Week 16 of the pregnancy has been nice! No sickness (was still occasionally feeling sick weeks 13 – 15), my energy levels have been good (no more falling asleep at 3pm) and I have generally felt ok physically. Mentally I have felt like I am on a bit of a roller coaster with one full on snot filled crying session, but that was down to realising I won’t see my husband for weeks at a time for the next three months. We are both moving to a new location in the sense that our address will change on all our formal documentation as we have purchased a house, but I will physically be on my own in the house. To be honest, I am scared about being alone in a new place, in a new house, having no friends around and being pregnant on top of it all.
So today, while husband is working and I am not, I had a day free to please myself. If I am feeling low I’m not great with free time and have been known to sit on my ass for days at a time wilfing on the internet under the guise of “studying”, but today I went bouldering. I wanted to be proactive and it worked.
The best way I have found of helping myself to get out and do something when I am feeling low is to take it each step at a time. The aim was to get to the wall to climb, but first I got up, then I had breakfast, then I showered, then I got dressed and so forth and so on until I was standing in the reception of the climbing wall with my shoes and debit card in hand.
I’d gone back to my old haunt aka Redpoint and saw some old friends. Broke to the news to them about the bump and they were really nice (although I am yet to meet someone who’s nasty to a pregnant person). Then it was back to tackle some of the problems I had been working on the previous week.
Was I epic? Did I send 7a? No. However, all the problems I had done the week before were easier (prior knowledge helping with each move I think rather than me being stronger) and it was fun to be bouldering. I was way more confident about jumping off (low down), more confident in reaching for holds, but sad to realise that my core strength has gone a bit which is likely to stay gone until after the birth.
When pregnant you are advised against targeted core workouts, but things like walking, which still work your core, are encouraged. I have been trying to walk for at least 45 minutes per day and I generally achieve this. I feel fit, not as fit as when I was running 5 times a week, but still fit. It’s all relative really and it’s not like I won’t be as fit ever again. It’ll take work to get my fitness back, but it took work to run 13k and pregnancy is essentially just another hurdle to overcome.
I also met a mum at the wall and her little girl who looked about 2 years old. Me and the mum chatted about pregnancy, climbing and I asked if she’d climbed while pregnant and she had. She encouraged me to stay fit and healthy as she said I’d recover quicker after the birth. Her daughter seemed to be enjoying climbing with her mother so that was encouraging to see. The mother herself looked fit and healthy. No obvious signs that she’d been pregnant and she was climbing well. Hope filled me.
Climbing while pregnant is scary for a whole host of reasons and every twinge of pain you get while climbing is suddenly taken more seriously. However, as your bump grows you get pain and as you climb you often get pain anyway so how do you separate the two. How do you know what’s normal and what needs checking out? Furthermore, what is normal for my body won’t be the same normal for another woman at 16 weeks climbing the same grade so it’s not like I can even measure myself against anyone else.
Pain in pregnancy makes me edgy, like many women I’d imagine, but the advice from the midwife has been that I only need to go to A&E if there is severe pain and/or bleeding and to call the midwife if this happens after week 17. I assume the difference with weeks 17+ is that the baby’s cartilage has started to harden then so if I miscarry at 17+ this will need to be dealt with by a specialist team used to birthing rather than a trauma team used to dealing with not quite birthing (I’m guessing). I’ve had no pain which I would class as severe and there has been no bleeding so I have carried on climbing.
Standing on your tiptoes on a hold, reaching up to the tips of your fingers and then pushing/pulling yourself up requires you to use a load of different muscles and ligaments and tendons which include the ones surrounding the baby. From what I can tell, climbing like this causes the ligaments surrounding the baby to stretch and these are the ones already stretching from the baby growing. I have found this can cause the area from my bust to my stomach to have some discomfort, but no more than what I have experienced when simply walking around.
Today while climbing I felt more confident and went at a few problems with the knowledge I may fall off. Last time I’d been more reserved. I guess practise and knowledge have improved my confidence in myself and my pregnancy.
At the end of the day, I could sit on my backside of 9 months to keep myself “safe”. I could stop doing anything that has a risk of harm – like driving, leaving the house, crossing the road and so forth. However, like I said at the beginning of all this blogging, I am still here and matter, the baby knows what is good for it and, to be honest, so do I. The baby doesn’t want the host (me) to be damaged as the baby wants to be safe, I don’t want to be damaged and I do not want the baby damaged. We have an accord. I may never have done pregnancy before and trial and error isn’t exactly the best way to test things while pregnant, but slow and steady is.
Climbing is something I enjoy, as is running, as is yoga, as is rowing and so I am going to carry on doing all of those things for as long as I can as it’s best for me and for the baby. In that order. Hopefully once the baby is here I can carry on doing all those things which make me happy, which make me Rae so I can still exist, but also so I can be a good role model to my child.
My life hasn’t ended because I am pregnant. My life has changed.