Thursday, December 31, 2009

Moving On

Well first off, thank you all for your support. It really does mean a lot.

I know a lot of women don't share pregnancy news until after 13 weeks... I guess with the thinking that if something goes wrong they won't have to share the way I just did. But honestly, if I had to go through all this in secret without anyone knowing that wouldn't make it any easier. In fact, I think it would make it worse, because then you'd just be suffering in silence in your own head. I couldn't do it that way. But I guess I'm probably a bit more 'open' than most people.

So aside from the bleeding (ugh, it's like I just gave birth- similar amount of bleeding that I'm still having 4 days later) and some crampy feelings, I'm doing ok. I've found the best thing to do is to exercise some (I know doc said keep it light so I'm not going hard- but it's my therapy so I can't imagine just sitting around doing nothing but wallowing in self-pity this week). And spending time with Moana is the best right now. She's just such an amazing shining light in my world... her bright smile is infectious and she's so innocent and fun. 14 months is a great age and I can see how it'll just get better (for a while at least) as she becomes even smarter and more capable.

So here it is, the last day of 2009. I'm tempted to say Good Riddance to this year... but when I really look back, it wasn't a bad year. It just had a crappy ending. But until early November when all this turmoil started, it really was a pretty incredible year. It started with a 2 month old infant who wasn't capable of much other than eating and sleeping and crying and pooping... this year I got to watch her grow and develop into this cool little person who I really like hanging out with.

I had a good bit of success with triathlon this year too. Qualified for Kona at the Hawaii 70.3 in May and then stayed married while IM training (which is a feat in itself!) and then managed an Ironman PR in Kona about 2 weeks before Moana turned one. There's just no complaining about that!

I started a coaching business that I truly enjoy and have a passion for. I'm loving working with my athletes! Four of them are racing the 70.3 on the Big Island which is June 5 this year... I was bummed thinking that I wouldn't be there racing with them, but now it looks like I will. I sent my entry in yesterday. I am really looking forward to that. I love that race. :) And another one of my athletes,Regina, is racing her first 70.3 that weekend as well at Mooseman, so almost all of us have our big races on the same weekend. Cool.

So I'll take the bad with the good. 2009, for the most part, was a good year. It can't all be a bed of roses, you know. But as long as I got to smell some along the way, I'm happy.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

What It's Like To Have A Miscarriage

*Warning* This post will be detailed and graphic and if you don't want to read about this kind of stuff, then skip this one and come back in a few days for more normal blog content.

I'm choosing to write about this because I think that women don't talk about it enough. It happens all the time, but when it was happening to me and I was desperately searching for information online about what a miscarriage experience is actually like, I came up with no helpful information. Not real true helpful information. Here's my attempt to put it out there and fill the missing gap of information. I suppose though that it might be different for everyone. And incredibly painful emotionally as well as physically. And maybe some people just can't talk about it at all. But I've found that talking about it helps me. As I've told several people over the last few days it has gotten easier for me so here we go...

Maybe you've noticed that I haven't updated my status on Facebook in a couple of days. I've thought about it, but all I could come up with was stuff like

Michelle Simmons is bleeding.

Michelle Simmons feels empty.

Michelle Simmons is an emotional wreck.

That stuff just didn't seem appropriate so close to Christmas and all.

All along with this pregnancy I've not had a good feeling. If you followed about a month ago you remember that I was just sure that it was not growing but then they found a heartbeat and though I was shocked, I accepted it that I was just wrong about feeling so not pregnant. And after every hour+ run that I completed and felt fine, I wondered how it was possible to feel so fine when you're growing a baby? Shouldn't I be more tired?

I woke up Sunday morning feeling whacked out emotionally. I mean. Whacked. Out. I cried about all sorts of stuff all day long and just couldn't stop. It was really weird because normally I'm way more emotionally steady than that. When I start crying over every little thing (and nothing) I *know* that my hormones are messed up somehow. Anyway, I went for a run and felt especially bad. I walked up every little incline and just felt so overwhelmingly bad... I figured this was the beginning of the end of my pregnant running.

A few hours later I started feeling crampy, which was weird b/c I haven't felt crampy at all since being pregnant. I went to the bathroom and out plopped a big bright red clot. Uh oh. Not sure what that was about. I did not panic right away because I know that it is possible to bleed during pregnancy and still have everything be ok. But I brought Moana downstairs to Scott and told him to entertain her while I rested b/c I wasn't feeling well.

I went to the bathroom every 15 minutes for about an hour and every time saw big bright red clots. It wasn't stopping. I should call the doctor. But it's Sunday. Clinic is closed. Maybe I'll just wait until tomorrow.

But I'm not that patient. I called the after hours advice line and told them what was going on. I was instructed to go to the ER right away.

I told Scott to stay with Moana so I just went alone. Maybe not the brightest move on my part, but Moana needed to eat dinner and go to bed and I knew that this visit wasn't going to be an especially quick one so figured I'd just handle it on my own so her schedule wouldn't be messed up.

At the ER I was checked and the doc said my cervix was still closed, but that I was definitely bleeding a lot. She called it a Threatened Miscarriage and said it was 50/50 at this point. But then they ran labs. Hcg test. I waited about an hour there in the ER for those results. Doc came back in and told me that my hcg came back at 20,000. 5+ weeks ago it was at 22,000 and then 33,000, so the fact that it had gone down was a pretty clear sign of what was going to happen.

The doc talked with me a little bit about a D&C but I told her that I trusted my body to take care of this on its own. My body is good at a lot of things. It knows how to get pregnant, it knows how to deliver a baby, it must know how to get rid of it when it's not right. So I left telling her I would trust my body.

I was sent home and told to come back if the bleeding got out of control, and to call my regular doc in the morning.

I cried the whole drive home alone. You know, I never wanted to be pregnant. I don't want another baby right now. I really don't. But again, that doesn't make it any better when you find out you are going to lose it at almost 11 weeks.

I took an ambien to help me sleep because I knew that was my only possible hope. My eyes were so tired and stingy from crying so much all day long. I had a splitting headache right above my eye and my blood pressure was up at almost 140/90 at the ER. I was a mess.

At 1:45 I woke up with cramps that felt like contractions. And I knew this was it. I think since I'd been through labor before I knew what those contractions felt like when they start opening your cervix. I knew my cervix was opening. I went to the bathroom and filled the toilet with red blood clots. Back to bed. Repeat every 15 minutes or so for the next hour.

And then came the worst part. The absolute worst part. The ER doc had warned me about the tissue that I might see pass. She told me it would not look like a baby (like it does in the movies) and she was right, but there was no mistaking the tissue for just another blood clot. This was something different. This was my baby.

What do you do at this point? It's 2:45 AM and you're all alone in your bathroom passing this... this... tissue... "products of conception" they call it. Um, that was my baby and what am I supposed to do? Flush it down the toilet? But what else could I do? It's not like I could not flush the toilet. It was horrible.

I cried. And then I flushed the toilet.

I went back to bed but continued to feel the cramping and was still up every few minutes and back to the bathroom for most of the next hour. All in all, it about about a two hour event which was the actual passing.

I called my doc first thing this morning and they had me an appointment within two hours. I went in and she did an ultrasound and confirmed that my body did exactly what it was supposed to do in this situation, when something is not right with the baby, and it did it completely. This was maybe the only positive thing about the day- that I didn't have to do any more procedures to help my body finish the job.

I never wanted to be pregnant. But the sight of my empty uterus on that ultrasound screen was numbing nonetheless.

I really wanted to know when it had stopped growing. We'll never know for sure because the couldn't do any measurements on my empty uterus. But doc said that with a current hcg of 20,000, it probably stopped developing not too long after the 6 week ultrasound where they saw the heartbeat. Which is creepy in it's own way- to know that I was carrying around a dead baby for maybe like four weeks before my body finally let it go?

