Fit(ish) Pregnancy: Week 15
One of my friends on Instagram challenged me that the work and workouts I've been doing during pregnancy aren't fit"ish" pregnancy but is a "fit pregnancy"... and while I guess in the grand scheme of things that is probably true, I still struggle with the fact that I'm not running. Running is my absolute favorite form of fitness, it fulfills me more than anything else, but I just made a decision after I got covid that it really wasnt worth it to continue running. On the one hand, I do question how my legs would continue to do despite the fact that the botox is non-existent, but on the other hand I really don't want to find out... my legs feel totally fine just walking around and doing day to day tasks, don't ruin it! I don't know for sure but my theory is that if there is no botox, my legs will relearn and reverse all the progress made. The nurse at McGinleys said I can just keep with running if I want, but since I never fully was able to be rid of my symptoms, I know I still have some treatments to go. In the meantime I think it's healthiest for me to really truly embrace another form of movement. That felt like the worst thing in the world when I didn't know what was wrong but this time I do so it does feel a lot more positive than it did before. This week I did a little of everything, and it felt good to move.
January 2-January 8
Monday: Afternoon 30 minute walk, 1.7 miles: We took a walk as a family. I want to try to do the 1000 hours of outdoors. I think the girls can get to it without me and Matt, but I want to be part of it as much as I can.
Monday: Evening 20 minute Yoga: We lost power for about 4 hours JUST as I was in savasana, It worked out nicely for the ambiance but made the evening before returning to work a little bit more difficult. We made it work though!
Tuesday: 15 minute Upper Body Strength, 10 minute healthy back flow: I'm going to try to do a workout from the Peloton app every day just to have a way to easily follow workouts and I own a damn Peloton bike, I should probably at least do SOME of the programs. So I looked into Prenatal collections and found a good mix of strength, yoga and biking.
Wednesday: 20 Minute Full Body Strength
This class I did with Matt. While looking for more prenatal or quick "mom" workouts... I found an adaptive class. Matt is missing part of his arm and cant straighten it all the way and the Peloton instructor was completely missing from above the elbow down so it was cool to see some of the modifications
Thursday: 20 Minute chest and Back Strength
Another strength class. I find that (at least for now) I much prefer "non" prenatal classes. I find some of the cuing to be emotionally triggering in the prenatal classes. For example- when told we're not fragile "we're strong, our bodies are amazing"... I'm just not quite in a place where I feel that in this pregnancy yet. I think when I'm working out it's better for me to generally separate from being pregnant. Obviously I still have to take me core into account and watch for doming, coning and make sure I'm engaging the transverse abdominus, but a couple years of thinking my calf problems were pelvic floor related-- a lot of that comes naturally for me at this point... So I have liked "non" prenatal classes that I can just zone out and do the work.
Friday: 20 Minute mobility
Damn, Friday, It's snowing. Thank God it's Friday. Something super easy today because I just didn't have it. I had a doctors appointment. All is well. I had to get blood work and the flu shot. The blood work stresses me out. A LOT. and the flu shot definitely made my arm sore so just mobility is perfectly fine.
Saturday: 20 Minute Ride: 4.86 miles, average sped 14.6 mph
I was proud of myself for this one. I didn't feel super comfortable and will need better shorts to accommodate my bump already. Walking Running Yoga, my normal clothes are fine. But the position I'm in on the bike I just need more space... So I'll look into that. I wanted to go really hard today. I'm not great at this biking thing but I was happy with my effort and then was wiped later.
Sunday: 45 minutes of Prenatal Yoga
The Prenatal yoga classes I do actually like. I think a lot of yoga is laying down on your belly (downward dog into upward dog etc.) so it's kinda nice to have those accommodations. This was an intermediate class and it had some poses that I just always sucked at... (half moon especially!) but I just skipped those and went into downward dog and child's pose instead. It was nice to end the day with a good flow and to get a workout in every day this week.
Emotionally, I continue to struggle with trusting the pregnancy... and struggle even more with trusting doctors who tell me to trust the pregnancy... but I'm trying my best to just take it one day at a time. The workouts so far made this week go by much faster so I hope this trend continues.
In attempt to keep myself accountable and to keep moving throughout this pregnancy (despite the fact that I am not able to run the way I once was and that I've got depression and feelings of grief ebbing and flowing...) I'm going to attempt to get back to blogging week to week recaps the way I did with Maebels pregnancy. Shorter versions of updates will be shared on my instagram, but I figure there are still people that find this blog (and then find me on instagram) every day with questions about CECS and PAES, that I just want to keep it current and then hopefully.... on the other side of this pregnancy, I can have the most epic comeback story of all time... (though nothing may ever beat running Boston but TBD) So here is the First Trimester. All running miles have been done on the Lever System, the botox is not active anymore so Im just doing the best I can until I can get more botox.
