Things No One Tells You About Being Pregnant

And probably because if they did, you’d think a little harder about whether you wanted to do this. I probably still would have, but more of a warning would have been nice. You read all sorts of things about other sports, hitting the wall in the marathon, open water swim panic, but there is no one there to tell you about the things your body will do while pregnant.

I definitely am not a pro. I’m a first time mom (FTM lingo for all the baby boards I’m now subbed to), but STILL.

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  • It might just be my doctor, but every time there’s a new complaint the answer is not ibuprofen, drink water, and change your socks as I’ve been conditioned to expect by the Army, but instead “let’s do some labs” which means I get to go down and wait in the lab for them to draw more blood and sometimes provide a urine sample. I’m in the third trimester, I don’t remember the last time I’ve seen my “undercarriage” except in a mirror. The other day I had to provide a urine sample, no big because I pee every 10 minutes anyway, but since I couldn’t see what I was doing, I also peed all over my hand. PREGNANCY.

 

  •  Speaking of pee, I’ve been religiously doing my kegels and anything remotely rumored to help. It didn’t stop me from peeing a little when I sneezed a couple months ago.

 

  • Do you know what GBS is? I sure didn’t. Apparently it’s Group B strep. Why this matters is because something like 25% of all women have it. It’s no big except it can kill your baby, and also the way they test for this is to swab your vagina and/or rectum. Since this is the Army, you can guess what they swab.

 

  • I really think there’s a crew of vampires employed by the hospital with all the blood tests they require. Right off the bat I think I provided something like five vials of blood, for what, I have no idea but they didn’t tell me the baby’s sex which would have made it all worth it. And then I still had to get more labs done for a HIV test even though I have an updated one from two years ago and the only person I’m making babies with is my husband who you know, also has an updated HIV test. But you know what? I did it again because in the State of Georgia there is apparently a HIV threat and if your baby comes out with any sort of possible illness, they will immediately start that baby on antiretrovirals. Of course, it’s entirely possible I could somehow get HIV between that test and my baby’s birth, but we won’t talk about that.

 

  • How about no one warns you about the lack of sleep WHILE pregnant? I love sleep. I miss sleep. I expected this after the baby but not while she’s still cooking. This would be fine except I can’t chug coffee like I used to.

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  • Pregnancy-induced carpal tunnel syndrome is a thing and it sucks. I work with computers for a living but also you sort of need hands to do every day things like pull covers up, do your hair, wipe yourself after using the toilet.

 

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  • On the plus side, I feel like universally everyone is just nicer to pregnant ladies. I like the parking spaces up front at stores and how people are just generally kinder to pregnant women. I was craving a tall juice from Panera one day at breakfast after drinking all my hot cocoa and the cashier just let me have it for free. Day. Made. At this point, I am also appreciative of people letting me have a seat when space is limited and moving out of my way in narrow spaces because I don’t have much proprioception anymore, judging by the bruises on my thighs and also all the food that gets dropped on my shirt on a daily basis.

 

  • It’s hard to tell but I could also swear that my pets love me more. I say it’s hard to tell because due to my shift work, I’m able to spend more time with them than I used to and they seem to be slightly preferring me over my husband (with the exception of my cat who can’t help that he’s a jerk because he’s a cat). Sometimes it’s a little overwhelming but mostly I love having extra-cuddly dogs.

All in all, it’s not the worst thing ever but I really don’t think I fully understood what I was signing up for along the way. I don’t think it would have stopped me from wanting to have kids, but I think I could have been better informed.

Spinning Babies?

I wrote a couple of entries ago about some of the more labor-focused exercises my doula was having me do. She also referred me to a site called Spinning Babies, which is not at all like the Exorcist scene I pictured of babies with their heads spinning around. Instead, it’s a compendium of exercises designed to position babies optimally for labor as well as help strengthen the pelvic floor for birth.

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For me, I’m interested in it because it claims that it can help ease back labor, avoid c-sections, and decrease the labor time even for first time moms. Possibly best of all hardly any of the exercises require any equipment and mostly use bodyweight to achieve its goals. I also really like workouts with point to them – one of the reasons I have a hard time with free form cardio workouts as opposed to lifting.

