Tag Archives: Pregnancy

Pregnancy: The Good, The Bad, and The Running

222 Days down, 58 days to go. Or so my app tells me, as I lay on my sofa trying not to fall asleep at an absurdly early hour, while my stomach is assaulted from the inside by what feels like some kind of weird alien creature. I’m not sure that can be correct though, as I’m pretty confident that I have actually been pregnant for at least the last 2 decades!

Anyone who pays me more than a passing interest probably already knows that I have not exactly taken to being pregnant, although it seems that having this opinion is as bad as kicking puppies, drowning kittens or something equally dastardly. At best I’m told to appreciate the miracle my body is performing, and for the record I totally do, which doesn’t mean I have to enjoy the expanding waist line that comes along with it. At worst I’ve had veiled comments about how grateful I should be as other people aren’t so lucky, and this really is a case of don’t judge someone’s story on the chapter you walk in on. Yes I may not like being pregnant, I always knew I wouldn’t, I have far to much emotional baggage when it comes to my self image and self confidence, but I am eternally, incredibly, happy and grateful to have the chance to sit here hating how I feel and writing this.

For anyone still feeling judgemental here’s our story: after my first pregnancy ended in a  miscarriage which devastated us, we then spent well over a year failing to conceive again, with no idea if it would ever happen, or even if it could, while watching other people fall pregnant all around us. Perhaps I’d be less judged for being honest about pregnancy if I also told people about the times I cried and cried over yet another month failing to get pregnant in the first place. I am the 1 in 4 that lost a pregnancy and I am the 1 in 8 that struggled to conceive, and I am so happy and excited to be finally about to start a family, I can’t wait to meet my little girl, but this does not mean I have to enjoy being pregnant. It is an entirely valid point of view and here’s another little secret, many of the ladies I know who have actually been pregnant themselves have – shock horror – told me how much they too disliked it!

Some people do love being with child, but personally feeling fat, unattractive, tired, unable to find ANY decent clothes and having to deal with all of it without the aid of a glass of wine is not something I’m enjoying! I’m actually jealous of the people who enjoy it, but at least I have been lucky enough to be having a straightforward time of it, and I did title the blog the GOOD, the bad and the running so there is a little positivity for you!

The one thing I have been determined to do is keep as fit as possible throughout, which isn’t always easy when fatigue takes hold, or you’re uncomfortable, you need to pee every 5 minuets and just getting out of bed in the morning is a battle. I think I’ve done a reasonable job of it though, as I have been shamelessly documenting though my Instagram!

I carefully read all I could about exercising pregnant, checked blogs, articles, medical advice. Talked to my doctor, midwife, trainer, and husband before deciding what to do and what not to do, worried that this too was (is – I’ve had some looks!) something I would be judged harshly for. The prevailing opinion through my research is that you can continue to do pretty much anything you were already doing, but may need to dial down the intensity. You should be able to hold a conversation while exercising, if you can’t, you’re working too hard! There are also a few modifications like not doing any exercises that require you to lie flat on your back, but taking all this into account I’ve not had to change my routine too much, just slow it down, and I don’t do anything if it feels uncomfortable.

Since getting pregnant I have managed to take part in about 13 different races, ranging anywhere from 10k’s up to half marathons, both on road and trail, including some night runs, although I did decided to withdraw from two, a full marathon, and a Brutal race that would have involved cold dirty water – which  for me was just not worth the risk.

