Category Archives: Pregnancy

2/24, no baby yet

Its been a full week since my last post. There hasn’t really been a whole lot happening.

I was able to do a new exercise in this past week that made me really happy. I had been scared to try the eliptical because its so similar to running and I figured it would hurt my hip. I decided to give it a try though after I did try to run on the treadmill for a quarter mile and my hip pain came back. The eliptical felt great! I was getting so tired of the bike, so it was really nice to do something different, especially something that lets me really get my heart rate up and break a good sweat.

I honestly thought I’d have the baby by this point. Everyone warned me that first time moms often go past their due date but because my mom and grandma both delivered so early, I just really wished myself into thinking I’d be the same. It helped me to get through weeks 34-37 when I had to stop running, but now that I’m still very pregnant at almost 39 weeks its made for a very LONG last couple weeks.

At my appointment on Monday I was terribly disapointed when my doctor told me I was still at 1cm dilation. Almost to the point of tears but not quite. Then the next couple days things started to feel like they were happening again and I got real excited. But every day I’d wake up and go to work and go home and go to bed and do it all again the next day.

Thankfully, my co-workers through me a fun surprise shower at work on Thursday and it was really nice and brought a little joy to my week.

I don’t want to just complain, but the last few weeks of labor can be incredibly hard. I’m uncomfortable, as I suspect all mothers to be are at this stage. Everything becomes a challenge. Showering, trying to shave your legs, putting on your underwear, pants and socks! Getting out of bed, out of a chair, out of the car…that bump just gets in the way!

Not to mention that your physical appearance alone is a conversation piece for everyone! Some people really enjoy this part, but I often get uncomforable when a lot of attention is on me so often I just want to turn the conversation to anything else. Luckily, no stranger has ever tried to touch my belly, but it seems ok for everyone to comment on it.

When just about EVERY stranger you come into contact with asks if you’re due soon you feel like you must look like a blimp…until you tell them you’re due date and then they start telling you how “small” you look? And its just hard to know how to take it.

Tim’s having a hard time too. He’s really anxious for me to have the baby and I sometimes feel like I’m disapointing him because I have nothing new to tell him. I know I’m not, obviously I can’t control when I go into labor, but I can’t help but want to see the joy on his face when I tell him its happening, and I can’t miss the disapointment when he asks me how I’m doing and I have nothing exciting to share.

Then there’s the sleep…or lack of it. I feel like I barely sleep at all anymore and I wake up so tired, even on the weekends that I kind of just hurt. My eyes look terrible every day, they hurt and I try to nap when I get the opportunity and I mostly just lay there wishing sleep to come.

But the worst part for me is all these “false hopes” I keep getting. Yesterday for example we had a really nice dinner at my in laws. After dinner I had some pretty bad cramping and backache and started to have my first painful contractions. I got excited and when Tim and I got home we actually started to time them. The second one was 14 minutes apart, then 10 minutes, then 20 minutes…then 40 and then they stopped altogether. I hoped that maybe if I went to sleep I’d wake up in the middle of the night with regular contractions but I just woke up in the night without any contractions.

I know, I know…I’m SO close! Patience has never been something I’m good at, though I do try. I’m thankful that I have carried a healthy baby to term and have had an uncomplicated pregnancy. I’m so thankful for that and remind myself of this fact every time I start to get real down about still being pregnant.

To me its similar to the last part of a marathon. In the early miles you don’t waste a lot of energy. You kind of just go along at an easy pace so as to save all your mental and physical energy for the end when you need it. You reach the halfway point and it feels like a huge milestone and it sort of gives you a mental boost knowing that you’re halfway there. The fatigue is starting to set in but you’re still going strong. You hit mile 16 and its getting harder but you’ve already made it so far and there is now only 10 miles to go. You have to start drawing on those energy reserves at this point but its still managable. You make it to mile 20 and things are really starting to hurt. You’re really drawing on those energy reserves now and have to break down the race into much smaller and more manageable bits…focus on the next mile marker…then the next one. With a 5K to go you’re so close so you start really expending that mental energy and maybe even get a little adrenaline boost. You’re excited, it will all be over very soon.

One mile to go! You’re literally ALMOST there, but you’re not yet either. Everything in your body hurts. All you can think about is how great its going to feel crossing that finish line. You just passed mile marker 25 and you look at your watch again and you’re only at 25.1…time seems to slow down substantially. You’re using up all your remaining reserves and when you think you’re getting so close you realize you’re not even to the half mile marker yet. Where is the fricken finish line? You start to get frustrated. You just ran over 25 miles and your body is struggling so much with less than a mile to go! The last mile of the marathon is always the hardest for me. That’s how I’m feeling right now. I know that I’m so close I can almost hear her crying yet I still feel like it just can’t get here soon enough. And the fact that other people that are due around the same time have gone early and delivered healthy babies…well…that makes it even harder. “No fair! How come they get to have their little one already and I’m still over here uncomfortably waiting?!”

So this is my mental state right now. I will get there and when I do it will all be so worth it. Until then, I will continue to exercise as often as possible because it does seem to be one of the only things that really makes me incredibly happy for the duration and then for a few hours later. And I will remind myself to be thankful for all of my blessings.