Mother's Intuition is strong. With Moana, I did not have a single worry. Not ever. I knew for sure the whole time that everything was going to be just fine. This time, I just didn't feel right about it. I told my doc how I was feeling (right from my first appointment with her I told her that it wouldn't surprise me if this didn't pan out) but she was much more confident than I was. Today, she acknowledged the power of a Mother's Intuition.

Anyway, a miscarriage is nothing I would ever hope on anyone. Miscarriages suck. They make you feel empty and incompetent and unworthy. Even though intellectually I know that those things are not true, I can't help but feel them. Not wanting to be pregnant doesn't make having a miscarriage any easier. I take that back. As much as it sucked for me, I can only imagine how much more it would suck if I had been trying to get pregnant for quite some time and then finally did with my first one and then had this happen. I don't know. I don't know how you'd get by. This experience has made me 100x more understanding of the frustration a woman would feel by not being able to grow a baby. At the doctor's office after I saw my empty uterus I saw a pregnant woman. I had a little twinge of jealousy. Her body could handle the pregnancy. Mine did not. Ugh.

I will get through this. I have been showering Moana with attention and reminding myself how nice it will be to have her all alone for a while longer. I will not have to split my attention away from her. And that, my friends, is the silver lining for me right now.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Moana's Second Christmas

We definitely had more fun at Christmas this year than we did last year. Last year Moana was just about two months old, so you know she pretty much just slept through the whole day. Not even presents from Santa could keep her awake.

Here's how she woke up this year. You can see why I put that silly pony tail on top of her head every day.

And here's how a 14 month old opens presents. Her favorite this year was a "Pillow Pet" doggie she got. Her whole afternoon nap was spent right on top of this puppy.

The cutest thing was probably watching her watch this video* once I uploaded it. She yelped out loud at the computer screen while watching herself open the doggie.

So it was a fun day! Moana was a bit overwhelmed I think... she would have been just as happy to get a single present... in fact, she felt the need to play with every single one after opening it and had no interest in opening another until we prodded her into it... but turns out Grammy sent a bunch so we spent a good bit of time teaching her how to rip wrapping paper today. :) Tomorrow is going to be such a disappointment after the excitement of today.

I hope you all had a wonderful day!

*Be prepared for many more videos to come in 2010. Santa brought Scott a flip video camera so we're making movies out of everything from now on.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Scrappy Says, "Mele Kalikimaka"

Last night after dinner I said, "Ok, Moana! Bathtime!" And you know what she did? She walked right up to Scott on the couch and made this little "mmmmmm" sound while pursing her lips and getting her face very close to his. We figured out that she was trying to kiss him goodnight, which he always does right before I take her up to do bath/bedtime. Just how cute is it that she went to initiate it? And with that "mmmmmm" sound- she must have gotten that from watching Scott and I kiss goodbye every morning before he goes to work.

Moana is in a nap transition stage right now, meaning some days she takes her two naps as usual, but every third day or so she just isn't ready to take a nap in the morning so she ends up with just one longer mid-day nap. I'm okay with it either way but the hard part is not knowing what it's going to be each day. Just makes it tough to plan. Anyway, she didn't want the morning nap today, so I figured I needed to take her out and entertain her for a few hours until it would be time for noon nap. No place entertains her like the beach, so off we went. She is so social these days too- she just walked right up to this little 2 year old boy and started playing with his buckets of sand and water with him. He was a good sport in sharing. The beach we go to has lots of dogs running around and playing in the water (mostly off leash) and she just squeals and starts barking out loud at the dogs when she sees them. I have not heard her say 'dog' but she says 'RUFF RUFF RUFF' whenever she sees one (or a picture of one). Then she'll go right up to the dog and luckily (so far) they have all been kid-friendly dogs so she typically gets a big wet sloppy tongue in her face, which makes her laugh and squeal even more.

Ok, enough of the sap.

Because you know what? It's not always so rosey and cute around here. Take tonight, for example. Moana drove me batty. Seriously, no idea why, she just whined and moaned and screamed at me... I tried to feed her, but she wouldn't eat. But she wouldn't let me eat. She wouldn't let me walk into the kitchen without screaming, but if I just sat on the living room floor it was ok. Heaven forbid I tell her not to suck on that eraser she ripped off the end of the pencil. And no, Moana, your blanket cannot come with you into the bathtub... complete meltdown to follow. I was at the end of my rope by the time Scott came home. Seriously, I just handed her off the second he walked in the door and told him it was time for Changing Of The Guard. Sometimes I think that's just what she needs. Because while she can instantly forget that she screamed incessantly at me for the past hour and decide to be all darling during her bath (yes, immediately following the meltdown she forgot about her blanket and enjoyed the heck out of her bath toys), I don't forget quite so quickly or easily. And my mood clearly plays a big role in her mood. So when Scott finally got home he couldn't figure out what I was talking about because our daughter morphed back into her cute little self for him for almost an entire hour. Then she started wailing again about every little thing so I just put her to bed.

It's amazing how these little people can stretch you to your extremes... one minute you're like she's the cutest thing ever!! And the next minute you're willing to give her away for free.

Christmas is in just a few days and I'm pretty much done shopping. One gift I still have to go pick up, but it's already paid for so it'll be a quick trip to get that done. Just a little bit of wrapping left and I'll be ready. Moana is not going to have a huge Christmas this year b/c let's face it, that's just completely unnecessary.

I sent out our Christmas cards last week... it was funny as I was addressing them to all these relatives that I am not in regular contact with (some of Scott's who I do not even know!) all I could think of was that I should be sending cards to all of my blog friends too, though I do not know most of your addresses so obviously that did not happen. But seriously, Scott's aunts and uncles are not going to understand the little joke on our card like all of you would.

Speaking of Scrappy, he's been pretty easy on me lately. A lot of my nausea seems to be gone, which is a relief. It's not much fun to feel like you could just upchuck at any given moment throughout the day for weeks and weeks on end. Anyway, that seems to be over. And in other good news, it seems that my blood volume has finally caught up to my expanded veins and arteries. I don't feel all dizzy when I stand up anymore, and my heart rate while running seems to have gone back to normal. For a while I felt like my heart had to work really hard just for me to jog really easily (Dr. Clapp explains this in his book by saying that in early pregnancy we just don't have enough blood to fill our expanded arterial system so that's why HR is not a good indicator of how hard a woman is working in early pregnancy.) Anyway, running feels easier now, even though I don't feel especially fluid or light on my feet while doing it. I managed to run 40 miles last week, which is a lot I know... it wasn't my plan to run that much, but after Saturday's run I counted it up and had 36. And on Sunday I was going to go ride my bike but it looked like it might rain and I'm just not interested in riding in the rain these days so I went for a 4 mile run instead. There you go. 40 miles. I keep telling myself that I will back off as soon as it doesn't feel good anymore, but it still feels good, so I'm feeling no need to back off the volume. I have backed off the pace quite a bit though. I don't even know how slowly I'm running anymore b/c I've stopped timing my runs. It's fine, whatever the pace is. It's fine. If I'm honest, I'd tell you that there's actually a teeny (tiny) part of me that feels relieved to not have any pressure on me to go 'fast' this next year.

Monday, December 21, 2009

My New Label

Earned through blood, sweat and (yes, there might have been some) tears... But now it's official.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

My Mom Will Love This Post

This is a rare Sunday morning... a quiet house all to myself? Scott went off to play soccer, and Moana, shhhh, is still sleeping! I think this is a record sleep-in time for her... 8:30 so far and no stirring. We kept her up late last night (9:00) because we had a Christmas party to attend for Scott's work.