I still get out and run a couple of times a week, although these runs are getting shorter and slower, and tend to follow the same 6km route around the park these days (there are lots of toilets there!). I have to walk more often and hills are the bane of my running life, but I’m still getting out there. I also still do a personal training session a week, which is half exercise, half personal therapy. My poor trainer probably knows more about me than anyone and has seen me through a lot, this pregnancy just being the latest in a long list over the past few years (Thanks Adam!) I  also do one or two circuit classes a week as well. It sounds a lot I guess, but it’s time well spent keeping me active, and will hopefully help with recovery after I give birth (something I’m avoiding thinking about at the moment, no point worrying for the next two months about something that is inevitable, she’s got to come out somehow after all!) It is also hopefully helping to control the pregnancy weight gain, because no matter how much people say not to worry about it, as a former fatty I do worry about it, a lot! Most of all it helps mentally, I would have gone stir-crazy had I needed to give up exercise for 9 months, as it does more than help keep the body healthy, it’s good for the mind too!

I get asked a lot when I will have to give up. “There must come a point when you will have to stop” and my answer is always “Not Yet” I don’t plan to stop, I may cut down, I will stop doing anything that doesn’t feel right to me, I will listen to my body, but all the time I can do something, I will. I’m not just keeping me healthy, I’m creating a healthy environment for my baby too, after-all I’m pregnant, not terminally ill!

The support I have received from the people I train with, as well as my family and friends has been immense, and I’m sure I will be able to continue to rely on it once the baby is born.. and I’m going to need it, because as soon as I’m recovered enough it will be time to start training for the 2019 London Marathon, as around 10 months postpartum, I’ll be taking on that 26.2 Miles, after deferring this year and I’m under no illusions that fitting in this training with a new baby is going to be easy. I’m sure it is going to throw up a whole new host of challenges, but I’ll meet them when they come, and I’ll be able to celebrate the achievement after with my newly growing family… and a lot of wine!

Finishing my most resent half marathon (28 weeks pregnant)

 

January

It’s January, a new year, new challenges to face, and for me I was starting the year with a secret. Just before New Years I had found out I was pregnant. My husband and I are expecting our first baby sometime around the beginning of September, and along with the joy and excitement is my, quite frankly selfish, worry about how my body is going to change. I was kinda hoping it would take us longer to get pregnant, and give me time to get rid of the additional Christmas weight, I am pretty much terrified of getting fat again, like I used to be, and having to go through all the effort of getting the weight off again, like I had to before. Being pregnant is also going to stop me doing the obstacle races that I love, and how it will impact my training remains to be seen as the pregnancy unfolds.

With all these conflicting emotions I have decided to carry on my blog, with monthly updates, the idea being it will be an honest look at pregnancy from my point of view, including what training or running I do manage each month, how I feel about it and my musings about what the hell is going on.

So here is January, which won’t be shared until March as like I said, with the exception of family and a few close friends, my pregnancy is currently a secret. I have also told all my trainers, so that all training I am able to do is safe (worst news ever – no burpees!).  I’ve had some fairly early symptoms – I’ve been really tired, a lot, and oh my goodness, such aching boobs! They have also already grown a bit, I mean for goodness sake, they weren’t small to begin with, if they grow for the whole 9 months I’m going to topple right over! This has already made running somewhat uncomfortable, but at the moment I’ve been able to “man up” and get on with it anyway.

Me at 5 weeks, near the beginning of January
Me at 5 weeks, near the beginning of January

So to start with I was training more or less as normal, although trying to dial down the intensity, a few runs, circuits and personal training, trying to maintain my fitness. Then one evening I had a major scare when I found I was bleeding (this may be a bit TMI for some). I don’t think I had ever felt so scared before. Even though I had read (extensively) that it can be quite normal to have some bleeding, or spotting, in the first 12 weeks, nothing prepared me for the shock of seeing it. All the advice I have read says tell your doctor or midwife, but I’ve been having a bit of a palaver with the doctors which I wont go into, and by now I am shaking and crying and so grateful for my amazingly calm husband. We called 111 the NHS helpline and spoke to a lovely woman who calmed me down and gave me advice. She got a doctor to call us back, sadly the doctor was not so wonderful, he was disinterested and unsympathetic. He basically told me “well there’s not much that can be done, just try not to worry it’s probably normal, go to sleep and if you are still bleeding in the morning go to the doctors” Thankfully by morning there was no blood, but the feeling of panic was still there, I decided to stop training until I could talk to a doctor or midwife, as I couldn’t help wondering if it was caused by me running that evening, although I know in reality this was unlikely to be the case. At this point I was desperate to actually talk to a medical professional about my pregnancy and make sure everything was actually OK, I just want to get scanned and know for sure that the baby is really there, and to get to the 12 week point where the risks drop off. My worries about my own body have also been almost entirely replaced by my worry for an embryo the size of a sesame seed!

