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My Pregnant Athlete Story- Part 1

I thought that is was a great bonus blog.  I’m would share about my pregnancy, birth story and journey back to my body. I have kept most of the details pretty vague and focused on the learnings I found. It is sometimes better to hear about the struggles so people can relate.

I had no trouble getting pregnant, and found out by surprise after moving into my brand new condo. I was ripping out carpet, laying hardwood, designing built ins and painting 10 foot walls when I found that I was disproportionally tired. I did a pregnancy test and congrats to me! I was having a baby.

Over my pregnancy I found that I was very lucky. I maybe threw up 4 times and didn’t have lots of symptoms in my first trimester. As you have seen in my photos I didn’t show into more than half way through my second trimester, and ballooned out in my third. I gained mostly just baby, and I was active until the day before I went into the hospital. Honestly… I disliked being pregnant. I did have some nausea in the first trimester, and I ended up losing weight. My thyroid went into hyper drive and I have to visit an endocrinologist and make sure that I didn’t have to take very damaging medication to my thyroid and my baby. Fortunately, this can happen in the first trimester. The fetus will help the thyroid out and your body will adjust for it throughout pregnancy. I was cleared by the endocrinologist and was assured that the weight loss was ok. They look for weight gain more in the third trimester.

Extreme fatigue seemed to be a constant throughout my pregnancy. The first trimester was the worst, it did get a little better in the second trimester but did return in the third trimester. Fatigue has not left my life since and I am 11 months postpartum right now.

Diet wise I decided to bring everything in my diet. I was previously gluten and soy free.I ate everything. I did not avoid spicy cuisine, and I went out of my way to eat different types of foods that I wouldn’t have previously. I made sure to bring back carbs. My body was craving carbs actually.  I do not recommend a keto pregnancy. Your body needs to feed you and the baby. Fetus feeds of glucose not ketones… please keep that in mind.  No weird or interesting cravings. I was pretty stable and did not over eat. I was not overly hungry during pregnancy. That comes with breast feeding.

My exercise seemed like a chore during my first trimester. I felt like I was forcing myself to go to the gym or go for a run. I found that running was very hard on my back and I was not showing. I was able to run 5 Km 5 times a week for the first 5 months. I did weights 6 days a week and rested one day a week. My weight routine drastically changed. I found that I was not able to lift as heavy earlier than I expected. My 5 km runs took about 35 to 40 mins to complete. By the end of 20 weeks pregnant my back was on fire and I decided to switch to sprints. I loved sprints, but I had to get used to running slower than my endurance liked just for comfort on my abdominal ligaments. I got too big to sprint about 8 months pregnant and switched to different types of ellipticals. My weights changed as I got bigger as well. I found that I liked pleaea squats and lunges. Pec flys, curls, and midback rows were all great. Low back strengthening started to be really hard the bigger I got. It was comical at the gym, I was pretty big when I stopped sprinting. Many people probably wanted to tell me that I should sit down and relax, but no one came up to me, they just stared anxiously.

I decided to go with midwives. My advice is apply early. I applied to midwives when I was 7 weeks pregnant and I was still waitlisted for a few weeks. I loved the fact midwives see you more often and spend a lot of time educating you. They have wonderful resources for you to read and use. I did find that not all midwives are the same. Thankfully on of my midwives was able to help navigate what was safe to do during pregnancy and what was not.  I did have to deal with a little weight gain shame. I was told to gain 15 pounds max based on my pre pregnancy BMI… That did not happen and I gained 57 pounds, mostly in the third trimester. Mostly water weight.

Come my third trimester I found that I was not hungry and I was ready for Theo to get out. I had a scare once with his heart beat when he was 37 weeks. I was taking some nettles and taraxacum tea for the swelling and water weight gain. After that scare I stopped them. No one could explain that, because those are pretty safe in pregnancy. I had peace of mind not taking them, but the ankle swelling and water weight gain was out of control after that. Either way Theo was not going to stay in my womb too much longer.

People say that your first baby will be overdue… Theo decided that he wanted to come out 38 weeks and 5 days. My water broke 38 days and 4 days at 8 AM in the morning. I waited for 12 hours to go into labour only to have to go to the hospital and be induced. Needless to say, 25 hours after being admitted to the hospital my son was born via C-section My C-section lasted 2.5 hours and was described by the anesthesiologist as one of the most traumatic C-sections he has seen. My birth story did not go as planned, and I found it really hard to make the decision to have the C-section rather than waiting another 12 hours to see if I would pass 5 cm dilated. What got me through was healthy baby and healthy momma. Anything could have happened in those extra 12 hours and I wasn’t going to take that chance. I was exhausted and tried everything under the sun. Looking back on that memory I am happy that I chose that option. It helped afterwards in a lot of ways.

Theo was born 9 lbs and 22 inches long. His shoulders were the widest part of his body and I was relieved that I did not have to get stuck on his shoulders. I found that his head was not in the proper position to push dilation. It didn’t matter. For some reason I felt like a failure. I was not able to birth my son. I remember thinking that I would have been one of the women that died in child birth back in the day. It took me a while to snap out of this mentality and honestly Arnica 200C.  I was weepy and a mess after birth. I was pale, and weak. After a C-section they take out the catheter, give you a very painful abdominal exam, and make you stand up. That was the worst part of being in the hospital. Stand up 4 hours after your major abdominal surgery….. It hurt, and sucked. This was only the beginning of motherhood.

Breastfeeding hurt. C-Sections can sometime delay your milk from coming in. Passing the baby through the vaginal canal will stimulate prolactin release and you will have colostrum (first type of breast milk) production more readily than C-section mommas. Fortunately I was producing colostrum days before I went into the hospital and was ok with milk supply. I ended up producing over 2L/day of breast milk, and the average is 800 mL to 1L/day. I had the worst time breast feeding. Theo wouldn’t latch… later on I found out I was basically drowning him with my milk overproduction. That led him to bite down to stop the flow, compared to sucking the breast properly and driving a feed. My advice get a lactation consult ASAP they are wonderful. Mine was too late and I had already committed to pumping.

Pumping was a liberating decision. Everyone says that being on the breast is the only way to bond with your child. It is not. You are going to get plenty of skin to skin contact with your little one. Do what works for both you and baby. I hated Theo being on my breast and I wanted to have a postitve feeding experience with him. I chose what was right for me. Pumping comes with its challenges. You have to be religious with the schedule. I was pumping every 2.5-3 hours night or day. Theo Ate every 3 hours without fail. So I would get 1.5 hours of a break between rounds if I was lucky. I was able to stop pumping early because I developed quite frozen milk supply, and I again was happy with my choice. Controversial or not. If you plan on pumping there is a lot a research on losing your milk supply early. I did not suffer from this, but I already said in terms of supply I was not the average. If you are considering this option talk to your midwife or doctor and look into options to keep your flow up.

So far if you have any questions please comment or email me at info@drliznd.ca. This blog post is a lot longer than I thought it was going to be, and I am going to split the rest of the recovery part up into another post. I don’t want to overwhelm or lose anyone with too long blogging. Until next week!

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