Friday, June 28, 2019

Pregnancy Thoughts: It's Been a Minute

Yeah, so life has been busy with the school year ending, birthing classes starting and never ending house projects always needing attention. Through all of this though the reality that a small human is growing inside of me has become more and more, I don't know, real? And it's been a minute since I posted an update on baby growing, so here are some of the thoughts and feelings that have been going through my head in the past few months in no particular order.
Views from a hike in Big Sur where bikes are definitely NOT allowed. 
I've been doing A LOT of hiking lately. Since the concussion crash I've been much more hesitant to ride bikes, and along with the fear of hitting the deck again, I also REALLY don't fit into my old bike clothes anymore. Hiking has been great though! I've been able to push myself and find physical challenge (mostly from using new muscle groups that are weak and don't take a ton of effort to exhaust) as well as that good old fashion time in nature type mental decompression that helps me process my thoughts, feelings and emotions. Hiking means getting to see some places you aren't allowed to take bikes, like the Wilderness, and it's been my only option for when Brendan mountain bikes on our current road trip, so at least I don't feel like I'm missing out too much!

Left: Entering the Wilderness, a place bikes aren't allowed on the way to Baldy. Right: Carl on the PCT, which we call the perfect cycling trail but is very illegal to ride your bike on. 
Mt. Baldy summit, 10,035 ft

A few weeks ago I hiked the North Backbone trail with Carl. During our hike we had a lot of great conversations, but one of the things we talked about has been on my mind for a long long time. I've been doing a decent job of continuing to share my life and experiences on social media but I haven't done a great job of keeping in touch with my cycling friends, and I think a good part of that is that I don't feel relevant, or interesting anymore. I KNOW this isn't actually true in my mind, but when all I can think about on a daily basis is work, eating, sleeping and repeating, and I'm too exhausted from growing a fetus all the time to be 'fun' it feels easier to just kinda disappear some. I'm not sure if that makes any sense, but I'm starting to think that is why when other athletes I know get pregnant they tend to fall off the face of the earth. You feel one dimensional and uninteresting, no one wants to hear about my baby, AGAIN, I'm not traveling to cool places and racing my bike with Olympians, and as a result I feel uninteresting and therefore kinda just recede.

It was especially hard when Belgian Waffle Ride weekend approached, and I was never asked to be on their podcast. I know this sounds lame, but I'm being honest here. The male winner from last year was interviewed, lots of other past winners were on the show, but I felt so crazy irrelevant never being asked to share my experiences and advice despite winning ALL 5 jerseys the last two years in a row. I can't race AND no one wants to hear my tips for winning, double wammy. Then the weekend came and went, I watched it all unfold on Instagram, I couldn't be there to defend my title, and it was just hard.
But you know what, if I can survive this roller coaster of emotion, joy and heart ache, I can do anything, so maybe I'll be mentally stronger after this baby is born if nothing else!

A well earned cookie after an 8 mile hike in Big Sur.
Gestational diabetes: that was a scare a few weeks ago that was both hilarious and terrifying when the dr office called to inform me I had failed my 1 hour glucose test. I honestly laughed so hard when they first told me I might have diabetes because every day of school from February - June kids asked me if I wanted some gummy worms, a cookie, a Jolly Rancher, their chocolate... and every day I said 'I can't because I'm afraid of gestational diabetes' So the thought that I could have diabetes after turning down so many offers of sweets I really really wanted was pretty darn funny. A week later I was given a 3 hour glucose test and thankfully we passed that one and are in the clear, but wow, what a hilarious few weeks it's been. I'll be the first to tell you I don't have the perfect pregnancy diet, I eat cookies and ice cream a few times a week, I will indulge in a pastry for breakfast every once in a while, but MOST of the time we eat kale salads and spinach and as many veggies as possible, so I am quite pleased to be able to continue this less than strict diet that lets me enjoy being on vacation a little. On the same topic though, when I first shared with the world that we may have gestational diabetes SO many women shared with me that they also had positive tests despite being super healthy and active, so if you have it or get it you are not alone, or at fault. I guess our bodies just don't understand what's going on sometimes and do wacky things to cope with the weight gain and demands of pregnancy.
The Croque Madame at Bree 'Osh Bakery I dreamed about for the last two months of school while patiently waiting to go on this road trip :) Not super healthy, but balanced out the Kale salad I ate for three meals in two days on the way north. 

A few days ago the GM of the Hagens Berman women's pro cycling team shared an article she wrote with about being an elite athlete and pregnancy and I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed reading that at least one person in the world has had the same anxieties and struggles as me! She rode outside until she crashed, worried about calorie intake and even bought a baby heart rate monitor (I have WANTED this the whole pregnancy because I spent the whole 2nd trimester afraid the baby wasn't alive anymore), making me feel a little less like a crazy person and more like a person just trying to figure out the balance between an insanely active lifestyle and trying to grow a human. Thanks Lindsay for taking the time to reach out to me and share your experiences!!

Mom, kicking my butt in the pool, twice in one week!
And lastly SWIMMING! Everyone told me swimming would feel amazing, but I was just too busy all school year to make time to try it out. And besides that I had no idea where to go to swim/was hesitant to pay the price of joining a pool. BUT HOLY COW I've been twice this week with my mother, who swims three days a week and it has been an incredible experience. When I hike I get out of breath, worry about overdoing it etc but in the pool it's a simple rhythm of breathe, stroke, stroke, breathe that feels like a great workout but NEVER feels hard. It's moving meditation at it's finest, the only thoughts that pass through my mind are the breaths and the color of water and sky, water and sky. And all the while the added weight and changed shape of my body have absolutely no impact on the motions, my stroke, breathing and speed are the same as before the baby, it's miraculous! I even think I want to continue swimming after the baby is born since it felt SO dang good using both upper and lower body in a workout for once :)

So yeah, we are on a three week long road trip visiting family in Sonoma County and then continuing to visit good friends in Portland and then family in Seattle, and that's what's been going through my head lately. 8 more weeks of carrying this big belly around, and even though it may seem like I have more hardships to share about pregnancy than positives I promise I am loving every minute, every kick and every extra calorie I've eaten. Life has never been all downhill, and the new challenges we are facing are fun in their own unique, you only get to experience them once kinda way, and I love it!


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