I’ve thought hard about whether to write this next bit, but I think It will help me to get it out so here it is. Sadly, after a few calm days I began to bleed again, and this time it was far worse, and came with cramps that built up into some of the worst pain I can ever remember being in. After another call to the NHS I was asked to come into hospital, to see the out of hours doctor. By the time my appointment rolled around I was in agony, with the pain coming in waves, I was hunched over, and at one point I found myself whimpering on the floor of the hospital. I was throwing up and in a bad way, and after examining me the out of hours doctor was concerned about the amount of pain I was in and referred me down to the Early Pregnancy Unit to have a more thorough examination.

Once down in the EPU I was seen by a lovely nurse who gave me the once over, took some blood and gave me some strong pain killers (which I promptly threw back up sadly) before I was seen by the doctor and given a full examination and they assessed whether I would need to be admitted for the night. They couldn’t tell me much, I was either having a miscarriage, or it was possible that everything was still OK, and they couldn’t rule out an ectopic pregnancy at this stage either (when the embryo implants outside of the uterus, in one of the oviducts). In the end they decided to send me home with some strong pain killers and the direct line for the ward so that I could phone up if the pain got unbearable or I needed any other advice, and they booked me in for an early internal scan in a couple of days. All I could do then was go home, wait and rest, all the while pretty sure that I had lost our baby.

Sadly, the scan and second blood test confirmed what in all honesty we already knew, I was no longer pregnant and although it was the news that we were expecting, it was none the less devastating. I spent the days following trying to recover both physically and emotionally, hugely grateful to my close friends and family for the support they offered. Physically I was exhausted, so tired all the time, and every time I thought I felt a bit better and tried to do something waves of exhaustion would crash over me and I’d have to sit back down. I hadn’t realised until now how much I had been looking forward to growing that bump, feeling the baby move for the first time, the whole process. My stupid worries at the beginning of the month were just that, stupid. I had to go back for one more blood test, and then a week later I had to take a test to confirm 100% I was no longer pregnant, it felt so very drawn out.

It took a couple of weeks for the fatigue to recede enough for me to start getting out and about again, starting with short walks that would leave me needing to sit down for a few hours afterwards, but was far preferable to staying cooped up. Next I went back to run club, and I struggled for the full hour but didn’t give up. The following week I went back to circuits, and despite still battling some fatigue my training scheduled is starting to get back to normal, which is helping me to feel like a normal human being again.

I don’t quite know how to finish this blog, but to sum up, this January has been one of the worst months I have ever known, along with the misery I have already detailed above, there was also a death in my family and it has felt like one bit of bad news after another, but I also want to say this – thank you. Thank you to my friends for being there for me, with visits, words of support and flowers. Thank you to the people who without knowing about anything that had happened sent me messages to check in because they noticed something wasn’t right with me as I had been too quiet and had disappeared from Facebook, thank you to my close family who knew what had happened and were there for me at the hospital and every subsequent visit, thank you to the staff on the Mirrlees ward at the Conquest for their excellent and compassionate care, thank you to my husband for looking after me despite it being his loss too, and a final thank you to my best friend Heidi, who was my rock, who spent hours visiting me, who brought me shampoo and continues to be there for me every time I need her, just as she has always been there for me throughout the years. Whether or not any of these people every read this I thank them all the same. Life goes on and will get better again with time, most of all I am thankful that January is finally over, I hope this year is all up from here!