Entering my 19th week and counting. Counting what? How about the weeks until my quiet life gets turned upside by noise, poop and other things baby! There are days when I feel like it is going slow. There are other days where I feel like it could go a little slower because I am almost half way there!
Many have asked me how I’m feeling. The answer is good. Almost too good? I realize in another 7 weeks when I enter the third trimester things will change. But until then, I will enjoy every day where I can still breathe, where I am not being kicked in the ribs and where my stomach does not move like something alien as Baby Boy Waterstraat decides to practice proper pedal stroke in my uterus.
I have a confession to make. The other day, I went baby shopping. I was at the outlet mall and saw the Carter’s outlet. This is where cuteness and baby clothes collide. Everything was so small and adorable. And I wanted it all – anything that had monkeys, alligators or frogs. While baby has already gotten his first gift (a book) from Bree Wee (thanks!), it was time for baby to get his first outfit.
Check this out:
As we stood at the wall waiting to start 300 IM, I heard him and his lanemate talking:
I KNOW! So freakin’ cute I almost threw up on it. Not a problem it only cost 6 bucks. If necessary, I could go buy a replacement. Or 10. I stopped at one. This time. I also have to note that I bought the 3 month old size. Did you know that the newborn clothes are designed for babies that are only 5 to 8 pounds? When was the last time you knew someone who birthed a 5 pound baby!? So I bought the 8 to 12 pound size. He’ll grow into it. Or with my luck, he’ll pop out at just that size.
Aside from obsessive interest in buying onesies with little animals and stripes, pregnancy is ticking away uneventfully. Like I said, I feel good. Energetic, zippy, some days I have to remind myself I am pregnant. Mostly because I don’t look TOO different (yet). Yes, I have gained 10 to 12 pounds at this point. But it seems to be going to the “expected” places. I don’t look like a marshmellow (yet).
The other day at masters, I was doing a kick set when the guy in the lane next to me asked me how I was doing with the weight gain. A legitimate question because I know a lot of women out there worry about the pregnancy weight gain. The only place I “feel” like I have gained weight is when I am at masters because there I am standing in a swimsuit. I am still wearing the same size swimsuit but definitely squeezing out of it. You can’t really hide when you are half naked.
I told him that I was doing ok with the weight gain. Keeping it in perspective. It’s only temporary. Honestly I didn’t know how I would do. You know sometimes how we as women think that if we gain xx pounds the unthinkable will happen….I don’t know what that is, I just know for years I felt imprisoned by this fearful idea of ….GASP…gaining weight.
Being on the other side now, it’s not that bad. There is a big difference between getting “fatter” and getting “bigger”. In pregnancy you get bigger. And that is ok. I mean, the world hasn’t ended. My husband didn’t leave me. I do not wake up every day feeling worse about myself. Yes, I am bigger but I am not the numbers on a scale. Contrary to what I thought would happen, I actually feel better. I look better. I think pregnancy evened me out. I lived for so many years at an obsessively low body weight that I think this has reset myself. And I’m starting to think that if I could get back to where I started in weight, I wouldn’t want to because it was honestly too low.
Where we want to be and where we need to be with weight are two different things. Many women spend years struggling with self-concept and just getting through a day without being overshadowed by their worries about weight. They have such a dysfunctional relationship with food that daily life becomes unfun. I know because I lived that way many times throughout life. I’m not saying that everyone should live pregnant to teach themselves a lesson. I’m just saying perspective might just be the best medicine.
For the past 6 weeks, exercising has felt great. I swim, I bike, I run, I strength train. I exercise for about 45 to 90 minutes a day. Is this too much? Not enough? My body seems ok with it. I don’t feel any strange pains or unusually tired after it. The baby has not fallen out – yet. I drink sport drink while running, I eat a gel during long swims. Pregnancy metabolism is a little different. You can bonk after 20 minutes into a run because your body can only tap into sugars for energy. It doesn’t dig into your energy stores – those are being used for baby!
Right now I really enjoy swimming. I go to masters 3 to 4 times a week. The time passes quickly and I like seeing my swimmy friends. Tugboat Tom loves having me in his lane now because he can use me to negotiate a slower interval. I’ll tell him I can’t make the old intervals that I used to when he says “that’s ok, we’ll wait for you.” That is not compassion. That is just a man swimming scared of a tight interval.
Today I walked in and the coach said to me that I finally have a baby bump. I do. The “bump” is finally starting to shoot out like a torpedo from right below my belly button. While being bump inspected, I stood waiting at my usual lane with Tom. I could tell he had something on his mind. While doing arm circles, he said to me “I want to ask you something that might not be appropriate to ask.”
