Was this a surprise?
Honestly, I really, really felt we'd have a little more time between Katie and her next sibling. Otherwise, I wouldn't have signed up for another half marathon in August and a full marathon October 1st. I thought I'd have plenty of time to finish out my weight loss and fitness goals and figured sometime next summer our next one would be born.
But at the same time, it wasn't a total surprise. At the start of my goals earlier this year, I had prayed sincerely about whether now might be a good time to take a break from child-bearing for a short time and felt the distinct "no" answer. So we weren't doing anything to prevent a baby from coming, and it wasn't a shock when I found those double lines on that pregnancy test.
Were you disappointed at all?
Actually, I was, for a few hours. I had worked so hard at getting my fitness in order and was having so much success. I'd run a half marathon and was shooting for a full. It was so satisfying to see my weekly mileage go up while the scale inched down every week. I'd lost 35 lbs and was on track to lose the last 25, and at first, I really thought I'd have to give up the marathon goal for sure. That was disappointing.
But it didn't last long. If ever I wondered if children are a blessing, all I have to do is look at any one of my kids and think about how much I love them. And really, there would be other races and more time later to finish out my weight loss goals, while the time I have for child-bearing is relatively short. As I continued to ponder and pray about the news, I laughed at myself. The whole point of working to get myself in shape was so that I could better handle the challenges of pregnancy and my life as a mother. And I'd been so blessed in those goals! How could I get to the point where I'd think they were more important than the reason I was doing them in the first place? There'd always be another marathon, while THIS was the time for this baby to be born.
And as time passed, I started feeling more blessed in the timing of this. If I had known I would be pregnant, I wouldn't have signed up for those races and would probably have given up running when the morning sickness hit. Something to think about other than the nausea and exhaustion really helped me through my worst weeks, and the looming specter of those upcoming events has forced me out the door when I'd rather roll over and go back to sleep.
And I'm excited to have a baby in February, when life is calmer and not much is happening. We have a six-month time frame from October 30th to April 27th where we've never had a baby. I think something exciting and joyous right in the midst of winter sounds wonderful, and by the time I'm up to getting back into life and running, the weather will be perfect for it. If I had a baby next summer, I probably wouldn't be up for running any races next year. Having one in February means I could sign up for all sorts of things to help me get back into shape.
How far apart will Katie and this baby be?
They'll be 21 months, the same spacing we have between Eliza and Harmony and Harmony and Katie. See this post for the spacing between all of our kids.
Do you feel ready to have another baby?
Of course not. But what does that have to do with it? If we always felt ready for the next challenge, there wouldn't be any need for faith.
I have felt reassurance that this baby is part of God's plan for our family, and knowing that I'm doing His will is enough for me. I trust that He'll give me the strength and help He always has in the past. And really, can nine kids really be much different than eight?
How are you feeling?
Not wonderful. I tend to have a honeymoon period at the beginning of every pregnancy, a few weeks of bliss before the morning sickness hits. Then the morning sickness lasts until around week 18, though I start to feel better around week 15. I felt more tired in June, and a slight bit of nausea, but it was mostly a minor annoyance. Then July came, along with the seven-week mark, and the morning sickness hit me like a truck. There were a couple of horrible weeks in there where I barely held on (I was so miserable I even interrupted my friend’s family vacation asking for a pep talk). I took Zofran for a week and it seemed to help really well for the first few days and then did nothing more than take the edge off (the same thing happened the last pregnancy).
On the brighter side, I haven't found the morning sickness to be as debilitating as in the past (maybe because I'm in better shape?), and after a few miserable weeks, it has gotten better, showing up mostly in the afternoons and evenings. I go to bed early (between 8 and 9), and don't really do much after dinner anymore.
So why didn't you give up the idea of a marathon once you found out you were pregnant? Isn't that pretty risky to keep running at such an extreme level?
I've been willing all the way along to do what I need to do to keep this baby safe. If that meant giving up the marathon for now, I'd do it. However, after praying and seeking a priesthood blessing, I have simply felt that I should continue. I've tried to be very in tune with what my body needs and I have made adaptations to my running and I've been very prayerful all the way along.
One big reason I've continued with the running is that I quickly realized that most of my training for a marathon was behind me. During the first five months of this year, I had gone from running taking everything I had (and being a miserable chore) to being an enjoyable part of my life. I'd gone from being able to run for only about 30 minutes straight to being able to maintain that for three hours. I'd gotten to where I could easily carry on a conversation even throughout a long run. Compared to that, adding some more mileage and a bit more time could hardly be more strenuous.
I've done a lot of reading and research and from what I understand and have talked over with my doctor, the two biggest risks to the baby are dehydration and if my body's core temperature rises too high. I carry water with me even on my short runs and I plan my long runs around places to refill my water bottles.
The overheating can occur if I push myself too hard with the training or if I run in the heat of the day. I've modified my training so I take more walk breaks and if I ever feel I'm struggling to catch my breath, I slow down. I've seen my runs go from consistently in the 12-minute mile range to inching now toward 14 minute miles. And while I wish I was faster, I'm glad my body can still run while protecting this little one.
As for the heat of the day, I do all my running in the early morning, and one reason I chose the Mesa Falls marathon is that they have an early start option (at 5:00 a.m.!) so I can finish before the day warms up too much. The other reason for the Mesa Falls is that I'll be 15 weeks along for that one instead of 20 weeks for the St. George. My doctor feels much better about that timing, and she's comfortable with the training I'm doing.
Any thoughts on if it's a boy or girl?
Nope. No clue. I'd be happy either way. It would be nice to have a girl to even out our numbers a bit -- I'd rather have six little girls in a row rather than five and always have an odd one out when we pair up -- but it would be nice to have a little boy again after so many years of girls. Lillian wants a boy, as does Michael, but Joey says he'd be happy with either one (though he blames all these babies for the fact that I won't let him have a BB gun -- want to explain to him I wouldn't let him have one anyway?). The rest of the girls are evenly divided or have no clue that anything is happening.