Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Pregnancy body image

Pregnancy. That magical time when you get to wear stretchy pants and flowy tops and eat everything and no one cares because you're growing a human.

Except I care. Because it's my body. I have written about my food and body issues for a while now, and I know from reading other blogs and pregnancy articles and books that the changes your body undergoes are not easy, but for some reason I thought that the wonder of pregnancy would overshadow any sadness or discomfort I had... it does, sometimes, but other times I just look at my ever-expanding thighs and get bummed. Telling myself it's all for a good cause helps. Telling myself it's temporary helps. But having the mindset of "I can fix this later" is taking away from the joy of finally being able to eat NOW.

So I'm trying to enjoy myself while trying to also keep my self-esteem from tanking.

What's helped:
- Working out
- Dessert every day. But keep it to once a day.
- Maternity clothes. Those stretchy waistbands warm my heart.
- Days when I feel like a larger version of myself, but overall feel pretty normal and great.
- Baby kicks! Knowing that this little person is thriving inside me is the BEST.

What hasn't helped:
- That some of my maternity jeans (with the low waistband) have already started to buckle under the weight/girth of my belly
- Comments from people that I "must be due sooner than that! I remember wondering if you were pregnant in February" (when I gained all the weight). Shut yo faces.
- Tired/lazy days that I have to force myself to get up from my desk/couch/the floor

Thursday, October 16, 2014

This time last year....

This time last year, I was finishing the Steamtown Marathon. It was a wonderful race, and I had a shiny new almost 30 minute marathon PR. I was so proud of myself for almost BQ-ing!


I also wasn't getting my period. My real life goal of having a family with Nick wasn't achievable. I was the fastest (and the thinnest) I had been in my life, but I under the pride of speed was misery.

I know the changes I made in my diet and exercise routine allowed me to get pregnant (plus science, of course!). I know that right this minute, I am filled with joy feeling my little fetus kick away. I cannot wait to be a mother. But I have to acknowledge the feeling of loss I have for the person I was a year ago.

This week, my Facebook feed was flooded with pictures and updates from the Steamtown runners (I still follow their page). I looked at all the PRs posted by happy people, running fast. I thought about how far away I am from those people and that community. I read Runner's World (yes, I am aware it's not a "good" running magazine, but whatever, it's entertaining and I still learn things) and can't relate. Mommy blogs? Pregnancy blogs? That's my jam now.

I know these feelings will intensify as I get more and more pregnant, and they'll shift to a totally different set of feelings when I give birth and have a new baby. Will I ever BQ? It's way too soon to tell. I want to... but I know my priorities will be completely different with a tiny person who needs me far more than I need to run.

I don't want to sound like I'm not immensely grateful to be pregnant. What I gave up to get here means nothing in comparison to feeling of pride and anticipation I feel planning for our baby. But this week, it's been hard. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Pregnancy update: 20 weeks!

Halfway there!

Love
Nails (and eyelashes!)- dear god, my nails are gorgeous right now. During our entire Italy trip, I had to file a nail once or twice after it got jammed on a rock. Don't try and tell me that prenatal vitamins magically made your nails and hair phenomenal, I don't believe it. I've been taking those things for at least 2 years now, and my nails only really changed when I got knocked up. My eyelashes are also longer and lusher than usual. So weird.
They're even longer now. I have to CUT MY NAILS, guys. This has never happened in my life

Hair- Lush. Shiny. Surprisingly well-behaved.

Skin- I know some women get acne from hell during pregnancy, but I coated my face in sunscreen multiple times a day during our trip, did a mediocre washing job each night, and somehow came away with just a smattering of new freckles and no zits. I have been very lucky to actually get that "pregnancy glow" (or so I like to tell myself).

Boobs- when I was fit skinny scrawny not pregnant, my boobs were not a thing. They were teeny and I could go braless if need be. Now, I have a love/hate relationship with their new enormous size. I love that I feel womanly for once, but I hate that I have to think super hard about my clothing choices for work so I don't look like a hooker. Also, food gets caught on them regularly. And sometimes I run into things with them. That's a bit embarrassing. But overall, they are glorious and I love them.