Sunday Funday & Still Counting…2/17/13

For the most part it was a pretty uneventful week. I continued with the biking and my hip continued to feel better to the point that I entertained thoughts of trying to run. However, after walking my dog over a mile and feeling how sore my hip was after that I decided it wasn’t worth the risk, plus I’ve got to be close to the end, right?!

Friday something very scary happened. I’ve suffered from migraine headaches since age 12 and they usually follow the same predictable pattern. About 15 to 20 minutes before the headache comes on I get fuzzy spots or zig zag lines in either one or both eyes. Usually it starts small, hardly noticeable like a letter on a page that you can’t quite see by looking at directly. Then it grows until you can barely see anything out of one or both of your eyes. If you take your medicine at that point, usually the severity of the headache can be greatly reduced, but never cures it completely. You kind of still need to just let it run its course.

Anyway, I was afraid that once I was pregnant I may have a lot of them because they can be triggered by hormones. Much to my pleasant surprise I hadn’t had a single one since becoming pregnant! Until Friday.

I was in a meeting at work and suddenly things got really strange. People were talking and I couldn’t understand what they were saying. I was hearing the words but it was like my brain was refusing to interpret them. Feeling foolish, I pretended to nod in agreement when I had no idea what was said. And then when it was my turn to speak, different words seemed to be coming out of my mouth. I tried covering it up but I was getting so scared. I tried thinking of the names of the people in the room with me and couldn’t remember them. I had my laptop with me and got an email from Tim and tried reading it and I kept jumbling his words and making out sentances that didn’t make sense. I wondered if I was having a stroke.

After a few minutes the confusion seemed to pass and I could again make out words and remember people’s names but it scared me. Then suddenly I got the too familiar zig zag lines in front of my right eye and thought “Could that have all been part of the migraine?” I sat through the rest of the meeting in a fog and went into my next feeling the same way. I knew a horrible headache was on its way too. In my next meeting, after my visual disturbance had gone away, my right hand went completely numb. What was going on?? Then my eye disturbance came back!! Nothing about this was typical so I told my co-worker I didn’t feel well and called my doctor’s office on the way home.

They had me come in that afternoon and checked my blood pressure to make sure I wasn’t developing pre-eclampsia. Blood pressure was normal, baby’s heart rate was good and I felt relieved. The doctor said that sometimes migraines can have stroke like symptoms but it was good that I called since this was unusual for me and it could have been something serious. She gave me a prescription that was safe to take during pregnancy and I picked it up on my way home. Yikes! What a scary day!

Saturday I was feeling back to normal with only a slight headache whenever I coughed or sneezed. I did my 45 minute bike ride and cleaned the entire house from top to bottom! We hadn’t made any plans for this weekend because we weren’t sure if and when Alexandra was going to arrive. It was snowy and nasty out anyway, and it felt good to get so much done.

Today will be a similar day for me and Tim. We’ll run lots of errands and try to keep busy. Its getting harder and harder to think about anything else but her arrival. I haven’t felt any more significant contractions or crampiness so I have no idea how things are progressing. I did have a lot of rib pain yesterday. I’m not sure if its her feet pushing out my rib cage or what, but it hurts and it doesn’t let up much when I can get her to change positions. I feel like she’s HUGE in there! I can feel what seems to be her back all the way up by my sternum and when she squirms I think I feel her little knees untuck somewhat and I just think “how does she have ANY room!”

I’ll post my 36 week (9 month)belly shot. My torso is so short I really do feel like I’m just ALL BABY and its getting pretty uncomfortable.

37 weeks and counting 2/12/13

Yesterday was a big milestone! I made it to full term!

Things have actually been going pretty well lately. It was so nice having my sister come in over the weekend! I was able to bike in our basement for 45 minutes on Saturday before she arrived and then I picked her up and we got ready and headed over to my friend Val’s for my 3rd and final baby shower! It was a co-ed shower so Tim was there too and we had a great time! We have such great friends and family and it was just so nice to relax and have fun and not be so anxious. 🙂

Sunday was a little odd…despite not getting to bed until shortly after midnight, I couldn’t sleep past 5 am (that was when I finally looked at the clock, who knows how long I had been lying there trying to fall back asleep). I finally got up and started going through coupons and organizing and creating spreadsheets of all our registry items we needed still and where the best deal was. I was kind of obsessed.

After my sister got up, we went to breakfast, and I won’t get into everything that went wrong but we got a free meal out of it (sort of) and it ended up taking way more time than we anticipated so there wasn’t much to do before Lindsay had to get ready to leave. 😦

After dropping off Lindsay at the airport Tim and I went to all three places we were registered and bought the rest of the items we felt we needed before Alexandra arrives. It was kind of hectic but we were a great team and he always dropped me off and picked me up at the door and pushed the cart around. I still got a lot of walking in but surprisingly my hip seemed to feel better than its been feeling. It still hurt, but it was much easier for me to walk around than it even was the day before.

I was having some pretty irregular contractions at various points throughout the day. They seemed a little stronger than the other BH contractions but still weren’t anything I was really concerned about. I also had a slight lower backache and some menstrual like cramping but overall felt pretty good.

