A little over six years ago I injured my hamstring in a triathlon. I’d iced, stretched, rested, done physical therapy, and still it wasn’t quite right. I kept running, but I could only run conservatively — I couldn’t push myself. Two years later when I got pregnant with David, my hamstring was still bothering me. I ran through 37 weeks of my pregnancy, then after David was born I took six weeks off and started running again. And, suddenly, the injury was gone. Poof!
Fifteen months later, I ran my fastest half-marathon ever with no hamstring pain.
It was like the pregnancy put me back together.
I feel like the opposite is happening in this pregnancy. Instead of getting put back together, it’s like things are moving out of place, being stretched and used in ways they aren’t meant to be. Aches! Pains! Discomfort! I look at other people walking their dogs wistfully, “I remember when I could do that — walk a whole block without having to recover for the rest of the day.”
This third pregnancy is no joke. I’m experiencing pregnancy symptoms I — somewhat smugly — didn’t have the first two times. I have heartburn, shortness of breath, a lot of round ligament soreness. Last weekend I woke up with such a bad charlie horse that I had to put my foot on the ground and force it flat with both hands. And my calf is still sore.
I’d also like to share my favorite rude comment from this week:
“Wow! Just looking at you gives me PTSD!” then after a bit of chatting, “And after the baby gets here you can look forward to the nursing and the carnage that comes with that!”
What I want that lady to know is: despite how uncomfortable I look, we’re doing great. Tom is amazingly supportive. He tells me I’m pretty, and lets me sleep in almost every morning. Most evenings he cleans the kitchen while I wallow on the couch. Meanwhile, Mary Virginia has figured out how to snuggle around my giant belly.
I’m taking cues from my body and resting. Not just wallowing — meaningful rest. Going to bed early, spending the mornings with the kids reading books on the couch, and sunny afternoons drawing outside with sidewalk chalk. I’m trying to carve out quiet moments in our daily routine, and soak in these final days I have as a mama of two and also three.
I’m not the nesting type, but seeing my friends welcome new babies inspired me to pack my hospital bag, update my birth plan, write out the kids’ schedules for my mom and dad while we’re in the hospital. Our baby clothes are folded and organized, Tom put together the crib, and I keep meaning to ask him to bring the carseat down from the attic.
This baby is much more active than my other two. There is constant shifting, rolling, kicking and occasionally a hilarious jerking — it feels and looks like what a cat does when it’s trying to get a piece of tape off its paw.
Even though I can see this baby kick, it feels surreal. David asks me what the baby is doing, and I explain that it’s growing and getting bigger. Then he asks me where the baby will sit at our table — we only have four chairs — then he asks another question and another about where and when and why and how, and the answers are a bit too complex for him. And, to be honest, when I think about the new life that is coming and the inevitable changes that will follow, it’s both a bit too much and too wonderful for me to comprehend as well.