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.


Anonymous said...

Baby baby baby!!!!! Go little butter bean, go!

You are awesome, and that little sweet pea is awesome.

And, hey, I'm not an "old friend" -- I am your best damn friend for the past 30 years! I love you, Lory Pory.


Jeri said...

Welcome back! I started reading your blog shortly before you took your hiatus and wondered when you'd be back. I found your blog from Jackie, and I loved reading your guys' so much, I started my own. Glad things are going well for you.

J said...

Congratulations! I hope that you and your baby stay happy and healthy for 29 more weeks!

Jeri said...

I don't know her. Hah. I live in the same town and stumbled on her blog on the running club website, then stumbled onto yours when you came to visit and she blogged about it. haha. Creepy McCreeperson alert, sorry. :)

Unknown said...

Congratulations!! I will certainly keep you in my thoughts and prayers. :-)

Denise said...

I am crying and have chills everywhere. SO happy for you and J. Soooo happy!! I will be thinking of you and sending good thoughts!! And it's so good to have you back, I missed you!!!

X-Country2 said...

Oh Laurel, I'm so happy for you. I feared you'd lost another baby when you took your break, and I was holding my breath waiting for you to come back. What fantastic news! Welcome back!!

Marlene said...

Laurel! It's so good to see you back in bloggy land.

From the bottom of my heart, I am sorry for your loss and everything you had to go through. People can be insensitive, cruel and just plain stupid!

Congratulations on this pregnancy and on the positive diagnosis. Sounds like you and baby are both doing great! I look forward to hearing more about this journey to motherhood. :)

Take care of yourself!

Trophy Wife said...

I'm so sorry for your loss.

Congratulations!! and welcome back!

Julie D said...

Wow, I had no idea all that happened in your absence. Stay strong, and congratulations!

Heather said...

I'm so glad you're back! So sorry for all the stuff that's happened and all the insensitive crap you've had to hear from people. And a huge congrats on your pregnancy!

Aron said...

I can't tell you how happy I just was opening my reader and seeing your blog in bold :) I have missed your blog so much!!!

Being a FB friend I knew something was going on, but not being a "real life friend" or whatever you want to call it I never wanted to ask anything, but I have been thinking about you and worried too somedays. I am so sorry for everything you went through and am so happy for you right now. I am sending you every vibe of positive energy I can :)

Keep us updated and stay strong and healthy girl!!

Lily on the Road said...

Missed you girl...glad you are back, and I'm not sure why "but I had the feeling" of all you have written....

all I can say is:



Middle Name Marie said...


Manderz said...

OMG Congrats to you!!!!!!!

I was sad that you stopped blogging and was so excited to see your new post and even more excited to read that you are with child!

That Pink Girl said...

What a very brave and honest post. First off, I am so, so sorry for your loss. My heart hurt for you when I read your words. But secondly, congratulations on your cooking peanut! Sending thoughts and prayers your way - so glad you are back!

Natalie D said...

Oh Laurel. This is heartbreaking. I am tearing up reading your story here. I am so sorry that you had to go through this again.

I am so happy that everything is going well now with the little peanut.
I am keeping a good thought for you. Congratulations and you've been missed here on blogger world!


Casey said...

Welcome back! Man, what a tear jerker! This is such fantastic news! :D

Progman2000 said...

Wow, I was so expecting this to be a "I just signed up for *insert marathon name here* " post. Sorry to hear about your loss but blown away with joy that you have a 'lil runner in the oven. Good luck (and sad that I guess this means I won't see you at Philly this year...)

Danielle J. said...

Talk about a roller coaster! I am so angry about the way people reacted to you telling them about your prior lost pregnancy. Seriously, people can be such jerks and really need to think about things before they come flying out of their mouths.

What FANTASTIC news about your little butter bean!

MCM Mama said...

Congratulations on your pregnancy!!!

I'm so sorry for your earlier losses. We had a rough road to having our two children and I remember when I was pregnant with my second, I never believed we'd actually end up with a baby out of it. Sending lots of positive thoughts that you have a wonderful, uneventful pregnancy.

Glad to see you back.

joyRuN said...

Oh, Laurel. I'm sorry for what you've been through, & ecstatic about your sweet sweet butter bean.

And as hard as it is, please do refrain from vacumming & lifting the laundry ;)

Michelle said...

OMG, Laurel!!!! Here are some strong baby bean vibes!!