Do not love
Bloat- I am bloated and bigger than normal. I can still wear some of my more forgiving normal pants and shirts and I just look thick and puffy. I know at some point I'll be huge, but right now I mostly just look lumpy. Boo.

This dress accentuates what little I have going on. Not pictured: my boobs trying to escape the top of the dress. Pictured: stupid pixie cut awkwardly growing out.


Preoccupation with all things baby-related- My brain no longer has enough room to think about things that aren't baby-related. When we drive, I take all road names/town names/business names and put them in front of our last name. I also check out other peoples' strollers and baby carriers. And their babies. I might also ogle pregnant women.

Heartburn- I look at a glass of orange juice and start feeling bile in my throat. Since I'm on iron supplements, the timing of Tums ingestion is nearly impossible, because calcium prevents the absorption of iron. So I have to play a weird game where I figure out how many hours before I need to eat/take iron and then determine if there's enough time for me to take Tums and not screw up my iron uptake. Life is hard.

Peeing all the time- this has been a bit better the last 8 weeks or so, but I still pee at least every 2 hours. I also drink a ton of water, so that contributes (I'm SO thirsty!). I'm just tired of walking to the bathroom all the time. It gets old.

Overall, I am excited, happy, scared, and overwhelmed by pregnancy and I am so thankful I'm able to experience this. Even if it's not all positive, I am trying to savor every moment. Since getting over the first trimester miscarriage concerns, getting some good genetic screening results, and having a perfect anatomy scan , I am able to look to the future and imagine what life will be like with this baby outside.
Baby C, fist bumpin' in the womb. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Dolomites Trip Part I'll shut up now: Hiking and via ferrata while pregnant

Last post about the Dolomites! Good job hanging in there.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this series, I didn't plan on being pregnant when we took this trip. I knew it was a definite possibility, since we were talking about IVF timelines, but I couldn't plan one way or the other. When I realized I was pregnant in mid-June, and I figured out I'd be 4 months along when we got to Italy, it was too late to change our plans, and I foolishly thought I'd be 100% ok with hiking and climbing. 4 months is still early! I'll be in my second trimester and feeling great! I'll be unstoppable!

The reality is that pregnancy is stressful for me. I felt amazing on the trip, physically, but it was a little too much for me, mentally. Missteps didn't just mean that I fell, the fetus fell as well. A tumble could mean miscarriage. That weighed heavily on my mind throughout our more technically challenging days. I cried one day because it was just too much- I kept slipping and sliding and my lower stomach muscles ached. I wanted to be on flat, safe ground. I wanted to be home where I knew I'd be safe(r). After that day, I had slight cramping, which freaked me out even more.

The harness strategically avoids the whole uterine area.

Via ferrata were another beast. I was worried about the harness. Luckily, sort of, it sat way above my still-tiny uterus. It was snug around my waist. If I had fallen, it would have yanked my waist and under my butt, but not directly on my belly. I know that if I had really fallen, it still would have jerked on the baby, but I tried to make myself feel better by thinking that the straps didn't cross directly across my lower stomach.

Aside from tiring more quickly than Nick, I was able to get around just fine. My belly was still tiny and unobtrusive. My energy levels were pretty good. My appetite was insatiable so I was able to really throw myself into every huge, carb-laden meal. To be completely honest, if I could do it again, I would not do all these activities while pregnant. The risks of what I was doing overshadowed many of the joyful moments. There were happy, pleasant days, definitely, but there were tense, frustrating days as well. I am a worrier, but even if I wasn't, some of the stuff we were doing was downright stupid for me to be partaking in. I would have skipped the via ferrata and our one riskiest hiking day. I think I could have had an amazing time only doing the slightly more low-key stuff. Lesson learned for the next pregnancy, when I'm pretty sure our circumstances will be less conducive to a two-week overseas getaway anyway. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Dolomites Trip Part Eleventy: Via Ferrata

I'm doing all this in one post. Way too many pictures coming your way.

