Wednesday, July 9, 2014

I'm havin' a baby. And It's a triathlete.

The title says it all. We (as in Brian and I) are having a baby. Our baby. A planned baby. And we are thrilled. Or scared. Or maybe a little of both.

How about a little backstory..

At the beginning of this year, Brian and I decided that this year would be the perfect year for a baby. We both want kids and with hopes of Rio in 2016 and the fact that we aren’t getting any younger, this year just made sense. The window of opportunity was from Jan- early April as if I got pregnant after that, it would make any sort of athletics and the possibility of Rio in 2016 less likely. That window came and went, with all sorts of other drama (both good and bad) in there. A house fire, an engagement and the purchase or our first house.  Come mid April, all signs were pointing to no and that a baby just wasn’t going to happen this year, the window had passed.
As April continued I knew there was something going on, I just couldn’t figure out what. I was exhausted all the time, I was starving and had no energy. Since all the usual signs were still pointing to no baby, I called my doctor to order some blood work. When I lost my leg, I was anemic and I thought maybe that was the case again. Under the advice of my friend Keri, who is due herself in Aug and was probably sick of my constant complaining about how I felt, she suggested I take a pregnancy test. I was apprehensive, there was no way I was pregnant, but three days before my blood work I did just that. Imagine my surprise when the results came back as not negative, but somewhere in between. The next day, the same thing. And then a confirmed test a few days later in early May at the VA that I was in fact pregnant! As most mothers can probably relate, the news doesn’t really set in right away, but it made sense with how I was feeling and I felt a little silly, as at 34 years old I should know if I’m pregnant. But apparently that’s not always the case.
We timed it back and figured that I was 7 weeks along and due in mid Jan. Not bad as that is only a few weeks into the new year. Brian and I celebrated as our plan had worked, we were going to be parents!

This story continues, but a side note here that in the end of May, I was registered for a big triathlon down in Dallas. At the time I thought I was 7 weeks along and a triathlon would be fine. Might as well start this kid out in world of sports early! So the plans continued for Dallas and that I would race with this little triathlete to be.

Fast forward to the day before we were supposed to leave for Dallas. Some complications and a trip to the ER thinking that I might be loosing this baby which led to my first ultrasound making sure the baby was OK. Before the ultrasound the ER doctor said being only 7 weeks along, they probably couldn’t see much but it was worth a try. As they started the doctors eyes got real big and Brian, also looking at the screen, got this strange expression on his face. I couldn’t help but laugh and ask if everything was OK. The wide eyed doctor looked over and said ‘ummm, I think you’re a little further along than 7 weeks.’ He turned the screen and there was this baby, kicking and waving at us saying here I am! A real baby. In MY belly. After some measurements they concluded that I was not 7 weeks along, but a whopping 14 weeks along! I was in my 2nd trimester already, how insanely crazy.
We left the ER with a mission to find an OBGYN the following day and see if this was for real. After some searching we found an office that would get us in and they confirmed that yes, I was 14 weeks along and due on Nov 28. Because of the complications, I was instructed not to do any physical activity for the next week to make sure everything was OK so the race in Dallas was out. I made her repeat it a few times before it sunk in, my life was about to change big time. Instead of being all about me, I had a baby to think about.
As we thought back to the past 14 weeks the realization of what this kid has already done set in. It had been to Napa, enjoyed many glasses of wine, eaten plenty of sushi, skied in CO, mountain biked with the President, been to Disney World, to Boston, to DC, celebrated Little Leg’s 10th birthday and even danced on the bar. They were starting their life out with adventure and we hoped then that the baby would be a healthy one. I know everyone says that, but after a 14 weeks of all that, the worry was genuine. Thankfully all looked fine and the complications have not returned.

We still ended up going to Dallas as Brian was racing and it was a great chance to watch my teammates race. As we flew down there we were that cliché couple that was reading What to Expect When You’re Expecting and Brian reading, what to Expect when your wife is expanding. We had a lot of catching up to do.

Dallas went well although it was strange to be on the other side of things and not racing. A bit of bragging that Brian got 2nd in the Clysdale division and got to stand on that podium. I was proud.

