February’s Book and Bike Break Down

Catch up on what Mandi’s reading and how may miles she’s riding!

Booking and biking my way through 2020.


Books

5. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling (fantasy)
So I haven’t given up on HP. Book 3 has brought some redemption. It was deeper, more exciting, and, now that I know the characters better, much more emotional. I really liked the change-up in this one from the Voldemort focus to the prisoner of Azkaban. We needed a change and this one was perfect. 4 STARS

6. The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray (contemporary)
This was February’s book club choice. I campaigned hard for it because the author is from St. Joseph, MI and the book takes place in that area. Plus, she’s black and it’s Black History Month. I wish I could say it was a homerun, but I was a little disappointed with it in the end. Once it got going, the bones were there, but it took a while for me to sort out the characters and then I found the ending dissatisfying. 3.5 STARS

7. Don’t Miss It: Parent Ever Week Like it Counts by Reggie Joiner, Kristen Ivy (parenting)
I can see why this book is so necessary for a lot of people, but it mostly just felt like a 78-page panic attack for me. The entire book is a reminder of how fast your kids will grow up and that you should make the most of it. I already feel the pressure to do that and think about it constantly. However, my church suggested we read this per our child dedication process, and so I did. For me, personally? 2 stars. But because I think a lot of people do need to hear this message… 3 STARS

8. American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins (contemporary)
March’s book club pick already – did anyone hear about “the controversy” of this book? Because it was deemed one of the most-anticipated books of 2020 and then there was all this fuss over it and I’m like kind of confused about the hype. The first quarter of this book had me on the edge of my seat, and then it turned into a rather predictable immigration story. I didn’t feel controversially threatened (and I kind of wanted to feel that way). The story was good, and if you have strong thoughts about undocumented immigrants, I would recommend the read. But it did start to drag for me at about the halfway mark. 3 STARS


Biking

And now, onward with the goal to ride 2020 miles in 2020 on a bike.

2020 miles in a year means approximately 5.5 miles/day. I’ve been trying to do at least 8 each time I sit down, with the goal of 202 (10%) per month in these lead-off months. So far it’s happening! My total?

410 miles.

As of yesterday, I was 20% done with 2020 in 2020. Eek!

My knees seem to have adjusted to all of the riding, which is a major relief. I can’t exactly afford an injury with a baby and toddler at home. There have been other minor discomforts, but as a whole, I’m just cruising along!

Hope you had a great February!

And Now We Start Over

I always knew I was a little bit of a hippie. When it came to my role as a mother, my hippie self wanted to love being pregnant and breastfeed my many babies for as long as I could.

And then I hated being pregnant. 

And then I got pregnant again.

And I was still breastfeeding that first baby.

2.13.19

“I’m mourning the loss of this summer. I thought I wouldn’t be breastfeeding or pregnant. I thought I’d have my body to myself...”

I always knew I was a little bit of a hippie. When it came to my role as a mother, my hippie self wanted to love being pregnant and breastfeed my many babies for as long as I could.

And then I hated being pregnant. 

And then I got pregnant again.

And I was still breastfeeding that first baby.

Oaklee was almost 20 months old, and I was still pretty comfortably breastfeeding her. I had planned to breastfeed for a year, but I hoped our breastfeeding journey might extend through a second flu season, pending a child-led weaning approach. As my new reality – my second pregnancy – was beginning to sink in, I realized that not only was this journey with Oaklee naturally coming to an end, I needed it to come to an end if I wanted any time to myself. 

It never occurred to me that I would enter a stage of life where I would share my body with my babies for, literally, years. Oaklee was conceived in December of 2016. It was February of 2019, and my body had been sustaining a baby from either the inside or the outside (or both) for 26 months already, with no obvious end in sight. 

I had imagined that the summer of 2019 would be a break for me – no pressure to stay pregnant, no tether to my breastfeeding baby – and that I might be able to get out and do things I’d otherwise been unable to do the past two years. This surprise pregnancy quickly dampened that dream. Until this second baby was born, I would be too scared to travel or partake in various activities for fear of the whole gamut of pregnancy-related issues I could face (and have faced in the past).

