I'm really feeling the end of this pregnancy: sore back, sore hips, trouble sleeping, heartburn, and fatigue like nothing I've ever known. I'm grateful not to be working a 'real' job at the moment, because I can't imagine how I'd manage.
The fatigue is daily, and takes a lot of willpower to beat: going four blocks to the grocery store, or across the neighborhood for some sewing supplies, can feel like a major expedition. And yet, just staying home every day is too psychologically deadening, too hard on the soul. And so, once or twice a week, I still get out on the bike to DO something-- go on errands with Dave, or pick up quilting stuff, or just tool around.
Yesterday, a friend and former student from Cornell came into town on business and came over to hang out. She hadn't seen much of the city yet, and I figured the best way to show her Portland (at least, Portland as I know it) was to get her on the bike. We dropped the seat on the Yuba an inch or so, I hopped on the Bianchi, and we were off. We didn't go terribly far: over the river on the Hawthorne Bridge, up the Waterfront Park to the Chinese Garden, down to pick up snacks at Voodoo Donuts, back to the riverfront to eat them, and then across the Hawthorne again, now in a lively bike rush hour, to Clever Cycles' Wool Night and then home. It was a great outing, and only about six miles altogether, but by the time we got home I knew I had over-done it.
I put on a support belt before Dave and I walked across the neighborhood for dinner, but it was no use: my hips were toast, my back was shot. Sitting was painful, lying down even worse, walking worst of all. And perversely, instead of leaving my body exhausted and ready to sleep, I was completely keyed up-- restless sleep until 2 am, and then no sleep after that until morning.
And it leaves me wondering: is this physical toll worth getting out and about? Is this what it means to be too pregnant to ride (though walking is harder than riding, even now)? Or is riding one day at the expense of one or two days of exhaustion afterward worth the sense of freedom and joy that the riding gives?
For now, my answer is yes. We'll see how I'm feeling next week.