Skiing pregnant, part III: How NOT to Ski Pregnant, aka A Change of Pace
My first pregnancy in 2016 was basically a breeze. At least that’s how it feels as I look back on it now with a few years of hindsight—ask me how it was back then and I think I would have told a different story. Still, it went relatively well and I had nothing to complain about. I skied until ten days before delivery without any issues, other than some whining (sorry, Jim) and a zillion pee breaks. I filmed for two Warren Miller movies—definitely not my best footage, but I was pleased to participate nonetheless. I wrote blog posts about it. I patted myself smugly on the back for “listening to myself,” and not giving in to all the people (including some close friends) who looked at my belly worriedly and said “be careful,” or “isn’t it time you stuck to the groomers?”
Afterwards, since I clearly considered myself an expert on the topic (present-tense me groans loudly at past-tense me), I figured the second pregnant winter would be about the same. Which is how I entered last winter optimistically, four months pregnant in late January with high expectations to ski until at least March, only to tear my patellar tendon while filming for a much-anticipated project and cut my season short. I will spare you the details of what this felt like, and say only that I knew I had done it because I had done the same injury to my other knee 6 years earlier. My husband said “I knew you did the same thing because your yell afterwards sounded exactly the same!” It was one of those windblown powder days when there was lots of soft, until there wasn’t, and I found one of the rock hard spots.
The irony of this injury was not at all lost on me—here I was “the expert,” and I had done exactly what I did not want to do. If I go back and look at my own tips, I can very obviously see that I wasn’t following my own advice on many levels (see tips number 1-10 out of 10).
The physical pain of this injury was immense, but emotionally I was devastated. Yes, the baby was fine but now I needed surgery, which could risk harming my baby. I was so angry at myself. I channeled my anger into research, looking at all of my possible options. I talked to my midwife, two anesthesiologists, and my surgeon. I looked up countless briefs and studies and articles online. As it happens, there aren’t that many cases of pregnant women getting patellar tendon repair. Like, zero that I could find. I decided reluctantly that immediate surgery with the least amount of medications possible would be the best course of action.
Sitting here today, over a year later, with a healthy happy baby sleeping in the other room, and a knee that grows stronger each week, I feel incredibly grateful. Yes, it was lame, and yes I wish things might have happened differently, but I was very lucky and I learned a lot. In hindsight my mistakes were obvious; at the time I was only paying attention to what I wanted to see.
I wanted to share all of this not to advise others this time, but to tell my full story about skiing pregnant, to give both sides of the coin as I’ve experienced them. And the beauty of it is that we each get to make our own individual choices, each step of the way.