I know I'm her mom and all so of course I'm a little bias, but I'm telling you, Moana was so freakin' cute last night I almost couldn't stand it! I can't believe we didn't get any pictures. Anyway, the dinner party was at Roy's, upstairs in the private room... 60+ people including a few other kids. The thought crossed my mind that maybe we should get a babysitter and leave Moana at home because I just wasn't sure how she was going to fare at a fancy place like Roy's for hours and hours (these parties always run long, you know) but I'm so glad we took her. She had a blast and we enjoyed showing her off. :)

It was nice that the waiters brought out special food for the kids... cheese quesadillas as their appetizer, penne pasta for their main course, and an ice cream cookie for their dessert. Moana dabbled a little in each of those, but she's no dummy. Once she figured out that the adults were eating crab cakes, ribs, butterfish, and chocolate souffle, she decided that she'd rather participate in this dinner as an adult. She's got good taste, I'll give her that! It was just too funny to watch her spit out the pasta and throw it on the floor in exchange for the butterfish off my plate. By the end of the dinner Scott was on his hands and knees under her high chair picking up all the pieces of food she didn't want (and all 4 forks she dropped). Believe me, there was no butterfish down there.

At one point in the night they showed a little Jib-Jab video (Allison- the same one you did for your break-dancing family!) of the head honchos doing the worm and other silly dance moves... Scott's picture was on one of the elves and everyone was laughing and clapping... It was hilarious. But the funniest part was Moana's reaction. She was laughing and squealing and totally understood that she should clap when everyone else was clapping. Crack. Me. Up.

And you know how these dinners go... it's like an eternity between courses... and there was no way any one year old was just going to sit quietly in her high chair for all that time. I didn't expect her to. So after each course we would let her out of her high chair and Scott and I would take turns following her around the room. It only takes Moana about 10 minutes to warm up to a new situation and then her little social butterfly personality shines through and she's off trying to meet everyone in the vicinity. I swear, it was just too funny watching her walk up and down the aisles between tables and smiling up at all the adults. She worked that whole room. Everyone loved her and she got to sit on quite a few laps throughout the night.

In hindsight, this was really the perfect kind of dinner to take Moana to because the room was closed off so she couldn't just go bug random people, and everyone was drinking a little so the sprit of the place was quite jolly. I never felt for a second that Moana was being obnoxious- she was just being a very cute toddler.

We left a little early (before the white elephant gifts were done) and as we were walking out we passed the outside patio, which was completely empty save for the lone guitarist playing music for the imaginary dinner guests. (It had been raining earlier in the night so nobody chose to sit outside). Anyway, Moana decided (in her I'm all jacked up on sugar mode) that she wanted to listen to the guitarist for a bit. We let her. So there she stood, by herself in the middle of that empty patio, watching and listening to the guitarist... We were almost crying laughing when she started swaying her hips back and forth and dancing to the dinner music. And then the guitarist started cracking up as well.

Nights like that make me really glad that I get to be Moana's mom.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Cheapest Tree On The Block

Christmas trees run scarce on the islands. Every year they get imported from the mainland, people scramble to obtain one, and then about two weeks before Christmas it comes on the news that they are sold out and that there are no more Christmas trees on the island! Oh no!

The theory of supply and demand then would give you an idea of what local Christmas trees cost...

Regardless, about a week ago I started bugging Scott about getting a tree. Night after night, he came home empty handed. My requests became more urgent. Um, Honey, Christmas is NEXT WEEK and we don't have a tree!!! He told me not to worry. He would get one.

Then the news story came on... no more Christmas trees on the island (actually, I heard it first on Facebook- the real source for local news). Great. We missed out. No tree for us this year.

I told Scott that there are no more trees. Again, he told me not to worry. He told me he knew where he could cut one down. Really? Part of me believed him, part of me did not.

I should not have doubted my resourceful husband, who came home the other night dragging a tree up the stairs! Yay! A tree! Then I saw it. And immediately burst out laughing!! Turns out, Scott stopped along the Pali Highway on his way home from work and sawed the top off of a Norfolk Pine.

You see, Norfolk Pine trees are actually quite abundant on the island, but they are not normally used as Christmas tress. I'm guessing that's because their branches are like 2 feet apart. See?

So while we do not have the fullest tree on the block, it was likely the cheapest. AND the most sustainable, given that it was not imported in and that Norfolk pines re-grow easily after their tops have been sawed off. Scott is in Environmental Science. He should know.

Anyway, the night Scott dragged it in the house, Moana was very curious about this new thing and of course she needed to check it out. It was leaned up again the wall in the corner (next to my bike on the trainer*)... it took about 3 minutes before we heard the frantic wailing of a very scared 1 year old... looking over we saw that she had pulled it down upon herself. That must be scary, to be eaten by a tree. So that's the story about why it's now up on a card table.

*Let's face it, I'm not using that bike trainer. It's been relegated to the patio.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Living Vicariously

The Honolulu Marathon was this morning. I can't believe I have lived here for 5 years yet have never run it. I've been entered twice now but ended up skipping it both times... In all honesty, it did occur to me (for like a nano-second) that I could still run it this year. I mean, I feel pretty confident that I could have finished the thing today unharmed. And it would have been my last chance to ever run a marathon while pregnant (since I will not be pregnant again after this!!) But I just really don't have any desire to slog my way through another marathon. One of these years I'm going to run the thing. And when I do, I'll be trained and prepared and ready for a solid 26.2. Maybe next year. :)

In good news, I did get to live vicariously through two of my athletes who were running today! And they both did awesome!! Obviously it's not like I can take a lot of credit since I've only been officially coaching them for 2 weeks, but I do feel like I guided them through the taper and helped them come up with solid nutrition and pacing plans to help them both finish strong, so in that way, I feel so proud of them! Karen ran a 3:36 today, which is a 16 minute PR for her (and 32 minutes faster than she did this course last year). She delivered on the negative split plan we had for her- took it out in a 1:51 and brought it home in a 1:45! Talking to her afterward was so much fun because I could just hear the excitement in her voice as she talked about all the people that she *flew* by in the end. AND, she admitted to me that, um, she stopped for a half a beer at mile 24. I was like, what????? But I just had to laugh. That is so Karen. She absolutely cracks me up.

And Nalani had a great race today too! She had a huge PR with a very evenly split race, coming in at 3:49! I was checking the splits all morning online and doing the math to figure out her pace... and then her husband called me after she passed mile 19 to tell me she was still smiling... I was just bouncing around the house this morning so proud of these gals. :)

I can see how as a coach you really take personal responsibility for how your athletes perform. Not so much today, but come 'A' race time in June, I'm gonna be a nervous wreck.

Anyway, I'm feeling pretty good at 9 weeks pregnant. I'm not showing a ton, though I am definitely a good bit thicker through my middle. At night I definitely look a lot more pregnant than I do in the mornings. What is up with that? Anyway, I hit 31 miles of running again for the week so am feeling proud of that. AND I got outside on my bike both days this weekend. The weather here has just been glorious- perfect temps (mid/upper 70's is my version of perfect by the way- no 'chemical heaters' needed here) so I just enjoyed the heck out of myself for 2 whole hours of pedaling this afternoon. I didn't get to the gym this week, but I did do my pull-ups yesterday while I was playing with Moana at the playground. I can still do 7. :) I'm up about 6 lbs from pre-pregnancy weight, but let's face it, pre-pregnancy weight was Ironman weight, so 6 lbs up from that is probably what I would be anyway even if I weren't growing a baby.

So here we go... onto another week... my mission this week is going to be to finish up my Christmas shopping and get all those presents mailed out. I've become a terrible procrastinator. (I didn't used to be like this. I think Scott is rubbing off on me.) I keep bugging Scott that Christmas is in less than 2 weeks and we don't have a tree. He told me he's going to cut one down from some forest he knows about. I was like, "Is that legal?" He swears it is, but I don't know... Anyway, maybe one of these days we'll actually get a tree and then I'll be able to tell stories about how Moana is trying to rip it down.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Simmons Endurance Coaching

So what many of you don't know is that I've started my own coaching business! It's been in the works for a while now and I was going to wait until I had an official certification before putting it up here, but after reading Mary's blog about certification/schmertification, I figured what the heck!?! So there it is. Coach Michelle. Has a nice ring to it, no?

