How I Found Out – and the Crazy Adventure to be!

You’ve probably noticed my blog has been a little quieter as of late. 
Well, there’s good reason… and now, it’s likely to be updated a LOT more frequently!
On Friday, February 28th, I woke up, and knowing that we had a convention to attend in the evening with an open bar, I decided to take a pregnancy test to make sure I could have a glass of wine. 
Nate and I had made a pact, and I wasn’t supposed to take a test without him there with me. But, since they had all been “no” (we have been trying for a little while), and I was pretty sure this one was going to be a “no” as well, I decided I was safe to cheat.
Except, it wasn’t a “no”… 🙂
Mesa is so excited! As you can tell 🙂
You can imagine my surprise (and inner thought: Oh, sh*t!… not because I wasn’t excited, but because now I was stuck knowing something I shouldn’t without him there!). I immediately called Nate at work and left a shaky message.
Do I wait for him to call back? That could be hours! Ahh! Or… I could drive to his office to tell him! So, I did: the longest 20 minute drive of my life.
I walked into his office and asked, “I was just passing through town, and wondered if I could say hi?”. Pretty sure his staff MUST have known something was odd then… I’m never just stopping by to say hi :).
I pulled him out of a patient’s procedure and told him I needed to show him something. My hands were shaking as I took the test out to show him. Needless to say, we nervously looked at each other, smiled from ear to ear, and embraced in a long, sweet, loving hug. What an awesome feeling.
Yep, brought it with me to show him!
“What are you doing the rest of the day?”, he asked.
“I have a workout with Craig and Jeff planned”, I replied. It was supposed to be a 10 mile progression run. 
“Um… you may want to rethink that?”, which was followed by a long pause. “I think you should take it easy… maybe just tell them you’re sick?”
I drove home and got ready for my workout. Jeff was fine with me lagging behind on the faster miles (I’m not sure what he was thinking when I told him I’d only be doing 6-7 miles, and nothing very fast), and Craig thought I had totally fallen off the motivation wagon. After I told Craig I was shortening the workout, he replied, “I thought the workout was TEN!”… trying to guilt me into doing the written workout (guilt or other means of trying to motivate me to do my workouts lately was 100% welcomed and deserved). I shrugged it off. 
“Yeah, just a little shorter and easier today”, I replied.
Fast forward: This weekend I drove down to Indiana with Nate and Craig to visit Sharon and pace her for a half-marathon. Originally Nate, Craig, and I were all going to pace, but I had to break the news to Sharon that her coach would have to be on the sidelines and she’d be in the guys’ hands. It was a LOT of fun, and I am proud of her for fighting through awful stomach problems and still notching a new PR. That’s 4 new PRs this year, folks, if you’re counting: mile (well, tied a PR), 3k, 5k, and now 1/2 marathon!
On the way home I started noticing a few odd symptoms. They persisted to Monday, so I called the clinic and they said I should come in just to make sure everything was okay. I scheduled for late in the day so that Nate could accompany me.
Luckily, I had already established a relationship with an OBGYN after my ER visit this summer.
First, I was whisked off to the lab, where they took FIVE vials of blood. Five! I am NOT good with needles or blood, but I actually took it like a champ and wasn’t even light-headed or clammy afterwards. Go, me.
Then, I found Nate (coming to the clinic after getting off from work a little early), and we went into the ultrasound room. I was under the impression that we were just checking to make sure everything was okay, since at 6 weeks, it’s about the size of a grain of rice. I was hoping we would be able to see if there were one or two little ones in there; multiples are very prevalent in my family, so I was a little worried!
But instead of a grain of rice, it was a little, squirming HUMAN! 
I swear, it looks like it’s holding a baton!
The ultrasound tech immediately said, “Yeah, you’re definitely not just 6 weeks along… more like 10 weeks”. What?!? Nate and I looked at each other, grabbed hands, and then stared back at our moving little one. We listened to its heartbeat (185 bpm! A little on the high side, just like mom)… and most important of all, confirmed that there was just one baby in there :).
Perhaps it’s those Nutrilite vitamins, propelling the little one to astronomical growth rates? Maybe by the next ultrasound I can chop off another month off of this whole pregnancy thing! I can dream, right?
So, just like that, I’m 10 weeks pregnant. Due date is October 22nd. We couldn’t be more excited!
