Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Great Fertility Experiment

As some of you surmised from the comments on yesterday’s post, changes are afoot here at The Great Fitness Experiment and not just of the Jillian Michaels-inspired variety. I wasn’t quite ready to blog about this yet but due to a comment I left on my friend KatieO’s site (she of the fabulous Sister Skinny) and the fact that we share some readers, the cat is out of the bag.

I’m pregnant!

For the sixth time. I know, even typing that makes me feel like a breed mare (brood mare? Bag Lady? Anyone??). One miscarriage, one daughter who died at birth, three sons and now this little jelly bean have taken me down a road I hadn’t anticipated but nevertheless love. My husband and I decided early on we wanted four kids, we just didn’t realize how much work it would take to get them here! Due to family circumstances and a dubious genetic history, we decided that we’d best accomplish that while I’m still young and, heck, while we still have all the diaper supplies scattered on the floor in every room in the house.

I imagine you have questions (or I have an inflated sense of my own importance - either could be true.) Here are my best answers:

Q: How far along are you?
A: I’m 9 weeks, so just barely pregnant. I’m due November 6th although if my doctors have any mercy they’ll remember I have 10 pound babies and induce me a week or two early. I detest Halloween (sorry!) more than any holiday so I’ll do my best to not birth my child on that day.

Q: Why didn’t you tell us sooner?
A: You mean as soon as the stick turned pink? Well, I’ve had a “chemical pregnancy” (one where the test shows positive but then there’s no actual pregnancy) before and so I wanted to confirm it with the doctor via ultrasound before making any grand announcements. I just had that appointment less than a week ago and miracle of miracles there was a little heartbeat and all is good! Besides, even though this pregnancy was planned, I’d be lying if I said I’m not still reeling from the news and trying to process it and all the consequences. Four kids (under 7!) are a lot of kids.

Q: I feel betrayed.
A: I’m sorry. But my grandmother doesn’t even know yet. (Hi Nana!)

Q: But you’re a chronic over-sharer!
A: Pregnancy makes me rational?

Q: Hey, I’m asking the questions here! Anyhow, what about this weight gain you were complaining about as recently as yesterday? As Readers Stephanie and bjbella5 said in my comments, “you really lost your credibility with me if you are complaining about pregnancy weight.”
A: Oh don’t worry, I’ll have plenty to say about my pregnancy weight gain (and yes probably half of it will be hysterical) but I haven’t said it yet! The 14 pounds I mentioned in my Jillian blog were firmly in place - on my upper thighs, hips and butt specifically - before I ever peed on a stick. I gained 10 of the pounds in June of last year during the overtraining debacle and have added the extra 3-4 in the intervening months for reasons I can only chalk up to the universe hating me or, possibly, a hormonal imbalance. Which isn’t to say I haven’t gained weight this pregnancy; I’m only 9 weeks along and normally am losing weight from puking at this point but for some reason have actually put on about 3 more pounds. KatieO and I were chatting about that on Facebook and my comment on her site was in reference to that conversation.
Q: You’re not going to try and lose the weight right now are you?
A: Good heavens no. If you will notice, I was very careful in my review of Jillian’s book and in my announcement of April’s GFE to not say I would be using either program to lose weight. Nope, I won’t diet while I’m pregnant. Jelly Bean is getting plenty of jelly beans.

Q: What does this mean for The Great Fitness Experiment?
A: Honestly, I don’t know. With my previous pregnancy I worked out right up to the day of delivery (go Turbokick!). I felt great the whole time and even ran until about 8 months along at which point my bladder rebelled and my 3rd son decided that jumping jacks on my cervix were his new favorite pastime. So anyhow, my current plan is to keep working out just as I always have - although making modifications for comfort if I need to - unless something happens to prevent that. So far, despite having to vomit at the gym twice, I haven’t missed a single workout. But if prior experience has taught me anything, pregnancy is unpredictable at best.

I actually think this will be a really great opportunity to share with people how fitness in a normal pregnancy works. There are a lot of old myths out there (”Don’t let your heartrate get above 140!” “Pregnant women can’t lift weights!” “Don’t lift your arms over your head or your baby will get tangled in his umbilical cord!”) that scare pregnant women away from activities that can not only help them have an easier pregnancy but a quicker delivery and faster recovery. I’m sure I’ll blog more about this in the future if you want more details.

It’s also a serendipitous coincidence that not only do you have me - very much still in the first trimester - but there’s also Gym Buddy Allison in her second tri and Gym Buddy Megan who is in her third tri (one month ’till baby day!) so you can get not only my perspective but theirs as well. And you know they’re less crazy than I am.

Q: How are you feeling?
A: Well thank you for asking! Basically I feel like the crap filling in a crap sandwich on a bed of crap salad. I have to take a nap every day now and I puke. A lot. A lot a lot. But not so much it’s affecting my weight so no worries. For those of you concerned that I’m working out while feeling like crap, the thing is I feel exhausted and nauseous whether I’m at the gym or at home so I might as well get my workout in. (And the aweseome child care!) And strangely, a nice bout of cardio actually helps with my nausea! That and understanding Gym Buddies who don’t even blink when I lay down on the stretching mats for 30 mintues and still call it “stretching.” I’m also very fortunate to have a wonderfully supportive husband and kids who help out a lot at home.
Q: I hate pregnancy. I hate reading about pregnancy. I hate listening to women natter on about pregnancy. Is this going to turn into a big pregnancy website?
A: It hasn’t yet, has it? I plan to blog on my same mix of topics although yes, periodically, there will be updates and so forth. Probably stupid comments from strangers too - I seem to be a magnet for those when my pregnancy starts to show. (My all time favorite was a woman at Costco, staring at my two elder boys and my very pregnant stomach: “Oh dear! Do they all have the same father??” If you have a good answer to that one, let me know in the comments!)

So there you have it! I hope I’ve answered all your questions. If not, hit me up in the comments! Thanks for all your support and understanding in this:)
Credit for all newborn photos: Thierry Bouet