Today was a great and productive day.
I started my morning off by going for a run. I am really proud of myself for running this long into pregnancy. It has always been my goal to run as long as possible because in my experience, the people who have run during their pregnancies have had faster labors and easier deliveries. So here’s hoping!
Midwife note: There are actually studies that support that regular exercise during pregnancy is related to shorter labors, more vaginal births and less epidurals. See info from two of those studies here and here.
Before pregnancy and now, I am not a daily runner, but I do try to run at least once weekly, depending on the weather. I hate treadmills and my gym closest gym is kind of far, so I really prefer to run outside. With the heat of summer coming, combined with pregnancy, I doubt I’ll be running too much longer. But I will take every opportunity that I can! I have been a runner for many years (since middle school) and I can pretty easily just run 2-3 miles, even if it’s been awhile. I also ran a marathon in 2013 which was one of the most physically hardest things I’ve ever done (and the training which I actually did twice since in 2012 the marathon was cancelled).
Today I ran 2.5 miles at 8 months pregnant and I felt great. I’m running a lot slower than when I’m not pregnant, of course, but I don’t care. It feels good to get out there and run. I make sure to hydrate a lot before and after and watch my footing carefully. Surprisingly, not many people have given me weird looks for running while so obviously pregnant!
Fred and I accomplished another big thing today - we finished painting the spare room/baby’s room! It was the last room (in our living space) that needed to be painted. We have painted every room in our two floors and it’s been a long process. I used to like painting….haha. But it has been a lot of walls to paint! Fred totally hates painting. But it feels really good to have finished finally!
For the baby’s room, we have a lot of baby’s stuff in there, but we aren’t fully setting up the nursery yet, or at least it’s not a priority. The reason is that baby will be in our room in our Snoo bassinet (which really seems like the greatest invention ever...stay tuned when baby is born), for at least the first 6 months. However, we are happy that the room is painted and that step is finally over!
Midwife note: This is the recommendation by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Infants should share their parents’ room for at least the first six months, optimally the first year.
Today was our childbirth education class. Even though I’m a midwife, and Fred feels like he knows a lot, we thought it was a really good idea to take a class together to learn about the birth process.
Midwife note: I believe EVERY first time parent should take a class of some sort. It doesn’t have to be a particular method or type, but something that goes through the labor and birth process so that you know what to expect!
We took our class at Parent Craft, which is in Park Slope, Brooklyn and run by an amazing midwife, Casey. We used to work together at the same hospital. The class was the full day, from 10-5.
I wasn’t sure what to expect or what I would learn from taking a class that I could probably teach. Though I knew the stuff about the labor and birth process, I was happy to get some good pointers and suggestions! Fred also said he learned about some new things and liked hearing all the information too. My favorite part was that she did some pretty great demonstrations of how women sound in labor! It was also engaging and the day, though it was long, went by fast.
The other fun thing was that I asked Casey to keep my job a secret. I think it was fun to listen and engage as an expectant parent, not adding in my midwife thoughts. I also didn’t want to take away anything from Casey’s teaching or be asked “what do you think?”. We were successful at keeping it a secret.
From a midwife standpoint, I was also really happy to have taken the class to see what they are all about from personal experience. We always tell people to take classes, but I never really knew what to expect from them. Now it’s another great thing that I can add to my list of personal experiences from my own pregnancy. Casey’s class was also supportive and informative, as well as very real and reasonable, when it comes to birth. I think a lot of classes (from what I hear) discuss the amazing and perfect stories, but they don’t talk about the things that could happen if things don’t go as planned. They can provide (in my opinion) too many false expectations and no preparation for some of the unexpected. Of course, everyone wants mom and baby to be healthy and safe and to have a vaginal birth, and we want birth to go smoothly and as planned, but it’s important to be realistic that that doesn’t always happen. And if it doesn’t, parents should be prepared for that and what it could mean. I’m not being a pessimist, just a realist. Most births go smoothly and often as planned. But sometimes they don’t, and that is why interventions exist.
Overall, I’m so happy we did this class! Sure, I didn’t learn medical and physiological information, but definitely learned some new tips and things to think about, and it triggered some talking points between us that I think will help us as we prepare for Embers’ birth.
This is a hard entry for me to write, but I think I need to address it and talk about it for myself. But also I think it’s important to share for anyone else who may be experiencing similar issues.