Anyway, like Mary and Ange, I tried to get into a USAT course. My problem was that I logged on 20 minutes after the registration opened and it was, um, closed already. Wow. I had no idea these things were so popular. I did find out that USAT is offering a course in Kona right before Ironman next October, and I am registered for that. I was actually surprised that that one isn't more popular- seems like maybe a lot of people who are interested in coaching would also be interested in being in Kona during race week for all the festivities, though I understand that it's quite an expensive trip and let's face it, those of us who are just starting out our coaching careers probably are not rolling in the dough. Anyway, my understanding is that the course in Kona is still open to anyone who wants to register. ;)

So that being what it is, I wanted to find another route to get my certification sooner. A little google searching and I came up with the ITCA course. I signed up and got started on the course maybe 6 weeks ago. Here are my thoughts:

~It's a 16 week course but you can totally do it faster if you're motivated and have the time. There are 16 modules and it's expected that you do one per week, but you could get more than that done if you have the time. Each chapter consists of reading 20-25 pages of info, watching a video online, answering some reflection questions, and then responding to a couple more questions on the ITCA blog (which is not a public blog- you get access once you're in the course). So a positive aspect of the program is that you can do it at home on your own computer on your own time.

~It costs $450 which seems like a lot, but it's cheaper than the USAT course at $525. If you sign up, do not get suckered into buying the Polar RS800CX HR monitor that they offer at a 'special' price. It's an additional $350 (normally retails for $400ish). It's advertised as a "complete running system" showing you your speed, distance, cadence, gps, etc... but what they don't tell you is that to get all that info you have to purchase a couple of extra sensors (the gps sensor and the stride sensor) which are about $150 each. I'm sorry, but I think $350 for a heart rate monitor is INSANE. I don't care how fancy the computer software is. If it doesn't even tell me speed and distance, it is NOT worth $350. Lucky for me, I did my share of complaining about this (Hello?? False advertising on the website!) and supposedly a free stride sensor is on it's way to me, though that is yet to be seen.

~I am disappointed in the complexity of the material that is unrelated to triathlon training. While there is some decent info toward the end of the course about actual triathlon training, the bulk of the course consists of physiology stuff, biomechanics, kinesiology, etc. I suppose this is not surprising since ITCA is a part of NESTA which focuses primarily on personal training. If I were a betting woman, I would say that a bunch of this course is the same or very similar to what is involved in a personal trainer certification course. I'm sorry, but I just don't see how lever arms and moment arms are related to the triathlon training we do. I have been a triathlete for 15+ years now, have completed 9 Ironmans including the World Championships twice, and prior to this course I had never heard of a moment arm. And after this course, I still don't feel like I have a good grasp of it, though there were three questions on the test about these physics concepts. I guess I'm just sayin' that the relevance wasn't always there for me.

~Speaking of the test, holy moly ridiculous. 150 questions, 98% of which I had to look up the answers to, 15% of which after 10 hours of researching answers in both the 321 page triathlon coaching manual AND other google searches online, I am still unable to confidently answer. A few of those are because the wording of the question/answers make it very tricky, but some of them are questions about material that is simply not addressed in the manual. I'm sorry, but knowing 'What molecule is connected to the Z-line of the sarcomere' just isn't something I'm going to be using as a triathlon coach. But if you're going to test me on it, put it in the manual!!!

All that said, I think I may be close to finding enough correct answers to actually pass this course. IF I fail the test (which has never happened- I have never failed a test!) I won't bother taking it again because nothing will change between now and a re-take. If google didn't tell me the answer the first time after checking and rechecking, it's not going to do anything different on try #2... In that case, I will continue my business as an uncertified coach for this year, which hasn't seemed to bother my clients so far. I casually mentioned to a couple people here that I was starting up a business as a coach and one by one I started getting calls... Within a week I had 6 athletes signed up! Wow! That felt good to me because 5 of them are local athletes who know me already, so it wasn't even like I had to trick a bunch of you out there in cyberspace to commit your season to me... Lol. Seriously though, to hear from these athletes that they trust me and feel confident that I can help them is a real confidence booster. It makes me believe even more that this is the right path for me. Though in all honesty, it probably helped that since I'm new and just now building my business, my prices are quite reasonable in the world of triathlon coaching.

So anyway, I just spent the last hour writing programs for a few of my athletes for next week... and you know what? I LOVE THIS STUFF. I'm in my third week as 'Coach' and it just feels right, even though I'm still not sure if the reason why you can't produce as tight of a fist when your wrist is flexed is due to passive or active insufficiency.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Eddie... Mama Would Go

I got home from my run this morning and found Scott feeding Moana breakfast while watching the Eddie live online. Here's a little clip of what we were seeing:

I was captivated. So cool- this sport that I really don't know much about, but wow. Those guys are amazing.

I found out that the competition was also being played live on a local cable station here, so I turned on the TV and watched on the bigger screen. The commentators were good and helped me learn a lot, and they showed the best waves and wipeouts on replay. Eddie's brother, Clyde, was competing today. He's 60. Yes, 60. Riding these huge waves!! In fact, seems like quite a few of the guys were a bit older... in their 40's at least. More evidence that as we get old er we just get better, especially at extreme sports like these. That said, there was an 18 year old competing today as well.

Anyway, I was undecided about whether or not Moana and I would actually go up to Waimea Bay today... I was getting good coverage watching in the comfort of my living room. I wasn't sure that I really wanted to battle the traffic and the crowds and how would Moana be at the beach with all those people?

But Moana took a good long nap this morning and we didn't have anything else to do this afternoon and seriously, how could I not go up there and see just a little bit of this epic event in person?

I dressed Moana in her little 'surf's up' outfit, packed our lunches, and headed north. I went the longer way around the perimeter of the island in hopes of avoiding some of the traffic. And it worked! I suppose the traffic would have been worse first thing in the morning, but by the time we arrived at 1:40 it really wasn't so bad. We parked about 2 miles away, I strapped Moana into the BOB, and jogged the rest of the way in. Once we got close though there were too many people and I couldn't actually run anymore. Here's a view of the ocean during the jog to the bay. Seriously- this is the coast we swim along during the summer. Clearly not swimable now!

Here's our first look at the scene at Waimea Bay.

Being there in person was incredible. Those waves are so much scarier live than they appear on film. It's funny, because last night Scott and I were watching some videos online and while I thought the waves were daunting, there was a part of me that was curious about whether or not I could navigate my way through big ocean swells like that. I mean, I'm a good swimmer, and not generally afraid of the ocean. I asked Scott what he thought- he knows me as a swimmer and he knows the ocean when it's big and angry., He said he didn't think I could safely do it. I scoffed at him, more convinced than ever that I could. Well guess what? After seeing that water in person today, I decided that not for a million dollars would I attempt to go in. Nope. I do not want to die.

Anyway, back to the surf! Moana and I settled into a spot in the sand that was actually right near where the surfers were entering and exiting the water for their competition heats! We were thisclose to some of those pro guys! Here are some shots from my camera.

These guys were just about to get in the water for the final heat.

So while it was cool to get to see the surfers up close (and I recognized some of them b/c I'd been watching the live coverage on TV earlier and lots of them had been interviewed already), it was really hard to watch the guys actually surf. The big waves break about a 1/3 of a mile out in the bay, so from the beach, it was hard to actually see. But occasionally we would hear the crowd go 'oooooh' and then you'd see a teeny tiny little guy way off in the distance take off down the face of a huge wave. Sometimes we heard a more urgent 'AAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!' and that likely meant the guy took a hard digger. I saw a couple of broken boards- snapped right in half from the force of the heavy water. That's what the lifeguards on jet skis were for- rescuing the guys who were stranded out there after their boards broke. I know there were at least 4 broken boards today. Maybe more.

Anyway, Kelly Slater was winning the whole thing until right at the end when a guy named Greg Long caught a perfect wave and scored really well, leapfrogging himself into 1st place. There was also an award for the biggest 'Monster Drop'. $10,000 for the guy who didn't crash while flying down the face of the biggest wave. This guy from Chile won that prize (picture stolen from quiksilver website).