The site goes over all the exercises with clear pictures, but they also offer videos for a fee if workout videos are more of your thing. I feel pretty comfortable with my current range of exercises, but it’s fun to read about others and what else I can do even in late pregnancy to help my baby get into an optimal birthing position and also reduce fatigue for myself in labor.

 

Playing it by Ear

Around this time each year is when I start planning my race season for the following year. Mainly because it’s fun but also because it keeps me motivated through the winter (which was really important living in Alaska’s Golden Heart of Darkness). I started doing the same thing again recently when I got a shot of reality from a fitness and pregnancy group I follow.

Namely, I may not be able to bounce right back like I naively think I can. What if I have a c-section? That’s six weeks at least just to be able to heal not to mention the lack of sleep and if I’m able to breastfeed, having to feed her frequently.

And if there’s other factors as well, I have to take that time off to let my body heal without straining it or injuring it further by trying to push it too soon. I’ve recovered from marathons but this is something totally different. I’ve never recovered from birth before, plus I have no idea how different my life is going to be. It’s sort of like traveling – even though I can read all the guidebooks, it’s still going to be different experiencing something for the first time.

It’s hard to hold back from registering for a bunch of races, but even if I lose out on early bird discounts, it’s still better than having to choose to not start and feeling like a failure for it. I registered for a lot of races this fall and winter because I didn’t really think I would get pregnant and now even though it’s dumb, I feel like I’m failing myself by not doing the races.

So instead, I’m going to focus my efforts on keeping myself active and healthy through pregnancy, taking the time and put in the work to recover safely, and stay involved in sports through volunteering. That way I can still be a part of the race and honestly, races and events rely so much on volunteer support.

Holiday Gift Guide – Active Pregnant Ladies

I thought it’d be fun to do sort of a different take on holiday gift guides than most of what I’ve seen. Now that I’m in the third trimester (holy cow, already?) I’m looking forward to our baby getting here, getting to know her, getting used to our new life, and also getting back into shape and racing next summer. I work full-time and I like being active so I thought it’d be good to share some of the things I’ve found that really work for me.

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  1. BaoBei Belly Support Band// $64 // The one pictured is mesh but mine is solid all the way around. The best way I can describe it is like a sports bra (but a comfortable one) for your bump. It doesn’t relieve back pain but it does help keep me feeling like I’m more put together and not just hanging out. Plus it keeps you from showing more skin that you’d like if your shirt rides up.
  2. Oiselle Lux Track Pants// $84 // These are currently on sale for 20% off with the code BOOMBOOM. These are a pre-pregnancy favorite that I now love even more, which I didn’t think possible. They are warm, soft and the coziest thing you can wear. I love Oiselle’s lux line and am thankful that these have been able to transition through pregnancy with me with their wonderful waistband.
  3. Barefoot Dreams CozyChic Lite Circle Cardigan// $116 // These were on Oprah’s list of favorites last year and I have to say Oprah has really good taste (or at least her shoppers do). Hoodies and most sweaters don’t fit anymore and the weather down here is chilly in the mornings but warm in the afternoons, so an open cardigan is perfect for the weather. This one, although pricey, is so flexible with so many different styles that it’s become a staple.
  4. Blanqi Tights // $64 // So these are currently sold out but the postpartum ones are still available at the same price. They were selling them at 50% off the week of Thanksgiving so I bought a pair, they came, and I bought a second pair. I likely would have bought more but two pairs of black leggings seems like enough. They fit like a firm, warm hug and I like that they come up over the bump and amazingly, do not slip down unlike every other pair of maternity bottoms out there. The way the fabric is knit reminds me a little of Spanx, but these are definitely nicer-looking and you can wear them alone (I am one of those people who wears leggings as pants; I don’t care).
  5. GlowBodyPT 12-week Post Pregnancy Plan // $99 // I got into GlowBodyPT during my month of yoga because I started getting a little bored of the prenatal yoga plans out there and saw she had a prenatal yoga designed to strengthen the muscles used for labor. She offers a completely free prenatal routine as well. Although I’ve still got a few months left being pregnant, I’m already looking forward to being able to get back into work. I liked that the prenatal program really only requires a set of dumbbells, which I have at home, and that there’s videos for every workout in case you need to see the movement performed.
  6. SOAS Racing Biggie Tanks // $45 // I admit I liked their Kona design this year because of the pineapples because pineapples are a thing here in the South, but I’m a big fan of their biggie tank because not only is it cute and comfortable to wear, it’s loose enough that I’m still wearing it. I also like that the front doesn’t go super low and that it covers all the important pieces.
  7. Ashley Horner Losing The Bump // $50 // I’ve been a huge fan of Ashley Horner’s programs since I discovered them while deployed. Not only did I get stronger and faster, but I was able to do my very first pull ups ever. Also, I met Ashley last fall and she is super nice and warm in person which just makes me admire her even more. Her programs are challenging and tough, but get results. Most of them need a training facility to complete the workouts, though, so I may hold off on getting into this until we have our baby in childcare and she’s a little older so I can workout more easily.