I was exhausted by the end of the night though and fell asleep some time after 9 pm. Woke up sometime before 4 am though on Monday morning feeling like I drank a 5 hour energy drink! I got up and started doing baby laundry and finished writing all my thank you cards and hopped on the bike and rode for half an hour before I showered, ate breakfast and got ready for my appointment.

At the appointment we did the strep B test and she checked me for dilated and effacement. I was 1cm dilated and 50% effaced. I was happy that I had started making some progress towards delivery but know that it doesn’t mean much since women can stay dilated for several weeks.

I tried driving into work after the appointment, but the roads were getting really bad and I saw an 8 car accident and a semi truck start to jack knife trying to slow down. So I turned around and drove back home and worked there the rest of the day.

I would say that yesterday I didn’t really notice too many contractions, but still had that menstrual cramping sensation every now and again.

Tim stayed late and did a workout on the treadmills at work and I put together our stroller and cooked dinner while waiting for him. After dinner, we went and checked out all the features on the stroller, practiced folding and unfolding and put the baby car seat in it. It doesn’t seem like a lot but it was already 9 pm by the time we got done and I was exhausted. He looked like he wanted to try installing the car seat and I said “No way!” and got ready for bed.

Today I’m back at work and rode the bike during my lunch for 30 minutes again. I’m really excited because my hip has continued to feel a little better every single day. I even got off the bike and walked for a quarter mile on the treadmill just to see how it felt and it didn’t really hurt at all. It made me think that maybe I can try running again soon. I don’t want to set myself back and not be able to walk, so I may still wait a few days and see if I can walk some more before I even think of running.

As for everything with Alexandra…all the contractions I was feeling and crampiness seem to have gone away today and I just feel normal again. My energy spurt is completely gone and I slept until my alarm went off at 6 am this morning and woke up exhausted.

When I’m walking around I can feel her head real low in my pelvis, even to the point it kind of hurts my bladder. I guess there really is no way to tell when you’re going to go into labor and the more I try to find signs the more I’ll probably be disapointed when nothing happens.

All the Little Things in Life 2/7/13

3 weeks and 1/2 weeks to go…

I know it seems like I’m almost there and I should be elated. I think that myself sometimes and wonder why I’m so impatient. The last couple weeks have been harder than I was prepared for. Mentally, physically, emotionally, you name it. I’m very grateful that I’ve made it this far along in the pregnancy without major complications. I’m so grateful for that. As a selfish human being (which I am, and which I truly think at some level we all are) I’m very tired of being pregnant. I could go on a whole vent about how I’m not sleeping very well, how I struggle to get my pants and socks on, how it hurts to walk, or bend or do just about anything besides sit, how I get strange pains in my abdomen and pelvis at random moments throughout the day, how occasionally I feel nausea, indigestion, itchyness and just a general feeling of being uncomfortable most of the time, but I won’t because this blog is supposed to be positive and encouraging.

A lot of things have been going well. I’m able to bike and Tim set up my bike on the trainer in the basement so I’m at least getting some exercise, which has helped my mood tremendously. Today I rode the bike in the fitness center on my lunch break and the 30 minutes seemed to fly by for the first time since I’ve started biking. I think its because I was thinking the whole time about racing again and imagining myself chasing down other runners and it felt so good to be in that mind set again.

Outside of running and outside of the pregnancy there have been some family things going on that have made me really realize how much I do have to be thankful for and never want to take any type of exercise or fitness for granted. My father in law, who has diabetes lost part of one of his legs this week. They first amputated his toe, but later decided they had to remove the whole foot and leg about 6 inches below his knee. He’s doing well considering the circumstances but I can’t even imagine what it would be like to lose a limb like that. This stuff happens and its happening to more and more Americans. I read an article the other day stating that despite all the advances in technology and science, the Baby Boomer generation is more unhealthy and unhappy than their parent’s were, but they’re living longer.

I wonder when I read something like that what the point is of living longer when your quality of life is so much less. I want to live a long life, and I know that advances in medicine and technology have made that even more possible, but its also on me to do my part to make my quality of life as high as it can be. Sometimes when I get frustrated with setbacks I ask myself what the point of all this “pushing” myself is…well, this is the point. Its hard to think of today doing something that’s going to help you 20, 40, 50+ years from now, but that’s what we do. When we exercise, and eat right its not just the immediate benefits we’re achieving. Sure, most people that exercise regularly get a mental boost, have a lower body weight, get sick less often, and in general enjoy a higher quality of life than those that are sedentary and eat junk. They are also investing in their future though, whether that be a part of the motivation or not.

So sometimes I don’t enjoy exercise…especially now when I’m just biking on a stationary bike for 30 minutes and most of the time counting down the minutes until I’m done. I’m doing it though for the benefits I get later…and later…and later. I hope that once my father in law is done with the immediate recovery, he’s given a good prosthetic leg and learns how to use it. I hope that he’s able to deal with the mental challenges he’s sure to face and ends up with a new lease on life and can out of this a stronger, healthier person than he went in with. Your health is such a gift, and I hope that eventually my generation can buck the trend of being less healthy than the generation before us…current data would suggest we’re going in the other direction.