When a man says something like that to a pregnant woman, I have learned it can go in any direction. So, I made it easy for him. “Yes, my boobs have gotten a lot bigger.”
“NO! I want to know if you want our breast pump.”
Wow. I didn’t expect it to go there. To make a long story short, Tugboat Tom gave me his breast pump. Turns out the masters coach had also borrowed Tom’s breast pump. She told me it was industrial strength and worked really well.
I’m not sure what to think about this.
Sometimes I lane myself down at masters just so I don’t have to worry about keeping up. Depends on the set. I love days when we do IM or kick sets or pulling. I can do all of that no problem. Even sprint free day is an easy one for me because you can’t lap me on a 25. But distance free always throws me a challenge. Chopping off a 50, using paddles or putting on fins usually helps. Today was distance free day so I took the empty lane next to Tom. He already announced his goal was to lap me on every set so I figured I would at least stay out of his way.
“I’m going to do the 75 fly easy," Tom said.
“I’m going to do the 75 fly really easy,” the lanemate one-upped him.
“I’m going to throwdown.”
That last comment was from me. I figure, why not. At least give them the illusion that you are going to try to throwdown. But it’s hard to throwdown fly when you are pregnant because every 4 strokes you feel like you are going to give birth through your mouth. It’s nothing a pair of fins can’t help you get through (and also get to the wall first – fins or not - I win).
The other day at masters while waiting for the top to roll around, my lane mate asked me something:
How are you doing?
I’m ok? I mean, it’s just a set of 10 x 50 kick with fins on 10 seconds rest. I think I’ll make it.
I could tell I had just given the wrong answer.
You look like a competitive person, how are you doing with being pregnant?
Oh I see. Totally different direction with that question. Wait, I look competitive? So, you noticed the twitch in my eye when the coach said we were doing 50 x 25 on the :xx and I realized that while I busted my ass last year to break :xx in the 25, this year I would just have to cruise in 5 seconds slower while slowly raging under water every time the guy in the lane next to me just has to beat me to the wall time because there’s nothing like racing the pregnant chick!
That? Fine. I am doing just fine. Thank you for asking.
True, I am a competitive person – which is why I like sports, really if you’re not competitive you just sort of la-la along with no fire under your ass. So her question made sense. How can you come to a group workout, being a competitive person, and just hang back. Hence why I do not do group workouts when I am un-pregnant (except for swimming). You can’t tell a dog not to salivate when they smell meat. Know what I mean? So, yes, going to a group swim, putting myself down a lane and just la-la-ing along is not easy. But like the weight gain it is only temporary. It will come back. And when it does I swear I am going to beat that damn guy to the wall EVERY SINGLE TIME.
And, lap Tom.
Other than swimming, I still ride my bike 2 times a week. I also do 2 days of strength training – lots on the Bosu or balance disk to work on balance, single-legged strength, weights, stability ball, TRX. Standing on top the Bosu on one leg while lifting is getting harder. I fall off sometimes. But that only makes me want to try even harder.
I still love to run and of all 3 sports it feels the best. I run 3 to 4 times a week, 35 to 60 minutes at a time. Oddly enough, my pace has stayed about the same since week 12. It’s hovering about 1 minute slower than my usual easy pace so it still feels like running. I am clinging to each day it stays that way. In no time, I will be running slower then shuffling then walking. I know it’s coming…
Today someone asked me if I feel different when I run. Yes and no. I am over 10 pounds heavier so there is a zip in my step that is gone. Carrying the extra weight, any hills outside feel like mountains. I walked up a hill last week. If I wait too late in the day to run, I’m off the treadmill every 15 minutes to pee. If I get it done early in the day, I can make it 30 minutes. In fact, sometimes I play the game – how long can I make it without a pee (you run enough on the treadmill and games like this become FUN). Often I have held it too long and the moment I step off the treadmill I am literally peeing my pants. I found out today that this is totally normal. And that I can expect to leak for the rest of my life.
Between this and the word “tearing”, I am really scared for things down there.
Do I still feel like an athlete? Oh you bet. Because it’s in the mind. Competitive energy gets pent up and stored away for a later time. I know women out there race when pregnant – and I admire that but it’s not for me. When I go to my next race, I intend to not just finish it. I’ve finished enough races in the past few years. I want to be better than that. Until then, I’ll just stand on the sidelines, watch, wait and build more energy. I will lane myself down and run easier than my easy pace. It will take time to come back, but it will. Like with the pregnancy - or Ironman - the time will pass, it always does.