Round 2... March 5, 2020.
The test shows || and that means pregnant! As my husband and I headed into 2020 we knew that this would be the year to expand our family from 3 to 4. We had a huge year ahead of us filled with weddings and travel and RLAG adventures so trying to time a pregnancy around it all was of course beyond our power but we tried it anyways... and lucky for us timing was everything.
Or so we thought.
We found out we had a babe on the way on March 5 of this year. A week later... a pandemic went from overseas to right in our local community and we were all on lock down. But it was only supposed to last a few weeks, lock down to flatten the curve right?
It was all of a sudden to much at once. To much to take in. To much news, tragedy, unknown... am I excited or scared or confused or... wait this all also now means how and what will RLAG do? It all blended in at once and though we and RLAG have been through tougher hurdles, this pandemic is unlike any other hurdle. No travel, no groups, no events... canceling and or changing all of the 2020 events we had planed really set me to the sideline. So what now was the focus? How do I even focus?
Here we are 32 weeks later. 37 weeks pregnant wondering where did the past 9 months go?
On one hand, I am beyond ready to have this babe join us and begin the recovery process, on the other... trying to savour every moment of feeling this belly and the life moving and growing within it.
I have had many people along the way ask me "so how has it been being pregnant during a pandemic?"
It's a good question... in my mind I'm thinking well it is what it is... I try not to focus to much on the things we cannot control, but it has been a little scary. My mind more went how is my organization going to survive this. Like I said there were so many concerns all at once even beyond how to keep our family safe.
There isn't much out there known about COVID-19 and pregnancy... or at least not that I have seen, heard or been informed of. With finding out I was pregnant at the same time as full swing pandemic it was scary, we couldn't visit our families or friends, it was isolating and felt lonely at times. We just didn't know what it all meant. Was my husband going to be out of work? RLAG was day by day week by week what were we going to do?
I had thought of course it will change and be better by November, I think many of us did, we will be allowed to have our son come to the hospital to meet his brother or sister, our families will be there just like when James was born. Of course this situation hasn't changed and there are no hospital visitors. So for that I feel sad, for James for the experience to be different. But its all okay... it's just different.
In addition, what COVID has done is eliminate my husbands involvement in any appointments or ultra sounds. Majority of my midwife appointments were over the phone and when they did re allow in person visits after reaching a certain time in the pregnancy I have had to go alone, depending on others to care for my son while making the appointments. All which talking about it now seems normal... because we have all gotten used to a new normal. It is also my second time around so I do have a better understanding of the process and the general this and thats of pregnancy which helps a little.
My son and I generally keep to ourselves and play outside everyday in between post office runs and mommy's computer work. Each day often felt like it was just survive the day... but when I look back at the time as a whole its just the two of us playing outside, being creative while the playgrounds were closed, trying to explain to him that we cannot go to play school anymore for awhile and that the gym and swimming is closed but will open again one day.
Not having access to the "luxury" amenities such as swimming pools, massages, physio... the gym, was tough. I am motivated by movement and its my way of life, I know the things that I need to do to keep my body and mind healthy and to have them be eliminated from the pregnancy process for a large chunk of time was really tough. I am so grateful for my inspiring friend Monica Rosenke Wellness, as she hosted live virtual at home workouts which kept me motivated and accountable for the first few months of our new lives.
April and May were spent running, taking part in the CAPRA monthly run challenges, which I am also so grateful for! So we ran and home worked out our way through to June.
I felt generally good through these first few months, though needed to take anti nausea medication in the beginning to help me open the fridge. My body was good still felt strong, running and hiking.
June was spent mostly hiking, biking and doing some home workouts... Helping crew my friends at virtual races and adventures that they were doing...We also decided to through into the mix the selling of our small townhouse... because we needed a third bedroom... so selling, moving in with my parents, house hunting... it added to the plate.
Then there has been navigating RLAG... my dearest RLAG... There have been times where I have thought to myself, is this all happening to give me a tiny break? It has been years since any stopping of any sort and especially over the past two years I have not taken a day off. Maybe I wasn't meant to lead trips or direct races on my own this year, while pregnant? or is it the world saying just when you go through what is easily the toughest two years of your life I'm going to make it even tougher to really test you... Either way there have been times where I am grateful for the extra moments that I had in my day to be more mindful with my son, to breath, to notice some of the little things that I normally hurry away from. A contrast from being so sad, confused and frustrated at the situation the pandemic has put RLAG and my family into.