Or more clueless, for that matter :).
So when did this whole “family” idea even start? Good question!
Before the 2012 Trials, Nate brought up starting a family. I told him that we could start after I gave a good effort at running the standard. Once that happened, we needed to wait until after the Trials (obviously).
After the Trials, we got home and I took out my birth control from my travel bag. “Should I throw these out now?” I asked. I could tell Nate wanted to say yes, but could tell I was hesitant. I started to say something, and then burst into tears.
I was SO not ready. I had stuff I wanted to accomplish! Goals! Selfishly, I pictured my life “ending” if we started a family. Plus, I had no time for a child. What would I do with it? Drop it off at 7, and pick it up at 10 when I got home from work?
I continued to not want to have children until late last year. I’m not sure what changed in me. The urge grew stronger at the start of this year. There was one long run I remember particularly well. I came back to the house after just 1.5 miles to drop the dog off (her paws were a little cut up from the ice). I went to the door, but did NOT want to open it to continue the run. I sat down on our steps and called Nate.
I started to cry. I just want to be pregnant, Nate! I didn’t want to run. I wanted a family. I wanted to be jogging-stroller mom, library mom, etc. That was the first time that I realized how strong my desire was. 
Except my body was having none of that. First of all, I was far too lean at the end of last year. Before Chicago, I was at 11% body fat. Apparently that’s not conducive to baby-making (and I actually had lost my period pre-Chicago, even while on the pill… so knew I had lost a little too much weight). The docs suggested I put on at least 10 pounds, if not 15.
Yeah, so I really didn’t go to the nearest bakery and eat the entire store… but it’s fun to think that I did. It really didn’t take much, as I took 3+ weeks TOTALLY off from running after NYC, and then started back up slowly. Turns out, I gain weight quickly and easily. Thanks, genetics.
Awesome! It was fun until I was heavier and still not pregnant. Then it just sucked.
Once I got my period back (and off the pill), I bled for all but 6 days of the first month. Sorry for the girl-details, guys. But I’m all about honesty here. It was terrible. Guess I deserved it; I’ve been beating up my body for a long time. 
I think the in-between nature of my situation was a major cause of my lack of motivation. I had no purpose… I wanted to start a family, which meant training at a lower volume, closely monitoring intensity, and being heavier. But if I knew that getting pregnant would take a long time, then I should just go on training and try to hit the 2016 standard before conceiving.
The planner in me hated my situation!
Once we found out I was pregnant, though, a switch in me flipped. I was all of a sudden motivated again. I hinted at that here, not sure if anyone caught on :). I fell totally in love with running again. I smiled as I ran, laughed more, and didn’t feel the pressure I had been carrying the previous months.
I think part of it was that I now had a plan. Another part is that I know that the journey ahead of me will be even more epic. I’ll have 13+ months post baby to get myself into the shape of my life. Impossible? Probably :).
And if there’s one thing I love more than anything, it’s tackling something that “shouldn’t be possible” :).
So that explains my general “fluffiness” around describing workouts and my training plan. Sorry about that! Nate and I decided it was probably safest to wait until after our first doctor’s appointment to say anything, just to make sure everything looked good. So, it began… the slow march of days until we could tell…
So true! It really didn’t feel “real”… heck, it still doesn’t! Except now I have this picture of a little human in my house… so I guess it must be??
I’m excited to be able to log the journey here, as my goal is to remain as fit and strong as I can throughout the pregnancy. I’ll have ~13+ months post-baby to try to return to high-level competition and hopefully snag that sub-2:43. I would love nothing more than to bring our first little one to the 2016 Trials to have him/her watch me finish.
I’ll try to blog often about my experiences: what I’m able to do, what I’m not, what I have to modify, etc. I wish I could find more great women athlete blogs on the subject (wish Lauren Fleshman would have written more and been more detailed!) – there are a few I’ve found, including accounts on if you know of any out there, please send them my way!
Or, if there’s any other general advice, I’m all ears! Nate and I have a lot to learn!
Onward towards the next (and biggest) adventure!
~Nichole (and Mini)
PS – soliciting suggestions for a name for the little one/bump!

