Jenna Wolfe on Boston, babies, back pain... and an unexpected kick

Tragedy -- and a baby kicking inside you -- have a way of changing your perspective, Jenna Wolfe writes.

It’s been an exhausting week. Exhausting for the nail-bitten residents of Boston, for the tireless law enforcement men and women pursuing the suspects, for my colleagues telling the unfolding story on TV, and for those of us at home watching. While I’m no math genius, I can safely say that over the course of the last week, I’ve watched no less than 3,000 hours of Boston coverage. My friend Michelle and I exchanged about 1,500 texts as it was all going down.

MICHELLE: Are you watching this? It’s nuts!
ME: Been watching all morning!
MICHELLE: Are they going to get these guys?
ME: I bet they do.
MICHELLE: Wow... this is just crazy.
(few seconds of silence)
MICHELLE: I think I want to start a cleanse. I feel like i’m getting fat.
ME: Ok

Why was there more ‘watching’ than ‘doing’ on my part? After so many years in the news business, I'm not used to being on the sidelines. But apparently my unborn child has decided that a fit and active lifestyle does not work with her schedule and thus she has caused my lower back to start barking. Not a sweet and cuddly Shih Tzu bark, but a German Shepard, 108 decibel roar type bark. Keep in mind, I’ve never had so much as a twinge of discomfort in my lower back before (and I’ve mastered squats, lunges, burpies, handstands, back hand springs, bench jumps etc…). Now this precious little bundle of wonder is apparently playing jump rope with my sciatic nerve… and getting ON it in the process.

From back flips off a boat... to "oh my aching back." Jenna Wolfe's getting used to the changes of pregnancy.

I completely understand (and yes, even welcome) the nausea, bloating, cravings, expanding waistline, wobbly balance, fatigue, headaches and sleepless nights… but my lower back, too? I have done back flips off more pieces of furniture and over the side of more boats than I can remember, and now I’m doing little stretches, getting little massages and taking little steps to work. I’ve become... gulp... cautious.

If you could only see the pyramid of pillows I build every night to alleviate the discomfort, you’d laugh. It’s like Stonehenge in that bed! And instead of climbing up my kitchen counters to reach the grown-up snacks, I’m now forced to... (whispering)... use a step stool. And because at five and a half months pregnant, you should no longer be sleeping on your back, Steph has strict instructions to tip me to my side if I fall flat while I’m sleeping. I’m like a science experiment!

But then, one random night this week Steph and I were hanging out on the couch reading when, for the first time...

kick kick.


Pillow Stonehenge? No, just the mountain of padding required to help a pregnant woman sleep (somewhat) comfortably.

Guess who? The little one extended that tiny foot and tapped her version of “hey guys, I’m here.” We nearly melted. It was single-handedly the coolest thing that’s ever happened to us. There’s a little person inside of me trying to tell me things... things like, “No more spicy food, please” and “Only four and a half more months until we meet” and “Just deal with the back pain, Mom, it’s the least of the pain I’m going to cause you.”

Suddenly, perspective was back.

In the big scale of things, finding and apprehending the bad guys is hard. And going on TV for hours at a time talking about it is also pretty taxing. So where does that put sitting pregnantly on the couch eating celery and hummus, watching coverage all day? Well, to be honest… somewhere between contemplative and bloated.

Bloated: self explanatory.

Contemplative: We often face our own mortality in the wake of disaster, appreciating what we have only when at risk of losing it. I know I felt a little bit of that this week. Suddenly, and for the first time, it’s not all about me. There’s a little fireball in m’belly who is totally dependent on me and my food choices and my lifestyle and where I go and what I do. I am completely responsible for her until the day she is born. (And then every single day after that... but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.)

It’s an incredible responsibility, but one that I welcome.

And that’s why, as hard as it is, I order the salad instead of the pizza. I go to the gym, instead of the couch, and I hail a pair of sneakers instead of a cab when at all possible.

ME: Not much. Going to the gym.
MICHELLE: I thought you weren’t feeling well.
ME: Yeah well this kid better appreciate all this.
MICHELLE: And if she doesn’t?
ME: What’s the return policy on kids?
MICHELLE: I definitely want to start that cleanse this week.