Fit(ish) Pregnancy Week 1
Anyone that has been pregnant before knows that you get a few weeks free. The first two weeks you actually aren't pregnant yet however the my body has already started prepping for pregnancy... even though technically at this time I was miscarrying... my body had already recognized the drop in hormones and got my cycle right back on track preparing to release an egg. I ran during my June-August pregnancy... but then felt so fragile during the August-September Pregnancy... and then I miscarried. I decided that the next pregnancy I would get back to working out and would try to not worry as much. The worry part I failed at but the working out has gone pretty well. I didn't workout at all during Week 1 because I was unfortunately bleeding and still processing it all.
Fit(ish) Pregnancy, Week 2
Technically my week doesn't start on Monday, but I always log my workouts Monday through Sunday and babies never come exactly on time, so for the remainder of updates my weekly recaps will be off by a handful of days.
September 26-October 2
Tuesday- 3 miles/ 32:00
Wednesday-3 miles/ 31:00
Thursday- 3 miles/ 29:42
Friday- 3 miles/ 30:00
Saturday -3 miles/ 30:23
Total: 15 miles
Fit(ish) Pregnancy, Week 3
Increased the distance a bit this week, and this is the first time I've run 6 consecutive days since I was 37 weeks pregnant with Maebel (and the last)
October 3-October 9
Tuesday- 3.1 miles
Thursday- 3.1 miles
Friday- 3.2 miles
Saturday -3.2 miles
Total: 18.79 Miles
Fit(ish) Pregnancy, Week 4
Increased the distance a bit this week, and this is the first time I've run 6 consecutive days since I was 35 weeks pregnant with Maebel (and the last)
October 10-October 16
Tuesday- 3.2 miles
Thursday- 3.2 miles
Friday- 3.2 miles
Fit(ish) Pregnancy, Week 5
I stubbornly ran 6 days in a row just to see if I could. But it was clear that my legs were not going to continue to thrive or be tolerant to daily exercise if I didn't take a few days off so di just got back to that... but I did try to increase the mileage to "make up" for the day off. .
October 17-October 23
Monday- 3.4 miles
Tuesday- 3.6 miles
Thursday- 4 miles
Friday- 4 miles
Fit(ish) Pregnancy, Week 6
I increased miles run this week but added cycling since I got a Peloton. I know that as I get heavier I definitely wont be running (since I'm so dependent on the lever taking weight off and the botox is totally worn off now) that I know I need to work other exercises in.
October 24-October 30
Tuesday- 4 miles
Thursday- 4.4 miles
Sunday- 6.4 miles Spin
Total: Combining running and biking: 22.09
Fit(ish) Pregnancy, Week 7
Tried a new approach to see if running every other day I can still get in the same mileage of running but add in biking.
October 31- November 6
Monday- 4 miles Run
Tuesday- 10.2 Spin
Wednesday-4 miles Run
Thursday- 10.5 miles Spin
Friday- 6.6 miles Run
Sunday- 14 miles Spin
Total combined mileage: 49.51
Fit(ish) Pregnancy, Week 8
My husband was gone this entire week and I was trying to just do it all... and I succeeded! I ran I biked I cooked I cleaned. I got up early if I needed to... I did it all! It felt really good!
November 7-November 13
Monday- 5 miles Run
Tuesday- 11.3 miles Spin
Wednesday-3.5 miles Run
Thursday- 9 miles Spin
Friday- 6.6 miles Run
Total Combined Mileage: 35.46
Fit(ish) Pregnancy, Weeks 9-11
November 14-December 4
Matt came home this week and I was so tired I decided to take the week off... I was struggling to eat and I was a level of fatigue I had never quite felt. I didn't know at the time, but my daughter had Covid and though I had no symptoms, I think that the reason I was as tired as I was for week 9 was because I was already fighting it off.
Week 10, on my birthday, I tested positive and I needed to get Remdesivir to protect me from hospitalization... the first 5 days or so I wasn't so bad... and so I told Matt it was okay for him to go on a trip for work and he went... and then for week 11 I got Really sick. Both girls were now testing negative thought so I was driving to and from school every day (40 minutes one way) and doing all the school and dinner myself... it was TOUGH! I turned a corner and tested negative on December 3rd.
Fit(ish) Pregnancy, Week 12-14ish
December 5-December 25
At this point I was still feeling pretty sick for about another week... so December 5-December 11 I didn't do anything and then by December 11 the Christmas crazies began so I just packed it in until Christmas. We had our Nt Ultrasound on December 22 and it was so nice to see everything! Hands feet, kicking, and so much movement! It felt really good. We were able to announce to our family (and our girls!) on Christmas morning. Initially it increased my anxiety, but it has been a relief.