 

 

I went to a baby shower

I typically maintain low expectations for most things Army, that way I’m seldom disappointed and can be pleasantly surprised when things are better than expected. As I mentioned before, I’m also pretty laid back which couples well with the first. So far, though, I have been beyond pleased with all my experiences with the New Parent Support Program and also the Cradle Club classes offered at my local hospital.

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The NPSP hosted an educational baby shower for us recently for a few hours on a Saturday morning. We had speakers and demonstrations on baby wearing, breastfeeding, and an informational session on WIC. We also played games and won prizes and were treated to a healthy cooking session (plus lunch!) by a chef who works on post for the Child and Youth Services.

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Finally, they gave us all a gift bag to take home filled with useful things for a new parents, plus tons of information to read through.

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It was a really good experience and I got even more information on groups and resources in the area that I’m looking forward to putting to good use.

Doe, a deer, a FEMALE, dear

I was so disappointed with my last ultrasound that I thought I’d see about going to one of the boutique places. The ones near Augusta were all booked up but there was plenty of availability for appointments in and around Atlanta. Since I was heading up for the Atlanta 10-miler, it was easy enough to stop off in Covington and go to Stork Vision.

The front office was really pretty and cozy. I did filled out the same paperwork as I had done online and a family came out of the room and after briefly dickering with the front desk over how much a disc of images was, they left and took a bazillion pics in front of the store.

The ultrasound room was darker and reminded me of a spa. The tech at the first ultrasound had a hard time getting pictures but she was very cooperative this time. Well, mainly. She was lying with her feet by her face and wasn’t interested in changing that position for anything. The first tech told me she couldn’t tell me the gender because it could be a lawsuit, which is ridiculous. I actually can’t sue my medical care-she could punch me in the face and I couldn’t sue her for anything. Anyway, second tech had no problems confirming that Zoya is indeed a Zoya and not a Vladimir the Destroyer.

I always thought it odd when people would post their baby’s bits online and now here I am

Also she got some nice pictures in 3D which was really cool. I didn’t think she’d look like much since she’s only half-naked but she definitely has some obvious facial features already. To me, she looks more like P.


I’m leaning towards going back in a few weeks for a more full 3D session once she’s put on some more weight and developed some more to see what she looks like then.

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Halfway-ish there

I actually wrote this last week but since my 20-week ultrasound wasn’t until the end of the 20-week period and they have a firm no electronics policy followed by a procedure of waiting three days before I get the CD of pictures, which you also can’t print from but can take pictures of from the computer monitor…it’s actually easier to buy a gun than it is to look at my own medical information. All that waiting and the pictures are not even interesting enough to post.. How disappointing.

On the plus side, we got our welcome box from Amazon for having  registry on there. I do like free stuff and cute doggies.

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Anyway, some reflections on making it to the halfway point.

Working out

Working out is still comfortable for me, mostly. Little Zoya the Destroyer (I binged all of Glow early in pregnancy) is pretty pointed as far as an actual baby bump and it’s only been the past couple of weeks where I can’t wear tights or capris anymore because of where they hit on the bump. Strangely enough, all my shorts from SOAS and Oiselle are fine and fortunately it’s still 90 degree here (in October, absolutely ridiculous) so I’m not missing too much but I did order a couple of pairs of maternity leggings anyway.

Other clothes

All my pants and most of my shorts are now boxed up in my closet to make room in my drawers for maternity pants and shorts. I also switched to the maternity uniform for work and to say that I’m unimpressed would be an enormous understatement.