So in the end, I'm really glad I made the attempt to get up there today! And so was Moana.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Caution: High Surf Warning

The waves are huge right now on the North Shore. Winter is North Shore surf season... funny to see these massive waves up here when all summer long Waimea Bay is like a gorgeous calm blue lake that is an ideal place for swimming. Here's a video of the waves today that I stole off YouTube. You can see that the waves are breaking way far out so they don't look as big in this video as they do in person, but if you look closely you can see a couple very teeny tiny little guys trying to ride the waves, unsuccessfully for the most part.

Here's another one I found on You Tube... this is from 2007 but probably a better look at the waves in better conditions. Those surfers still didn't appear to be too successful.

I think I'm going to take Moana up to check out the surf tomorrow. They say it will be even bigger tomorrow than it was today... something like 50 foot faces. That's just Nuts. Scott told me to check the traffic report on the way up because it's possible the road may get washed out with waves that big. I'll have to be prepared for crazy traffic- it's just a little two lane road up there (where we ride our bikes most of the year) and apparently there were thousands of people there today trying to get a peek at the waves. Clearly there will not be a place to park the car, but I'm thinking I'll take the BOB up and park a few miles away and run the rest of the way to Waimea to check it out.

The Eddie Aikau surf competition may happen tomorrow. It hasn't been held since 2004- they only have it if/when waves heights reach 30+ feet and the wind conditions allow for it. Clearly tomorrow will be big enough but if the wind doesn't cooperate then the waves will just be too messy and dangerous to send even the best in the world out. Scott has told me a lot about this competition over the last couple of days... apparently Eddie died a while back (lost at sea) and this competition is in his memory. You've probably heard the quote (or seen the bumper sticker), "Eddie would go." Anyway, it's an invitation only event... only the best pro and big wave surfers can participate... they can't use jet skis or anything to get to the waves... they have to paddle out themselves. Crazy. Anyway, Scott said all the best surfers in the world are hanging out on the North Shore right now just itching to go try to catch those waves.

Here's a live video feed of the waves at Waimea. Check it out if you're bored at work. That's what all the local surfers here will be doing instead of working tomorrow. That is, if they don't call in sick.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

They Should Have Called It The SmoothWater Swim

You know, for weeks we've been out suffering in the craziest ocean conditions... training for 90+ minutes every Saturday through the rough chop caused by high winds... the kind of swimming where you can hardly actually even get a full stroke in because your arms constantly get cut off by the water slapping you in the face when you're trying to breathe...

Not that I should ever complain about perfect ocean conditions... it just seems like since we trained for the RoughWater swim, we should have had the RoughWater swim. Instead, today we did the 28th Possibly Annual Double SmoothWater Invitational Swim.

Seriously, the water was almost perfect today. It was as clear as I've ever seen it in 5 years and with no wind at all, it was like swimming in a lake. A really really deep lake with clear blue water and turtles. :) I said almost perfect because it really could have been 4-5 degrees warmer. Then it would have been perfect. Then it would have been like swimming in Kona.

Anyway, I brought my wetsuit down with me but in the end chose not to wear it. I knew I would be cold, but didn't think I would die. And honestly, I just couldn't pull myself out of the competition. I thought it would be pretty cool to win my age group, though when I saw Jana's name on the start list I immediately assumed I would not. If you followed any of my blog posts about the North Shore swims this past summer, you may remember me talking about her- we've raced swimming for all the years I've lived here. She used to beat me by just a little bit every time, but starting last year at this race, I've got a clean 100% win record against her. Funny that I had a baby and came back stronger. :) That said, though I figured she'd beat me today, I wondered by how much, and I knew a wetsuit would not give me any real answers to that question.

Here's Nalani and me before the start. I know nobody ever actually believes us when we say it is cold here... and ok, it is not as cold as you guys get on the mainland (obviously)... but cold is relative and when your body is adjusted and used to 80+ degrees all the time, high 60's/low 70's before the sun comes out is cold.

I gave Moana away to my friend Andrea before the swim start. Moana is getting smarter these days and knew that we were leaving her as we said goodbye... and she cried and cried and cried... oh it broke my heart! And I was sad for Andrea who had to deal with this upset child... though she better get used to it b/c she is due with her first (a girl!) at the end of April. Andrea watched Moana last year at this race when she was just 6 weeks old. It was easier then and Andrea said she just read a book the whole time while Moana slept. Ha! This time was different, as you might guess! In good news, Andrea said Moana calmed down as soon as she walked her away and out of our sight. I worried about her during the whole swim but found out later that she had a blast flirting with all the old men at the Elks Club.
Andrea was in constant motion chasing Moana around... and trying to keep her from climbing up on the bar.

Meanwhile, back at the beach, the race started as we were all standing on the beach chit chatting* and all of a sudden a whistle blew and we were like, "Is that it?" So we put our goggles on and ran into the water. There were only maybe 40 people doing the swim today, so it wasn't a crazy start at all. I saw Jana off to my right early on- we were side my side and I did not feel like I was swimming hard. Hmmm. Maybe she hasn't been training much? This is the kind of event where you can't really fake it so if you haven't been training, you're not going to do really well... hmmmm. I hopped on Nalani's feet and she pulled me out to the first turn buoy which was maybe 800 meters off shore. There were no more buoys until the turn-around buoy which was 2+ miles downshore... funny story about that... as I was putting on my caps (yes, I wore 2!) a woman on the beach (who was not swimming) asked me where the second turn buoy was. She said, "I see the first one way out there but don't see the second one. Where is it?" I laughed and told her she couldn't see it because it was that far away.

Anyway, at the first buoy was where we were to meet up with our escorts. Each swimmer in this race is mandated to have an individual escort. Mine was Scott on his surfboard. He was equipped with a water bottle and two GU's for me. The plan was for him to stop me at 45 minutes and 90 minutes for GU and water. In the past, I've done this race on just one GU, but since I'm pregnant this time, I wanted to be sure my blood sugar didn't go low so I planned on taking two. Anyway, at the first 45 minute stop I exclaimed to Scott that I just couldn't believe how nice this was! Perfect glassy conditions. He agreed. Took my GU, swig of water, and back to swimming. I could barely see Nalani's escort up ahead in the distance. She was having a great swim! I figured beforehand based on our time in the pool the last 2 weeks that if we both had good swims, she would get me by about 6 minutes... I was guessing she would put just under a minute on me per thousand meters... that's what she does now in the pool anyway.

Blah blah blah. The race went on and on and on and on. And on and on and on and on. Perfect swimming in perfect conditions. I saw a huge turtle like 40 feet beneath me. It was that clear. Finally at the 90 minute GU stop I asked Scott where everyone was?? There was no one around me at all! He said there was a small pack way ahead and everyone else was a good bit behind. Hmmm. I wondered where Jana was. I hadn't seen her at all since the very beginning.

Kept swimming... caught some waves in at the end... ran up the beach... heard 1:58 flat(!!!!!)... a 4 minute PR! I then immediately started shivering out of control. Blue hands, blue face, blue arms... I ran over to the sunny part of the beach and took my suit off and replaced it with fleece. Shiver shiver shiver shiver... I saw Nalani and was so proud of her for her 1:52! And just what I had guessed... 6 minutes. Another friend/training partner of mine was sent from heaven and gave me a thermos full of warm ginger honey tea. Let me tell you, that hit the spot! Within about 10 minutes my teeth stopped chattering and I felt okay.

