A LITTLE GUMPTION COMING OUR WAY
It has always been a dream to become a mom in this lifetime. Specifically, to share in an enriching parenthood experience with Aaron, who has been my partner in life since we were 14 years old. Having been together for so long, everyone understandably thought that we would be the first to bust out a human many years ago, yet amongst our close circle, we are certainly the last! This goes to show that everyone is on their own timeline where there is no set script or precise schedule – and you flow with your own rhythm and path.
Our journey over the years has been fulfilling, memorable and passionate. Like everyone else, we have ridden the waves of life with as much gusto as we can muster. We have cherished the highs with appreciation and gratitude. We have navigated through the lows with perseverance and gumption. This new chapter for us is surely no different, and we look forward to the LIFE it brings in the end!
If we are fortunate enough and our dream becomes a reality, we will be welcoming BBK (baby boy Kessler!) into the world in early November.
Here is fun video of the “reveal” to Aaron! Baby Boy Reveal to Aaron
DISCLAIMER: please excuse all of the “I, me and my” talk in this post. “We, our and us” is so much more preferred concerning talking about “life” outside of sport and certainly when talking about “triathlon.” As I have mentioned many times before, I am JUST the technician in sport and my job. There is a TEAM of people that so kindly help me get to the start line physically, mentally and with my chi intact.
With pregnancy, however, this is VERY individualized, and these are MY personal experiences and journey with it all. If I have learned ONE marquee thing through this process, it is that EVERY PREGNANCY IS DIFFERENT. SO DIFFERENT!
The pictures attached to this blog try to paint the REAL picture and the story of my pregnancy journey thus far. The peaks and valleys – organic and raw included. Then, I wanted to just add a little color in writing on what has been learned and experienced along the way.
You have heard me talk before about having that “GET TO” vs. “HAVE TO” mindset in sport. We GET to train; We GET to race in triathlons. No one is making us do it. We do it because we WANT to. We do it because it makes us THRIVE and we genuinely enjoy it.
That same mindset, for me, needed to be parlayed into pregnancy, even if it is through a more compromised lens. In sport, we dream of the elusive finish line, of accomplishing goals, perhaps of winning or finishing with zest. We GET to try for these luxuries – we do not HAVE to. There are many people out there that would dream of the opportunity to GET to also achieve these athletic goals who are unable for many reasons.
In pregnancy, the connection is quite parallel and similar. We dream of having a human life at the end of the 10 months – we GET to try to experience that amazingness. There are MANY women and couples out there that would love to be in my position and for many reasons, they unfortunately struggle to have a positive outcome. THIS IS WHAT I THINK ABOUT, JUST LIKE IN SPORT, IN MY LOWEST PREGNANCY MOMENTS, GET TO. My gratitude for this is paramount.
When we prepare for something – anything – enriching and worthwhile in our lives, in our jobs, in sport, in life: it understandably takes work. Seldom does anything of this value and magnitude gets handed to us with ease. Pregnancy is NO DIFFERENT. The art of pregnancy relentlessly requires a sincere, genuine, focused, planned and empowered EFFORT – EVERY DAY.
I will admit – very openly and candidly – that pregnancy has been one of the most challenging experiences of my life thus far. This is precisely why, without a DOUBT, I always go back and remind myself of that GET TO vs. HAVE TO ATTITUDE…and that the MOST enriching and MOST important things in life take some pain and a lot of resilience to go with the pleasure of a magical outcome in the end.
Here are some of the things that I have learned so far in this new phase of life:
TO POSITIVELY SURRENDER:
*Someone else – a human life within you – runs the show – LET IT GO!
*We need to slow down – and it’s OK to do that!
