5 weeks pregnant
3/5/15: Running club…running is scary when you are pregnant and in your first trimester. Like we just found out a week ago that we were pregnant, and here I am, pounding the pavement. Even if it would be a considered a “short” run by most people standards (at least, that’s what I think triathletes might think), it’s still scary running for 4 miles. 4 miles is longer than I’ve gone in a long time. 4 miles of up and down, force on my uterus. I know the baby can’t fall out, but….what if it does?! My doctor told me last week to keep doing what I normally do, just take it down a notch. Which surprisingly has made working out easier. Now that I don’t have a goal of a race, I’m not so…obsessed…with getting each and every long workout in.
When I had started this blog post back in March, it was to start documenting what it was like to be in my first trimester of my first pregnancy, on top of the regular “day to day” stuff I was trying to document while trying to maintain a regular exercise routine. That’s what this blog was supposed to be about – tracking my progress towards a specific fitness goal, and documenting the process along the way. Balancing work, life, and a health exercise routine. And with this first pregnancy, I wanted to work through what I think are a lot of misconceptions about pregnancy and exercise.
So that day, at that time during my “training,” that four miles….that four miles was a normal distance for me. It wasn’t anything longer or harder than I had done – if anything, it was shorter. My plan had been that I was going to keep this post as a draft, and publish the whole post once I was in the second trimester, in the safe zone.
Two days after writing this post, I lost my baby. I had joined my running club for a 5K race in downtown Minneapolis. A normal run. What my doctor said I could do. The race went fine, no pain, no cramping. When I got home after the race, after brunch, I went to the bathroom, and discovered I had started spotting, heavily. I knew in my heart, that there in my bathroom, I had started the process of losing my baby. To this day, I am still going through that process.
That afternoon, I attended a baby shower for a close friend of mine. I had been on the phone with my nurse’s line earlier in the day, and we had talked about spotting in early pregnancy, and just to keep an eye on it throughout the day. At the shower, I went to the bathroom every half hour, hoping that the bleeding I had earlier that day would subside. No one knew what I was going through, and I was hoping that no one would need to. By the end of the baby shower, I was hopeful, as the spotting had subsided, almost completely gone.
But then I got home, and it had started all over again, only worse. And it was obvious then what was happening.
I spent the rest of the weekend at home, alone with my husband, in pain, and in constant tears. On and off the phone with the nurse’s line, still hoping and praying to God that this was not a miscarriage. But as the bleeding got heavier, and the cramping got harder, I knew that’s what it was.
Most people don’t announce pregnancies until the second trimester, because there is such a high risk and a common occurrence of miscarriage in the first trimester. So by the time there is an announcement, what’s the point of talking about a previous loss? But the problem with not talking about it is that when do you experience a miscarriage, you don’t know what to expect. You see miscarriages represented on TV as a sudden occurrence, an outpouring of blood, rushing to the hospital, something that comes and goes very quickly. And maybe for some women, it’s like that. But that was not the case for me.
No one told me to expect the physical pain, no one told me to expect cramping, cramping that gets heavier and more painful as the miscarriage progresses over time.
No one told me to expect the emotional pain, of experiencing firsthand the loss as you slowly bleed your baby out. Heavier, and heavier, until it gets lighter, and lighter…and then is gone.
No one told me how to put myself back together.
So I gave up on my blog, because I had given up. I had nothing left of myself to give.
I’ll admit it, my posts were getting fewer and far between prior to the pregnancy, because of the wedding, because of work, and the lack of content to post because I wasn’t going to the gym.
But after the miscarriage, I had nothing left in me. Finding out I was pregnant, was the happiest day of my life. Even more than when I met my husband, when he proposed, when we got married.
And losing my baby was the worst day of my life.
I was angry, I was depressed, and more than anything, I was alone. Yes, my husband had been there for me during the miscarriage, and he was there for me after, but I had to do it alone. Yes, I did have my sister, who was there for me and who understood the loss of a baby through miscarriage. But I was still alone. Nothing could fill that part of me that was now empty. My womb was empty. My baby was gone.
What some people may not realize, is that a miscarriage doesn’t end after the baby is completely gone. There is at least a month period of time where you have the physical aftermath.
The doctor appointment, to confirm the baby is in fact gone, that you don’t require additional procedures.
The doctor appointment, to confirm your hormone levels are back to normal, that you no longer have elevated levels of HCG, the pregnancy hormone.
The waiting period, the month or so until your next period until you can FINALLY start trying again.
And then, there is the emotional aftermath.
For some women, that extended waiting period while you try and try again to get pregnant.
For all women, that time period, with no end date, when you stop missing the baby you lost.
You might notice the language I choose to use: the baby I lost, not my miscarriage. The miscarriage was an act of God, but the baby I lost was my baby. For those short two weeks I was pregnant, I took care of myself and my baby. I ate right, I continued to exercise, I talked to and sang to my baby, even though I knew it couldn’t really hear me. My husband would kiss my stomach at night, and would tell the baby we loved it. My husband and I planned a nursery theme, and started picking out baby names. And then we lost the baby.
I will admit, I am pregnant again now. I was one of the lucky ones who got pregnant right away once we were able to start trying again. Now past the 17 week mark, I greet my slowly blossoming belly in the morning, and sing to the my baby on the car ride home from work. My husband kisses my belly, and tells the baby he loves it. We continue to make progress on the nursery, and we have narrowed down our baby names. We are overjoyed with this second pregnancy, and I continue to quietly grieve for my first baby. Because he or she will always be in my heart.
After a five month hiatus to take care of myself, I am back. I am back a different person, but I am back. This blog will change slightly as well – I will continue to work towards my fitness goals, and to document that process and balancing work and life. But it will also be about doing so while preparing for our child to enter the world. My fitness goals have changed slightly as well, in part because of the pregnancy. So while I will be back to document my day-to-day, I’ll also be working on a longer, more detailed update for the blog to reflect the change from the past five months.
But for now, I wanted to share my story, and to share that I am back.