Andrea brought Moana over and she gave me this HUGE smile so that was really nice to see. Moana was a super champ today... 5+ hours awake with no nap (she set a new record today with that!) before she finally succumbed to sleep while waiting for lunch/awards.
They served us an awesome catered lunch! And the awards at this race are good too. Turns out, I won my age group! I think I was 5th female? Jana came in at 2:03 and the others were further back than that. I got a pair of Blue Seventy goggles, though I don't think I can wear them b/c #1 they're pink, #2 they're not tinted and I swim outside all the time, and #3 I haven't worn goggles other than the swedish ones since I was 13. Anyone want them? First person to email me with their address gets them. :) I also got a bottle of champagne... exciting, except that I can't drink it... yet. We decided that we will take it to the hospital with us and drink it after Scrappy is born in July.

* I did not tell Jana that I am pregnant. She'll figure it out when I start showing up to swim races next spring/early summer with what looks like a basketball under my suit.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Saturday


This is a picture of the sunrise this morning. Scott took it as he was on his way to the north shore to go surfing. I thought those of you who are enjoying snow right now might like to see it. Waves are huge right now on the north shore... they may hold the Eddie Aikau surf competition on Monday which is only held if/when wave heights reach like 40 feet. Yep. That big.

Luckily on the south shore the waves should not be quite so big. The Double RoughWater swim is tomorrow morning on the south shore. A couple years ago on the day of the race there were white water crashing waves that we had to duck dive through on the way out. That made it way harder for our kayakers than it was for us. Lots of kayakers that year got dumped over. I don't mind swimming through waves. I kind of like it actually.

Anyway, I'm not afraid of the ~7000M ocean swim tomorrow. Well, I'm not afraid of the distance anyway. I AM afraid of the cold though. The water is in the low 70's which I suppose is fine for some people but for me right now, it's cold. My arms go numb after like 30 minutes in that water and this swim typically takes me just over 2 hours. That's a long time to have numb arms. Wetsuits are not allowed because it's a swim race, but I'm going to bring mine anyway and may ask the race director if I can wear it (which will obviously DQ me from any awards). Might be a smart thing to DQ myself from the beginning so I don't get some crazy urge to actually race the thing half way through... Anyway, I'll make the decision in the morning.

I capped off another decent running week today with a 10 mile run. I have fallen into a steady 9:05ish pace for all my runs these days... whether its 2 miles or 10... I'm obviously not trying to run fast and while normally I wouldn't be so thrilled with 9:05 pace, cruising through 30+ miles for the last 3 weeks in a row at that pace is just fine with me since I'm pregnant and all. I keep reminding myself of this HUGE base I'm building for myself by logging all these easy miles. That said, it did occur to me today that if I would have been able to keep it together to run this same 'easy' pace in Kona, I would have gone 10:50 and been top 10 in my age group. I guess 'easy' all relative. ;)

We took Moana to a birthday party today... a friend's First. Let me just say that I AM SO GLAD we did not go to this party before throwing Moana's. I would have been so freakin' intimidated. This was one of those real local style first birthday parties... I'm telling you... people here go all out throwing these things. There must have been 150 people there. It was like a wedding. Except they had a bouncy house.

Moana had fun in there. She did her best to get up and walk around but kept falling down and (most of the time) laughing about it.

And it turns out she's not afraid of balloons anymore. Obsessed may actually be a better word.
Ok. I have to go pack for the morning. Gonna go dig out that wetsuit...

Friday, December 4, 2009

Gone Fruit Pickin'

So if you've been following my facebook posts, you know that I discovered a huge avocado tree on some vacant land across the street this week. But the avos are up high, and not easily accessible. I sent Scott a text and told him we needed a fruit picker.

My resourceful husband got right on it and stopped at the hardware store and came home with a fruit picker. $8. Avocados at the store are like $2 each here, so I figured if we pick 4 of them, we break even. After that, they're free!

Moana was ready to pick fruit.

You might see the problem we still had though- no long pole. Hmmm. I posted this pic on facebook and mentioned that we needed a pole. I love facebook. Ask, and you shall receive. My awesome neighbor Christina wrote and said that they have the long pole, but no fruit picker. A HA! We will combine our resources and each come home with bountiful fruit!

Christina brought her pole over (which was an extending painting pole) and I led her to the tree. Can you see the avocados? You can only see a few in this picture. There must actually be 100+ big ones on this tree. It's like a gold mine in the sky.

Christina did the hard labor.

Score! Avocado in the basket! She got good at it after just a little practice.
Moana enjoyed watching.
She doesn't have a whole lot of patience though so she started eating them right away.
Christina got about 10 avocados today, so we each brought home 5. It'll take them about a week to ripen up, so we agreed that next week we'd go pick more and that way we'll have a batch of ripe ones and a batch waiting to ripen. LOVE IT.

So we brought our fruit home and then Christina decided that she could get some of the star fruit that is on the tree right outside our door. The starfruit is not quite as plentiful this year, and the tree is really HUGE and the fruit is up quite a bit higher than the length of our picker. Christina was undeterred. She threw her shoes off and started climbing the tree, pole in hand.
I was nervous for her, but she's a rock star. Check this out.
That star fruit is super juicy and sweet. YUM YUM. Moana liked it too. You know, there's nothing like having an afternoon snack that you just picked from the tree.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Do Pregnant Women Look Good In Bright Green?

So a couple weeks ago, while I was right in the midst of the "I wonder of this baby is growing or maybe I'm going to miscarry or is that some nausea I'm feeling but I don't feel tired enough to really be pregnant" mindset, I got an email from Carole Sharpless that said, Congratulations! You have been selected to be a part of Team Trakkers 2010!
Awesome. Add to my stress, why don't you? I wondered if they keep you on board if it turns out you're pregnant?

Apparently, they do keep you on the team, or at least at this point, it appears so! It does make me a little more bummed out about the fact that I'm not going to be racing next year though. Although, I'll let you in on a little secret, which of course will no longer be a secret once I type it here, and since we all know that I can't possibly actually keep a secret from my blog readers*, I'm going to spill it right here right now...

Trakkers owns the Rev3 Races, so they are encouraging their athletes to do as many of the series as they can**... which of course is a challenge for me living here in Hawaii. But the attraction for me is that the Cedar Point Rev3 race is in Ohio, which is where my family lives. And it's Sept 12, which is like almost two full months after I give birth. Hmmm. I wonder if I could do a half iron race less than two months after I give birth? Hmmm. I wonder. It's in my head, y'all. If my delivery is just a tad early and is as easy as it was with Moana, I'll be back running and swimming 10 days later... ok ok I know it might be crazy, but the good news is that I don't have to enter early. I can wait and make a decision right before race day if I want. Shoot, I think the biggest challenge wouldn't be completing the race- it would be flying an almost two year old to Ohio. (The two month old would be easy because he/she will sleep the whole time.)
So there it is. My 2010 goal. I think. It depends. But maybe.


*Oh, but I can keep a secret. I've got a secret. But don't worry. I'll share it soon.

**IF you're thinking about entering a Rev3 race for 2010, hold off for a few weeks on entering because I'll have a discount code for you to save $10 off the entry fee. :)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Exercising Through Your Pregnancy

Wow. First of all, thank you all for your support. I really wasn't sure how that last post was going to go over- knowing that there are so many people who struggle with fertility having the opposite problem as me- I thought it was entirely possible that I was going to end up with a gang of haters. Who knows, maybe you're out there, secretly hating me, but overwhelmingly I felt amazed at how awesome you guys (um, gals) are in encouraging me to let myself feel how I feel and even express it 'out loud' here on my blog. It really does help to get it out there instead of burying it. I would suggest it as therapy for everyone. ;)

Moving on.

This book has been recommended to me several times and I finally went out and bought it. And all I have to say is, awesome! James Clapp, MD does a great job in working through the myths and fears associated with exercising while you're pregnant, and explains many physical things that I've always wondered about. If you're an athlete and pregnant already or looking to get pregnant, it is a must read.

