Sunday, August 17, 2014

T Minus 9 Days


In less than 9 days we will have a new baby.   

At this point, we are ready, we are waiting.  With the first baby, you feel this overwhelming sense of we’re not ready, we’ll NEVER be ready!  But looking at kid #1, I can’t help but think – we’ve kept him alive this long so bring on #2.  We’re ready for it! 

There’s a growing impatience at just getting started.  I know the work it will take to care for a newborn as well as rebuild my body.  I’m just ready to get on with it.  And like I told Chris yesterday, it’s not even that I’m entirely uncomfortable.  I can still swim, bike and run.  I can still function.  My belly is big but not in the same miserably uncomfortable way that it was with Max – which strikes me as odd since I’ve gained the same amount of weight.  But I’m just ready to be done with pregnancy.  This entire process started a year ago and it’s time to move forward already.  I know once she comes out and I’m faced with the sleepness nights, endless diapers (didn’t we JUST get out of diapers!?!) and painful chest I’ll be screaming: put her back in, PUT HER BACK IN!  But for right now, I am ready.

Did you hear me, baby girl.  READY.  That is your cue to come out.  NOW.

In the past 2 weeks, I’ve experienced a variety of feelings.  There was extreme fatigue which suddenly vanished upon arrival of tremendous surge of energy that didn’t stop for 5 days.  This was a welcome reprieve from what had been 36 weeks of nonstop heavy fatigue.  You know the fatigue you feel the Monday after a big weekend of Ironman training?  Where you’re still down 5 pounds of dehydration, nauseous, hungry, sore and after you wake up ready to go right back to bed? I felt that good for the past 9 months.  It was possibly the worst part of being pregnant – not feeling like me every single day.  Feeling so, so tired.   

I was delighted when I finally felt like me for 5 days.  NONSTOP ENERGY.  Indefatigable!  I had an overwhelming urge to clean everything.  And I mean everything.  I scrubbed the floors. I powerwashed the inside garbage cans.  I vacuumed behind the stove.  I handwashed all of the gear in my swim bag.  And when I pulled the vacuum up next to the refrigerator, Max said Mommy, you can’t do that.  Do what?  Vacuum the fridge.

WATCH ME.

Then, as quickly as it came on 5 days ago, it came to a halting end.  I was hit with another wave of fatigue, backache and disdain.  12 days remaining in pregnancy felt about as comforting as knowing there’s a marathon at the end of Ironman.  I still had a long, VERY LONG way to go.

My 37 week appointment gave me some reassurance that my body was preparing for the battle of labor and delivery.  The benefit of going to a practice with 5 doctors means that you have 5 different personalities giving you feedback about your pregnancy.  This particular week I met with my favorite doctor, the one who with Max told me my cervix was awesome and that I would have an awesome labor and delivery.  This particular visit she smiled when reporting I was 1.5 cm dilated and 50 percent effaced.  I was progressing!  A few days later, I lost the plug holding the baby in which had me convinced labor is imminent!  Some consistent Braxton-Hicks while running or walking, diarrhea, nausea, low backache, all FUN late pregnancy signs pointing towards freedom from this belly!

I waited.  And waited.  And…

Nothing.

My 38 week appointment rolled around and I was STILL pregnant.  The novelty wore off.  For every person who said I looked cute or YOU LOOK GREAT I wanted to punch them in the face. 

LIES.  I look pregnant

This week, a different doctor reported something different.  

You’re 1 cm dilated.

ONE centimeter?  So what you’re telling me is that I’m less than last week!?  I’m closing up?  The baby is retreating?  CHANGED HER MIND?   Even worse, my cervix hasn’t changed. No “real” contractions means things aren’t progressing.  No progress means more time pregnant.  More time pregnant means …

As one of my athletes wrote to me, I wanted to ask you this before you went baby crazy. 

CRAZY!?  I am a 35 pound front loaded weapon of stubborn baby.  I surpassed CRAZY about 20 weeks ago.  ASK MY HUSBAND!  And to baby:  GET OUT ALREADY!  Because the only thing we’re both going to do for the next 2 weeks is gain weight. 

Well, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.  I decided to celebrate the final 2 weeks of my pregnancy by eating a page out of my Food Fantasy Log every day.  I started with full fat vanilla ice cream.  Moved on to Pop Tarts and the next day dove into a jar of dark

chocolate peanut butter. 

The doctor said she would do an “aggressive” internal exam to perhaps get things started.  No sooner does she say it before she’s throwing away her gloves and telling me she’ll see me in another weeks.  That’s IT!?  THAT was aggressive?  That was nothing.  Get the Week 36 check-up-doctor in here with a shovel and a headlamp because she knows aggressive.  That woman left me sore for DAYS! 