So enough of my tangent. I also wanted to talk about how I get through some of the tough times when I really don’t feel like it! Today for example, I knew I wanted to bike for 30 minutes…I knew I wouldn’t enjoy the whole thing so I brought a frozen “Smart Ones” pepparoni pizza for lunch to bribe myself to get that workout in. Luckily, I did get through the 30 minutes pretty quickly today, but it was a nice little reminder in the back of my head that I had something to look forward to. And that’s how I am with this pregnancy too. Just a few more hours until lunch…just a few more hours until you get to go home…then its Friday! Friday is coffee date day with Tim and I always look forward to my weekly Starbucks treat…then its the weekend, then when the weekend is ending on Monday I start another week of pregnancy and I’m that much closer to D-day!

This weekend, I have my last shower and my sister is coming into town from Colorado! I’m looking so forward to that, so I just need to get through this half of today, tomorrow and then she’s here! Then on Monday I’ll officially be considered full term and if I have the baby after that chances are she’ll be just fine with little or no extra care needed.

How do you get through the tough times? Do you give yourself little things to look forward to along the way when you’re feeling impatient? Anyone have any tips for surviving the last few weeks of pregnancy? 🙂

One whole week of not running 1/31/13

Its the last day of January! This is very exciting because tomorrow will be February, which is one month closer to March, when Alexandra is due!

I haven’t run in a whole week, and I haven’t even done anything physical during that time either. I have seen almost no improvement in my hip. It was really starting to get to me, and I was thinking about swimming to try to get some exercise, but the truth is that I am also afraid to swim because I’m afraid it will make it worse. Swimming is about as low impact as you can get, but when you swim, there’s not a whole lot of stability for your back/hip area. If this pain is caused by an instable SI joint, I worried that it may just delay my healing even further, and lets face it…at this point, I really just want to be able to walk and move normally now, I can let the running thing go until after delivery. Every time I get up from a chair, roll over in bed, walk up stairs its a truly wincing pain that just won’t seem to go away.

So yesterday I thought about biking. Since the only time when my hip doesn’t hurt is when I’m sitting down, I figured maybe this would be one exercise I could do that wouldn’t irritate it further. So today I tried riding the recumbant bike at the gym. My back was kept stable the whole time and my hip didn’t hurt. Since I was only moving my legs it took a while for me to get breathing hard and start to sweat, but it was still a workout and I totally loved it. I didn’t sweat or get my heart rate up nearly as much as running would have for the same amount of time, but I was able to get 30 minutes of exercise in and that did my mood a whole lot of good. I needed that!

As far as the pregnancy goes, I’m officially getting really impatient. I don’t want to go into labor prematurely, but having her come just at full term would be great. 🙂 Besides the hip thing my body just really seems to be changing. Some of it may be due to my inactivity over the last week but I’m finding I’m just uncomfortable and tired most of the time now. At night I can’t seem to find a comfortable position, but I do feel like I go into periods of hard sleep and usually have strange dreams and then wake up sometime in the middle of the night with an aching back, a full feeling bladder and lay there tossing and turning trying to fall asleep again before the alarm goes off. So I spend a lot of the day feeling like I’m in a fog.

My hips really continue to pop and crack quite frequently. Yesterday I spent a good portion of the afternoon feeling sort of nauseous, like I did during the first trimester. I’m hoping that these are signs that labor is only a few weeks away. I read that frequently in the days before you go into labor you get a huge spurt of energy and go on a crazy cleaning binge. This hasn’t happened yet, but I’m waiting for it.

Baby moves a lot still and has been getting the hiccups quite a bit. I just can’t wait to hold her and look in her eyes. Until then, I’m just counting down the days…one…at…a…time!


On Sunday morning when I got out of bed, my hip/back was feeling slightly better. It made me happy, but then later I went grocery shopping and just walking around for an hour at the grocery store made it completely flare up again. I actually called Tim on my way home to ask him to help me unload the groceries since I didn’t want to lift anything. That was really hard for me to do. I like doing things myself, especially something so simple, but I knew it was the smart thing when I was already hurting.

This put me in a bad mood. I was doing really well staying positive and thinking that after a few days of complete rest, the inflammation would go down and I’d feel better walking around and eventually maybe be able to continue running. Sunday was my 4th day of very little activity and it affected my mood more than I liked. I’m usually ok the first few days of a rest, but after that I start to get really grouchy. This further proves to me the immense benefit I get mentally from exercise.

I did try my ultrasound machine on the area and it seemed to provide some immediate relief, but then the pain came back later on. Today, it is feeling a little better and the doctor showed us a way to stretch it. If I wake up on Tuesday and its not feeling any better, I’d like to go swimming to at least do some activity. If it is starting to feel better, I think I’ll rest completely another day and see if it continues to improve. I would hate to injure it worse with swimming…even though that seems unlikely, the doctor did tell me this morning that the injury is most likely just a result of my hips shifting and stretching to prepare for delivery and that it was not probably something that I did or caused by the running.

I can hear and feel things shifting and popping in my pelvis quite often when I move now. Sometimes it feels good, like someone cracking your back and I always hope that when I bear weight on my left leg after feeling one of these “pops” its going to magically feel 100% better, but it hasn’t so far.

So, since I don’t have any running adventures to write about, I think I’ll just write about what I’ve learned so far about running through pregnancy.

