Rounding third base to home... in homage to Opening Day... we're almost there! Perhaps we're closer than I think, I have no clue what to expect or anticipate at this point so who knows. According to the doctor I saw for my appointment yesterday, I could go into labor five minutes from now, five days, or induce on April 15. It just boggles my mind we have such advanced medical technology for EVERYTHING else except pregnancy and delivery. I'm not dilated, but apparently that doesn't matter either. There are seemingly NO determining factors as to how or when I go into labor, so we just keep on keepin' on! I'm still working, still personal training, still working out, etc. No need to stop the usual routine when all is otherwise normal.
While I have used my blog as a means to share some of my negative experiences with pregnancy, I want to say that I feel incredibly blessed to have had such a healthy and positive experience overall with our first pregnancy journey. We have friends who have been through hell and back with a variety of complications associated with fertility, conception, sustained healthy pregnancies, complicated deliveries, babies born with special needs, etc. and not a day has passed that Tyler and I discuss how truly lucky we are to have had the journey we've had thus far. As I tell my students, highlighting nit-picky details is sometimes the only way to find constructive criticism in a situation when all other factors are otherwise perfect; I definitely feel this is true in my case. While I've had plenty of nay-sayers when it comes to my activity choices throughout my pregnancy, these interactions are trivial in comparison to some of the difficulties others have faced.
That said, we have greatly enjoyed both the anticipated joys of pregnancy like feeling our son jump around in my stomach (while watching "old" episodes of 24 on Netflix or Monday Night Football), I have appreciated several "unanticipated" joys of pregnancy as well. Perhaps unanticipated is not the right word, rather benefits of pregnancy which I've previously overlooked or ignored/taken for granted? At any rate, I thought I would share of few of these really cool unexpected pregnancy joys:
- Reconnecting with all kinds of friends. Definitely my favorite part of this journey (other than growing a human, of course). As much as people bitch about Facebook and how it disconnects us from "true" friendship, I think it can also work to bring people together when you ARE aware of what's going on in the lives of others no matter how distant or close your friendships have become, and I really appreciate what pregnancy has done for bringing me back to many people I've been blessed to know over the years.
- Learning new ways to manage stress. My go-to means of stress management: running, heavy lifting, drinking wine, repeat. Well, I'm still able to walk/jog but it certainly ain't no RUN, and you runners know what I mean, walking IS NOT THE SAME. It was very, very difficult at first to learn to let go of this staple stress reliever, but eventually my body taught me other things like cycling, swimming, and even the damn elliptical machine can be just as effective if you just open your mind to allow it. Heavy lifting... well I'm still lifting, just not super heavy. Lifting really has been a lifesaver for me throughout my pregnancy and I am thankful to have essentially been forced into cross-training to this degree so that my body was afforded what was likely a much-needed rest from two consecutive years of heavy training in general. As for the wine, well, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be for 8.5 months, but now I am really missing my friends Cabernet and Merlot.
- Complete strangers have shared their fitness/weight loss journeys with me. On any given typical non-pregnant day, I'm just another girl at the gym, but especially toward the latter end of my pregnancy when it has been pretty obvious to the outside observer I am in fact pregnant, complete strangers have shared very personal information with me regarding their weight loss journeys. Both women AND men have approached me and either shared portions or entire stories of their weight loss successes or they have asked me my opinions of various exercise routines and exercises. Professionally, I have found this really cool because these people are all losing weight the 'hard' way- lifestyle modification(s) in some form or another, and they share these experiences with me. Personally, I've appreciated getting to know more about the people I see on almost a daily basis but never really engage in conversation other than a nod in passing as we enter/exit the locker room or a piece of equipment. It's really cool to hear how people have found health success and I really appreciate they feel compelled to share these experiences with me. Perhaps it's because I'm obviously going to need to embark on a similar journey in the near future, i.e. weight loss, but perhaps it's also because we acknowledge there's a shared experience in being vulnerable given our health circumstances, whether it be pregnancy or obesity.
- Finding joy in making others happy. So, there are some stereotypes associated with only children, and I think I exhibit a few, namely the fact that my 'default' is worrying about myself. I try to not be selfish, but honestly it is not in my nature to NOT include myself in an equation when I'm mapping out a to-do list for the day. Perhaps this is partially why being fit is not an issue of motivation for me because I am a priority for myself. There, I said it. If that makes me a selfish person, so be it, I know there are trade-off's for every type of personality and inherently I do not feel guilt when it comes to making time to take care of myself. HOWEVER... I don't know if it's the pregnancy itself, or the fact that I've had time to do many of the things I've wanted to cross off my bucket list prior to getting pregnant, or just seeing how incredibly hard my husband works to support our family, but I do feel as though I'm better able to step back and appreciate the joys of putting others first. Parenthood has scared me in this regard because I KNOW it will cause a dramatic shift in this way, away from me for a very long time and toward our baby. Before now, I was nowhere near ready. Marriage was the first step in this direction for me, and I think we've come a long way from five years ago when we were still learning about ourselves as well as who we are as couple. Kudos to the folks that figure it all out WITH kids and WITH jobs, WITH school, etc. For us, we have needed the time to figure this out in chunks of time and responsibilities. But for me, seeing how hard Tyler works for us without complaint and still making time for me, for us, it is incredibly motivating to want to do the same in return, and I know we are in a very solid place to raise a child together given the shared appreciation we have for one another and what we "bring to the table".
Enough with the sappy reflection stuff, but seriously, this has been a wild and amazing journey. I'm not ready to be pregnant again in the near future, but I certainly don't dread it. In fact, if my next pregnancy were just like this one, I would be completely fine with it. I don't know that I will be so fortunate, but one can hope... now we just wait to see the final outcome and meet our little man :)