Fit(ish) Pregnancy, Week 14ish
I'm confusing myself on the exact week count, (am I starting 14 or ending 14 or something in between) so trying to correct it a bit for the rest of my week by week recaps. Now that Christmas is over I got back to it but decided to eliminate running completely for now because I just can't deal with the anxiety of if my legs will cramp or "pull".
December 26- January 1
Wednesday-10 minute prenatal Strength
Friday- 15 minute Strength
Saturday -10 minute strength
Sunday- 3.8 mile spin
Stay tuned for more detailed week to week recaps to come and find me on instagram for more updates if I fall behind here.
2022-2023 Plot Twist: Part 3
Happy New Year!
Kicking this New Year off with a reflection on 2022 and looking forward to 2023 with hopefully a much much calmer year (weird to say that knowing that ideally I still will have 5-6 months of pregnancy and .... Labor... ) Lets hope the big events of 2023 are a bit more.... predictable.
Yesterday my husband and I talked about 2022 and despite the fact that he was along for the ride with me he and I did not seem like we had the same view! "Hear me out... but...2022 was actually a really good year for you"... Major eye roll.... His positivity is sometimes nauseating but given my natural pessimism ... or sarcastic "fake it till ya make it" positivity.... it's good to have him in my life. I knew exactly what he meant. Despite my complaining about 2022, I wouldn't call the year bad... I'm just still on the rollercoaster and can't really make an assessment about how I feel until it comes to a stop. The first half of year was a pretty positive upward trajectory! but In June of 2022 I got on a rollercoaster that I didn't want to be on that completely negated all of the progress made in the first half. Blindfolded without a seatbelt the ride just took off and I while I'm still trying to tighten the seatbelt, at least now... I feel somewhat more secure. Each passing week the ride gets a bit easier to tolerate and I feel a little safer on it... but... again... I wouldn't call it bad but I'm still on it, so my full assessment of 2022 is going to be postponed until the ride stops.
Backing up to appreciate the first half of 2022....
Then of course, in November of 2021, I had my brain and heart examined closer and there was no sign of a problem there... I was referred to a different Vascular doctor who specialized in FMD in Boston and he looked more carefully and said that the bulging in my arteries was "just" bulging... No twisting, no stenosis... no blood flow restrictions (**at rest**). He put fPAES back in the differential and wanted me to get all the testing done again but in a different clinic that was more for higher performing athletes... but Covid surged again and my appointment was pushed to May. In the meantime I found Doctor McGinley... who was able to explain the bulging (From what I understood, there's a mismatch of blood flow, arteries are bulging because the blood isn't moving efficiently in the popliteal fossa and it backs up in other areas)... and fortunately, he had a solution (that didn't involve multiple surgeries with giant scars and long recovery)
Back to believing that if I get my "too fit to get pregnant again" self back, I can **officially** close the chapter on having another baby. My first round of botox didn't go well. Second round devastating... As it turns out I likely had entrapped my nerves and they were just so hypersensitive that I'd have really bad pain even though nothing was entrapped anymore. The pain was real, the nerves responded and that effected my muscles... but they were responding (at least to my understanding) to memory of pain. I read it took up to a year for nerves to heal so I knew I needed to just keep getting the treatment to keep my nerves as chill as possible. A year after my first treatment, I ran the Boston Marathon. This was going to work. It was really going to work. Yes, I wanted another baby but I also really really wanted to be me again.... Overtime my desire for a baby weakened and I just made peace with how things went. Obviously I'd love to have it all but I have two beautiful kids and a husband that supported the most insane thing in the world without hesitation. We spent nearly $30,000 on my legs for just the McGinley stuff (hotels, flights, car rental etc. included) and who knows how much more leading up to it ($500 deductible here, $500 deductible there for all the previous diagnostics... Weekly to bi-weekly massages just to survive life... Every single recovery tool on the planet.... all which obviously failed. Alter G appointments, My own treadmill and body weight suspension system, orthotics,... all things that would never have been possible without Matt's really hard work...)
If you read Part 1 and Part 2 I got into a little bit of our previous financial crisis's from our first surprise pregnancy. Now we aren't "Rolling in it" right now... but we get approved for much better credit cards and loans these days and are actually able to *mostly* pay them off instead of just add more and more debt in order to eat. But I knew pretty early into training with my third botox treatment that I was going to need a 4th for optimal training (for day to day life I was significantly better!) and money was still tight. We still hadn't paid off the last two yet and I'm already needing another.... But I am sure this is going to work and at some point I wont need more. Now that my nerves aren't pissed, it's happening exactly as McGinley said it would... One more treatment might be all I need, but how?....... and then Matt got a huge promotion.
