Running Out of Time

Saturday: mid afternoon. Something crunched down into my pelvis, the pressure makes me gasp. I spend the afternoon feeling sick and yet my ribs have stopped hurting. I get home that evening and check through the hospital bag again.

Sunday through Thursday: same as Saturday on and off. Sometimes a lightening bolt feels like it fires down the inside of my thighs, making me stop, hunch. Yet, nothing.

Thursday: 3am. I phone the midwife. I say I feel crazy, but after 2 hours of being kept awake by what feels like a burrowing bunny trying to get out my back end, I felt I should call in a change of movements. An increase.

Thursday: 10am. Preparation for labour reflexology with the wonderful Deanna. Apparently my feet give away my week so far.

Friday: 4am. I wake up in a cold sweat, drenched. My tummy feels still and rock hard. I prod the edges. Pace about. But that’s it: I know he’s gone. My pulse racing in my ears and the tinge of sick in my mouth, I wake wolf and phone the midwife. Then push, pound, turn. He’s back. I cry and cry in relief.

Friday: 7am. A wobbly, sleep smelling DD crashes into her bedroom door and flails along the corridor before climbing over wolf and snuggling down between us in bed, her little heart going ten to the dozen. She snuffles in for a cuddle. A foot prods her from inside my tummy. She looks up and says “ow” with a wry smile.

I tell her we have to get up and get ready this morning- no lazy games of Marshall Pup hiding under the covers that have marked the rest of her Easter holidays. She asks why?

I make a mistake, I tell her that she has to go to Grandma and Grandpa’s this morning as Mummy and Daddy have to go to the hospital for an appointment about the baby. I only realise my mistake too late, when her behaviour becomes uncooperative and wild. I’ve not said before that we have to go to the hospital for appointments for the baby before. And I know for her, hospitals are sad places. Hospitals don’t make people better.

Friday: 8am. A brief interlude in the general stroppiness as we all get into the car, and Scatman John comes on the radio. In car dance party on the way to Grandma and Grandpa’s. All of us relax a little until drop off. Dog and child burst out of car in mass of limbs and barking. Quick hellos and goodbyes.

Friday: 8.30am. Arrive at hospital. Find I’m booked into the wrong doctor’s clinic. Have a mini strop in the thankfully deserted waiting room. All gets sorted, I get hooked up to the CTG monitors. My heart rate and the baby’s are racing. I explain the movements situation. All becomes calmer as I’m reassured.

Friday: 9.30am. I see my consultant. She is lovely, we talk about the last week. My mental state and anxiety. The baby. We agree on a plan. But first to see what’s going on down there. Knees up, deep breath, a pain that reaches from behind my knees to my ears. Feels like she’s turning a pretty big key in there. Out, down, relax. 2cm dilated, soft and short. 

It’s what I needed to know, to hear. That my body was preparing. That things maybe, just maybe, may resemble something somewhere near normal.

However, it brings up a problem. Wolf and DD are due to head to London later in the day, in preparation for him running the London Marathon on Sunday. I could go into labour any time now, which I know Wolf wants to be present for- but before he meets his new son, I know he has to complete this for his first son.

It’s not like the meeting of our full term due date with the date of the marathon are in any way a surprise. It’s just we didn’t feel like we could invest in either, and in the midst of grief, Wolf has found the solitude and fresh air a chance to breathe out and take time to be with his memories and thoughts.

I know this, because in RDs lifetime, I used running as a similar means to an end. When your mind feels clogged and chewed up, just concentrating on the rhythmic pound of your feet on ground and clocking up miles shakes sense back into them. I watch him go out in envy, and attempt something similar whilst waddling and watching Eric cavort about the moors.

But clearly, from Friday’s example, it’s not enough. I simultaneously long for my own body back and the chance for that freedom but I don’t want to beat Wolf to the finish line.

So, who knows, on Sunday if either of us will feel a victor. I certainly hope we’re not comparing blisters and grazes next week. In the next few weeks as the dust settles from both, and we emerge with two medals of victory- albeit one that’s more likely to cry and poop- who knows where we’ll set our goals.

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This Girl Can’t (Unwillingly)

Running and parenting. 

I often wake up and dread that I have to do one or the other most days. Then I get up, get going, think f*ck me this is hard. I find my stride, feel like it will NEVER end, then at the end of the day look back with a warm smugness that I achieved that.

Also, both aren’t great for your knees. And boobs.

It’s my birthday on Sunday. It’s also the London Marathon. And I should be running it, having received my golden ticket: a ballot entry. But I won’t be, and it’s one of those smallfactsthatshouldntbotherme but REALLY does. What I wouldn’t give to magic myself marathon ready again. But the bright eyed of you will have observed that’s because I’d quite like to rewrite the last 10 months anyway. It’s going to be my birthday, and I’m definitely going to cry because I want to. 

I’ve said this before, I used to think people who went running were more than likely to be dicks. It was way too outdoorsy to hold much appeal. And involved insane amounts of neon Lycra. Plus I knew I was crap at running. Always near the back end in cross country if I didn’t feign illness or forgotten bits of kit to get out of it. I have lovely friends that run, I knew they weren’t dicks, but that part of their lives was otherworldly to me.

But then I realised, I’m not crap. I can put one leg in front of the other and move. I just might not be the fastest. And it’s not easy, it takes time to see improvement. But I’m determined, and this is what I need my daughter to start knowing now. That people that look like they can do something you can’t are not most likely to be dicks. They could be you. 

As Lauren Laverne (I should have some 😍😍😍 inserted here) said in The Pool:

Sport does not belong to fit people anymore than karaoke does to those who can actually sing.

(I can also belt out many many poor renditions of songs in private. And with enough wine, in public)

I stopped running when I fell pregnant again last year. I just wasn’t that bothered because 

a) I was frigging knackered. Those in the know get that. I was essentially a puddle of human on the sofa at the end of most days. 

b) my pelvic floor has creaky boards after its past batterings, and I didn’t want to lose something. 

And c) I was content. 

But then I lost something without running. The mojo had gone. The baby had gone. My muscle tone was lost way back. 

It dawned on me that I’d built a connection between being physically strong and feeling mentally strong. And I’d gone soft all over.

When I feel like I have no time for anything right now I know I have to make time to run. Force myself out that door when I know I’ve got numerous tv programs that I could just watch instead in an hour. Set the alarm a little earlier.

Because it’s good for my brain. And also because this brain knows this stomach and its love handles are going to be viewed by a lot of medical professionals. Scrutinised under an MRI scanner, all in the name of my donor compatibility testing. And I’m more than a little bit vain.