We athletchics believe we can have it all: family, career, exercise, and possibly travel the globe. But what happens when we get the big news? Hear those seven words that change our lives?
“You are going to have a baby.”
Well, we still believe we can have everything our heart desires, after all, we are tough. Invincible. Our low BMI and healthy living will catapult us into healthy pregnancies. This is going to be easy.
Sometimes yes. Sometimes no.
When it isn’t
Thirty-four years ago my OBGYN gave me the bad news: I was dilated to five at thirty weeks gestation. High risk. He sent me home with a note for work and sentenced me to bed rest.
Yes, sentenced. Any athletchic would consider being confined to the couch a sentence. For a good eight hours of rest? Okay, we would welcome that. But for ten weeks? Yikes!
My first thought was how could this happen to me? I was a runner, swimmer, skier. I batted balls back and forth over nets and against walls and bats, all while working a full-time job. I worked hard and played harder. Was in perfect shape. You name the sport, I partook.
High risk pregnancies happen to the best of us and when it does, we adjust. We heed our doctor’s advice and we rest. Pushing ourselves to the limit and taking risks is fine, when it is just us. But when we are carrying a child, we submit. (It is the only time in our lives that submission is necessary.)
When I was pregnant with my first child, Jessie (Athletchic), I discovered my mother took the famed DES pill. The technical name for DES has long escaped me. But its purpose was to help women who had trouble carrying babies get to a full-term, healthy delivery. Unfortunately years later, the female babies of those mothers who took the drug were plagued with a barrage of female and fertility problems.
I had six pregnancies, three healthy children, and a hysterectomy at age forty. And I was one of the lucky ones. Many DES babies couldn’t carry babies full term at all.
And, I don’t own the corner on tough pregnancies. Lots of women have them. If it happens? Simply, you adjust. It’s not forever. (Only a blink in time when you’re my age.)
What’s good is that high-risk pregnancies are not the norm. Having a baby is natural, and most women have a much easier time than I did.
When it’s easier
Let’s not confuse easier with easy. Pregnancy is challenging. You have another life inside you, and you become concerned with everything you put in your mouth, the amount of rest you get, travel, even the weather can be a challenge. (A friend of ours, Athletchic Elana Morales, was born a week late in Houston, Texas, on the Thursday after Harvey reared his ugly head!)
But my baby, Jessie, is having a baby and, while for years we worried that she would go through the same troubles I did, she is healthy and active and beginning her thirty-third week. Working, walking, hiking in the mountains, and even able to do a little running, she hangs onto every word her OBGYN gives her.
What is important to remember about pregnancy is that we are all different and no two pregnancies are the same. You’ll hear stories spanning from women who didn’t know they were pregnant until delivery (secretly, we long to be them) to those who knew the day after they missed their period (when the aroma of their daily coffee made them throw up in the sink.)
Each pregnancy is as unique and diverse as the baby inside you.
A little advice from an expectant grandma
Listen to your body and don’t listen to anything or anyone else except your doctor. Or at least only half listen, because people talk too much about the problems and not enough about the joys.
If you asked me what my pregnancy was like thirty years ago when it was fresh in my mind, I would have complained about the morning sickness. Twenty years ago I would have mentioned not being able to see what color shoes I had on in the morning. (Yep I got it wrong a few times. One black. One blue.) If you asked ten years ago, I’d mention my worries about the rising college costs.
And if you ask me today, thirty years later?
I remember little hands and feet fluttering inside me; my husband stroking my belly, trying to get closer; never being alone; reading softly to my unborn child; and closing my eyes and holding tiny, terrycloth sleepers to my cheek in anticipation, knowing I had already fallen in love.
Some of us have a hard time and for some, the months pass easily by. Whether you must plod along bravely or are one of the lucky ones who sail by, my advice is savor this time you and your baby have together. Because before you know it, those tiny toes pushing at your belly will be strong enough to carry that child far away from you. She will be off in the world standing on her own, maybe—like mine—with a baby in her own belly.
I love you and that little girl inside you, Jessie. More than you know. I’m counting down the days, hours, and minutes to November 11th. See you soon.
Gigi, Cyndie Zahner, is a freelance writer and about to be a grandmother for the first time. Follow her on Twitter @tweetyz, Instagram @athletchicz, or on her author website at www.cyndiezahner.com.