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The things I hate the most: the sleeves are slightly too short, it has buttons on the front (everything else is zippered now except this thing), the button tabs on the side are fixed so you can’t button further back for a tailored look because they’re basically a decoration, and the worst part of it is the pockets are tiny and mainly useless. I went from having four pockets on my top and six on my pants to four total and they’re all the same size and have velcro closures. I can’t fit my phone or wallet in them. Also on the pants the belly band is just a panel with a tight ring of elastic at the top that I swear is giving me heartburn. I am going to modify it, I’m just not sure yet how or when.

How I’m feeling

Fine, mostly. Apparently I’m having Braxton-Hicks contractions and Zoya is kicking up a storm, but I really don’t feel it. Baby movement is supposed to feel like fluttering and some other women also due in February are seeing and feeling visible kicks, but the closest I’ve come is feeling like period cramping occasionally, which could be the Braxton-Hicks I guess, or that feeling you get when a part of your body is pulsing. I am also really good at ignoring my body’s signs and feelings so that is probably another reason why I haven’t noticed anything – I’m generally too focused on whatever else it is that I’m doing.

The things that people say

I saved the best for last. A coworker told me that I really shouldn’t be lifting or doing anything other than walking because one of his kids was injured in utero. I love anecdotal advice the most. Also, I broke my policy of not discussing names and immediately regretted it when the woman I was talking to told me my names were “too old,” especially annoying after I’d already told her they were names that had belonged to deceased relatives. I’m back to not talking about names aside from the ones we aren’t using and even then only the really out-there ones, like Falcor.

 

I went to a baby show this weekend

I feel like I have a good handle on what things I still need for the baby but I also feel like I’m not qualified to feel like I have a handle on things yet. Because of that, I thought it would be worthwhile to go to a baby show in Atlanta over the weekend.

I had some trouble finding the location. It was in a ballroom on the sixth floor of a building, but the building with the address had legal offices on the bottom floor and they wouldn’t let you go through them (also they probably didn’t have access). Instead you were supposed to go down around the corner and take the elevator inside a separate parking garage to the sky bridge to the ballroom. I did two laps around the block before I asked for more specific directions.

Once inside the parking garage’s elevator, there was a sign unhelpfully telling you to 1) navigate to that location and then 2) take it to the sixth floor. Well, yeah, but some signage outside would have been more helpful than watching men and women in various stages of pregnancy wander around looking lost and confused. I like to think I look more pregnant than fat at this point but I had a couple of other women blatantly staring at my stomach area so possibly not.

Once inside, I checked in and got two big reusable shopping bags full of different samples. Also, because I show up to things early, I got a third big bag full of MeadJohnson samples. If you’re not familiar with MeadJohnson, welcome to the club I vacated just a day ago – they’re the folks who manufacture Enfamil, a well-known infant formula. I also stopped by the La Croix booth to try a new flavor. I really want to like La Croix and I just really don’t. I’ve tried pamplemousse and lime so far and yesterday I tried cranberry-apple (can we just call it cranapple already?) and had a similar reaction. I just don’t like La Croix…but I do like free drinks and it was hot and humid so I wanted to drink something.

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They had different levels of admission with different add-ons for each. Silver and Gold got baby carriers, and mine (Bronze) I got to enter 30 minutes early and an extra gift bag.

The expo part wasn’t bad as far as quality of the vendors, it was just disappointing how few there were. I was also disappointed in the lack of informational sessions they offered, there were only a couple, one on cloth diapering and one on baby wearing. I would have liked to have seen more sessions, even just on the products themselves or on other topics.

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They raffled off one of these babies. It was pretty sweet, but I can’t justify $250 for a temporary bed, even if it does play music and vibrate.

I was done looking at all the vendors in about 45 minutes and they didn’t do the raffle for prizes until 3:30 pm so I had a ton of time to kill. I took my gift bags back to my car and went to a Microsoft store in a mall nearby to ask some questions about discounts on their OS (spoiler: they didn’t know and it’s cheaper elsewhere). I had some lunch and then took the Atlanta MARTA back to the convention.

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The crowd wasn’t big so I thought my odds were pretty good

I was pretty impressed with the prizes they raffled off. It was everything from pacifier sets to bottle sample packs to a Stokke high chair and even a Halo bassinet. Sadly, I was not a winner of any raffle prizes, though I did get an entire case of Enfagrow from the MeadJohnson rep as he was packing to leave. I don’t have any plans on keeping a toddler milk drink in my pantry for 18ish months so I’m going to take it over to the local food bank later this week.