1.) Don’t set expectations– when I got pregnant I had done all the research and read several blogs and online articles and books about running during pregnancy and figured that I’d be able to run about 30 miles a week up until the day I deliver. I figured if Kara Goucher and these other women that I read about could do it, of course I could too. My wake up call: Every pregnancy is different, so just because someone was able to run all throughout, or run higher mileage, it doesn’t mean that you will be able to. I remember in the first trimester hearing about how some women were really struggling or they found their pace slowed way down and I didn’t really have too many issues. Then when many women have great running experiences (in the 2nd trimester) was when I really started to struggle. Once again, I was surprised when I got to the third trimester and found it to seem easier than it was often during the second trimester (though my pace had definitely slowed down considerably!). My point is that you just never know how YOUR body is going to respond to pregnancy. So much of it is completely out of your control, so don’t set too high of expectations for yourself so that you aren’t disappointed if you can’t live up to them. This is a relatively short time in your life, try to enjoy it for what it is and be happy doing what you’re able to do. Don’t even compare yourself to your friends.

2.) Don’t listen to your critics. Obviously, you need to listen to your doctor that has yours and your baby’s best interest at heart. Your mom, your friends, your co-workers, they all have had different experiences with pregnancy or may have read outdated information and may not agree with everything you do. Try to remember that their judgments and criticisms come from a well meaning place and don’t take it too much to heart. Only YOU can possibly know your own body and its up to you to communicate how you’re feeling properly to your doctor so they can advise you correctly throughout your pregnancy. I consider myself lucky that my doctor has always been supportive of my running and has continued to encourage it so long as I’m feeling good about it. I picked a younger, female doctor on purpose because I wanted someone that was up to date on current research and I feel that I made a great choice. Sometimes its hard when people look at me like I’m crazy and ask “Are you sure its ok to keep running?” because I feel like I’m being judged or that they think I’m putting my own needs ahead of my child’s. I know the science, I know that I’m not putting anyone at danger, but it still can make you feel bad whenever you feel judged. Just try to shrug it off and keep doing what makes you feel good and happy. Once you have that healthy baby, they will see that you knew what you were doing anyway.

3.) Give yourself a good outlet. Pregnancy is wonderful, but it can also be very hard and challenging at times. Having this blog to help me write my feelings helped me tremendously. Also, having a loving supportive husband that always listens to me, even when I sound crazy was a huge help too. I also try to surround myself with plenty of supportive people who will encourage me, like Mandy who reads this blog (for example, and posts encouraging comments :)).

4.) Find a purpose for running through pregnancy that means something to you. I really enjoyed helping my friend run a PR this fall. That was something I may not have had the chance to do if I had been training for something (and there’s always something on my race calendar). I also was able to connect with several other runners and write training plans for them to use to try to nab PR’s or beat co-workers. It made me still feel connected to the running community while I wasn’t able to race myself. Even with this blog, I hope that I can help even just one person who may struggle with the things that I did and feel better knowing she wasn’t alone.

5.) Always remember the reason that you are doing all this. Has this pregnancy thing been harder than I anticipated? At times, yes. Do I regret it for a minute? No, there is not even a question as to whether or not it will all be worth it once I meet my beautiful girl. Running throughout the pregnancy is not just good for me, but its good for her too. When I was doing all my research, I found that children of mothers who exercised during pregnancy are much less likely to be obese 10 years down the road. They’ve also found the exercise seems to benefit their cognitive development too. They think this is maybe due to the extra oxygen and blood the baby’s receive when their mother’s heart rate is raised. The benefits for you are also worth noting. Besides the stress relief and the instant energy lift, mothers who exercise typically gain less weight and have an easier time with the weight coming off post partum. After I go through delivery, I’ll check back in to let you know whether that is true for me. So far, with 5 weeks to go my total weight gain is at 23 pounds. The recommended weight gain is 25-35 pounds for women who started out at a healthy weight. My weight gain so far puts me right within this healthy range. I haven’t tracked my calories or anything since finding out I’ve been pregnant and have just relied on my exercise and my body to tell me that I’m eating enough/not too much. Whenever I’m hungry, I eat. I try to make healthy choices whenever possible, but I’m no angel and have indulged in treats throughout the pregnancy. I think the exercise helps my body to regulate hunger and has played a huge role in keeping my weight gain on track.

So, those are my thoughts so far. I really hope that I am able to run again sometime before I deliver, but if not, I do not regret any of the running I’ve done so far and to this point. Each day, I am keenly aware that I am getting closer and closer to meeting my daughter and that is what gets me through the hard spots.

If you ran through your pregnancy, any part of it, feel free to post any extra advice/things you learned as well. I like that we all can help and encourage each other!

From Record Highs to Record Lows 1/26/13

I was lucky enough to escape to Arizona last week for some Sales Meetings with my company. We had a little trouble getting down there as they had to de-ice our plane in Grand Rapids before we could take off for our connection in Chicago. I had wanted to buy a water bottle at the airport before the flight, or a coffee or something but we woke up to a bunch of snow on the ground and it took me much longer to get to the airport than I had anticipated. I made my plane, but then we sat on it for an additional 40 minutes before take off, getting us to Chicago at the exact time our next plane was supposed to take off! No time to buy a water bottle at Chicago either, so we ran to catch our next plane, which was waiting for us (probably since so many of us were on that flight). That flight was 3 hours and 20 minutes. The guy in my row with the aisle seat was nice enough to switch with me so I got up every hour and walked the plane. I also took as much free water on the plane as they would give me. I wore my compression sleeves and I think it did cut down on the swelling a bit, but my left foot had still swollen slightly on the plane.

