As I write this, I am entering the end of pregnancy. Otherwise known as the third trimester or THE SLOWEST 13 WEEKS OF YOUR LIFE. And, if you’re really lucky, the slowest 15 weeks. Yes, some very lucky women out there get to experience the joys of 42 weeks of pregnancy!
Because this is an IVF pregnancy and I’m geriatric, I will not be permitted to go beyond 40 weeks. And so, I will miss out on the joy of those bonus weeks in pregnancy.
Each day, someone comments about my belly. My husband: it’s getting bigger. A preschool mom: I didn’t realize you were pregnant, you hid it so well until now. A parent of a swimmer that I coach: when are you due, you look like you’re going to burst!
My biggest fans – THANKS, everyone.
What’s been happening the past few weeks? Not much unusual. I’ve been ticking away the days here with coaching my assorted groups, running my business and waiting for summer. Finally, it’s here! Which means many hours a week will be spent in my yard with all of my favorite power tools. Sad reality of pregnancy: I had to slow the self-propelled mower down two notches just so I could keep up with it!
On the weight gain front, I continue to gain one pound a week. Baby is currently 2 pounds and 12 ounces. Add to that the one pound of placenta and I have nearly 4 pounds of that weight gain covered! Pregnancy weight gain seems well beyond my control but I also won’t lie – my “old” diet is about as appealing as…..it’s just not. And it’s convinced me we should all stay away from beets, kale, chicken, broccoli and live on WAFFLES.
I call baby “baby” because we had a name then didn’t have a name then got tired of trying to pick out a name. We’ve settled on the let’s wait and see what she looks like when she comes out approach. Depending on how much pain medication I’ve had, this name might be very interesting. The problem is I want a name that isn’t too trendy, will stand with her through life and doesn’t have a weird nickname. That pretty much cancels out everything except for what my mother-in-law suggested: Esther. I’d like you all to say Esther Waterstraat 10 times fast. Needless to say, we are not going with Esther.
Exercising has been going well depending on where the baby is. Just the other day, I felt something amazing: the ability to not get out of breath while walking up the stairs! This meant only one thing – the baby had changed positions. If you’re keeping track, she’s gone from breech at 20 weeks, head down at 24 weeks and now…..sure enough, during my every 2 week cervix check (in which I brought Max along to which he said “mommy, what’s a cervix?” ) – the ultrasound technician said:
I KNEW IT! And let me tell you, this transverse baby can stay there because it’s been an entire week of OXYGEN. Which means I can swim/bike/run without feeling like someone is compressing 50 percent of my lung capacity. Of course, she needs to shift by 36 weeks to head down so that I can, as I told Max, birth her out of my peepee.
This of course came after the “mommy, how does the baby get out of your belly?” question. And yes, nearly 4 years old and we’ve already heard how did the baby get into your belly? Well, mommy and daddy hugged and….
Actually, mommy and daddy wrote a very large check to a very smart doctor – a few months later, daddy went into a room with his iPad and mommy went into a separate room and….
Nevermind, we’ll talk about it when you’re 20.
You know what else a transverse baby means? Left jab, hook, sucker punch to the bladder – ALL DAY LONG. I go between moments of OMG I NEED TO PEE RIGHT NOW and I can hold it for another hour. The other day, my 80 minute commute to Chicago had me wondering if I would be the crazy pregnant lady pulled over on the Eisenhower taking a pee on the shoulder. It reminded me: I need a Go Girl or a diaper.
And then a day later, on the treadmill, it hit me. The best idea I’ve had my entire pregnancy. Putting the froggy potty next to the treadmill. That’s right. No runs with stair hill repeats every 9 minutes – I used the froggy potty instead (which is no easy feat when you are massive and it’s about 4 inches off of the ground).
Masters has started up again and the other day I swam in the protective draft of my favorite lane mate: Marty. He lapped me at every 150. You consider that an embarrassment, I consider that an accomplishment. We were doing 200s. I got lapped at the 150. This takes talent, people! I love pregnant swimming because it means two things: weightlessness and using toys whenever I want. 12 x 50 IM order? I think the fine print says WITH FINS. 6 x 100 fast? Pretty sure the coach means that I can use paddles. No one questions me or crosses me when I change a workout, shorten a set or decide I want to use paddles and fins.
I ride my cross bike on the path and it’s – well, slow going. Pedaling along at a blistering 10 mph the other day, mind you while wearing my husband’s IM world championship jersey, I got passed by some guy with … toe cages.
Take note: THAT is how you humblebrag, my triathlon friends.
I’m still running. I’ve now made it nearly 5 weeks past the point where I had to stop running with Max! Of course I need a pee break every 8 minutes, a walk break every 10 minutes and a bottle of water every hour. Which tends to exaggerate the need for the pee break. I have yet to figure out how in pregnancy you can be excessively thirsty while also in the bathroom so often. How is that possible?
I do a “long” run of 6-7 miles each Sunday where I get out and run my old routes through the forest preserve. I’ve had some deeper thoughts while running – yes, I have these about once a week, anything more is prevented by the cloud of fatigue that generally hangs over my head. Deep thoughts along the lines of how I’m out there to truly experience the joy of running. That same joy that I think so many athletes forget as they get their own heads lost in numbers, statistics, tweets about their workouts, screenshots, etc. It occurred to me that so many athletes have become so obsessed with capturing the experience – with their phone, camera, Garmin, power meter, that they forget to actually experience it. If pregnancy has reconnected me with one thing, it’s the joy of the experience and opportunity to simply be out there doing what I like doing best. It’s made me consider how I want to return to the sport – the approach I want to take, the purpose and my goals.
As I near the end of pregnancy, I find myself very tired. I can’t even begin to explain the difference between being pregnant with no children and being pregnant while chasing around a nearly 4 year old. The first time around I could rest when I wanted, eat when I wanted, do what I wanted. This time around I get to do all of that – after I meet Max’s needs. It sounds simple enough and obviously part of the parenting job, I just didn’t realize how much it would drain me. Endurance is one of those things that I do best. But at times it seems like every day is an exercise in pushing my limits. The end is near and clearly a new challenge will begin but right now the hardest thing is the physical drain on my body. I am big, uncomfortable, hot, tired and not in control of my own body. There is a little determined person inside of me who starts kicking at 5 am and pretty much kicks nonstop until 10 pm. I keep telling myself that one day, this zone of discomfort I find myself in daily, will make me a better person, parent and athlete.
The other day, I went to Target and smothered myself in adorable newborn baby clothes. And, yes, I bought baby a take home outfit. If you’ll recall with Max, the take home outfit was a big deal. This time around, I got something so utterly girly and adorable that when I showed it to Chris he said that’s really girly. Indeed it is, because WE ARE HAVING A GIRL. And I refuse to be one of those parents who’s all like I’m not gonna dress my girl in pink because it’s too stereotypical, too feminine, too – WHATEVER. It’s a girl and I’ve spent the past 4 years in a house with 3 boys (husband, son, dog) – it is about time this party got turned upside down. PINK BALLOONS EVERYWHERE PLEASE.
On Wednesday, I’ll be at 29 weeks. I can’t tell you how excited I am to meet this little person that I’ve waited so long for. At times, it hardly seems real. If her activity in my belly is indication of her personality, Baby Girl Waterstraat will come out kicking and ready for a fight – scrappy, tireless and feisty.
My husband’s stomach just dropped as he realized I am about to give birth to myself.
12 weeks left to prepare, husband! It’s about time I got one on MY team!