Retired, 42 Years Old and Pregnant: The 2nd Trimester
Retired, 42 years old and pregnant…the first time I used those words in one sentence, all of which apply to me, I couldn’t help but giggle. Yes, I am a retired US Army Soldier and have been for over three years. I am currently 42 years old. And I am also currently 30 weeks pregnant! My other two children are 21 and 10, so basically, soon I will have had a child each decade for the last three decades! Not much about my life has been “typical” but I have to be honest – I have never been happier, more confident or secure than I am today. And the path I have taken, as bumpy and full of detours as it may have been, is what brought me here.
Earlier this year, I became a certified professional coach (CPC) and started my own life coaching business, helping professional women who juggle too much find balance and joy. A few months later, I married the most wonderful man ever, Omari. The following month I became pregnant. And the month after that we moved from North Carolina, across the country to Texas. Somewhere along the way, I decided to share my life journey, via blog, beginning with this pregnancy. Although becoming a CPC was important to me, and in my opinion brings credibility, (especially to those who don’t know me) I believe my life experiences are most important and have molded me into who I am today. There are many experiences I have to share, and I’m sure we will get through many of them eventually, but I had to start somewhere. So what better place than being retired, 42 years old and pregnant? This is my second blog in this series, so if you didn’t catch the first one, you can find it here.
The second trimester brought a ton of relief, because like I mentioned in my last blog, there was quite a bit of fear associated with the potential of another miscarriage. And although there was still a chance that could happen, the likelihood was much less at this point. Just like many expecting women, I noticed my energy levels increasing quite a bit and my nausea and food aversions were not nearly as frequent. Overall, I was feeling fabulous and super excited!
After a few visits with the doctor, I was told that I could now see any provider within the clinic and was no longer limited specifically to an OB/GYN. You see, being of “advanced maternal age” AND the fact that with my previous pregnancy I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes, I was immediately placed in the high-risk category. But after a few appointments and some lab work, I was given more flexibility to choose my provider. It was evident that I am very healthy and take good care of myself, but more importantly, my lab work confirmed that I was not prediabetic or even close to having high blood sugar levels. My care would be considered “routine”, at least for now. Later in my pregnancy, during the third trimester, we would do things like retest for gestational diabetes and I would be given more frequent ultrasounds, as well as non-stress tests to ensure the baby and I were continuing on the right track. I was so excited about this and immediately decided on a midwife that I saw very early on and who I really liked.
As I mentioned in my previous blog, “…I quickly decided that I was going to focus on a few specific things to ensure many of the habits I had worked so hard to create and maintain did not fall by the wayside. They were (are) sleep, nutrition, exercise and mindfulness.” I already had created daily, consistent habits focused on all four of these areas and knew that maintaining them would only ensure the baby and I were healthy. I was grateful that I didn’t have to change much but also knew that in in terms of exercising safely and effectively, I would need to make some modifications throughout my pregnancy. And although I am a CrossFit Level 2 trainer and have been exercising and training people for years, to include working out during both of my other pregnancies, I knew that I didn’t know what I didn’t know. Immediately, I thought of a friend and fellow trainer who I coached with back in North Carolina. We coached the CrossFit Kids program together there, as well as adult classes, and during that time she became a Birthfit coach. At the time, I didn’t know exactly what that meant or entailed but I knew enough to know I needed to look into it. So that’s exactly what I did….
I quickly learned that Birthfit is so much more than just teaching women how to exercise safely and effectively during pregnancy (and postpartum). Birthfit is a movement. “It is about expecting and postpartum moms taking charge of their bodies and their decisions and supporting one another’s journeys—together and apart.” It is an approach to birth. A state of readiness. A support team. Birthfit is so much more than I knew, or could have imagined, but one thing was for sure. I needed to be a part of it. Of course, because the knowledge and support would benefit me right now. But for so much more than just that. I wanted to expand my knowledge as a coach and was always looking for opportunities to do so. I wanted to have the ability to work with pregnant and postpartum women in a way I was currently unable to. I can’t tell you how many times I have had pregnant or postpartum women in my classes at the gym. And like I said before, you don’t know what you don’t know. Well that was going to change. And quickly. I researched how and where I could become certified as a Birthfit coach and signed myself up. It was a no-brainer! I look forward to sharing more with you in an upcoming blog on my Birthfit coach seminar experience and how I have applied all I learned to myself since then. Stay tuned for that very soon!
Throughout my second trimester, I believe I did the best I possibly could at focusing on the things that were most important to me, as previously mentioned. I also worked really hard on setting (and sticking to) boundaries, so as to not overwhelm myself (which I am infamous for doing). I continued to work as a life coach, but decided this was the time to maintain where I was currently at with my business, A Joyful Life With Jennifer, instead of working on growth, like I had planned to do upon our arrival in Texas. I continued to coach Crossfit, only now it was at my new fabulous gym, CrossFit 254, for 3-4 classes a week. I ensured that I was still doing the things I loved but wasn’t necessarily moving in the professional direction, and at the speed, I had planned after our move. Embracing and enjoying this pregnancy were much more important to me right now. I also felt very strongly about spending quality time with my family. And I know from past experiences that, if and when I go too hard professionally, I don’t have much left in the tank for the ones I love (which was one of the major reasons I retired from the Army several years ago).
We learned that the baby is a girl and throughout the entire second trimester, Baby Girl Ballou, seemed to be doing really well. Her movement became much more frequent and each time we had an appointment, and saw her on an ultrasound, were told some version of “how active she is”. Of course, that doesn’t mean anything for sure, but something tells me that this little girl is going to give us a run for our money! More to follow on that soon enough.
Just like the first trimester, the second was over before I knew it! It is truly amazing how quickly time has been passing. And although there have been days here and there that I have felt tired, emotional, unsure and sometimes even scared, they are tremendously overshadowed by positivity, excitement, love, support and hope.
I look forward to sharing my next blog in this series very soon because it’s all about the third trimester so far! And I have quite a bit to share, to include my first significant challenge during this pregnancy and how I have been handling it…stay tuned!
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