Eleven years ago, I lost 40 pounds. I was overweight and kept gaining throughout college. Finally, during nursing school, in the winter of 2007, I decided to lose the weight and joined Weight Watchers. About seven months later, I had lost about 40 pounds. It was such a great feeling and accomplishment.
I’m currently at/approaching that starting weight.
To be clear, I haven’t gained 40 pounds during my pregnancy. I have fluctuated over the years and started out at about 20 pounds more than that lowest weight. Only for small amounts of time (twice, to be exact, when I first made goal weight for about a year and again later for our wedding) was I actually maintaining that lowest weight.
I had always told myself I’d try not to be bigger than my highest weight if/when I got pregnant. Even at the beginning of the pregnancy, I thought maybe I could do it (which would mean about a 20 pound gain total). I was happy - I didn’t gain much weight until about 22 weeks. Then I started gaining a pound a week, no matter what I did. And that goal to not gain to the highest weight was looking less and less likely.
Midwife note: Depending on BMI, weight gain during pregnancy varies. For women of normal BMI, 25-35 pounds is recommended. For BMI under 18 (underweight) it’s 28-40 pounds. For BMI 25-29, it’s 15-25 pounds. For BMI over 30, 11 to 20 pounds.
These are, of course, guidelines, not strict rules. Everyone gains at a different rate, everyone is different and anything above the guidelines is not necessarily unhealthy. Your healthcare provider can give guidance on weight gain that’s right for you.
I have definitely been struggling with the scale for at least a month. I’m watching the gain, but actually feeling not so different. I know (in my head) that this gain is for a good reason! I’m growing a baby! The baby is about 3-3.5 pounds now, plus all the extra weight for other important things!
Midwife note: Weight gain in pregnancy is because of a variety of things, not just the fetus. There is extra blood volume, amniotic fluid, increased body fluid, placenta, breast tissue, uterus and extra pounds in other areas too.
Being a midwife, I KNOW this is normal. Being a person who has always struggled with weight, it’s hard. It’s really hard. I find myself obsessing about the weight. Do I look big or small? Am I going to have a giant baby? Do I look giant? Fred is definitely being driven nuts with my weight and body image issues (which I talk about a lot). My midwives have reassured me that things are fine.
I’m trying to be positive. I’m trying to tell myself what I would tell the clients in my practice. I’m trying to reassure myself.
On the other end of things, I am definitely NOT starving myself, nor am I eating perfectly (ice cream, anyone?). I AM still exercising regularly, 5-6 days a week. I am even still running (in the third trimester) which makes me very happy and proud of myself and I will continue as long as I can. I could eat better, but I’m not obsessing about that and trying not to deprive myself and enjoy some of the cravings!
Just for comparison, I made a side by side picture grid of myself. The picture on the left is me 11 years ago, before I started the weight loss journey. The second is me a week ago. Besides having aged, I notice a difference in the way my face is shaped and looks. Looking at this picture reminds me that weight isn’t the only indicator of health.
I will continue to keep doing the best that I can and trying to be positive and healthy. A woman’s body changes SO much when she’s pregnant, in more than just the belly. It’s hard for me, as it is for many women. I think it’s important for me to recognize this, acknowledge my feelings and keep doing the best I can. Afterall, I am doing something amazing - I’m growing a person inside of me. That’s pretty damn awesome.
Today was the first day I experienced a stranger’s pregnancy prediction.
I was checking out at the grocery store and a guy behind me randomly says “Girl! It’s a girl!”. I acknowledged him, said something like, “well okay, I don’t know so I guess we’ll see”. He was persistent though. He kept saying it. Eventually he told me he was “never wrong because he has three girls and always wanted a boy and he knows what a girl looks like."
It is interesting to hear random strangers comments and predictions. I don’t mind it (yet). I actually like hearing people’s predictions for the sex of the baby, and it’s especially interesting when it’s total strangers. I think a lot of people who know you will just guess what they picture you having or think you would want to have, not necessary because of the shape, etc.
So many people have said girl. It makes us think that it’s probably a boy, haha. But I guess only time will tell. Until then, I’ll keep hearing the predictions, I'm sure. And I'm also sure I'll get sick of them!
A pregnant midwife living and working in New York City