Saturday, August 22, 2009

I'll Miss You Running

It's been so long since I have gone for a run.

I honestly can't even remember the last time, but it must have been about 5.5 weeks ago. When I had the bleeding episode at 7 weeks I had to take it easy for awhile. Once I got the approval from my Dr and Midwife to start again (at least a week after no bleeding/spotting at all and to take it EASY) I was so nauseous I could barely make the walk from the train to my office at work, let alone go for a run. Plus, the summer heat was really starting to do a number on me.

So I just decided I wasn't going to worry about it. Some things are more important than running and right now I just needed my rest and try to make it through the first trimester.

So I rested. And on the few cooler days that came around, J and I would go for a walk after work. From our house, to the end of all the bars on Main Street and back, is a nice 2 mile walk. It was surprisingly hard. Not only was I constantly sick and dizzy but I had zero lung capacity left. Most of the time, I am more out of breath walking up the stairs in my house than I have ever been running any distance. It's so odd how quickly your body changes.

But recently, I have been getting restless. The past two weeks I have slowly been starting to feel a little better as far as the nausea goes. I still feel nauseous, but instead of it lasting from 11am-bedtime. It's last from 3-4pm-bedtime. Still sucks, but an improvement nonetheless.

So, I have been thinking about running again. Not a lot, but maybe two or three short runs a week. After coming back to blogland and reading about all your adventures in running, I realized how much I missed it. I hadn't had any bleeding in 6 weeks and got a clean bill of health from my perinatologist, so what was I so scared of? I would keep walking for a few more weeks, and then once it cooled down a bit, start with some slow walk-running again.

Then last Wednesday happened.

I woke up at 5:00am on the first day of my 12th week of pregnancy to a soaking wet bed. In my half-dazed state, I wondered if I had wet the bed. But come on. We have all had the dream where we were going to the bathroom only to wake up just in time to avert a crisis. And I didn't have that dream. As a matter of fact, I had to go.

So I stumbled through the dark bedroom to the bathroom and went. When I stood up, to my horror, I saw a toilet full of bright red blood. Not spotting, not "old blood" as the Drs like to call it, but a crime scene in my toilet (Once again, sorry boys).

Jeremy and I made our way to the ER in complete silence. We knew this was it and we couldn't believe it had taken this long for it to finally happen.

But once again, we sat in the dark ultrasound room to see a happy little baby, swimming around and waving at us. A nice, strong heartbeat. Cervix was closed. Everything was fine.

Tell me why we decided to do this whole parenting thing again?

Long story short, the ER doc (who was an ass) had no idea what was wrong with me. As I laid there he asked,

"So I assume you are here for an ultrasound?"

Like I was some crazy pregnant lady who just wanted to see a picture of my baby.

Um, I dunno doc. I'm here because it looked like someone cut their arm off in my bathroom. YOU tell me what my next steps are.


Also, maybe you could be a little more rough when you are giving me a pelvic exam? I think you could jam that speculum in me a little faster and crank it up a little farther. I don't think the people on MARS can see my cervix.

Anyway, we were relieved, but still terrified. What the hell was happening?

My midwife is a saint and pulled some strings to get us in the next morning to see another perinatologist and get more scans.

Once again, everything was fine. Baby looked great and they couldn't tell exactly where the bleeding was coming from. Since it seems to all come at once, then taper off to spotting before going away (miscarriage is usually the opposite) they think it may be coming from a small area where he said he sees the membrane had lifted up a bit and blood pooled before just releasing. He also said he can't be 100% sure, but as long as the baby is healthy, we are good. I may just be one of those unlucky women who bleed throughout my pregnancy. Scary, yes, but not necessarily a problem for the baby.

He told me to take it easy for a few days and no exercise for a week (anytime I have a bleed like that). Other than that, I can resume normal activity again.

I will say the one good thing about this happening when it did, was that I have been so sick lately that I have done absolutely ZERO exercise in the past week and half before this happened. So i know for a fact that it didn't have anything to do with it. Which is what they have been telling me all along, but now I can believe it.

However, even with all that, I am seriously considering just giving up on the running dream until this troublemaker is born. At this point, I don't know if I will ever be comfortable with it. And I know J will not be cool with it either. We have had so many scares, I just don't think it's worth it. If for nothing more, than just peace of mind.

Looks like I'll be taking up power walking. Maybe I can change my blog to "A Brand New Life as a Totally Stressed Out Mother of a Child Who is Already Sending Me to an Early Grave and Power Walker."

Good Lord, how bored will all of you be after reading about my pregnancy drama and WALKING for 6 more months? I feel for you.

So, you know what FIVE ultrasounds in 12 weeks means, right? MORE baby pics. These were taken at our 12w1d appointment with the peri. After my heart settled back into my chest after the terror of the previous day, we could actually enjoy the pictures. We can start to see some more features here, which is always fun.