I had entered the pressure-to-stay-pregnant phase that would one day end with a transition into the tether-to-my-breastfeeding-baby phase. I was starting all over again.

Kevin and I knew our family was not complete after our daughter was born. We knew there was more for us. Naturally, that means I knew I would “start all over” one day. I knew I would be pregnant again. I knew I would breastfeed again. I think I just imagined that “one day” would be after a little rest and relaxation for this mama’s body, because now my child-led weaning approach to my breastfeeding baby was being led by the child within me. 

In the stats: 
Gestational Age: 5 weeks, 1 day

There Goes the Mojo

It’s the morning of Wednesday, February 6, just two days after I made my appointment to meet a new lady doctor, and my period is now three days late. I’ve been late before – it’s not the craziest thing to happen – but this time I’m feeling anxious because of all the conversations we’d been having about the prep work that needed to be done before considering getting pregnant again. 

2.6.19

“I’ve panicked. I’ve cried. I’ve laughed. I’m shocked. I’m confused. I’m scared. This was not planned. We were at the stage where the plan was to get some things in order… and then make a plan.”

It’s the morning of Wednesday, February 6, just two days after I made my appointment to meet a new lady doctor, and my period is now three days late. I’ve been late before – it’s not the craziest thing to happen – but this time I’m feeling anxious because of all the conversations we’d been having about the prep work that needed to be done before considering getting pregnant again. 

As my husband gets ready to leave for work, I joke about taking a pregnancy test, because it still seemed so impossible that I might actually be pregnant. He tells me not to take one without him there, but when he leaves, I check the expiration dates on the two pregnancy tests I’ve had stored in the drawer upstairs for two years now. Expired. 

I’m looking up online what an expired pregnancy test can do for me. 

The internet is telling me that the results from my expired pregnancy test will most likely be negative, whether it should be or not. 

Test #1 – positive.

Test #2 – positive.

Mandi – panicking.

I text my husband to let him know my daughter and I are going to head to the store to pick up some pregnancy tests… just in case. He encourages me to wait, and just take the ones we have at home before buying more. I then inform him, via text, “I did. They’re positive.”

Mandi – crying. 

I’m a planner. Something this huge, catching me off guard, really takes my mojo out of me. So to keep from being a complete basket case while taking care of my daughter, I keep us busy with errands all day. We end our busy day at my former doctor’s office, requesting them to send all of my records to the new doctor I’ve not yet met – the one who now holds the basket I’m putting all of my eggs into. 

Mandi – laughing. 

I’m shocked. I’m confused. I’m scared.

I guess it’s time for a new plan.

In the stats: 
Gestational Age: 4 weeks, 1 day

But Before We Do this Again

It’s Monday, February 4, 2019 and I’m laying in my bed next to my husband at the end of a long day. Our 19-month old daughter is sleeping in her bed in the room next to ours. I’m crying, because I don’t know if I can do it again…

2.4.19

“I’m afraid I’ll never be able to say, yes, let’s do this again. I’ll never be ready. Because I don’t want to do it again. I just don’t.”

It’s Monday, February 4, 2019 and I’m laying in my bed next to my husband at the end of a long day. Our 19-month old daughter is sleeping in her bed in the room next to ours. I’m crying, because I don’t know if I can do it again.

We promised each other we wouldn’t talk about our next baby until our daughter turned two, but we both agreed I needed to find a new doctor before then. And on this day, on Monday, February 4, I made my appointment with a new doctor. 

As we reflected on a pregnancy riddled with issues – previa, abruption, premature rupture of membranes, premature birth – we began compiling the list of questions we would need to ask this new doctor, hoping she could fill the big shoes that’d been left empty when our last pregnancy went horrendously wonky. 

What are the chances those issues could happen again?

What does it look like for my body to be pregnant?

How long can I carry a baby?

What could we do differently to take precautions?

And is this even a good idea at all?

I’m crying, and I whisper, “I just wish I could close my eyes and wake up pregnant so I wouldn’t have to make the conscious decision to put my body through that again…” 

 

In the stats: 
Gestational Age: 3 weeks, 6 days