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    1. Heather – how are you?!? I've been reading the blog, sorry to hear things have been really hard for you :(. My fingers are crossed for you!!!!

  1. I can relate to many parts of your story that I experienced when we received news of becoming parents. First off before marrying Jeff, I told him that I had no intentions of having children because I never experienced the biological clock. Then something happened and my attitude made a turn around. Then it took many months and just when I gave up the notion and started to train hard again to be distracted, I got this sense and we took a test. That's when my clock started. You are going to be such wonderful parents, I look forward to your stories!

    1. Wow, Willie… this actually sounds just like my story! I can only hope we'll be parents like you & Jeff – and that our little one will have half the love of life that Mik does!!!!

  2. Congratulations. October's a good time to have a baby since when they turn six months old in April, they'll be ready for a jogging stroller just as the last ice melts on the sidewalks.

  3. Congrats to you and Nate! I know you don't think it happened quickly but for an athlete, it did happen really quickly for you! Hooray!

    I'm not a world class athlete but I blogged throughout my pregnancy. And lots of triathletes blog thru their pregnancies. On my blog check out older posts from my blogroll from ELF (Elizabeth Waterstraat – she also posts interesting coaching stuff you might like), Damie and Simmons Family (her pregnancy posts are back in 2008).

    1. Thanks a lot, Angela! Yeah, I think we just got lucky 🙂 (since, obviously, my body was still so irregular that I had no idea I was even pregnant for a while…). Thanks for the blog leads, I'll definitely check them out.

      Were you able to do a lot through both Zach and Landon?

  4. CONGRATS, Nichole!! What wonderful news!! And so exciting that you got to "skip" most of the first trimester!! 🙂 I take it you must not have had much nausea – that's wonderful! I had to gain weight and cut mileage (gained about 10 lbs, and dropped mileage to around 25-30 miles a week) plus have some help from a doc to get pregnant in the first place, but I was able to run through both of my pregnancies! Each of my girls (they are 2 yrs old and almost 4 yrs old) did 3 half marathons with me while "in utero". I just took it easy, knocked out the speedwork from my schedule and just ran for fun. I was so happy that I was able to stay active through my pregnancies. I did use a support belt on runs after I was 25ish weeks along or so (I can't remember exactly when) and that helped a ton to support the belly. 🙂 You are going to laugh but I did end up purchasing one "maternity" running top – from a company called BornFit – which I LOVED towards the end of my pregnancies. I could get away with wearing my normal stuff for 7-8 months or so, but I was grateful for that maternity workout top during those last weeks!! So excited for you guys to start this next chapter of your lives!

    1. Thanks, Jenn! Yeah, clearly, no nausea :). I've actually been feeling great, other than right at first when I saw a big spike in HR on my easy days and struggled a little bit more. But even that's cleared up (mostly – I'm still about 20+ secs slower/mile than before) – so I'm happy!

      Good to know that support belts might be a good option… I was wondering if those would actually work.

      No laughs at the maternity running top! I've already had to buy all new running bras (didn't see that one coming… perhaps I was naive)!

      Thanks again, Jenn, and look forward to swapping stories/getting advice from you!

  5. Such exciting news, Nichole! You and Nate are embarking on the most incredible journey of your lives. Get ready for your hearts to grow 10X their normal size. And relish every bit of sleep you get in the upcoming months since you may never get eight straight hours again (or seven, or six, for that matter)!!! -AO

  6. I am SUPER excited and HAPPY. You guys are going to make amazing parents. You are already really great with your nieces. About the sleep thing, you can always go down to the farm and walk up stairs and say, want to baby sit? Go and take a 10 hour nap. That saved my life with Violet 🙂 I love the ultrasound picture, already a really cute baby 🙂 I will start keeping my 'parents' magazines now! Yea!

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