Dear, Baby L. Thanks for taking me to a whole new level of what the f*ck.

•June 27, 2018 • 1 Comment

Dear, Baby L.  Tomorrow marks four weeks.  Four weeks since you were yoinked out and carried around a draped sheet (I had a c-section) to my proud (read: rather disgusted) exclamation, “He’s all grey and gross.”  Four weeks that I have been proudly (for real this time!) proclaiming, “Well, he’s still alive” when people ask me how things are going.  Four weeks since our star – ahem, our rainbow – was born.  Four weeks since he destroyed any idea of what I thought my life would be like.

On May 31, I was smacked in the face with the biggest reality check that I’ve ever received: some higher power decided that it was a good idea to make me responsible for a human life.  I know.  I’m shocked too.  You’d think that the previous 9 months would have helped make this realization a little less sudden.  It didn’t.

One night, I told M. that I still find it weird that we have a baby.  I think my exact words were: “It’s like ‘Shit, I have a baby.  I don’t feel grown up enough to have a baby.’”  He proceeded to point out that I am 33.  So now I’m old and immature.  Thanks.

Let’s face it.  I know nothing.

This tiny human doesn’t come with an instruction manual or guide, or even just a set of basic do’s and don’t’s (other than the glaringly obvious “don’t shake him”).  In fact, he came with a whole lot of “every baby is different” statements from family, friends, my doctor, and of course, the ever-so-useless world wide web.   The learning curve has been steep (like, excessively so) and everything seems to change from day to day.  One day I have the perfect angel child; the next day, the spawn of Satan has entered the household.

Who am I kidding?  The switch occurs within minutes.

To make matters worse, I haven’t been able to just hop back into exercise (my happy place) which – in combination with the all-day wailing baby, sleep deprivation, and total feelings of inadequacy as a parent – leads to the all-day, don’t-get-out-of-my-pajamas-and-participate-in-real-life Kang crying fest.  Yes, it’s real.  And yes, it’s ugly.

My body has changed in so many ways through pregnancy, baby-yoinking, and recovery that I don’t even recognize myself.  While it is slowly but surely returning to “normal,” it may not ever truly be what it was…or at least not anytime soon.

IMG_2296

I never posted GROWING baby bump photos, but here are some of the shrinkage 1, 2, and 3 weeks postpartum.  It helps that my boobs are enormous so everything else looks smaller.

Although I’m a good 6 lbs. LESS than my pre-pregnancy weight (Baby L. literally sucks the life out of me), I have more body fat and less lean mass than I’d like to admit.  And after today’s run…“run”…it would seem that my cardiovascular capacity has deteriorated to “maybe you’ve smoked a pack a day for a month” status.

IMG_2286

Pre-RUN and in a new CVG tank (because I deserved new gear after 9 months of puking and major abdominal surgery).

But for today, I think I’m going to focus on the fact that – at 4 weeks postpartum – I got out for a run.  It was only 2 miles.  It was as slow as my 36-week pregnancy jog-waddle (for the record, still under a 10-minute mile!).  But it also made me feel NORMAL and a little more like me than I have in weeks.

IMG_2295

Post-run snuggles with my mouth breather, who isn’t crying for once!  (Knock on wood!)

Advertisements

Dear, Baby. How are we doing?

•April 30, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Dear, Baby.  I keep getting asked how we’re doing.  Actually, the question is usually, “How is the baby bump?”

I’m never quite sure how to respond to this.  Growing.  Large enough to get in the way, but not large enough to do anything cool like balance my dinner plate on it.  Moving like it’s got a life of its own.  Oh, wait…it does.

So, for all of you Curious Georges, here’s the skinny (or in my case, the fat):

The bump is huge.  I wake up feeling a little like this.  IMG_1991In actuality (and for all of you harassing me about the baby bump), it looks like this…

Front vs. Side

From the front, no baby.  From the side, BABY. 

The dark-coloured shirt makes me look like I’m not preggo at all, while simultaneously highlighting how disgustingly dirty my bathroom mirror is.  The side view makes me look considerably larger.  Keep in mind that first thing in the morning, my stomach is way smaller than later in the day.  I’ve read that this may have to do with stomach muscles getting tired throughout the day so they just let it all hang out.  Weird but kinda makes sense.

cede40914a490dd42436bf5dc31c44d4

I “Tebow” when I’m resting between heaves.

The bump can hold a grudge…at least for a day or so.  Whoever said morning sickness would subside is a total liar.  I still lose my lunch (or breakfast or supper, as the case may be) about 3-4 times a day on about 3 days out of the week.  This is typically the day after I “overdo it” (i.e., walk the dogs at 6 a.m., teach PE all day to a bunch of crazy elementary-school kids, go for a run, and then cap it off teaching a fitness class.  I joked with a friend the other day that it was how I control my pregnancy weight gain.  When I talk about it with others, I laugh, but, in the comfort of my own home (read: on the bathroom floor, next to the toilet), I’m usually crying, as it’s actually become rather painful to toss my cookies this much.  Speaking of cookies…they would be really good right now…

 

The bump is exhausting and heavy, making regular exercise irregular at best.  After following Alicia McKenzie (@liftlikeamother), a CrossFit mom who actually IS a beast and trained insane throughout her pregnancies (yes, plural), I fully intended to be a complete beast throughout my own.  Yeah, right.