Getting back to the pregnancy itself... this one, on top of the COVID thing, has been very different from my first time around. Being pregnant with my son 3 years ago was a breeze... I ran, hiked, biked, lead adventures, swam, did everything I normally did without thinking twice about it, basically up to the day I delivered. My body handled it so well and I was so amazed by it! I went into it as a first timer of course, not knowing any of the what if's. This second time for me started with the typical first trimester sickness, I just tried to eat anything I could that my body would allow. I had the same mindset, at first, to listen to my body and continue to do the things I loved safely. I managed to get in one 1/2 marathon at around 15 weeks, continued to run and hike through to about 24 weeks and then my body forced me to slow down to some hikes and walking, beyond 25 weeks.
I began to have Pelvic floor pain, it came and went. I tried to pay attention to what I was doing when it was there etc. I couldn't quite pin point it to one type of movement or anything like that but it was lingering along with lower back pain.
I just kept thinking, no it's to early for this type of discomfort, why is my body not being the same as last time.
It was a lot to accept and process and at the same time try to not accept and manage and be proactive about.
It was slowly becoming harder and harder to "push myself " to challenge myself, my body, in the only ways that I know how to... it was and is still difficult to see where I am today and be okay with it. I am grateful everyday for the movement I am able to do and I am so grateful for all of my health and abilities but going from long running to pain within 30 minute walks was tough to accept. My "running" exercise became slow walks with James to the park or river, carrying his bike when he didn't feel like riding anymore...
- Ultra sound 20 weeks... your placenta appears to be sitting quite low so we are going to do a follow up ultra sound at 30 weeks to check and make sure its moved into the right position.
- 30 weeks ultra sound... your placenta is in good position, but we see something slightly abnormal within the babies lower intestine, we think we are seeing something called Bowl Loops which is an obstruction within the lower intestine. We are going to send you to Vancouver Women's Hospital for another ultra sound and further analysis. Okay, kind of scary, but nothing to worry about quite yet until we have more information and have a better diagnosis.
- 32 week ultra sound. Yes we for sure see what is called Bowl Loops, a 13mm size obstruction in the babies lower intestine. We do not know why it is there, we cannot know why it is there until the baby is born but it could be caused by the following...
There is a long list of possibilities as to why the Bowl Loops are there, from Genetic Diseases to different syndromes to chromosomes that did not act correctly during development. It's fairly uncommon, affecting 1 in 300-5000 babies. It is impossible to know the cause while the baby is still in the uterus so we have to wait until baby is born to really know. But come back at 36 weeks for another ultra sound and we will see if its still there and have a course of action.
- 36 week ultra sound. It's still there and is now showing a 17mm size obstruction. The staff has prepared us for potential baby surgery after birth. We have met the surgical team, the doctors, nurses and everyone in between. They have prepped us for a potential long NICU recovery and stay... we have heard from worst case to best case scenarios all still while knowing and holding onto the thought that it's all actually unknown until the baby is born. We have gone from delivering at Surrey Hospital while living in Surrey to delivering at Surrey while living in Chilliwack to delivering at Children's Hospital in Vancouver while living in Chilliwack. Now the tricky part... maybe... making it to the hospital!
- 37 weeks, non stress tests for the baby. Added to our weekly appointments are now scheduled sessions where the babies heart rate and and movement of the uterus are monitored. This is to ensure that the baby is responding well and is not in any discomfort. Which helps ease some of the daily worries.
So sticking with 2020's theme of "unknown" this pregnancy is in align with that. We are positive, rational and grateful. We take every step of the experience with gratitude and know that no matter what we are in good hands. We know that everything happens for a reason and each process is to teach us something.
We are still moving and doing well! This is a gym baby and movement is keeping us healthy! We have a couple more weeks to start this new chapter!
Up until this point in time and currently we are still able to focus on exercising at the gym with some weights and the body seems to really love the elliptical machine as its the only "cardio" I can do with very little to no pain!
In addition to keeping up our basic fitness, which is now focused on getting us through labour, we have been very focused on the exercises and stretches from my Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist.
For any new moms to be or recently new moms I cannot pass along the importance including a Pelvic Floor Specialist into your pre birth plan or your recovery plan, especially for those of us who run or do lots of activity. I recovered from my first labour with the help from one and this time around I am seeing one well before birth as we are addressing the pelvic floor pain that I have felt for quite some time now.
A reminder to keep reminding myself, I was hard on myself during the last pregnancy and when I looked back I wish I had been able to give myself a break, cut me some slack... etc. It's been easier to do this time around but one more reminder be kind to yourself... you are doing the best you can! Recovery, time and all the hard work will come and soon enough you will be a stronger you!