When I found out I was pregnant with Moana, I immediately set a bunch of arbitrary limits on myself concerning exercise. I hadn't started blogging yet and didn't know anyone who ran while pregnant, so I sort of assumed that it might be ok to keep running for a while, but had no expectations for continuing all the way through. I was amazed when I found so many bloggers who ran (a lot!) when pregnant. For whatever reason, I decided that 4.5 miles was as much as I should ever run while growing a baby. I stopped biking immediately (though I do admit I rode like twice for about an hour really slow during the first trimester), and limited my swims to 2500M. Later on during my pregnancy when I felt completely fine, I did do some 4000M swims and upped my regular swims to 3000M 5x/week. But my point is, I had no basis for these limitations other than my own estimated guess at what the limits were for pregnant women.

Dr. Clapp does a great job of explaining so many positive benefits for mom and baby when mom exercises throughout her pregnancy. I now feel justified in continuing to do whatever exercise feels good, including running and weight lifting the whole time. He says that the arbitrary HR limit of 140 is not reasonable- that in fact, early on in pregnancy, HR is no longer a good measure of how hard mom is working... This is due to the fact that our vascular system has relaxed and expanded in order to make room for all that extra blood volume that we don't yet have, so our hearts actually have to work harder for a while pumping the less than adequate blood supply and our heart rates might be higher than usual even while exercising easily. I am totally experiencing this right now.

Anyway, the key points Dr. Clapp makes about keeping it safe while exercising during pregnancy include the following:
1. Make sure your body temperature does not go above 102 degrees. You know what is interesting about this? In studying pregnant women who exercise, Dr. Clapp found that our bodies, in an effort to protect the fetus, actually regulate our temperatures even better when pregnant- our bodies direct blood flow to the skin more readily to help cool us off while exercising. So we sweat more and stay cooler. This makes me wonder if this is why I've been so much colder than my training partners in the ocean lately? I think it is.
2. Make sure you don't get dehydrated. Got it. I'm good at drinking a lot. :)
3. Make sure you don't let your blood sugar go low. This was really interesting to me too b/c I have felt like I've had lower blood sugar more often when working out when I'm pregnant. The physiology behind it (that I just learned from Dr. Clapp) is that while your body would normally release glycogen stored in your liver when your blood sugar starts to dip during exercise, when you're pregnant, your brain sends a signal to your liver to keep that glycogen for the baby rather than releasing it to mom. After 45 minutes or so is when your liver would normally kick in and start providing back-up glucose, but this mechanism is turned off when you're pregnant. So you have to take in your own carbohydrates more often rather than depending on your liver. Interesting, no?
4. Finally, avoid physical injury. This may be more important later in pregnancy when your balance may be thrown off due to the weight changes from that big baby.

Anyway, I'm not putting any arbitrary limits on myself this time around. I'm doing whatever feels right at the time. That means riding my bike until I can't sit on it anymore and not necessarily avoiding all hills. That means running 35 miles/week if I feel like it (and yes, I have felt like it), and keeping my long run up at 10 miles as long as I can. And it means swimming as much and as fast as feels comfortable. Exercising now is more about keeping my own sanity rather than gaining any fitness, but given Dr. Clapp's advice, I think I can do a pretty good job of staying sane. :)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Honestly

So this is a challenging post to write. Mostly because it's probably not what everyone wants to hear. But it's going to be honest. I know there are some blogs that I enjoy a lot- those that are honest. And honestly, life isn't always a box of chocolates. So here we go...

You know what? I didn't want to be pregnant this year. You want to know how that appointment for the ultrasound actually went on Wednesday? Here it is.

I ran and swam that morning. I was so distracted and distraught about the upcoming ultrasound on my run home from the pool that I tripped. Over nothing but the asphalt. And I fell. Right on my shoulder. And I cut my chin on the road. I was an absolute mess.

Scott met me on the way to the clinic. As we drove there together I cried. I told him there was no good way for this to come out. I did not want to be pregnant. I did not want them to find a heartbeat. But what woman wants to go through a miscarriage? How could I possibly hope for a miscarriage? What kind of monster would I be? I cried some more.

I kept myself together for most of the appointment, though I was silent and stone-faced when the tech excitedly announced that she could see something. She must have thought that I didn't understand or something because she kept saying, Congratulations!! I couldn't reply to her. Instead I just pursed my lips together as the tears flowed down my face.

I know all this is probably unbelievable to some of you who try and try to get pregnant. I can't imagine how hard that must be. All I know is that for me, the girl who gets pregnant even when she is actively trying not to, fertility sucks.

Eventually I did want to have another baby. But I wanted another year alone with Moana first. I wanted more time so hopefully we could move out of this 2 bedroom condo and into a house with more room. I wanted another year to capitalize on my fitness and race again. Just one more year before I sacrificed myself again for the sake of expanding our family.

Instead, part of me feels like there's been a hostile take-over of my body. Call me selfish, but I really like having my body as my own. Sharing it with another growing human being is tough, and requires sacrifice. It's so tough that it really would have been nice, for once, to actually plan and prepare and try to get pregnant. Instead, I am required now to sacrifice myself while this Scrappy little baby grows and grows, and I grow along with it.

In the end, I know I will be happy. I will be happy to hold my little baby once he or she is born. I will be happy that Moana gets to be a big sister. 5 years from now, I will be glad that I had my two kids close together so hopefully they can be good friends. But for now, I appreciate the text I got from Jenny after my ultrasound. She told me to give myself permission to be pissed off. So while I will not wallow in a pity party for myself for the next 8 months, I am taking some time to let myself feel how I feel.

Wow. Honestly? This post wasn't that challenging to write. I guess when you write from your heart it all just comes flowing out. Thanks for listening. And I hope I didn't offend anyone. I just had to get this out because if I didn't, and just pretended all along that I was thrilled to death to be pregnant again, I would feel like a fraud. Be assured, I will love this baby, though likely more after we are done sharing a body. ;)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Scrappy

I am completely shocked. I was 100% prepared for the ultrasound tech to find nothing yesterday. I thought she was crazy when she said, "I think I see something..."

But sure enough, I saw it too. That teeny little pulsating blob of cells that was about the size of a grain of rice. There it was. Beating 111 times a minute.

I am just in total disbelief that my body was able to construct a little heart and make it start beating without giving me any real signs. I mean, I pride myself on 'knowing my body' but clearly I do not know my body like I thought I did.

I have been running and swimming lately like I am not pregnant at all. It's amazing that this little kid has been able to get started like he has. Scott and I are calling him Scrappy. Scrappy, Who Has A Will To Live.

That's all I'm going to write for today. I have a lot more to say about this, but it's Thanksgiving. I'll write the rest of my thoughts at another time.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

OverAnalyzing

This whole pregnancy thing just might have been easier before the invention of all these tests that tell us probably too much information that doesn't really mean what we think it might mean...

I got the results back from the second HCG test last night. I was hoping it might be somewhat definitive in that either the levels were not going up at all, or else the levels would double... either way, that would have been a pretty clear sign.

What did I get? How about an increase of 50%? 72 hours after the level was at 22,000, it came back at 33,000. Hmmm. Still pretty high, but I thought the levels had to go up by at least 65% every 72 hours to show healthy pregnancy?

I got the results via email last night. So of course I spent the rest of the evening googling HCG levels and trying my best to diagnose myself, to no avail of course. I found some info that said levels should be doubling every 72ish hours throughout the first trimester, and some info that said once levels are high (over 6,000) they don't necessarily have to double.

The thing that I found most interesting last night was one website that said that once your HCG level hits 6,000 you should be able to see fetal activity via ultrasound. Hmmm. I had an ultrasound done 3 days prior to getting that first HCG level back (the one that said 22,000) so surely I must have had hcg over 6,000 on that day? But they found an empty sack that day.

Bang. Bang. Bang.

Can you hear it? That's my head hitting the wall.

This morning I got a phone call from a nurse who pretty much knew nothing other than what my chart said. She told me my hcg levels were going up. Duh. I asked her if they had to double. She didn't know. I asked to talk to the doctor.