Despite my best intentions, I’ve been a little sidelined due to puking, complications, and (now) being tired, so I stick mainly to running – which is a combination of jogging and waddling these days – a few times a week, a WOD here and there, and walking on days when I’m just too tired to fathom doing the other two.

IMG_2088

Proof that I can still waddle 3 miles in less than 30 minutes.

The other day, I spent a good half hour…maybe more…psyching myself up to go for 3 miles (~5k…I just prefer to set my watch in miles). I didn’t need motivation.  I didn’t need energy.  I needed to mentally prepare myself for the fact that it might be the first time in forever that I would run an over-30-minute 3 miles.  As it turns out, I managed to be 7 seconds under (including a stop to retie my hair)…THOSE WERE 7 VERY IMPORTANT SECONDS FOR MY EGO.  But it was rough.  Running with 15 lbs. of extra weight – most of which is sticking out in front of you – is unbelievably challenging!

 

On top of that, if you’ve ever heard that the hardest part about starting a workout is putting your shoes on, I can attest to this.  I have to do a weird sideways squat in order to tie up my shoes.  And once they’re on, they take so much effort to get off that I’d really rather not bother trying.  Shoes to bed, it is!

 


Hopefully this has satisfied all of you that have patiently waited for pictures of fat me.  (Although I rarely take pictures of normal me so I don’t know why I would take pictures of me when I’m large?)  One more month to go!

 

 

 

Dear, Baby. Why you do this to me?

•March 18, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Dear, Baby.  Let’s talk about stretch marks.  Yes.  Those awful purplish-red squiggles that grace some pregnant or growing bodies.

Yeah, I hear ya, baby.  “Those are a gift, mama.”  Thanks.

One night last week, as I rubbed oil on your stupid house (read: my belly), I saw the first sign of stretch marks running up my lower back and rib cage, and I cried.  Yes.  Cried.  Like, complete ugly cry.  Inconsolable sobs, really.

And so began my 5 stages of “oh-my-God-I-have-stretch-marks” grief.  As a side note, I am not a psych major…in fact, I only took 2 psych courses at university…but it seemed to be an amusing parallel once I got to the end of my week.

1) Denial – My initial thought was, Those aren’t stretch marks…just little broken veins.  I have spider veins in my legs from a glorious combination of genetics and skating so it seemed a logical explanation.  They were tiny…less than a centimeter in length, rather disconnected from each other, and on my lower back and – of all places – rib cage.  They are just veins…they are just veins…

2) Anger – THEY ARE NOT JUST VEINS AND THEY ARE GINORMOUS AND THEY ARE ALL OVER MY BODY!!!  I’m fairly certain those are the exact words that came out of my mouth as I exited the bathroom in tears.  At a professional development workshop, I was heard that “anger is a symptom of sadness.”  If that’s the case, there was A LOT OF SADNESS.  Oceans of tears worth of sadness.  Cry you a river?  I would have had to build you the ark.

stretch-marks-1024x460

Comic by Diane Alber at http://www.NewbieMom.com

3) Bargaining – Despite how clearly emotionally unstable this made me, I actually didn’t tell anyone (other than M. because I was FREAKING OUT for a solid day and a half).  Instead, I made deals with the stretch-mark-gods…I swear I’ll slather on ridiculous amounts of oil and lotion and drink water until I pee myself even though it makes me want to barf, just please make these marks not be there…just make these marks not be there…

4) Depression – I wouldn’t say that I was depressed, but I was literally inconsolable.  Ask M.  He had to deal with it.  My body is never going to be the same.  And yes, I think I’ve heard this from more women than I can count.  You’ll never get your pre-baby body back.  You’ll pee yourself for the rest of your life.  Say goodbye to your daily workouts and hello to ‘mummy tummy’.  But all of those things seem fixable.  This is permanent.

5) Acceptance – It took about a week to get to this point (and let’s face it, Baby, I’ve become a stretch mark vigilante).  A good slathering of vitamin E oil has helped.  A rum would help even more, but that’s not going to happen.  Over the week, I realized that this was less about the stretch marks and more about my inability to control what my body looks like, something that I have always been able to manipulate through diet and exercise.  The control freak in me was dying on the inside and I couldn’t show it because – well – having a baby is supposed to be lovely and exciting.