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Not shown: case of Enfagrow

In summary, was it worth it? Maybe. I *did* like the free samples I got, but I thought overall the show could have been a lot better. There is a bigger show that happens every year in April, which I didn’t go to (obviously) because I wasn’t pregnant then and I’m unsure whether I’ll go to it next year since Mini-K will be 2 months old and I’m not sure I want to try to do that with an infant. I think I’d be willing to go to another baby show, but I would likely do some more research to see the number and quality of vendors and classes they’re offering before I committed.

 

Charleston Getaway

I knew I was going to be bummed about having to pull out of Augusta 70.3, even though I knew realistically that doing a tri in the second trimester was just not a good idea, so to avoid further feelings of sadness and missing out seeing all the shiny, sleek bikes pour into town, I booked us an AirBnB in Charleston for the weekend.

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Pineapple fountain in the Waterfront Park



I LOVE Charleston. It’s where we had our marriage ceremony and I was captivated with it from the start. Funny story-our actual marriage was by proxy as I was living several states away. I asked a friend of his I liked to be my stand-in and we did my vows over the phone. We did our ceremony a while later and chose to do an elope-acation with just us and in a place we’d never been-Charleston.
It also seemed fitting that we go back to Charleston now that we have our little one on the way for some alone time before we become a family of three.

Rainbow Row


We did a half day charter with Charleston Fish Rod Bending charters and had SO.MUCH.FUN. I’d wanted to do deep sea but the weather was pretty choppy from the storms so we did inshore instead. I had such an amazing time.


We caught a ray, a speckled trout, a sand perch, and several red fish (which fought like hell and were so much fun) including one really incredible big one that had a tag. South Carolina Department of Natural Resources has a program where you report catching a tagged fish and they’ll send you a t-shirt. This beautiful fish was a solid 8.75 pounds and 29 inches long. We released all of our fish this time; I am 100% a fan of keeping and eating fish but we were meeting a friend for dinner and I didn’t want to have to stuff fillets into a ziplock bag and try to freeze them and keep them frozen.


We ate at several great restaurants, Ms Rose’s in West Ashley, and revisited some favorites, like Kaminsky’s where we went for dessert after our wedding in the Waterfront Park. Our only disappointment was Caviar and Bananas where our food was just bland and tasteless and the drinks were not chilled enough.

Kaminsky’s Dessert Cafe


We walked along King Street and the Charleston City Market, went back to where we got married in the Waterfront Park, and spent a morning out at Ft. Sumter seeing the old fort.

Ft. Sumter ruin. The original was three times taller.


It was such a fun trip and definitely the right thing to do. I never even thought about the triathlon I was missing and I loved being able to reminisce with P about when we got married.

It’s all fun and games until your pants don’t zip

I had a surprise trip to the DC area last week and was excited to wear some clothes for the cooler weather (it’s still above 90 degrees at home right now as I’m typing this). I tried on all my clothes before I left to make sure they all still fit since some of my clothes have been getting a little tight.

I’m not sure what happened but Wednesday I pulled on the same jeans I’d worn the night before and although I could zip and button them, they felt much tighter and more uncomfortable than I remembered them ever feeling before. I always had the idea that I’d be able to get through the whole pregnancy either buying no new clothes or modifying what I had with some assists. That was clearly no longer an option. One of my relatives had given me a gift card to Motherhood Maternity and my hotel happened to be across the street from an outlet so I decided it was a good opportunity to do some shopping.

Since I’ll be pregnant/recovering from pregnancy down here where it’s pretty warm year-round, my wardrobe is a little more forgiving in that I won’t have to worry about making a winter coat fit. I tried to add some clothes that were easy to wear and could be dressed up a little if I wanted to look nicer.

Maternity Inspiration

 

By far, my favorite item so far has been Jessica Simpson’s skinny maternity jeans with a spandex belly band. Holy cow, these are easily as comfortable as my favorite pair of sweatpants. These leggings here look amazingly comfortable as well. (I’m totally okay with wearing leggings as pants).

I also bought a loose cardigan and a couple of side-ruches t-shirts that I could mix and match with other things for a little more variety.

I’m also loving these belted tops for looking nice and pretending that I have a middle section somewhere, and as always, Tieks ballet flats.