The last 3 days of our trip were via ferrata, meaning "iron road" in Italian. Basically, it's an easier version of rock climbing. You wear a harness and clip on to anchored ropes as you travel up or down a mountain. It's hard. It's far harder than I had anticipated. We were in a group of 7, plus 2 guides. Two of our companions were Australian sisters, the other 3 were American men. We had a nice variety of people and I think everyone really enjoyed each others' companionship.

Day 1: Averau. Following a 1.5ish mile steep hike, we climbed. This was supposed to be the "easy" day. It was.... not that easy. And sort of terrifying. We were done by lunch, then hiked to the rifugio and hiked around the nearby WWI bunkers and the phenomenal Cinque Torre for a while.

All decked out.

One of the less steep climbs

Descending: MY LEAST FAVORITE ACTIVITY. Thankfully, there was a nice little ladder.

LUNCH! It was possible to order small portions of 2 or 3 pasta dishes on one plate at this place. You better believe we took advantage. More heavenly gnocchi plus beet filled ravioli. Yum.

This place is unreal.

Day 2: Col de Bos. A ski lift down the mountain and a short car ride took us to our next climb. This was supposed to be a slightly harder day, and it was. We climbed up into a cloud, but then descended, without via ferrata, into a gorgeous valley. The rest of the day was more hiking and some easy via ferrata, ending at our home for the night.
Up and up...

Another shot for perspective of what lay ahead of us. Eeek!
So pretty...

We hiked past this enormous rock wall. Our guide say "yeah, I've climbed that." He was pretty intense.

Super cool rock layers- green, red, yellow. 

LUNCH! My second favorite meal of the trip: an "omelette" which was really a perfectly crispy crepe filled with cheese. This was crazy good.


Day 3: Punta Anna. A short but intense hike took us to our climb. I don't remember a whole lot specifically about this day. It was hard, but doable, and we were able to take it a little more slowly because we were the only group on our path. It was nice. Then, to descend, we slid down a hill covered in scree. For several hundred vertical meters. That's my definition of hell- my shoes were filled with rocks, I fell a lot, and generally hated life. Lame. But then we were DONE!
Going up- Happy!

Going down- scared!

I have no idea what we had for lunch. Sad.

And that concludes our trip. We had a nice dinner together and said our goodbyes to the group and to Italy. From there, it was back to Innsbruck and Vienna, and finally home.

Farewell to a country where the pizzas are so thin and crispy, it's socially acceptable to eat a whole one by yourself. And we did. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

European travel while pregnant

Let's break up the trip recaps with some talk about how our 2 week Italy trip went for me, as a 16+ week pregnant woman. I know my experience was a little different because of the nature of our vacation. We weren't in large towns, we were hiking a lot, we stayed in tiny rifugio. Also, all of Europe isn't the same. Clearly. With those disclaimers, here's my experience.

Flight length
Last year, we flew ultra-long distances to New Zealand, so I had an idea what I was getting into with our 9.5 hour flight. Still, my mom and my midwife both warned me about increased risk of blood clots during pregnancy, particularly when flying. My solutions: compression socks, lots of water, walking around frequently, sit on the aisle so getting up and down is easy. We brought our own water bottles so I wouldn't be at the whim of the beverage cart gods (although our airline, Austrian Airlines, was awesome and we got beverages very easily!). The only low point for me was an incredibly rough approach into Dulles on the way back that tested my ability to control my vomit impulses (I won, barely).

Booze everywhere
I was totally fine during the solo hiking portion of our trip, but once we got to the via ferrata, we were joined by 2 Australians, 3 Americans, and 2 Italian guides. All of them wanted to drink, some more heavily than others. Beer at lunch was standard, and wine always came with dinner. I definitely coveted the lunchtime beers, especially when the alternative was 1) paying for room temperature water (tap water was not an option at restaurants) or 2) drinking from my hiking bottles, which smelled like sunscreen and were also not cold. I just wanted a cold drink! This wasn't really a problem, per se, but I did get jealous. I satisfied myself with tiny sips of Nick's beer and wine.

