Thursday, July 27, 2017

Birth | Training For My Marathon

I remember the contractions, the full body tensing, my breath being taken away with every wave, the deep concentration of trying to push Jackson down into the birth canal (not realizing at the time he was stuck sunny side up), the pain of changing positions, and longing to give up. At times I felt like I was dying. Contraction, break, contraction, contraction, contraction. "Where are my breaks in between? Where is this baby? I can't do this. Ouch! I can do this!"

I wasn't prepared for what my body was going through. I spent 6-7 hours a day sitting at a desk, taking small walks around the building, doing yoga maybe 4 times a month, eating whatever I craved, meditating, and reading birthing books. I just assumed my body would be ready and never thought about actually preparing my body for the grueling birth experience it would endure.

This time I'm taking a different approach. I'm training for a marathon--my birth marathon. On top of chasing a toddler this round, I'm trying to eat better (trying the keyword), running, walking, doing yoga often, and incorporating HIIT workouts each week. I want to be prepared this time and I don't want to end up on that operating table again. I can already tell a difference in how I am feeling. My energy level is higher when I exercise, I don't suffer from nausea as often, and I feel empowered.

Working Out In The First Trimester

 I found out I was pregnant as soon as a test was able to pick up my HCG levels and it has made this first trimester seem so long! Only two more weeks until the second trimester and I'm desperately looking forward to having my energy back. 

Let's jump back in time just a bit, I started working out consistently about two months before I found out I was pregnant in addition to teaching yoga since the beginning of the year. I started running and crossing out milestones--small milestones for some, but they felt grand to me. I finally was at a place physically, mentally, and emotionally that made me feel great. I didn't want all of that to end with those two little lines on a test. I made the decision to continue on and make this pregnancy one that I trained for. 

I was running 3-5 miles a week the first 6 weeks, teaching yoga 3 times a week, and working out to videos on youtube. We started vacation on my 7th week, my running slowed down, but I've been trying to maintain a consistent workout schedule. My exhaustion makes it hard to keep up with working out, but I grit my teeth and get it done because I know I'll feel better after. It's not perfect, it's not always easy, and my eating needs some work, but I'm moving and challenging myself. 

Setting Goals

My goal is a VBAC and experiencing a natural birth. I was so close last time, but I didn't have the endurance after the 40 hours of labor (does anyone really have endurance after 40 hours of labor?). My focus is set and that goal is pushing me to fight. Setting goals is easy when you have your end goal in sight. It's the completion of those goals that gets tough, but I take it day by day and remind myself that this isn't for my health alone--it's for the health of the baby being knit within me, too.

I'm leaving space for grace--I mean, I am growing a human and that's hard work! I want to train for this birth marathon, but I also want to make sure that I'm listening to my body and giving it the rest it needs. Am I working hard? Yes! I'm giving it all I'm able, but I'm being gentle to myself on the days that I can't power through it.

At the end of the day after all this work, if I still end up on the operation table I won't be disappointed because all that truly matters is mine and my child's health. Will I regret the work that I put in? Absolutely not, because all that work will help my body heal faster! It's all worth it!

How did you prepare for birth? What did you do to maintain a healthy pregnancy?