I love being pregnant. You might even say I'm a little obsessed with it-- I have hard time not laughing every time I feel a little kick or jab from inside my belly, I take full advantage of eating "a little extra" and things I would normally pass on, I spend extra time in bed, I'm given extra massages at home... the list could go on and on. But my love for this pregnancy does not mean it has been without challenges. In this (week 23) of pregnancy particularly, I had two huge challenges- one emotional and one physical- both of which have tested me.
On Tuesday we had our monthly check-up at the Doctor. All went normally- good weight gain, good measurements, fantastic heartbeat. I even received some great news from my doctor when I probed her about sleeping positions. I've had some trouble sleeping comfortably on my side because of some on and off hip pain, but everything you read anywhere says "if you're in you're 2nd or 3rd trimester, you "CANNOT sleep on your back." All of these warning seem extremely dire...they make it seem like you'll cut off all blood or oxygen supply to yourself or the baby if you sleep on your back! Not so true, it seems... my doctor told me "sleep however you can get rest... Just get rest" She told me that one day while sleeping on my back, I might wake up out of breath, and that will be my body telling me to turn over. I suggest every pregnant woman ask their doctor's opinion on this- but she sure made this momma-to-be happy. I've since been sleeping on my back intermittently and feeling much more well-rested.
So that part of the doctor visit was great- it was the end that hit me like a ton of bricks. My doctor slipped in a little news that she actually might be going out on maternity leave right around the day I give birth... meaning, there is a good chance she will not be the one delivering my baby. Firstly, let me just say, scrubs and tech coats can hide a baby bump really well-- I had not a clue that she was pregnant. In fact, I'm sure I was staring at her belly the rest of the five minutes we were there because it was still hard to see. But in fact, my OBGYN is pregnant- and having a baby right around the same dang time as me!! "F. What. Now what..." I was thinking at first. She talked nonchalantly about it (like it WASN'T a BIG DEAL?!), as she gave us our options for continued care. Option 1: we can continue as normal seeing her through the pregnancy- then if she goes out on maternity leave before we give birth, she'll have a fill-in at our birth..."she's really great and I think you'll love her... but you probably won't get to meet her at all before then." Option 2: switch now for the remainder of the pregnancy to another doctor in the practice. She told us we didn't have to decide right away, to take time and decide. I held it together in the room and until we made it to the car- then I broke down completely. And I cried. A lot. In fact, I was a complete mess on and off all evening on Tuesday. I was clearly attached to this doctor, who I have seen regularly for the first 23 weeks of my pregnancy. And I felt so upset that my pregnancy was now not going as I had planned out in my head. Thank God for Kevin, who calmed and soothed me with tea kindness through the evening and helped talk with me rationally about it (he was surprised too- but he doesn't have pregnancy hormones raging throughout his body). We eventually chose option two, and our doctor quickly referred us to another doctor in the same office, who is a woman, and highly recommended.
Today I'm looking back on it and realizing the lesson it taught me (is still teaching me). So- my pregnancy won't go exactly as I had planned out in my head? Well, what does? Most of the things we plan out in our head (probably 95% of them) do not go as planned. But does that mean they turn out badly? No. We cannot control what happens with other people or with our environment, but we can control how we react. I can control how I feel and how I will continue about my pregnancy- I will be flexible, mindful and especially grateful that I have so many options in medical care at one of the best hospitals in the entire world.
The second challenge this week was less emotional, and much more physical- but let's be honest, it did hit my ego a bit. Thursday morning on Thanksgiving Day, Kevin and I geared up for the Silicon Valley Turkey Trot. I had signed us up for this 10k (plus an accompanying Santa 5K in December) about a month and a half ago. Our last race was the Redwood City OktobeRun- a 5k at the end of October, in which I jogged a very slow 30-ish minute 3.1 miles. And I was extremely sore the whole week following. I knew on Thursday this week I would have to not only slow my pace again- but that I probably would have to walk a few out of the 6 miles this time, and I was okay with that. Now, I'm not a "runner" by trade, and I actually dislike the "race" aspect of these events- I don't run to beat others. But, if I'm really honest with myself, I do normally like to have a "good race time" - and I felt extreme pride when I hit my personal best in a 5K in May (23mins 40ish second). Jogging/walking in these races now still feels unnatural, even if I know it's what my body needs and currently is capable of.
So as the count down began, and we took off for the 6.2 miles, I slowed and let people pass me, I enjoyed the crisp air and jammed out to my music (I also usually run without music, but it seemed necessary this time), and I took in the beautiful downtown San Jose, which I am completely unfamiliar with. I felt good the first mile, and told myself to keep jogging to the end of mile two. That's when I decided I would walk the next- so I sped-walk mile 2-3. Then I picked it up again mile 3-4.. but my body was feeling it big time. My lower back was a little sore, but my old knee injury was acting up and I knew the last two miles I would have to walk. So I did. I walked miles 5-6 and completed the Turkey Trot with an average pace of 12-ish minutes a mile. I was happy... but my body was not.
The rest of the day I had shooting pain up my left tailbone area, which I am pretty sure is my sciatic nerve. I've never had pain this bad before, that I can remember. Again, my plans had to shift, completely out of my control. I had planned to be running around the kitchen with my mother in law, helping prepare our big feast... but instead I had to sit down on my butt with an ice pack for a majority of the day- and hobble around in pain when I wanted to move anywhere. It was hard to accept, but I am now more mindful of what my big beautiful pregnant body needs- more rest. I still want to stay active, and I will- but I know running is now out of the picture completely. My ego wanted me to be one of those cute pregnant running ladies, but alas, my little girl doesn't want that so much. And I need to listen to her. So lesson number two of the week? Be mindful of my body- listen to what I really need and surrender completely. Love it completely.
Undoubtedly there will be other things that come up in my pregnancy that I don't plan or prepare for. There are still 16ish weeks left in this beautiful journey (OMG- only 16?!). I want to take it as it comes, accept everything as it is, embrace the changes, enjoy the little things- love it all.
There is so much to learn from life, when we step back and take it in. Yesterday I was out and about getting some holiday shopping done, while rain came and went- when we looked up at one point, we saw this beautiful double rainbow. It stretched across the whole sky. Another reminder. So "cliche" but so true- no rain, no rainbow.