Letter From America Part 7
With about six weeks until my due date, I find baby thoughts are creeping into most areas of my life.
David and I have started our parenting classes. Each Wednesday, we join half a dozen other clueless couples for three hours of beguiling information. So far, we’ve seen six videos of live childbirths (very scary stuff for first time mothers), we’ve received coaching on how to stoically handle labor pains and we’ve become familiar with medical terminology aimed to make the process less mysterious.
The parents in the class are clearly divided on their approach to managing pain. Half the women already want an epidural and hope to skip experiencing painful contractions all together. The other half is keeping our options open.
AsI consider myself a fairly physical person, I aim to have a natural delivery. I reason, if I’ve been able to run a marathon without pain medication (other than the occasional Advil); I may just be up for natural childbirth. Of course, since I’ve never actually experienced labor pains, I may be screaming for relief once the contractions start pounding me every five minutes. Just like athletes, new mothers need to stay flexible when dealing with obstacles like pain.
The constant kicks I receive from the little person inside of me are another reminder that the baby will be arriving soon. The dance party in my belly and my growing abdomen has made comfortable sleeping positions elusive. There never seem to be enough pillows on the bed to support all of me. I look over at David sprawled on his stomach and am intensely jealous--seven months ago I too was a stomach sleeper. I can’t fault him for sleeping peacefully; he’s been wonderfully supportive and has donated all of his pillows to my attempt to identify a supported resting position. On occasion, I wake up and find myself on my back. This of course, stresses me out as I’ve read and reread studies showing sleeping on your back can cut off blood supply to the baby. Pregnant women are instructed to sleep on their left side to improve circulation, facilitate breathing and aid in digestion.
When I’m not giving in to my maternal nesting instincts, I’m still logging a couple runs each week. But, as you can tell from these musings, running isn’t necessarily a top priority. The runs do serve their purpose, allowing me to clear my mind and reinforce my own physical strength.
On a run last week, I had a wonderful reminder of how supportive women athletes are of one another. I was out for a jog in a clingy tee shirt and shorts. The weather has finally turned and I was happy not to be bundled under a jacket. As I turned off the main running path to head home, I noticed I was being followed. A female runner in her twenties had passed me about a ½ kilometer back. She raced to catch up with me. As she slowed her pace to jog along side of me she said, “You look fantastic. I just had to tell you how inspiring you are…I hope I am still running when I get pregnant.”
For an athlete who feels a bit like a waddling penguin these days, her remark reallyhit the spot. I was beaming. My final thought, compliment pregnant women whenever you see them, their self-esteem tends to dip at times and a kind word from a stranger can go a long way!