Enjoy seeing the kid while you can. After it's born, it will be grounded for at least two months.






Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Motherload

Blogging is sort of like running, or exercising in general. Once you fall off the wagon, it can become pretty hard to get motivated and jump back on again.

There were a million times in the past 4.5 months that I thought about posting again. Lord knows I had plenty to write about. But it was always hard to get started. Mostly because there hasn't been a whole lot of running going on with me since the National Half in March. Its kind of hard to write a running blog when there is sporadic running at best.

Even though I haven't had much to say, I have been keeping up with a lot of you guys. I have seen Denise run her first ultra and Jess have her first baby. I've also seen some of you retire (hello Marcy) and I've kept up with a lot of you on Facebook. After awhile, I realized that even if I wasn't running as much as I wanted to, I missed being here. I wanted to come back.

So, here I am again. Trying to jump back on that horse. Life has been interesting the past few months.

On March 28th, 2009, one week to the day after running the National Half Marathon, I lost another baby. I didn't want to get into the drama of it at the time, I just wanted to unplug and deal with it. Losing two pregnancies in less than two years was of course, more than traumatic and suddenly nothing else seemed to matter. The thought of blogging was overwhelming at best. And sadly, this was one event in my life that running just could not save me from.

The particular circumstances surrounding the loss of this pregnancy were different than the one we lost in Miami. This one was earlier (just shy of nine weeks) and was just a simple miscarriage, which the one in Miami was not. Of course none of this made it any easier. However, once you have lost a pregnancy, a subsequent pregnancy is just spent waiting for the other shoe to drop. I spent those 9 weeks pregnant hopefully optimistic, but secretly waiting for the day something would go wrong. When it finally did, I was devastated and heartbroken, but I wasn't surprised. Sadly, I think this fact made it a little easier to heal.

We had decided to wait to tell anyone we were pregnant until after the end of the first trimester, so when we ended up telling some family and friends we had lost another pregnancy they were shocked. Unfortunately I have learned, when something unexplainable happens to you, and your friends and family do not have a scientific reason for why it happened, their first human response is to give you their reason for why it happened. This usually involves their newfound religious and/or medical expertise. I suppose this is just a knee-jerk reaction to try to "fix" things and make the other person feel better. Unfortunately, most times, it has the opposite effect.

The first time we lost the baby in Miami it was the inevitable "It was God's will." or, "It was for the best.", both infuriating responses by the way which you should never tell a woman who has just lost a pregnancy/baby.

As a matter of fact, while I'm on this little rant, I'll give you all a tip: If a woman (or man) you care about loses a pregnancy or young baby she does not want to hear your reasoning why what happened happened. Especially from people with no medical training or who have not met God personally. All she wants from you, is for you to say you are so sorry, that you will be there for her and to listen to her. That's it. Trust me on this one. I have spoken to many women who have lost pregnancies since this has all happened, and this is one thing we all agree on. Many well-meaning responses from friends and family can come off as incredibly insensitive. (Stepping off soap box).

This time, things were a little different. This time, in my friends and family's eyes, there was one giant, obvious reason for why I lost the pregnancy - running. The first response I got from most of my family and friends was an earful about how I shouldn't have been running while I was pregnant. And that it was no coincidence that I ran a half-marathon and lost the baby the next week.

Nevermind the fact that the pregnancy losses I had were totally unrelated (meaning there was no underlying medical reason from me not to run, which was confirmed by my Dr and midwife. Nevermind that fact that the estimated number of pregnancies that end in miscarriage run anywhere between 20-50%. Nevermind the fact that I was given the go-ahead by both my midwife and Dr to keep running as long as I stayed hydrated, didn't overheat and didn't overdo it, which I listened to religiously. Nevermind the fact that I had been training for a full marathon for months and dropped down to the half to "take it easy" (not because of a bad foot like I told all of you, sorry for the fib). Nevermind the fact that all the people making me feel guilty and essentially blaming me for for killing my baby know nothing about running (or exercising in general), think a half-marathon is the same as running 100 miles, have no medical background and haven't been pregnant in years or ever. Nevermind the fact that some of the women saying this to me had miscarriages of their own and they NEVER run.

And with all of that. And even though my Dr and midwife both told me that the running had nothing to do with anything. That running does not cause miscarriages, that NOTHING you do causes or prevents miscarriage. There is always that little voice in the back of my head that wonders, "what if...?" And with that, I was mad at all of the people who were telling me what I did was wrong. Not because I knew they were right, but because I was letting myself start to believe them a little. And that made me extremely sad.