Eventually this morning I got to talk with the doctor about the results. She actually said that a rise of 22K to 33K over 72 hours wasn't something that concerned her, and that those levels put me in the normal range for 7-8 weeks pregnant, which is where she thought I was based on my LMP. But then we talked about the ultrasound last week that had me measuring just 5 weeks when the hcg levels surely must have been well over 6,000... she agreed and said that the blood test didn't match up with what was seen on the ultrasound so she ordered another ultrasound for tomorrow.

Bless her for not making me wait another week.

So that's all I've got. I can analyze it all day and night but I'm not going to know anything for sure until I go get the ultrasound tomorrow. And I swear, if it comes up with some ambiguous result I'm going to have a fit right there on the table.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Keep Up, Will Ya?

I was running with Nalani this morning and told her that I changed my mind and now I think I really am pregnant. She did a little double-take because all week long she has heard from me:

"I just don't feel pregnant..."
"There's no way anything is growing inside of me when I'm still able to swim like this..."
"I feel completely normal..."
"I know my body and there's just no way..."

But today I have a different story. I swear, you have to keep up with me every 6 hours these days to get the latest. It's like a roller coaster around here. Enjoying the ride? I'm not. But I sense maybe it's all about to flatten out here shortly.

What the heck am I talking about anyway? Ramblings of a pregnant woman... here we go. I woke up this morning feeling completely nauseous and it has stayed with me nearly constantly all day long. I'm not imagining it. I really do feel like I might puke at any moment.

AND, I got the initial results back from my HCG test yesterday. I know I know that one number doesn't mean much b/c we really have to wait and see if it's doubling every 3 days... but you knew I was going to overanalyze the initial results anyway, right??? 22,300. Um, with a level that high is it even possible that it stopped growing a week ago? Something in me just doesn't think so.

I do feel more at ease today (even though I might spontaneously puke right here on my keyboard) and I fully expect to see an HCG at 40,000+ on Monday. Although, I guess I've been wrong about everything else I've been feeling since I got that ++ on the pee-stick so who the heck knows?

ANYWAY, on to other stuff.

We did another long ocean swim this morning. The Double RoughWater is 2 weeks from tomorrow and I'm glad it's coming soon because that water is getting colder and colder every week. Today my arms and hands were completely numb within about 25 minutes but we kept swimming for another hour. Hardly stopped at all today which was good b/c it was just too cold to hang around treading water. I hope race day has high winds and choppy water because that's what we've been training in every week and I'm getting pretty good at it. You really do have to train a lot in choppy water to learn how to swim effectively through it.

See how windy it was today?

The best part of it all was that we grilled pancakes at the beach park afterward! Yum, blueberry pancakes. And coffee. Warm coffee.

From this picture you'd think Nalani is the one who is pregnant, but I'm not here to start any rumors. Really she's just hungry. Swimming will do that to you.

That's Ellen cheering with her mamosa. Kurt didn't put any champagne in mine. Actually, he did. But then Nalani reprimanded him so he poured me a new virgin one.

Scott brought Moana down to meet us at the beach for the pancakes. Mmmmmmm. She liked feeding herself. It's possible she ate more pancakes than I did.


I know she needs a haircut. She won't let me put it up or pin it back. Barrettes end up in her mouth.
So it was a good day. Now I'm going to be a good girl and go take a nap. Thanks for listening to my ramblings.

Friday, November 20, 2009

I'm Going NUTS

I swear, I'm not a crazy person. There are lots of crazy people out there I know, and I have taken pride in the past that I am not one of them. But right now, I am one of them.

This whole pregnant-or-not(??) scenario is driving me NUTS. It's like, the only two signs I have that I am pregnant are the two most reliable ones (i.e. no period and a positive test) so um, duh. Pregnant. BUT, nothing else. And my intuition is telling me that I am not. I have felt great working out every morning this week. This morning I was up at 5:20 and out the door running with Nalani at 6... ran 5 miles and then swam a solid 3100M and then ran a mile home. Who does that when they're 6 (or 7- who knows?) weeks pregnant? Shouldn't I be exhausted tired and napping all the time? And hungry? I'm just eating normal amounts and not craving anything and no food aversions. Ugh.

Nuts I tell you. I'm going NUTS.

I'm *SO* hypersensitive to the way my body feels now- paying super close attention to everything and looking for any little sign either way... but I really need something concrete.

SO I finally called my MD office and requested the HCG tests. I'm going to go in for one today (after Moana wakes up from her nap) and then will go in again on Monday for a follow up. IF there is a fetus growing normally, the HCG number should be pretty high today and then quite a bit higher on Monday. If it is not, the level will be lower and either getting lower or not rising much on Monday. I was told that I will be called with the results on Tuesday. So it's not solid proof and I'll still have to wait for the ultrasound in 11 days but at least it should give me a clearer idea about what's going on. Because I'm either having the easiest early pregnancy ever, or I should expect to start bleeding out here at some point. I just want to know which one.

I appreciate all the comments and support you all wrote after that last post. Some people have thanked me for writing about all this and I know it's not something people are usually so public about. I guess the way I see it is that this is life, and it is what it is. I tend to believe the science that says that a miscarriage happens when something just isn't right with the fetus, so I do not feel like this is in any way my fault and therefore I do not feel like I should feel embarrassed about it or anything. Given that, I don't have a problem writing about it and I hope that it gives some other people hope in knowing that they are not the only ones who think they are going crazy during early pregnancy. This is crazy stuff and it's so big and life-changing... of course we go NUTS wondering and worrying about what the heck is going on.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I Don't Feel Pregnant

I have been debating about whether or not to post all of this that's been going on (in my head and with my body) but you know what? I've been pretty open and honest about everything else in my life, and this is life, so here goes.

After I posted last week about all those normal pregnancy things that have been happening to my body, they all just went away. I woke up Sunday morning and had no nausea. I ran with Moana in the baby jogger and though I didn't push it or anything, I felt fine. That afternoon, I didn't feel like I needed a nap. Instead, I went for a bike ride. Plenty of energy. I didn't think too much about it except that it was nice to have a day where I didn't feel sick, hungry, or tired.

And each day since, I've been feeling completely normal. No morning nausea, no excessive hunger, no achy boobs, no afternoon naps. Hmmmm.

I'm not one to just sit around and wait and wonder, so I called my doctor. I wanted her to do an ultrasound and see if there was a heartbeat in there... Based on my LMP, I should be almost 7 weeks now which would mean that if everything was right, there would be a heartbeat. She was awesome and told me to come in right away.

So yesterday morning I took Moana to the office with me (which was fun b/c the Dr hadn't seen her since she popped out of me over a year ago!). Maybe not quite so much fun to have a one year old squirming on my lap while Dr performed a vaginal ultrasound, but hey, we gotta do what we gotta do, right? Anyway, Dr found a yolk sack but nothing was in it.

That pretty much confirmed what I had been thinking/feeling, although Dr told me that the sack was small and only measuring 5 weeks, which *could* mean that I ovulated late and am not as far along as I thought I was... which is entirely possible b/c of Ironman and all that... maybe I ovulated late? And if that's the case, when I go for another ultrasound in 2 weeks there may be a fetus with a heartbeat in that little sack.

The other possibility is that I got pregnant and it all started to grow but for whatever reason it just wasn't right so it stopped growing. That happens sometimes. My intuition, based upon how I physically feel, is that this is the case.

I'm not sure how I feel about all this. I'm not devastated, because it's not like Scott and I had been trying for years and finally got pregnant... I can understand though how IF that were the case, I would be devastated. On the other hand, I've started to mentally prepare myself to have another little one around... imagining what it will be like to strap TWO little ones into car seats every time I go to the grocery store, etc. And Scott and I picked out names already.

I think the hardest part for me is going to be waiting waiting waiting for TWO MORE WEEKS to find out for sure whether or not anything is growing in there. It's going to be a long two weeks.

So there it is. That's what's been going on here. I'd be a fraud if I posted about anything else right now because there's nothing else for me to think about, therefore I have nothing else to write about. Two more weeks.