I walked out of the office slightly discouraged, mostly disgruntled which is why your doctor should never tell you how much you are or are not progressing.  None of it means anything as labor can go from zero to 60 seconds with no signs or warnings.

In low moments like this, it’s best to turn to the only thing that will make you feel better.  No, not another page of Food Fantasy, but the internet.  Immediately I started googling:  natural ways to induce labor.  Found a website listing 40 ways to induce labor or bring on contractions.  Bouncing on a ball?  Tried that with Max – negative.  Walking?  If that was the case, I would have delivered in the first trimester.  Walking up stairs?  Seriously, am I the only pregnant woman who MOVES out there?  How about this one, my favorite:  sex?  Would probably involve Cirque du Soleil type acrobatics – NO THANKS.  When none of the ideas convinced me, I asked my friend who has six children.  Surely she has ideas on how to evacuate the baby.

Her reply?  Nothing works.  I’ve tried everything.

The oracle has spoken.  And I shall spend 9 more days pregnant.

In other news, I continue swimming, biking and running. 

The other day when walking out on to the pool deck for masters, Marty started clapping.  It had been some time since I’d seen him and couldn’t help but wonder if he was clapping for me as a wow, you’re still walking, wow, you’re still swimming or wow, you managed to squeeze yourself into that suit without exposing anything.  And the suit I’m wearing?  I stole it from the pool deck.  To whomever lost a bright pink with orange flowers suit that had been hanging on deck for over 4 weeks, you can have it back --- in 9 days.  I got into my own lane when Bob decided to join me.  I warned him that I was slow and he should feel welcome to swim around me.  He tells me that he’s slow because he’s 10 pounds overweight.  Nice try but if you’re looking for sympathy or you look great (!), THIS IS NOT YOUR LANE!  

In other swimming news, the other night I had the privilege of swimming with one of my athletes/former training partner, Amanda.  She served me a nice plateful of this is what you get for that one time you prescribed me 1500 band.  38 x 50 to celebrate week 38 of pregnancy with the last 8 in IM order.  If you haven’t seen someone do 50 fly in their 38th week of pregnancy, imagine the dolphin show at the zoo and you’ll have something pretty close visually.  Except sub whale for dolphin. 

 I’ve been biking outside but more inside these days.  Last week my belly officially got too big to ride my cyclocross bike.  But I gave it one last try anyways!  I said goodbye to Chris before I left to which he said did you earn that jersey?  I looked down at my size men’s large Illinois State Champion jersey and said no but I earned the fact that I’m large enough to fit into it so that’s got to count for something.  He goes on to tell me how much he had to suffer to get the jersey.  At that moment, I think I heard the world’s smallest violin playing or maybe it was a bad case of late pregnancy gas.  I lasted 5 minutes on my bike before I returned home to ride on the trainer.

I’ve also been doing a mix of elliptical, running and incline/hill walking.  Some days I can run.  Like the other day I hopped on the treadmill and ran 6 miles at a pace over 2 minutes per mile faster than I had seen in weeks – the best part?  Only two potty breaks.  Other days I can run 5 minutes.  Other days it’s 30 seconds run, 30 seconds walk.  And still other days I know better and head straight to the elliptical. 

As you can tell, none of this exercise has accelerated the onset of labor.  I WISH!

On Saturday morning, I woke up with the sign (or “show”) that generally means labor is imminent in the next 24 hours.  A fair amount of pelvic pressure, cramps and grumpiness the night before combined with this show convinced me that baby was on its way.  I realized I had two options: sit like a ticking time bomb of baby or … go for a swim.  I chose to swim, 3700 long course meters with masters.  I figured the coach was a former labor and delivery nurse who could deliver the baby, if needed.  And how fun would a water birth be with 50 of my not so closest friends?  Turns out I didn’t give birth in the pool, later day or the next morning.  I seem to fall into the minority of women who get every sign pointing towards labor but don’t actually go into it. 

And, in case you're wondering, 50 LCM of fly at nearly 39 weeks pregnant does NOT induce labor. 

I tried. 

There goes #41 on the list. 

Still waiting.

But I do find solace in the fact that at most I will spend ONE more weekend pregnant.  One.  But between now and then, I need to negotiate the world with this increasingly large body.  I need to go through a roll of toilet paper nearly every 2 days.  I need to keep growing this baby.  I need to keep my floors VERY clean.  I need to create my labor playlist.  I need to pack a bag for the hospital.  But what I really need to do is enjoy these final moments with Max: our Max and Mommy adventure days, our predictable little routine of every day.  Because in less than 10 days, that routine is going to get turned upside down. 

All of a sudden, 9 days, doesn’t feel like enough waiting!