The Baby Inside My Baby

We athletchics believe we can have it all: family, career, exercise, and possibly travel the globe. But what happens when we get the big news? Hear those seven words that change our lives?

“You are going to have a baby.”

Well, we still believe we can have everything our heart desires, after all, we are tough. Invincible. Our low BMI and healthy living will catapult us into healthy pregnancies. This is going to be easy.

Right?

Sometimes yes. Sometimes no.

When it isn’t

Thirty-four years ago my OBGYN gave me the bad news: I was dilated to five at thirty weeks gestation.  High risk. He sent me home with a note for work and sentenced me to bed rest.

Yes, sentenced. Any athletchic would consider being confined to the couch a sentence. For a good eight hours of rest? Okay, we would welcome that. But for ten weeks? Yikes!

My first thought was how could this happen to me? I was a runner, swimmer, skier. I batted balls back and forth over nets and against walls and bats, all while working a full-time job. I worked hard and played harder. Was in perfect shape. You name the sport, I partook.

High risk pregnancies happen to the best of us and when it does, we adjust. We heed our doctor’s advice and we rest. Pushing ourselves to the limit and taking risks is fine, when it is just us. But when we are carrying a child, we submit. (It is the only time in our lives that submission is necessary.)

When I was pregnant with my first child, Jessie (Athletchic), I discovered my mother took the famed DES pill. The technical name for DES has long escaped me. But its purpose was to help women who had trouble carrying babies get to a full-term, healthy delivery. Unfortunately years later, the female babies of those mothers who took the drug were plagued with a barrage of female and fertility problems.

I had six pregnancies, three healthy children, and a hysterectomy at age forty. And I was one of the lucky ones. Many DES babies couldn’t carry babies full term at all.

And, I don’t own the corner on tough pregnancies. Lots of women have them. If it happens? Simply, you adjust. It’s not forever. (Only a blink in time when you’re my age.)

What’s good is that high-risk pregnancies are not the norm. Having a baby is natural, and most women have a much easier time than I did.

When it’s easier

Let’s not confuse easier with easy. Pregnancy is challenging. You have another life inside you, and you become concerned with everything you put in your mouth, the amount of rest you get, travel, even the weather can be a challenge. (A friend of ours, Athletchic Elana Morales, was born a week late in Houston, Texas, on the Thursday after Harvey reared his ugly head!)

But my baby, Jessie, is having a baby and, while for years we worried that she would go through the same troubles I did, she is healthy and active and beginning her thirty-third week. Working, walking, hiking in the mountains, and even able to do a little running, she hangs onto every word her OBGYN gives her.

What is important to remember about pregnancy is that we are all different and no two pregnancies are the same. You’ll hear stories spanning from women who didn’t know they were pregnant until delivery (secretly, we long to be them) to those who knew the day after they missed their period (when the aroma of their daily coffee made them throw up in the sink.)

Each pregnancy is as unique and diverse as the baby inside you.

A little advice from an expectant grandma

Listen to your body and don’t listen to anything or anyone else except your doctor. Or at least only half listen, because people talk too much about the problems and not enough about the joys.

If you asked me what my pregnancy was like thirty years ago when it was fresh in my mind, I would have complained about the morning sickness. Twenty years ago I would have mentioned not being able to see what color shoes I had on in the morning. (Yep I got it wrong a few times. One black. One blue.) If you asked ten years ago, I’d mention my worries about the rising college costs.

And if you ask me today, thirty years later?

I remember little hands and feet fluttering inside me; my husband stroking my belly, trying to get closer; never being alone; reading softly to my unborn child; and closing my eyes and holding tiny, terrycloth sleepers to my cheek in anticipation, knowing I had already fallen in love.

Some of us have a hard time and for some, the months pass easily by. Whether you must plod along bravely or are one of the lucky ones who sail by, my advice is savor this time you and your baby have together. Because before you know it, those tiny toes pushing at your belly will be strong enough to carry that child far away from you. She will be off in the world standing on her own, maybe—like mine—with a baby in her own belly.

I love you and that little girl inside you, Jessie. More than you know. I’m counting down the days, hours, and minutes to November 11th. See you soon.

Enjoy.

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Gigi, Cyndie Zahner, is a freelance writer and about to be a grandmother for the first time. Follow her on Twitter @tweetyz, Instagram @athletchicz, or on her author website at www.cyndiezahner.com.

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Mothers of Daughters – Our Hardest Job

It’s not easy for us—mothers of daughters. Almost from the time they take their first steps, we drill in them that they can be anything they want to be. We encourage them to be strong, willful, powerful, and tell them to dream big. Find their passion. Set lofty goals.

Then we send them on their way to focus on their dreams, and we find ourselves panicking beyond belief. What were we thinking? A myriad of mothering questions enter our minds. Will they be careful? Eat well? Get enough sleep? Will they know how to get around in a big city? Find a safe hotel in a small town?

For the rest of our lives we will wonder and worry if we’ve done our job: prepared them for the big world.

I dropped my daughter off at the airport at 4:40 this morning. She had spent a week at home before boarding a flight to Philly that would eventually lead her to Norfolk, New York City, and Baltimore for a two-week training period at a new job. After I was out of earshot, I realized I’d forgotten to tell her to write down the license plate of any cab she takes, hold her keys in her fingers to gouge out a mugger’s eyes, only drink from a container she opened herself, and never meet with anyone in her room.

I tried to reassure myself that she knew these cautionary ploys, but other questions surfaced. What if her luggage was lost? Was her phone charged? Did she have directions? Did she pack her toothbrush?

I’ve raised two strong women. Both educated beyond college, both successful, and both braver than I ever was. My oldest left her home town when she was 18 and, other than coming back for a few summers to work, really never came home. My youngest daughter, a special education teacher, announced fifteen months ago that she had landed a new job in a great school district—400 miles away. Her father and I moved her –all by herself—to a big city, and I cried all the way home.

It’s scary—this mothering business. Teaching our daughters to be strong is imperative, but sending them down the road is possibly the hardest job we will ever tackle. It goes against our grain. We become so used to caring for them that once it’s time for them to care for themselves, we are at odds with the world.

Yet it is a necessary evil—saying goodbye. I don’t think I realized until this morning that we really haven’t done our jobs until we can say goodbye.

So this morning, once again, I choked back those tears, told her good luck, kissed her goodbye and watched my strong, successful, thirty-one year old go off in the direction of her dreams.

It was happy and it was sad, but most definitely, it was a proud moment.  I watched her walk confidently toward the baggage scanner in the bright lights of the airport. She never looked back. And just before she rounded that last corner and disappeared from my sight, I swear I saw the faded shadow of a My Little Pony etched on her back pack.

They’ll always be our little girls.

 

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Cyndie  Zahner is a freelance writer/editor and mother of Athletchic s Jessie and Jillian Zahner . Follower her @tweetyz on Twitter and athletchicz on Instagram.