I raced through 13 weeks, and we told our families about the baby at 14 weeks. We waited that long for multiple reasons. The main reason is that the risk for miscarriage is at its highest during the first trimester, and we didn’t want to share our news until we got past that stage. Another was for the reason that I was racing. My husband and doctor knew I was pregnant and racing, and I didn’t want a swarm of opinions and unwanted advice or criticism thrown my way. Lastly, the weekend we went home and shared the news was also Grandparent’s Day weekend, and we thought we could use that as a fun way of making our announcement.
The Monday morning after that weekend, I went out on a ride with a buddy. This was not anything unusual, as we had done a few training rides together before. We were planning on doing a tough ride with two 20-minute high-effort intervals. The only way that I had a chance of keeping up with him during this is to draft, which we had also done before.
We did our warm up and started on our first interval. We were at least five minutes in, but still fairly early on in the interval when I started losing him. I knew that once I lost him, I wouldn’t be able to catch him again, so I pushed hard to close the gap. I was certainly successful in that anyway. I got too close and tapped his back wheel from the side with my front wheel. I managed to say, “sorry,” as I was unable to regain my balance and hit the pavement. Fortunately, he was left unphased by the contact, and wouldn’t have even known anything was wrong had I not said something. He turned around to find me a bloody mess in the road.
He called for someone to come pick us up, and moved me and my bike to the side of the road. I really was a nasty sight. I had abrasions down my right arm, leg, and ankle, as well as the left knee and both hands. My helmet was cracked but I only had a small spot of blood on my forehead. The biggest concern was the well-being of the baby. Next was the fact that my shoulder was in a lot of pain. I kept reassuring myself that the baby must be okay because my head and shoulder took the brunt load of the hit (I did not feel like I had impacted my abdominal area at all), and I did not have any abdominal pain or cramping whatsoever.
|Bandages look better than the skin.|
I was taken to the ER, and I remember repeatedly saying, “I’m 14 weeks!” One of the first things they did was find the baby’s heartbeat. And there it was. Beautiful. I cried twice during this whole episode (that I distinctly remember tears), and that was the first. There was the sound of my baby, alive and well. The second set of tears came when I was taken to have my shoulder x-rayed. I was covered with vests to protect the baby, but they had to move my arm and shoulder in ways that I could not. It ended up just as a sprain, which was painful enough in itself, but fortunately not a break. I was really hoping all those years of drinking lots of milk would pay off! (Farm girl through and through here.) I was taken back to be cleaned up and bandaged. I ended up getting stitches in my hand as well, where a chunk of skin once was.
We were cruising when it happened. My buddy downloaded his power file from that ride and found out we were averaging 28 miles/hour on the mile that the accident occurred. I had been told many times that at some point I would crash on my bike. I am extremely thankful that I had gotten into the habit of wearing my helmet. I used to only wear my helmet during races (because it was required). I never grew up wearing a helmet (didn’t own one until my first race even), and had never worn it on training rides until I became pregnant and my husband got on my case about it.
As bad as the accident was, it could have ended up a lot worse, and I count myself blessed for how fortunate I was in being able to walk away, unbroken, with a healthy baby, and not even so much as a concussion. The accident was on a Monday, and I couldn’t bring myself to call and tell my mom until Friday, and Andy’s mom until Sunday. I know mistakes were made, and I shouldn’t have been out there drafting while pregnant. The risk was too high, and I was far too inexperienced.
I had a doctor’s appointment about a week later. When I walked in with my bandages still on, my doctor looked at me and said, “That’s not what I meant when I said you could keep doing these things.” Good call, doc. He did also say to not let it happen again after I was 20 weeks along. I was not expecting that, but it was also comforting to hear that I was early enough on in pregnancy that my baby was still well protected. Oh yea, with a little bit of help from the bike shop, my bike was back ready for another ride a week later (solo and at a bit slower pace I should also add). Pregnant or not, be careful out there!
There are two types of cyclists - those who have fallen, and those who will fall.