*Declutter any noise in LIFE. Now is the time, more than ever, to channel our energy to people and things that matter the MOST to us in life. That LIFT us. That ENRICH our lives and that care about our family and us
*Be MINDFUL – listen even more to WHAT MATTERS and your personal priorities
*Relentlessly prepare for the upcoming life transformation; Embrace CHANGE
BODY CHANGES AND TRANSFORMATIONS:
*It is FAST. It is DRASTIC. It is mind-boggling. It is semi-creepy and surreal
*I don’t know what is happening basically between my neck and my quads other than it all becoming more buoyant in the water
*My BOOBS: sore, heavy, annoying, puffy and could strangle a small animal
*NIPPLES. No other words needed
*SLEEP = paramount. I have always put rest on the back burner, even as a pro athlete yet BBK guides the way on that now and I listen. I haven’t slept this much in 20+ years yet now is the time to do it. I am acutely aware that this sleep sitch won’t be as lush once BBK arrives especially when trying to get back to my active job/passion as a triathlete. I am VERY cognizant of this, so I am relishing in this opportunity to sleep more than ever and feel grateful that I can do it in life at this time.
*APPETITE: I went from a heavily training HUNGRY athlete to a MEAK exerciser that could barely get down a saltine. There were some days that I maybe ate 5 saltines. Since I wasn’t gaining the desired weight in the beginning months, it was key just to get down anything that I could muster. The thought of food made me want to hurl. JAMBA JUICE was my BFF. Although I have been MUCH better in this capacity that lasts several weeks, I can smell garlic breath from across a room and if I even catch a whiff of wine (which will all know that I love wine) on my husband’s breath – I will gag immediately! I am happy to report that the smell of coffee no longer makes me ILL and I even CRAVE an iced decaf vanilla latte these days!
*Added weight and such: As athletes, we are always VERY in tune with our bodies and how we feel and this transformation can throw us for a loop. We have to find our NAMASTE (this doesn’t happen immediately) with our ever-changing body – and accept that it is for the best reason in the end, even if we feel like death in the process!
FEELINGS – EMOTIONALLY AND PHYSICALLY:
*I spent/spend a lot of time in what some of my best friends call: NAUSEA NATION. Not many pregnant women talk about this – they are so tough and seriously are my heroes. This is a place of real doom in my book! This is when you are operating at about 20% capacity. I spent the first 16+ weeks in the deep WELL of NAUSEA NATION GALORE.
*In this deep pocket of despair, this is where I didn’t know how I was going to continue to function at such a low % capacity. As much as I loathe being dramatic – I am certain that I was many many times. THANK YOU, AK and my inner circle for DEALING with me.
*I was ILL as a GOAT, Barfy McBarferson, felt waves of vertigo, WEAK = just sick.
*There were many times that I thought I barfed BBK out. This was emotionally VERY WORRISOME for me – and this is where I would become emotionally capped. There was a time I had an emergency doc appt after a projectile vomit episode, and I cannot adequately convey the relief that I felt when I heard BBK’s heartbeat. It was comforting to know that HE was OK even though the gal housing him was a complete disaster!
*I HAD NO IDEA THAT THIS WAS PART OF THE DRILL and my awe of ALL pregnant women, in general, continues to flourish as those women are so tough!!!!!
*For the past several weeks now, at 20+ weeks, I have been operating at 60% capacity and I CAN HANDLE THIS % NO PROBLEMO!!!!! I am praying those 20% goth weeks are in the rearview mirror. If they resurface, I am mentally prepped.
**NOTE: THIS EXERCISING HAS ALL BEEN APPROVED BY MY DOCTOR!!!
*Training has shifted to “HEAVILY EXERCISING” which I very much enjoy and appreciate. Simply put, we just can’t go anaerobic very well when we have a bun in the oven. However, we can aerobic it up!
*Even in Nausea Nation, and especially the first 3 months of pregnancy, it was key to exercise in effort to cope with how horrific I felt. I felt best when I could at least MOVE in between being in fetal position with my barf bag. Running felt the best during this time. Swimming too. Biking seemed the least pleasant at that point.
*The 4 AM wake-up time for early training sessions have been put to the wayside for now. The only thing going on these days at 4 AM is getting up out of bed for my 10th time to pee! I used to have nearly 4 hours of training done by 9 am, and now if I even start my exercising by 7 AM, that is an early start!
