Baby B's Arrival | My Postpartum Journey To Fitness
Last week, after 7 1/2 hours of labor, I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy 9.5 pound baby girl. And thanks to my husband for keeping me on track with my desire to have an unmedicated birth, I was given the wonderful opportunity to do it all without any drugs. Even though I asked to have some. More than once. But not right away.
I arrived at the hospital almost certain that I was in labor, but not 100% positive. I'm pretty sure the nurses were ready to send me back home, but we're shocked to find that I was actually 8-9cm dilated. We called parents to come on by to look after our son and daughter while I worked on bringing baby #3 into the world.
Throughout the morning, various nurses, doctors, etc came in the room, each one baffled at how well I was managing the pain. I clearly remember the anesthesiologist hanging out in our room quite a bit, just observing, because she was completely baffled by how well I was handling contractions without so much as a flinch. For the record, I credit the Hypnobirthing app I downloaded to use during childbirth. It worked amazingly well. I had also read "Hypnobirthing" before giving birth to my daughter who is now 4 years old. I've found using these two together helped give me the strength I needed to make it through an unmedicated childbirth.
My doctor stopped by early in the morning, but despite trying a few different techniques, we were unable to bring the baby's head down, so she left, and let me "labor down" for a bit. "Laboring down" means you just allow your body to go through contractions on it's own, and simply allow your body and baby the time it needs to give birth. And, after a few hours of laboring down, my body decided it was time to start pushing. My doctor was called, and she gave the go-ahead to start pushing. And... that's when the actual pain began. I remember every muscle from my knees to my shoulders tightening up in painful contractions. I'll spare you the details, but after about an hour of pushing, our beautiful baby girl was born. Almost instantly, everybody began commenting on how big she was. It was no wonder she wasn't dropping down, she was darn near too big to! At 9 lbs 8 oz, and 20.5" long, she was in the 95-96% for weight, height, and... um... head circumference.
And, at that moment, I went from being a mother of two to a mother of three. My heart has never felt so full, and my family has never felt so complete.
"Mom, if you already had the baby, why is your stomach still big?" my 6-year-old son asked me the other day.
"Mom, are you having another baby already?" my 4-year-old daughter asked me anxiously.
My reply to both of their questions was pretty much the same, "Well, having a baby stretches out your body, and it takes time to get back to the size it used to be... if it gets back to that size at all."
I remember walking out of the hospital after my son was born 6 years ago. The look of my stomach nearly brought me to tears. I had no idea what having a baby would do to your body. My pregnant belly was beautiful. Now that my baby was born, the squishy, soft mound that replaced the spot where my beautiful baby had been growing was... well, not.
Fast forward to today... 6 years later, I know what to expect when leaving the hospital after having a baby. It takes time for that belly to go down. It takes hard work to regain the strength throughout your body. Looking and feeling squishy after your baby is born is normal. So is wanting to get back into shape. So, this is for all of the mothers looking to get back into shape. This is for everyone who has never given birth - a real look into what a post-baby body looks like. You can also follow long on social media to everyone else sharing their post-baby bodies by following #TakeBackPostpartum.
In the whirlwind of having a new baby at home, fitness is certainly not a priority. Sitting, resting, caring for my new baby. Those are priorities. So, for the first 2 weeks after having a baby, my goal is merely to get through each day and to do what I can.
By week 3, I'm starting to feel a bit more like myself. I know from experience that exercise isn't good for my body so soon, so I'm working on re-establishing household routines that keep me active. You know, the cooking, vacuuming, laundry, cleaning, etc. stuff that keeps me moving and off the couch. I also know from my previous weight loss experience that weight loss is 90% about diet. So, week 3 I'll begin establishing healthy eating habits.
- Drink 60 oz. of water a day.
- Eat at least 1 piece of raw fruit a day.
- Eat at least 1 serving of raw veggies a day.
I'll re-evaluate the progress I'm making through my healthy diet modifications. And, if I'm feeling up to it, I'll slowly start re-introducing light exercise back into my routine... most likely some form of yoga.