Monday, May 11, 2009

Fit Pregnancy: Done With the First Trimester!

I’m 14 weeks pregnant today which means that not only am I officially second trimester now but I’m also the proud mama to a lemon. Yes, the Jelly Bean has moved up the random food scale used by Baby Center to describe the various fetus stages from junk food to something healthier although I can’t help but wonder about the lemon/bad car analogy. Anyhow, just like all the books say, most of my nausea is gone (haven’t barfed in two weeks!) and I’m starting to get some energy back. I’m also able to feel the baby move on occasion - yeah it’s early but that’s the bonus to this being my 5th pregnancy! - and I’m 90% sure it’s not gas. We’ve also got all the preliminary genetic testing back and everything looks good! My doctor says we can rule out Turner’s Syndrome, the genetic disorder that killed our first daughter. So many things to be happy about!

And yet. The one feeling that now predominates my pregnancy is… fat. I know. There’s a baby in there. But I don’t think it’s right to be carrying half on each thigh and the placenta on my hips unless I’m birthing a magician’s assistant. No, for some reason my body seems to gain pregnancy weight - and boy howdy did I gain weight, 10 pounds for the first tri alone (you’re supposed to gain 0) - in my legs, hips and face before it really shows up on my stomach.

Speaking of my stomach, it too is playing mind games with me. Here I am at 9 a.m. right before yoga class (forgive the lack of makeup and bed head):

And here I am at 6 p.m. THE SAME DAY. (Yeah, I’m still not wearing makeup nor have I done my hair. Your point is…?)

It’s like I advanced two months of pregnancy in 9 hours. I blame this on my slowed digestive system which makes me about six-months-preggo bloated by the end of the day. Needless to say, pooping has become an endurance sport in its own right.

All of which means that I’m in the “fat” stage of pregnancy. You know all those darling pregnant women you see in maternity ads? They’re all permanently arrested at 6 months gestation because that is the point when all your maternity clothes fit cute and yet you’re not retaining water like the Hoover Dam. Before that, you look more chubby than preggo and after that, well, let’s just say that there will be a time when you wake up with at least a month still to go and even your biggest maternity shirt only comes 3/4 of the way down your belly.

I’d be lying if I didn’t say that feeling fat all the time isn’t depressing. The miracle of growing a new life doesn’t totally quiet all the crazy voices in my head. I wish I were one of those women who loved being pregnant and “glowed” and only gained weight in her tummy. But alas I am not. It sucks but at least the lemon is still juicing. Okay, that made no sense. What I mean is that I’m grateful the baby is doing well and I’ll shut up now about my low self-esteem.

Exercise in The First Trimester
For the duration of the first tri I managed to not miss a single workout although I did gross out random bystanders by throwing up a few times at the gym. I am quite proud to say I made it to the bathroom every time. Thank heavens for mints!

However, merely showing up for the workout does not mean they went really well. Every day the Gym Buddies were subjected to a litany of “I’m too tiiiirrrred! I’m soooore everywheeerrrre!” I’m lucky they are all such loving folks. Weight lifting felt harder and so I kept all my weight loads the same, not increasing anything but my whining. Cardio also was hard as running felt like I was wading through mud and I went from being able to sprint a mile in under 6 minutes to wheezing like my 90-year-old grandmother with emphysema just from walking up the stairs. It was not good for my ego or my butt.

Yoga, however, has felt amazing and I’m hoping to add another day of it. I’m also still enjoying the high-impact lovin’ of TurboKick as it helps keep my mind off the pain. The transition into the second tri has been a little weird. Take Thursday - I felt great, managing to run 3 miles on the treadmill at an 8:30 pace (the last mile at 7!) and then doing fitness yoga for an hour followed by a nice long walk and that night Taekwando class with my kids for an hour. And then came Friday. I could barely drag myself through 45 minutes of cardio and then laid - yes, literally - on the stretching mats for an hour during which various people came over to ask me if I was okay. One good Buddy even offered to fireman-carry me out to my car, as he thought I looked too shaky to make it on my own. I would have taken him up on it too, if it weren’t for my darn pride.

Exercise Goals For The Second Tri
“Pride” pretty much sums up what I learned about exercise in the first tri. As in, you have to have none. Truly, every pregnant woman and every pregnancy is different. I know this and yet I still try and hold myself to some crazy standard - even the standard of my own past pregnancies (I’ve never gained weight in the first tri before). And perhaps my compulsive exercising is again rearing its ugly head? Case in point: I read a magazine article about an elite distance runner who didn’t even realize she was pregnant until she was 5 months along and only then because her split times were becoming abnormally slow so her trainer sent her to the doctor. I am not like this. My running shorts got tight the second the stick turned pink. And even if they hadn’t, my decrease in endurance would have tipped me off within several weeks - if the puking or the exhaustion or the chipmunk cheeks hadn’t clued me in first. And yet, just because I’m not like her or Rachel on Friends (whose belly was fake anyhow!) or even my old friend who just Facebooked me to tell me she’s 36 weeks and still running 4 miles a day, doesn’t mean I’m not enough. I have to accept that my best is all I can ask of myself.

What I need to learn: There is no shame in listening to your body and slowing down when you need to. My goal for the next trimester? Be kinder to myself.

How are the rest of you preggos doing? Anyone have suggestions of how to be gentle with yourself even when (especially when) you’re feeling like a cow? Any tips for dealing with body image issues while pregnant?