*Exercising 3-5 hours a day through this process has been a blessing and allows me to keep the muscle memory, work ethic and athleticism as an athlete looking forward to coming back to the race courses in 2018.
*This time is spent:
*Swimming 6-10k a day: the water always has been my go-to place when my body is under duress. Thus, this time is no different. CHI MBK SWIMMING = sanctuary.
*Cycling: Cycling on my CycleOps HAMMER trainer 4X a week. I have also sprinkled in some SOUL CYCLE classes with some friends to spice it up a bit, and SOUL CYCLE is an excellent way to get the HR up and your sweat on too – and have a little fun in the process!
*Jogging: The first 16 ish weeks, I was running between 40-50 miles a week, and Sean was so kindly putting in 2 interval workouts a week to boot which helped me feel like a “training” athlete. Then literally, within days, I developed this annoying pressure around my pelvic area, and it just felt WRONG (and hurtful to BBK) to run and certainly when running fast. I felt like my hoo-hah (= PC word for vagina – sorry!) was broken or something. I was told by my doctor that it was a combo of BBK sitting really low above my hoo-hah and that this is just what some pregnant women experience as their uterus expands. Again, every woman carries differently! I was assured that it would NOT hurt BBK yet that it was key to just listen to your body on the day. So I am focused on what I CAN DO in this capacity!
Thus, my running has significantly decreased and certainly slowed in the past weeks. If I can squeak out 3-5 easy miles a day with this relentless pelvic pressure, that is a victory! I always remember that it’s not important to PUSH through that kind of stuff at this time.
*Strength with Kato: My usual weekly sessions with KATO have been constant since the VERY BEGINNING of pregnancy. These are marquee active minutes, and she KNOWS what to do to keep my HR up while maintaining my entire body and core engaged and activated. She adapts with me too as I change. For example, with the aforementioned pelvic sitch, she has incorporated a lot of pelvic strengthening exercises in the mix which is helping even with the jogging.
*In summary, the goal is just to keep trying to have an active and healthy pregnancy. This is inclusive of some quality exercising which is personally helpful both physically and spiritually as I try to bust out a little human!
MISC THOUGHTS LEARNED:
*Some women experience ZERO nausea (I salute these gals!)
*Some women genuinely GLOW (Amazing!)
*Some women LOVE being pregnant (IN AWE OF THESE WOMEN!!!)
*Some women go to work in the office or travel like it’s just another day (HEROES!)
*Some women manage ADDITIONAL human(s) while pregnant (Simply inspiring!)
*Some women can run fast (GWEN J, Rinny, etc. – amaze!) well into their final weeks!
*Some women make pregnancy look easy and just FLOW (I’m trying to take notes!)
*I will say it again: THESE WOMEN ARE HEROIC, AND I AM IN AWE!
*AK and I are elated about this new chapter of our lives. We look forward to it all and, as we watch with our parental friends, we know that this is not an easy task albeit an enriching one! Now I have about 4 more months to learn how to properly hold a human…we know this has never been a strong suit!
*SPONSORS: Having told sponsors this news several weeks ago, I am eternally grateful to all of them for their unwavering support. They have really ridden the waves with us over the years, and it’s special to me personally that they will also continue to support us during this important time in our lives.
*I will enjoy sharing my pregnancy trials and tribulations and work with Aaron on one of his new ventures, Play2Health. The goal is to get kids off the couch and to educate parents. A recent article focuses on the danger of Blue Light emitted from tables and mobile devices for children which is extremely informative – The Hidden Hazards of Digital Devices and Blue Light on Kid’s Eyes.
*I very much look forward to returning to my job as a professional triathlete in 2018 and have been eye-balling many races that I really look forward to being a part of – just with a little human in tow!
It is also liberating to GET to share this with the triathlon community. I very much appreciate you reading, listening and especially, FOR CARING. Thank you greatly for not only supporting my athletic endeavors, yet also our personal ones!