Back in Chicago, it still really hadn’t set in. Everyone knew, my belly was growing a little but it was still so surreal. Luckily I have Brian to convince me that I don't look fat and that you can't even tell I have a bigger belly....right...
There was a big international triathlon coming up at the end of June and I decided that I was going to race it. Slowly of course, as I was instructed not to get my heart rate about 140 (I heard 150 :)), but I couldn’t pass up a race in my backyard. Plus, I wanted the chance to get these much needed points that could help me on the Road to Rio in 2016.
I did little training. Swimming and biking felt OK but the run wasn’t. I felt so heavy, so slow and on my practice triathlon a week before Chicago, I ended up having to walk the whole run. Spectators would encourage me along the way and I wanted to yell back, I am pregnant, leave me alone!

The Chicago race came and at 4.5 months pregnant I got mixed reviews. Some thought it was silly to risk it, others thought it was great. I promised myself to go easy and I wore a HR monitor to make sure I didn’t go too hard. That morning I struggled to get into my too tight one piece spandex race suit. My handler Keri who is very pregnant and I were quite a sight in transition. Eating whatever was around and lying on the carpet not doing much at all. My goal for the race was to simply not walk the run. This was a big race, there was a blue carpet at Buckingham Fountain that we got to finish at and I wanted to at least have a reasonable finish. The swim started and of course I was off like a cannon, not being able to hold myself back. I got out of the water knowing I had to slow down. On the bike, my HR went down slightly but I realized that once it’s up, its really hard to get down unless you stop. And that wasn’t going to happen. Plus, my competitive side was out. Knowing I was tri’ing for 2 but still wanting to push myself. I got of the bike and was able to run through till to the end. I got lots of ‘Go Mamma’ cheers from friends and tried to unsuccessfully suck my belly in as I went by. I crossed with a time of 1:38 and I was pumped. It was a great day, a great race, I didn’t walk and I was thrilled. I got to stand on the podium in 2nd place with Hailey on top and give myself a silent shout out that I had done it. Plus I had earned some points. We still aren’t sure what that all means, but if I needed them, at least I had some. After the race one of my favorite articles was posted on the relationship and good sportsmanship between Hailey and I. You can read it here,

Looking at race data after the race I realized  that my heart rate got up Much higher than it should have and for safety for all involved, that would be my last competitive race until the baby was born. It’s too hard to not push myself and go hard. There might be an easy 5K or two but no more triathlons. Plus I don’t think I could get into that spandex suit anymore. But.. I am proud that our baby is already living the multisport lifestyle, maybe it will come out running? And in case anyone was wondering, a Garmin heart rate monitor cannot pick up the heart rate of a baby that’s still in your belly.

To answer some common questions we get:

1. We will find out the gender. We actually have it in an envelope at home but are waiting until Aug 2 when we will have a gender release part where the inside of a cake is either blue or pink. Cheesy, probably, but I’m excited.
2. Wedding plans haven’t changed and we will be getting married next year, most likely in May. We are just doing things a little backwards. A house, a baby and then a wedding. Although in 2014, there isn’t really a right way to do things.
3. And yes, Jake is thrilled. He says he’ll be a great big brother as long as the kid doesn’t touch his tennis balls.

So there you go, that’s the big news. Other than that, things continue as usual. Work, speaking, Dare2tri in full swing with racing and our hugely successful 3 day camp.

 It is strange to be around my teammates knowing I won’t be racing anymore this year. No nationals, no worlds and the hope that I can come back stronger next year and be successful post baby. There is still the question of if my category will be included at Rio but we should know in a few months and here’s to hoping it’s a yes. That and a wedding will give me great motivation to get back into shape quick after the baby is born. And rumor is that you get stronger after a baby. Or maybe I just made that up.

We’ve had some great trips these past few months. A favorite was a trip to my parents in SC on July 4, which is our usual destination to see the fireworks. Lots of games, golf, a celebratory bottle of Bourbon (for the guys) and much needed time with my awesome family. With my sister and her 5 kids, I have all the resources I need if I ever have any questions.

And in breaking news, I got a new car! Although the Element will be sorely missed, I love my new Subaru Forester, with embroidered flag headrests and all.

 Until Nov, it’s more of the same. Traveling to speak until I can’t fly anymore, work and visiting friends knowing that things will change come Nov. Although how hard can it really be to change a few diapers… (that’s sarcasm people)

It’s been quite the exciting few months and just when you think things slow down, you realize they might get busier than ever. What a life it is!
So cheers to a new life and the start of our own family. I can’t think of a better father than Brian and hoping I can be just as good of a mother.

Until next time,