Soft Cheeses
I love cheese so, so much. I love it on salads and pasta and by itself. I was warned before our trip to be wary of soft cheeses since they might be unpasteurized, which carries an increased risk of exposure to listeria. I figured I'd just avoid them when possible, but still have tastes here are there. It turned out they were fairly ubiquitous. Cheese plates had soft cheeses (of course) but so did pizzas, salads, and pasta. I basically threw caution to the wind with this one so that I could eat the foods that were offered to me. And it was delicious.

Eggs
In the US, I eat my eggs super hard cooked. Boiled eggs are hard-boiled. The only other way I like to eat eggs is scrambled until fairly dry. This is a personal preference, but while pregnant, runny eggs should be avoided due to the risk of salmonella. On our first morning, the hotel had an egg boiler. Someone soft boiled the eggs and they were incredibly runny. I figured, oh well, this is one experience, tomorrow I will get some hard cooked eggs. Nope. The next time I had eggs, they were just barely fried on one side. The white was still a little soft.!The yolk wasn't even hot, just warm. It turns out, this kind of egg is quite tasty, but it still worried me. I had more soft-boiled and barely fried eggs at multiple other stops. I specifically requested hard cooked eggs at one dinner, and got... slightly less soft eggs. Since I was worried about my protein intake (see below), I went with what tasted good, put my faith in the kitchen cleanliness of the places we frequented, and ate what was available.

Protein (as a vegetarian)
In my daily life, I have no problem getting a ton of protein in my diet (my midwife hinted that maybe I could cut back. I can quit whenever I want. I'm just a social protein eater). In Italy, I figured I'd be ok- surely there would be vegetarian options with a little more bulk to them than just salads and pasta! False. There was one day in particular where I had cereal for breakfast (not much protein), pasta for lunch, and polenta for dinner. That day, I had a Clif bar or 2 to supplement my needs, and hoped it would be ok. I might have had 40 g of protein that day, on a goal of 60-80. Not so good. This one really worried me because while listeria and salmonella are potential issues, too little protein is a very real issue. I ate lots of cheese when I could, despite worries about saturated fat, and just did my best. Luckily, breakfast almost every day (except cereal day) was yogurt, so I had a guaranteed dairy and protein source. On those days, I probably got 50+ g of protein. Not great, especially considering our activity level, but better.

Fruits and vegetables
Another hard spot for me. I think I had one fresh apple, a banana and a 2 salads during the whole 12 day excursion. I really looked for opportunities to eat more fresh produce, but there weren't a whole lot. I think this was due to the area we were in- up in the mountains, without a lot of access for vehicles to bring in produce. I tried, but failed. This is the second most upsetting issue (after protein) for me, because I know the fetus benefits greatly from the vitamins and minerals in fresh food. I'm eating a ton more since arriving back home in an effort to make up for lost time. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Dolomites Part I swear I'll be done soon: Hiking Day 5

Last hiking post, promise.

We departed Lagazuoi in the morning, but first, Nick got some gorgeous pics of the sunrise.
I will sleep in a dormitory every night if it means I can see this in the morning.

You think I'm kidding?

I am (snoring German guy, ruining the fun for everyone). But this is still so gorgeous.

During WWI, the area we were in was disputed. It was originally part of Austria, but Italy tried, successfully, to take it over during the War. We passed many, many semi-intact bunkers and bits of debris nestled in the mountains. The tunnel we traversed below was particularly impressive- It is 650 meters of stairs that head down a mountain. It was creepy, and uncomfortable, but incredible in its length and the amount of work that was put into constructing it.

It was like this for an hour. So much down. No lights. Kind of treacherous.

We saw edelweiss (after a week of singing the song). They were for sale at a souvenir shop/
Washed out LUNCH!!! picture, included for uniformity and because it was THE BEST gnocchi I had in my entire life. Smoked ricotta-y pillows of joy.

This was a shorter day, thank goodness, because we ended up caught in drenching rain toward the end of the day. We were only about a half mile from our destination though, and we happened to meet some Americans while we waited for our taxi back to town. We got back to our hotel and back to civilization. That evening we also got to meet the group that would be doing via ferrata with us the next few days. I was relieved, happy. and looking forward to doing something different for the next few days. Little did I know the challenge I was in for...