For #MotherlyStories | I can still hear my mother-in-law’s cautionary voice ringing in my ears from twelve years ago: “You know, the Wilsons are very fertile.”
My husband, Andy, and I were just dating at the time, but now, after being married for nearly five years, I can attest to this truth.
I knew I was pregnant about two weeks after conception. I could just feel it. After one try at tracking my ovulation on the Kindara app and then “making things happen” on the appropriate date—boom—science!
You are officially with child.
There’s no going back now.
Ready or not.
Life just changed forever.
Call me cold, call me ungrateful, call me (gasp!) normal—after the tiny purple plus sign-on-a-stick confirmed my suspicions, I didn’t cry happy tears and immediately begin nesting.
Instead, I sat there in disbelief, pondering the cells madly multiplying inside my body.
Then I went to GoDaddy.com to check if the URL pregnantisweird.com was available.
(In case you’re wondering, it was. But for fear of judgment, I abandoned my purchase.)
Because pregnancy is weird, and it was hard to feel much excitement in those first few weeks. Really, I just felt trepidation.
When it came time for our first eight-week ultrasound appointment, Andy and I about leapt out of our seats at the sudden, fast, booming sound of our baby girl’s heartbeat.
It was as if someone had said, “Hey, listen to this real quick,” and then handed you some Bose headphones with the audio cranked up to their full degree.
It rocked the room and made our hearts beat a little faster, too.
It was a sound neither of us had ever heard.
The sound of a new life.
I immediately choked up, and I know Andy did, too.
We came to this first appointment armed with a long list of questions scrawled on a piece of paper: Can I eat sushi? Can I sit in the hot springs? Can I have caffeine? Basically every answer to every question I had was “no,” which I expected, but I’ll never forget my doctor’s response to the question whose answer I confidently thought would be a precautionary, yet definitive “yes.”
Can I ski?
Let me preface this by saying that, while I may be a native Iowan, Andy and I moved out to Colorado immediately after we got married, first and foremost, because of our love for downhill skiing.
Every weekend in the wintertime, we look forward to getting up early, putting on our base layers and beanies, strapping our skis to the roof rack, grabbing our coffee, and making our way to the mountains for a day or two of fresh powder.
We recently started doing double black diamond runs, weaving in and out of trees, jumping off boulders, and we love racing each other down the mountain, regularly hitting speeds of 50 to 60 miles per hour.
My doctor’s response? “Absolutely not.”
“You could be sitting there hemorrhaging on the side of a mountain, and no one would be able to get to you in time.” Those words stung—even though they might have been true.
I still well up thinking about it as I’m writing now.
She said that I could ski if I could do it within the next month (it was September, so that would do me no good), but anything after that was out of the question.
As she explained further, I looked at Andy in desperation, and everything went blurry as the tears started streaming.
“You have a placenta growing inside of you—someone could run into you, or you could fall, which could tear the placenta from your body, causing you to bleed out, killing both you and the baby. You could be sitting there hemorrhaging on the side of a mountain, and no one would be able to get to you in time.”
She doesn’t beat around the bush, and why should she? It wasn’t so much the margaritas or the vanilla-hazelnut coffee, the brie or the feta, the every-four-week hair colorings or the five-dollar foot-longs I would miss (okay, I really miss all of those, too), but the skiing was the ultimate for me.
It was the hardest I’d cried in a long time.
Not surprisingly, no one feels very sorry for me when I tell them this story.
They say, “It’s just a small part of your life that you’ll work around this year as you’re growing your baby.”
And it’s true. I’ll make it.
I’m already planning more snowshoeing and cross-country skiing trips this winter to stay active and ease the pain.
I’m trying to make it a point to keep myself physically and mentally strong, and hopefully, sowing some snow sports into my baby girl’s DNA along the way.
Being pregnant is still weird.
It’s a strange personal sacrifice, but it’s one that I hope will lead to my life’s greatest adventure, and some of our little family’s proudest moments, yet. I’m envisioning snowfall on the ski slopes and selfies only made sweeter with a mini-us smashed in between. Mornings sipping coffee while watching her play. Family adventures (maybe fourteeners?) with Andy pack-muling a little girl through the brisk, thin air.
It’s hard to say at this early stage, but stay tuned. You’ll be the first to know.
Abby Elise Wilson is a Denver-based writer and publishing industry transplant who spent years editing and writing for national magazines and New York Times best-selling cookbooks before becoming an advertising copywriter. She credits her creative writing education at the University of Iowa for shaping her love of language. When she’s not traveling, skiing, hiking, or mentally preparing to be a mom, Abby is freelance copywriting for B2B and B2C clients or writing for fashion, travel, and design magazines. View more of Abby’s work here and follow her on Twitter.