Well, it’s been 4 long weeks since our newest addition, Alijah, made his debut into the world, and our life. If you’re a parent yourself, you know that by this point you can’t believe you’ve only known this perfect little human for only this length of time. It [almost] instantly feels like you’ve known him or her forever. But here we are, 1 month postpartum. While the feeling is an even split of “wow, this is going fast” and “I feel like I’ve known you forever”, there’s one thing I can say for certain, having three feels like an absolute mental whirlwind! It seems as if I’ve been doing more “role calls” lately.
Since it’s been some time since my last update (hey what do you expect, I’m taking my maternity leave!), I thought I would fill you all in on the events leading up to the birth of my third little boy. You saw my 9 month journey of pregnancy, specifically living a “FITpregnancy” life and the many benefits of doing so. If you’re just joining in, you can refer back to my many videos and articles in Mommy’s Corner, especially if you yourself don’t know where to start! I spoke of the many benefits to staying active and eating a healthier diet during pregnancy, including the benefits during labor, delivery and recovery.
I’ll start off by saying that any concern of going into early labor through working out should be alleviated just based off my experiences. All three of my boys were late, and even now with my 3rd, I was unusually later than the other two. Alijah stayed very comfortable up until 41 weeks and even then I needed some “assistance”. The final 4 weeks of my pregnancy were the toughest part of the entire 9 months, as I was suffering from painful sciatica. Shooting pain down the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back down the legs. My pain was all on one side and I began seeing a chiropractor in this last month just to ease my pain of simply walking or standing. This is something I strongly suggest to any pregnant woman, as the alignment in our hips and pelvis change, along with everything else. The pain is something I had never experienced before and really threw me off, physically and mentally. This is when it’s important to listen to your body and slow things down when needed. I was not ok with pushing myself in the gym so if all I could do was the elliptical, since that took pressure off my hips, that’s what I would do. If that was painful, I’d stick to some light weight training or take the day off. Truth be told, the last few weeks were spent with my feet up the majority of the time alternating ice and heat, reserving any energy and comfort I had left for my two boys. It wasn’t easy to let that active part of me go since I was in the gym almost daily passed my due date with my second pregnancy. This one was taking a different type of toll on me.
It was uncomfortable, I’ll admit it. Annoying and painful, too. I was due August 6th, and on August 10th we made the decision to induce, meaning to assist the contractions with medication (pitocin). Here’s the funny thing. Apparently a full moon brings more women into the hospital in labor than other times of the month (according to the nurses). Funny, right? Somewhere in the week of August 10th, there was a full moon and half the city decided to go into labor. Not me, nope. Therefore, the only room available would be in the overflow recovery area. After an emotional night of learning that I will not be having the baby that night, or even the night after, I pulled myself together and continued to limp through the next few days. Finally, on the night of August 12th (I know, only two days later, how dramatic am I), Aaron and I check into the hospital at 9pm, where I was given a comfortable labor/delivery suite. As I look around the room and see the various medical items that will be used during delivery and the small bucket of newborn supplies laid in the high-beam hospital grade bassinet, its all becoming far too real that this is about to go down.
To sum up the process of inducing, a “cervix softener” is inserted which is the first step in putting me into labor. At this point, I was already having contractions, but very light ones. After sleeping through the night with not too much more progressing in the labor department, they start me on “pitocin" intravenously, which is a synthetic form of the hormone oxytocin, what our body naturally produces to go into labor. The goal is to create contractions that will cause me to dilate and eventually give birth. Unfortunately, it does not always work out that way and some women end up needing to get a C-section if the induction is unsuccessful. This was a fear of ours, as there’s no way to tell what the outcome would be. Our doctor assured us that because this is my third child and I was already one week late, that my chance of ending up with a C-section was very small.
So here we go, the induction had officially began at 7:30 am and contractions were coming on every 2 minutes, lasting up to 40 seconds each. After a couple of hours, I opt for an epidural and am lucky enough to have gotten a really wonderful anesthesiologist (the best one out of the three births). Within 15 minutes, I was completely numb. Fast forward to 12:50, I’m fully dilated and ready to push! Like clockwork, my doctor walks in and tells me its game time. If you’ve never given birth, I’ll give you a run down on how this part works. Each time you get a contraction, you take a deep breath and push for 10 seconds; repeat two more times back to back. Consider this a “set” of pushing :) Your break is when you’re not having a contraction. As soon as those suckers come back, you’re pushing whether you want to or not, but trust me you’ll want to.
At 1:06pm, about 10 minutes after the delivery process began, we welcomed Alijah Jerry Singerman, at 7lb 1oz, 20 inches long into the world! He was perfection. Now here is a little bit of important info that may or may not be TMI for some people out there, but this was a major difference in my births between the “fit” ones and the not-so-fit. I did not tear or need any stitches. This is huge, because just that one little stitch alone can effect recovery time. As soon as the epidural wore off, I was up and walking like it was just another day, no baby births or anything. At my departure from the hospital, my doctor gave me the green light to resume normal physical activity immediately, but to take it “slow”.
Now, I told you about my labor/delivery story, so the obvious benefits of being in a more physically fit state can show through the actions of my birth. To show that when it came to the physical aspect of labor, I feel my state of fitness paid off tremendously. When it comes to the mental recovery of pregnancy, that can be quite different. While being active absolutely helps your state of mind, there’s really no escaping the inevitable hormone fluctuations that come postpartum. My body just went on a roller coaster of a ride and I’m now on a downhill slope to the exit. You may have heard that our body’s are considered pregnant for an additional 9 months, since that’s about how long it takes for our body to return to “normal”. This is not a reason to sit back with our feet up for an additional 9 months, but really more of a warning that our body and mind are healing. Things are not going to feel 100% “normal” for a little bit.
In my next blog, I’ll address the differences between my second and third (current) post-partum period and how letting the healing process be a bit longer is paying off.
A personal shout out to the Labor & Delivery nurses at Boca Regional Hospital. These women are truly caring and wonderful at what they do!