I was in Arizona! It was sunny and warm and there were huge cacti and palm trees greeting us. Monday was pretty busy with the flights and getting to the hotel and getting to our meetings, so I had planned an off day for running.

Tuesday or meetings were done by lunch so I grabbed a box lunch they had provided for us and went for a little run. It was about 70 degrees and really sunny and it felt odd just putting on shorts and a t-shirt to run in. I ran 4 miles, stopping often and walking to cool myself down. Since my body is not used to running in those temperatures (especially such dry heat) I wanted to really not push myself at all. If I started to feel tired or thirsty, I stopped for a minute or so and cooled down before running again. It felt great!

Later on Tuesday I got a maternity massage. It was quite different than the one I had before, but still enjoyable. On Wednesday morning though, when I woke up, I noticed that my left hip/lower back was kind or tight or sore. I figured it was just from the massage and didn’t worry about it.

Later on Wednesday I went for another 4 mile run in the dessert. It was beautiful! The mountains were in my view on the way out, as well as some great landscaping. The temps had reached record highs for this time of year though (while at home they were having record lows) and it was 80 degrees while I was out running. I was really, really cautious about over heating and it actually took me a full hour to run for 34 minutes because of all the stops I made. I also snapped several pictures with my camera, so really it was a very enjoyable run. I figured when I came back to Michigan I’d have to be on the treadmill while the snow was still heavy so I might as well enjoy this great experience, and I did. I noticed on my way back that my left hip/lower back was still feeling kind of tight, but it really wasn’t that bad so I just ran through it and stretched it really well when I returned.

Later that night though it got really tight. I tried loosening it up with a hot shower, but it didn’t seem to help. I was flying back in the morning and figured if it was still bothering me in the morning I’d take a day off of running.

When I woke up in the night to use the bathroom (I do this every night now) it was much worse. In the morning it was really tight and made it hard for me to even walk and move around. I spend half the day getting back to Grand Rapids, and went home, showered and went to the chiropractor. He adjusted me and told me that my hips are really loosening up and shifting to get ready for labor now so I may really have to start taking it easy on myself.

I went home and iced it and put my feet up (my left one had swollen again) and packed a running bag to bring to work on Friday in case it felt better and I could run on the treadmill after work.

I didn’t even bring the bag, since I knew when I woke up that I wasn’t running. Once at work, I even took the elevator instead of walking up and down stairs and then came home Friday night and put my feet up again and iced my back.

This morning, its not much better. I wish I could say it was. I’m trying to not be too upset about this. I can take one or two rest days pretty easily, but once I get to the third day, I really start to get a little restless. Its one thing if I’m able to walk a lot and be generally active, or do some cross-training, but its completely different for me to just sit and laze around all day and night. I start to feel like a blob!

I think I’ve read the statistic that the average American watches 3 hours of tv per day. Well, after doing just that last night after work, I have to say that I don’t understand how anyone could do that day after day! I was just stir crazy by the end of it and found myself off the couch and on the floor, stretching, doing pelvic tilts, trying to rub out my hip with the foam roller…desperate to just move!

I’m not ready to say I’m done running through the rest of the pregnancy. I want to let this thing heal. I can tell that whatever it is is just extremely inflamed, so I’m telling myself that after so many days of completely resting it, it will heal.

That being said, I may need to cut back again. No more 5 miles, and maybe my max is just going to have to be 3 miles…or less for the remainder. If everything is really that loose and shifting, I don’t want to take risks or doing something like this again. I love being active! That includes walking and playing with my dog and getting things done around the house and with my level of pain I’m unable to do any of those things right now. So, we’ll see how it feels tomorrow. I have my first baby shower today and I’m really excited about that!

Now, I’m going to post some pictures since I’ve been majorly slacking in that area lately!

Me and Tim running in a 10K in Central Park (a few days shy of 8 months)

Me and Tim running in a 10K in Central Park (a few days shy of 8 months)

After the run

After the run


Another full week of running 1/20/13

After my nice treadmill run on Monday, the snow had melted enough that the roads were pretty clear the rest of the week so I was happy to run outside.

Tuesday, I ran 4 miles on my lunch break again, and it was a harder one for me. I wanted to run on the flat trail, but it still had too much snow so I stuck to the roads where there are more hills. I would run and then I felt like I stopped and walked a lot during this run. I got through it though.

Wednesday Darla asked me to run with her again. I really was feeling bad that I struggled so much running with her the week before, but she said she didn’t mind. We were able to run on the trails again and it felt so much better. I was breathing hard, but we didn’t stop at all and we ran 3 miles, all with me feeling pretty good.