After a few weeks, I was able to run again, but I had no desire. I was mad at running and barely made it out there. I was tired and empty and angry. It was starting to get warmer and I missed my winter running. I missed daydreaming on my runs about how I was going to be the fit, pregnant runner that other runners marveled at.

All year, I had planned on running my first Broad Street Run. But since I was barely running and had no desire to train, I knew it wouldn't be a good idea. Then, the week before the race, something came over me and I knew I had to go run it. I made Jeremy take me to the expo and we signed up just before it filled up. And even though I had only run about 4 short runs in the two months leading up to the 10 mile race, we ran it in a decent time: 1:26:19/8:33 pace. Thats the best overall pace I have ever run for a race longer than a 5K.


Running that race, was the best thing could have done. I felt wonderful and suddenly remembered why I loved running so much to begin with. Running the Broad Street Run was my first step in healing. Something all the people who had scolded me for running could never and probably would never understand.

Soon, I was back to an easy 3-4 runs a week and an easy 4-6 miles per run. I was feeling great and starting to plan some fall races in my head when life threw another curve ball at me.


This time things have been interesting (like we would expect anything else at this point).

The first few weeks were filled with very, light, easy running and biking. My pace slowed down a lot without me even trying (11 minute miles every time) which was totally fine with me. I wasn't concerned about running as much anymore as I was about staying healthy. But honestly, I didn't have a choice. I was starting to get really tired and sick right from the start.

Then at 6 weeks, I started bleeding again. We chalked it up to another loss and spent the next two days grieving and planning to meet with a genetics counciler. But after the first initial bleed, it turned to spotting (sorry boys) and then went away and came back sporadically. Since this was different than the miscarriage a few months back, we were told to go to the ER. After a 5 hour wait in the emergency room, we got our first glimpse of our tiny, little butter bean and heard the "whoosh, whoosh, whoosh" of it's beating heart over our stunned silence.

We also got a nice view of a subchorionic hemorrhage, a blood clot on the outside of the uterus that was causing the bleeding. Diagnosed with a "threatened miscarriage" we were told to go home, take it easy, and get another ultrasound in week to see if the baby was still alive.

Most people in this situation would be a wreck for the next week. But sadly, J and I are old pros at the bad-diagnosis/waiting game by now. I would be lying if I were to tell you we weren't worried, but somehow, after grieving the loss for two days and then seeing that it was still was quite a reversal of thinking. It seemed somehow that the roller coaster had come to a stop, and suddenly, I really did feel like some sort of miracle had occurred -as hokey as that sounds. Hokey or not, I felt at peace.

At the eight week ultrasound, Baby was growing and the heartbeat was stronger. The hemorrhage was still there, but not huge. I was told not to lift laundry up and down the stairs or vacuum. Oh no. Not that.

And again, I was told to just to sit and wait. They didn't have an answer to our questions on the fate of this baby. There wasn't anything they could tell me but to take it easy. Which wasn't hard since all I wanted to do was curl up in bed and sob about how the room wouldn't stop spinning and everything smelled bad. Oh, the joys of pregnancy.


An old friend (who runs while pregnant and has had a couple of miscarriages herself and a beautiful baby boy) kept feeding me wonderful advice. "It's out of your control. There is nothing you can do to cause or prevent it." With her support and the same support of my midwife, this became my mantra. As scary as that thought is, and I have lived it with worse outcomes, right now everything was fine. Worrying wouldn't change anything.

Before the bleeding, I had barely acknowledged the pregnancy for fear it would be taken away from me. But sitting in the emergency room, when I saw we had been given another chance, I knew we couldn't blow it. This baby deserved all the pomp and circumstance that every new pregnancy gets. I wanted people to be happy for it and to celebrate it was here. Not to hide it in fear. That's not the way we wanted our baby to enter into existence.

So, we spilled the beans early, which a lot of people wondered about considering our history. But it felt good. We told our family and good friends and people at work. We told them our troubles and asked for their support and good thoughts in any form possible and hoped that the power of positive thinking in mass quantities would work in our favor. And people were happy for us. Even if something did happen to this baby, at least we had this moment.

So, here we are. I'm 11 weeks, 2 days today. The thought of "being out of the woods" will never be a concept I can grasp, so we are taking it one day at a time and that's all we can ask for.

We had an 11 week ultrasound two days ago with a outcome I had never experienced in all of the 8 ultrasounds I have had with the three pregnancies - a totally healthy diagnosis. Baby was measuring 2 days ahead and the heartbeat was strong (174). All signs of the hemorrhage were gone, simply reabsorbed back into my body.



As I nervously asked the perinatologist what-if after what-if, he finally said to me,

"I hate to be the one to tell you this, but you are a perfectly normal, healthy, pregnant woman."

Which I think was the single best thing anyone has ever said to me.

design by