specialist in “that area” of concern.
When we got a new dog this year, I nearly died when I got this text message: “So you’re going to keep getting dogs instead of having children?”
My reply to all these things isn’t exactly holding my mouth:
Instead, I’ve become accustom to using a phrase I heard from a once-friend: “Ladies and gentleman, please get out of my uterus!”
My grandmother, who I love dearly, even pulled a guilt trip on me last summer when I turned 28. She told me that women my age have two or three children by now. “I’d like to see your children before I die,” she implored. Thanks grandma. THAT’S exactly what I needed.
When I called her up saying I had “good news” recently, she responded: “You’re finally pregnant!”
No grandma. No. I had signed up for another marathon. She wasn’t impressed.
My husband once told me he wanted children by the time he turned 30. He was also 20. A lot changes in ten years.
He’ll be 32 this year. In a month, I’ll be 29.
And you know what? We’re talking about it now. In detail. We bought a four-bedroom, three-bath house in 2010 with the intention of “growing” into it. But not with 10 dogs. With children. (Want people to REALLY start nagging you again about children? Buy a house that’s too big for you.)
But the conversation started last year, when I still had a full-time job that kept me away from home 60+ hours a week. Then the part-time job that sometimes ate up 30 hours a week. I had tests done last year before my gynecologist skipped town (seriously, she was just gone one week). Soon, everything else got in the way.
This month, we started going through the motions again. That means no more birth control. Period tracking through an iPhone app (ahhh, modern technology and sorry for the TMI, not really sorry though). It also means vitamins and supplements.
We’re not jumping in full boar quite yet.
With my history of diabetes I’m actually not really “allowed” to try until at least three months worth of blood sugar tests. And I’m still hanging onto some weight it’s recommended I drop. I know not everyone gets pregnant immediately. But my new gynecologist has recommended a timeline that includes waiting to really “start trying” in the fall. As in September or October. Not tomorrow. Or Sunday. Or our fifth wedding anniversary, etc.
(Side note: I’m a bridesmaid in a wedding this December and I love the bride so much that I don’t want to be the ridiculously pregnant bridesmaid, so this timeline works out just fine. I go back for blood sugar tests after a couple months of diet watching through the summer.)
We’re also watching my recent history with anxiety and depression carefully.
Which is where the part about my husband being a saint comes back into play.
When everything that happened to me at my previous job reached crescendo and less than 24 hours later I was in a hospital recovery room after having my gallbladder removed, my husband noted the lack of people who even bothered to come see me. People he thought were my friends didn’t even send text messages. People who’d I worked with for years. (To be fair, I would have been more upset if I wasn’t so incredibly drugged up.)
One person came to see me. One person who truly loved me. She’s one of my best friends.
Thomas would have done anything to make me better. Anything.
So he did.
“You aren’t going back there,” he said to me while I was eating strawberry Jello with tears in my eyes. “If they don’t care enough about you to show up or even wish you well, you aren’t going back.”
He made the decision for me. For my health. For my sanity.
There was no discussion about money or responsibility or bills. He assured me it would be fine. He was heartbroken when I tried to get my surgeon to clear me as soon as possible so I could send a letter of resignation (the surgeon wouldn’t, he made me wait two weeks before he’d clear me if only because he thought the surgery and painkillers were impacting my decision making: “See how you feel in two weeks, then let’s talk…”).
The Tuesday after my surgery, I received the email informing that I would “not be returned to my position.” My mild-mannered, gentle husband, who isn’t prone to hyperbole, flipped his shit (there’s no lack of a better statement here, that’s what happened) even though we knew I wouldn’t be going back. I didn’t need to be mad. He was mad for me. I’ve never seen him so angry in all the years we’ve been together.
Because to me, it felt like the weight of the world was released from my shoulders. To him, it was the ultimate insult after more than a decade of work.
So you can imagine, at this point, that we don’t come to our discussions lightly about children. We’ve rarely come to any decision together lightly, even five years in to a marriage we hope will last us until we’re old and gray.
One of my favorite photos of us, from our first dance at our May 2008 wedding.
But I know something now I didn’t know six months ago when the world I knew changed forever: I know that when he said “for better or worse” he didn’t mean it as just a simple recitation.
We’ve been through a lot of “worse” in the past year, from my crying everyday at after work home for months to the initial prescription for Zoloft to my leave from work to what happened in January. All the time, he’s been there. My biggest cheerleader. My best friend. The smiling face I see at the end of every run I do. The person who celebrates my PRs just as much as he celebrates my finishing bad races. The man who made the biggest decision of my life in a moment I couldn’t.
“We’re waiting for the right time,” people say when others ask about having children. It’s a stock reply. It’s the avoidance reply. It’s the polite way of saying “I don’t want to talk to you about that” or “stop asking me that question.”
The reason I’m front loading my race season? The reason I’m running two marathons in the spring/summer and don’t have one scheduled for the fall/winter yet? Because now, we’ve decided together, that it’s getting so close to being the “right time.”