I took Thursday as a rest day and it was much needed. My legs were just getting kind of sore and stiff and I think mentally I needed it too. I ran on Friday, but was crunched for time as I had a meeting right before and after my lunch. I knew I was just going 3 miles, but it takes me a lot longer to run and get dressed now. I ran on the trails again and felt pretty good, but did want to stop a couple times. I knew if I did, it would just eat away at my time I got to eat lunch, so I pushed on and ended up having a really good run.

Saturday I took as a rest day too since I’m traveling next week and my days will be sort of different. I have to admit it felt good to not run on a Saturday! That’s a rarity for me! I woke up with no alarm about 6 am and couldn’t get back to sleep so I got a lot of errands done.

So today was the day for my weekend long run, which these days is at 5 miles. Saturday, it was 44 degrees and clear, and overnight we got a huge wind and snow storm! We still only got about an inch of snow so I really debated running outside or on the treadmill. It was cold outside, 4 with the wind chill and the snow was still coming down. If I was only running 3 I would have chose the treadmill, but I knew it would be really hard for me mentally to get through 5 on it. Tim graciously offered to run 3 miles with me outside and I was glad to take him up on it!

We started running about 10:30 am and the roads had a nice coating of snow, but really weren’t too slippery. Tim and I haven’t run together in such a long time and it was so nice to run with him again! We actually were clipping off a really good pace too, considering the snow and the wind. We ran the first mile in about 8:38, but the next two were 8:12 and 8:13–my fastest splits in a while! I think it really helped me mentally to have him there, it just felt like old times when we were out running together. Then, as we were almost done he told me that he’s proud of me. That really made me feel loved and appreciated.

I dropped him off at home at 3 miles and then I stopped for a minute and walked and caught my breath. I probably could have kept going, but I felt better doing this. The last two miles by myself were more challenging.

I got through them by stopping for about 10 seconds every half mile. That sounds sort of strange, but in a way it was like doing an interval workout. One of the things I miss the most about running non-pregnant is the variety and the challenges. Focusing on running for 800 meters, resting and then running another 800 meters for some reason felt similar enough to my workouts that it worked. As I was finishing up the last 800, I wanted so badly to be done. I wasn’t in pain, but I was breathing hard and it was cold and windy and the snow was coming down hard. I looked up into the sky and saw the big flakes filling it like a snow globe. I thought about how beautiful it looked and that I needed to focus on that beauty to get me through the last 400 meters.

A lot of people think I’m crazy for continuing to run this far into the pregnancy. Some people ask with a genuine curiosity, others say they’re impressed by it (yet I wonder if secretly they think I’m crazy too) and some people I can just tell think that I run due to some type of pride or vanity that I can’t get away from. I wish I could tell them that the truth is so much more wonderful than that.

Yes, I do it for the health of me and the baby, for sure, but there’s so much more. Even though it sounds sometimes like I’m not enjoying it because I just want it to be over, I know in my head and my heart that I’m getting so much more than physical health out of this crazy sport. Even the “workout” I did today had lessons. Its hard to explain it to people that have never experienced the true joy that running can bring. There’s the sense of accomplishment, for one. I didn’t HAVE to run 5 miles today. No one would have thought less of me if I’d only gone 3 or not even run at all at nearly 34 weeks. It wasn’t easy, but I did it and that felt good. It made me feel strong, capable. I have this body, that is in a transformation right now and its big and its awkward and its puffy and its beautiful in the things its able to do. And the fact that I’m able to work with it so well and still push myself without pushing too much is really a compliment to how amazing it truly is.

Labor and delivery are going to be hard work. I’ve never been through it before, but I have no doubt that statement is true. But as I worked with my body today and got through that last 400 meters, I know I can work with it when the time comes for labor too. If I can just get through the contraction like I got through the 800 meters. If I can learn to look at the beauty around me and focus on something stronger than the pain and effort, I know I can get through it. And that is why I continue to run. For as long as I possibly can.

Quick Post on a Good Run! 1/14/13

I ran on my lunch break today and it went very well! We got some snow last night and the temps are pretty cold so I decided to go the safe (but boring) route and run on the treadmills in the new fitness center they built for us at work. I’ve mentioned before how much I hate running on treadmills, but if its my last option I will take it.

I felt pretty good and the time actually went by relatively quickly! My bladder was pretty full, so it felt slightly uncomfortable but no pain, my right leg was feeling that strange weak feeling at first, but after a half mile or so seemed to catch up to the rest of my body and overall, I’d say I was feeling really good. I did stop after 2.5 miles for a couple minutes. I hated doing it because they limit your treadmill time to 30 minutes so I wanted to use all of that for running, but it really was just that I felt like I was getting a bit overheated. I felt like I was sweating like a hog on a hot summer day and my sweat wasn’t cooling me down quickly enough. I think its just because I’ve been running outdoors so even just a change to running in 68 degrees (the temp they keep the fitness center at) was an adjustment. Stopping for a couple minutes allowed some of the sweat to start evapoarating and I felt cooler once I started up again. Once my 30 minutes was up, I stopped again, but looked and saw that no one was waiting for a treadmill so I hopped back on and finished my 4 miles.

When I finished, I was hot and sweaty and my skin was red, but I felt great! I love it when the good runs creep up on me, especially on a Monday!