After Boston, having another baby was not even anywhere on my radar anymore. I wouldn't say I closed the door but I would say the door was naturally closing and if I just kept on the path I was on I would naturally come to the point of accepting our family as "complete"... something I always envied of other women.... Knowing that phase of their life was over. I never felt like I had closure. My desire to have a third baby never necessarily went away... but it was being out-competed. Our life with two school aged kids was just around the corner, they take their own baths and showers, can change themselves, make their own cereal and I can sleep in on the weekends... Soon I'll be able to run again, hike mountains again and they can do it too!... I was 37. I wasn't really thinking about another baby even though I hadn't ruled it out.......
June happened (I'm pregnant) , and then July happened (I'm miscarrying)... and then August happened (I'm pregnant again)... and then September happened (I'm miscarrying again).. and then October happened (I'm pregnant again...) ....
Lack of trust in what would happen next was an understatement... but fresh off two pregnancies and two losses I felt dangerously armed with information for better or worse... I had an appropriate therapist... I knew what triggered me last time so we could avoid those things as best we could... but my test lines off the bat were better so after a few days I told Matt to hide them on me. My first draw of HCG was much better than my first one with my previous loss and it was taken a few days earlier post ovulation so I was already feeling a little relief. Two days later it didn't double... it tripled! The anxiety relief I had hoped for when I checked my phone at the red light was happening this time. Don't get me wrong. My anxiety was dangerously bad but each step offered relief. I opted to not have HCG tracked further beyond those first two since the numbers were good. They needed me to do one though so that they could confirm that it had risen high enough to schedule an ultrasound... and my numbers were consistently on the higher end. Of course I googled that and hate myself for it "High HCG could be an indicator of Down Syndrome"... Back to locking my phone.
Of all the panicking I did during all of the the greatest panic came from ultrasounds. At this point I had only had negative experiences in recent memory. I was shaking in the waiting room, couldn't breathe... was going over all the possible outcomes and what they might mean "what if it has a heartbeat but it's slow (of course I already knew exactly what it should be)? What if it's measuring 4 or 5 days behind but still has a heartbeat? What then? I can't do this" But the measurements were perfect and to the exact day of gestation I expected (based on my ovulation) and heartbeat was perfect range... RELIEF! But only temporarily... because I got covid for the first time shortly after and I was sickkkk.... but then we had an appointment and heard the heartbeat... and then we had our NT to check for soft markers for Down Syndrome and it went perfect. No concerns so far…. so I'm trying not to worry about my dumb googling too much. Nothing we can do Anyway… I’m trying not to worry before there is a reason because so far Part 3 we have had relief every step of the way. The 13 week NT scan gave me enough confidence to finally share the news with friends and family. I was especially happy to finally share good news with the girls. Raea said "is it really growing?" and man did it feel good to say YES.
I'm 14.5 weeks today. I have an anterior placenta so I've been told I'll feel the baby a bit later... but I can literally feel the blood in my own veins at this point having been hyper analytical of every weird sensation in my body for years.. I'm quite certain I'm feeling the baby at this point. I wouldn't say I had bad morning sickness... but I would say I'm feeling better now, starting to workout again, but getting impatient for that "second trimester magic"... Hopefully soon.
So was 2022 bad? ...
No. But it was an unexpected rollercoaster... one that I buckled up for while it was already upside down and moving at full speed... and my adrenaline and cortisol is still through the roof. I'm still catching my breath straight into 2023 ... and it's terrifying.... But at the end of it all, I might end up with everything I wanted. Not only do I know what is wrong with my legs and feel confident in the solution (even if I can't access it again until after I'm done breastfeeding) I may also finally have that closure I never thought I'd get. I hesitate (out of fear) to say this but our family will finally be complete and I will, at least eventually, get to be *me* again.
Welcome to my blog! I've been blogging for a long time on various platforms. My intention has never been to reach the masses, but rather to give myself a chance to reflect and journal. I feel it at least challenges me to be somewhat coherent, however you can expect ramblings and grammatical incorrectness here!
I've recently been diagnosed with CECS and fPAES and had it treated with BOTOX of all things... So I suspect to see more and more people looking for answers with that in the future and hope to continue blogging so there will be easy to access follow-ups as that was helpful for me.
NOTE: Apologies that some of the pictures incorrectly load sometimes. I try to keep up with the glitches, but can't always! Hope it doesn't impact the blog experience for all the PAES visitors.