I am so sorry about the past two miscarriages. I had a threatened miscarriage with Kara at 7 1/2 weeks. Was bleeding heavily and went to the ER at 1:30 a.m. only to be told two hours later to go home and make an appointment with my OB to have an ultrasound done (they didn't even check me -- jerks!). And this was right before the July 4th holiday, so getting an appointment was not easy! I was a wreck until the u/s, which showed she was healthy. But it also showed a twin without a heartbeat. It looked as if the twin had stopped growing around 6 weeks. I was devastated, although very happy I still had a baby growing in there! Anyway, she is 5 1/2 years old now and starting kindergarten on Monday.

I will be thinking of you! Please keep us updated! I, too, hope you can be an awesome, healthy, running momma!!! :-)

Michelle said...

Oh, and if anyone would have told me "It was God's will" or "It was for the best" after I lost Kara's twin, I would have punched them square in the mouth. Just sayin'...

Anonymous said...

I am so happy to see you back! I was wondering what happened to you and thought about pregnancy. I am sorry for all the heartache you have gone through, but what wonderful news now. I will keep you and your little one in my thoughts and prayers.

Again, glad to see you back!!!!

Suzana said...

This is amazing news. I am so happy for you guys!
When you hadn't blogged for a few months, I was wondering what happened to you and hoped things were going well. But now you're back, and your blog is going to turn into a baby blog!

You and J are going to be amazing parents. I found your blog when I was looking for some racing blogs, and you guys are what I think the perfect parents should be - healthy, happy, fun...

I just wanted to finally comment and thank you for being my motivation. After reading your blog I was excited to enter a race (you made it sound so fun). So far I've done one 5k race and I'm planning to do a Half next summer.

Keep up the amazing blogging!

NancyPants said...

Hi Laurel, it was so great to see a new post from you!!! Welcome back!!!

I am so sorry to hear about all that you've been through the last few months and that you had to put up with hearing all that crap about running while pregnant from people.

I am hoping that all goes well with this one...keep us posted!!!

Great to have you back.

CJ said...

I became a reader of your blog close to the time of your post in April. You have been through so much and you are such an amazing, tough, and inspirational person. I'm so sorry for your losses. I wish you all the best with your pregnancy!


Christie said...

I am so happy for you!! I was wondering what happened to your blogging. I actually checked your blog like last week. I'm sorry you went through all that. I wish you a healthy and happy pregnancy with the beautiful glow and clear skin and all!

Tara said...

I hate hearing running causing miscarriages from non runners! I am sorry for a rough patch, but a big congrats on your pregnancy!
I love your blog. I don't remember how I found it, but I am so glad I did. It keeps me motivated to run through all those rough patches:)

Unknown said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your loss but very happy to hear the good news! You and your family will be in our prayers.

Felice Devine said...

Congratulations!!! I'm sending you all sorts of positive baby vibes. I hope your pregnancy goes well!

I Run for Fun said...

This is such awesome news! I am sending you loads of good vibes. And welcome back. I've enjoyed your blog, missed you and hoped you were OK. Take care and stay healthy!

Jeff said...

Congrats! Sending you lots of positive happy thoughts.

Runner Leana said...

Laurel, I wish I could jump through the screen and give you a hug! I am so sorry for your loss and that people had to be so insensitive about it. But what great news about your pregnancy!!!! I am so excited for you. Huge hugs and wishing you a happy and healthy pregnancy!

Kaytie said...

CONGRATS! I'm sending you the best of wishes.

Girl in Carolina said...

New runner, new follower to your blog - so happy for and inspired by you! Praying for you and the little bean! Congrats! :)

Tall Girl Running said...

I'm several days late in reading your update, Laurel, but I still have tears in my eyes. I've thought of you several times during your hiatus and hoped life was being kind to you.

I'm so glad to hear your good news and will be praying each day is a day closer to finally reaching the desires of your heart.

You were missed... so glad you're back!

Before I'm 35 said...

I am late in getting to your update, but I wanted to say how sorry I am for your loss. But on the other hand, best wishes on this pregnancy.

I got lots of flack for running throughout my pregnancy and when our baby arrived last week (just 4 days before her due date) so small (5 lbs, 11 oz) I could sense a few people thinking "Oh, she ran and then had a baby with a low birth weight." But baby girl has already put on a pound and is thriving - she's just a tiny peanut.

I will be thinking of you and your little one in the upcoming months!

Dori said...

Hey! I'm glad to see you blogging again. I know it's hard to get started once you've stopped.

I'm sorry for your loss, but excited about your new pregnancy. Shame on people for blaming you for the miscarriage. Those are the same people that say running is going to ruin your knees.

design by