I didn’t sleep well at all over the weekend. I actually snuck in about an hour nap on Sunday, which helped, but to be honest, I’m really tired. I dreaded going into work, but when I got here I put a smile on my face and jumped right into getting to work for the day. Working out during my lunch hour was the mental reset I needed so I can get back at it for the rest of the day.

Also, swelling has not returned yet! I’m very excited about this. Saturday night I was having a lot of leg and foot cramping and I’m starting to get back pain again at night. Its not nearly as bad as it was before, but its making a huge difference in my sleep. Additionally, the last couple nights, I woke up very early in the morning with an upset stomach. It just feels really full and uncomfortable. Maybe I need to start eating smaller portions at dinner and see if that helps!

If At First You Don’t Succeed, Try And Try Again 1/13/13

After my tough run on Wednesday, I took Thursday completely off. I had my 32 week doctor’s appointment that morning. Fortunately, putting my feet up the night before and changing my sleeping position seemed to really reduce the swelling in my left leg. Still, I told my doctor about it. She told me pretty much what I had been expecting. My blood pressure is great, so I’m not at risk for pre-eclampsia and I have a very low risk for having a blood clot. She said that if I was really concerned she could order an emergency ultrasound of my leg to check for a blood clot, or I could try to manage the swelling with what I’ve been doing. Since there is no pain or discoloration and I am able to get it to go down, we both agreed that I should just try to manage it myself.

So I didn’t run, but did walk the dog later that night, then promptly put my feet up for the rest of the night. Friday morning, the swelling was almost completely gone.

Towards the end of the day on Friday I did start to feel my left shoe getting tight and had the sensation that my left foot was falling asleep. Sure enough, the swelling had come back. One of my friends from Wayland Road Runners, Mandy was celebrating her 30th birthday with a bar run and I really wanted to participate. I put my feet up as soon as I got home and by the time I got to the run the swelling was still pretty minimal.

I was nervous for the running portion since Wednesday I felt so out of control of my own body. As I’ve learned throughout this pregnancy though, running through pregnancy is like a box of chocolates…you never know what you’re going to get. To my surprise, the run went really well. It helped that it was a fun run and I wasn’t feeling pressure to keep a certain pace. We all started out together as a group, and though I was breathing hard, I was fine keeping up the pace we were going. I got talking and completely lost track of the time and miles passing and suddenly we were at the bar with 3.1 miles under our feet. What a great idea for celebrating a 30th birthday, right!

Saturday morning was a different story. Since I had just run the night before, I wondered how I would feel running in the morning with less than 24 hours recovery. By my own darn internal clock, I was awake sometime around 6 am and couldn’t get back to sleep! So I got up and had breakfast and figured I’d hit the mall as soon as it opened (thinking it opened at 8 or 9 am). I looked online and found the mall didn’t open until 10 am on Saturdays! What?

Since we had my friend Val’s baby’s first birthday party at noon, I was planning on getting to the malll early to get a gift (yes, so last minute, but keep in mind we had been in New York last week and had the birth of our new neice so we still didn’t have any food in our house!) and then running before the party at noon. So the mall not opening until 10 through a wrench in those plans. So, I tried to hydrate as much as I could so that I could go on a run before going to the mall.

Well, I tried. I got about a half mile out and walked back. With every step, I could just feel the familiar sensation of friction on my bladder. I must not have had enough time to get it full enough to cushion it from my little babe.

Was I frustrated? Yes. I took a warm shower and went and got a Starbucks to make myself feel better and decided that I would try again after the party.

I made sure to hydrate a lot and went for my second attempt later on in the afternoon. I ran the first mile with my dog and then dropped him off and continued on my own. It wasn’t great, but I got it done and was able to get 5 miles in at nearly 33 weeks pregnant. I stopped and walked regularly, but I still got it in and that felt awesome! Unfortunately, I ate lots of good food at this party, so I was burping a lot of it up and that part didn’t feel very good. My legs were both very tired and felt like they were my biggest limitation. The walking breaks seemed to allow them enough time to get the circulation back and allow me to run for a half mile more before walking again.

I’ve now got just 7 weeks + 1 day until my due date. Running is starting to become incredibly hard and frustrating. I get through it though knowing that I’m doing good for my body and my baby and that what I’m experiencing now will make me mentally stronger once I’m going back at full on training mode.

Its so hard for me sometimes to have to stop, to quit and try again later. I think back to all the hard training times that Tim and I went through while preparing for Myrtle Beach Marathon and how, even when things got tough, we were able to push through them. That’s what I’m used to doing. I run into obstacles and figure out how to push past them. I’m not used to stopping, walking and trying again later. It seems like a quitter’s attitude. I know in this case, its not. Logically, I do know that and am not beating myself up inside, I’m not. I’m just trying to express that its really hard for me mentally to tell myself to stop and that its the right thing to do.

That’s where I’m at right now. I’m thrilled that Alexandra is doing so well and am just trying to find ways to get through these next 7 weeks. I feel like mentally and emotionally, I’m ready to have her. I’m even looking at labor with excitement and feel anxious for it to get here. Obviously, I don’t want to go into pre-term labor, I’m just mentally prepared for that time right now. I want to have her. Being around so many babies at the birthday party yesterday made me realize even more how much I can’t wait to be a mom!