I get it, Baby.  You think I’m bat-shit crazy.  I might be.  Housing you has been an uncontrollable, uncomfortable, and terrifying.  First it was anxiety over even being able to hold onto you in the first place.  Then exhaustion and dehydration from the constant nausea and vomiting.  And now you’re tearing apart my body and leaving a stamp on your work.  So much seems uncertain for someone like me who relies heavily on routine and the ability to plan every moment.  One day, I will point out these marks to you and laugh about how ridiculous I was as I cried and mourned the loss of my “perfect” skin.  Until then, please just take it easy on me.

Dear, Baby. I think we need some ground rules.

•March 12, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Dear, Baby.  I see you’ve already figured out how to cash in on that “unconditional love of a parent” thing right now.  But it’s getting a little out of hand.  In light of that, maybe we should set a few ground rules.

Rule #1: After a weekend away, do not take out your Mr. Cranky Pants attitude on me or my most recent meal.  I get it.  We go away for the weekend, we don’t really eat as well as we should, and sometimes we overexert ourselves in an hour-and-a-half-long handstand workout or spending 15-hour days in an arena.  We are both tired.  This is not grounds for you to kick my ridiculously-delicious cactus cut potatoes back out into the world.  Not cool, Baby.

Rule #2: When I finish exercising, you finish exercising.  I can feel you in there.  I know you like CrossFit and Zumba, and clearly you used to enjoy burpees far more than I do.  Surprisingly, you seem to be dead to the world after we’ve gone for a run (after reading up on this, turns out the rhythmic movement of running may be rocking you to sleepy time).  But when other workouts are done, the extra hour of internal gymnastics is completely unnecessary.

TREMBLAYANGELA20180206103721456

There’s either 5 toes or 6…either way, good for balance.

Same thing goes for the 10 p.m. self-taught swimming lessons and the 3 a.m. karate class…and, no, I do not want to learn the dance of your people at 5 in the morning.  During one of your most recent scandalous videos (aka ultrasound), I saw a leg and you have at least one foot with 5 toes.  I’d say you’re in pretty good shape so far.

Rule #3: Treat others the way you wish to be treated…let them sleep.  One day when you’re a teenager, I’m sure you’ll want to sleep in.  And when that day happens, I’m going to come and kick you really hard.  Just so you know what it feels like.  Just kidding.  But it’d be really great if you’d let me get a solid night of shut-eye before you emerge into the world, all hell breaks loose, and you want to eat a billion times a night.

I’m sure there will be more “rules” later, but we’ll start with those 3.  Now…let’s go for a run.

baby-2-be-working-out-in-the-womb

What I envision my tiny human doing.  Probably not, but it’s fun to think it.

Cartoon image from: https://betterbodychemistry.com/exercise-2/give-baby-2-be-strong-heart-enrol-exercise-class/

Dear, Baby. Welcome to the Open.

•February 24, 2018 • Leave a Comment

It has taken me a couple of months – and a lot of research – to really decide on my workout path while I’m incubating a human.  And I’m sure it will be adjusted as time goes by, my body changes, and I become more and more useless!

Lately I’ve been looking up modifications for everything…toes-to-bar, knees-to-elbow, back extensions, burpees, push-ups.  It’s quite the learning curve.  And I won’t lie, it makes me feel wimpy.  Yes, Baby, you make me feel wimpy.  In the end, I know it’s for a good cause and it is meant with health in mind, but it still makes me feel like I’m taking a HUGE step back physically.

Enter the CrossFit Open.  (For those of you unfamiliar with the Open, it is a series of workouts that acts as the initial qualifying round for the CrossFit Games.)

I have never officially entered into the Open.  In fact, I have never actually completed a complete set of Open workouts haha.  And while I won’t be entering this year, I fully intend to do the workouts – with modifications to movements, of course –  just for fun.

Two big things have happened in the last couple of months that have forced me to swallow my pride a little (okay, a LOT!), change my workout focus, and learn a lot about modifying exercises.  Gone are the days when I feel well enough to spend 2+ hours in the gym doing a combination of lifting and cardio.  I need a quick and dirty 20-minute workout sandwiched between a warm-up and some release work.  Not only do I lack the attention span for anything more than that, but I just don’t have the physical capabilities at the moment.

At our most recent ultrasound, I found out that I have a complete placenta previa, which basically means my placenta is not-so-conveniently blocking Baby’s exit route.  Seems like an okay thing considering Baby shouldn’t be coming out anytime soon, but worst case scenario means C-section (read: postpartum recovery for working out just became longer and more challenging).  It has the potential to right itself over the next month or so, and I’ll have extra ultrasounds to monitor it, but my doc gave me a “hard no” to high-impact activities until then.  In true Kang (Tremblay?) fashion, I replied, “So burpees are still okay?”  He didn’t find it as funny as I did.

2F47F7B000000578-0-image-m-23_1449849152657

What I envision Baby feels like when I do any form of crunching movement.  I have a habit of sitting and leaning forward onto my legs which elicits a boot in the belly from what I imagine is an angry fetus.  Pregnancy is weird.

Add to this my absolute fear of developing diastasis recti.  Apparently, it’s highly likely that I will get some degree of it, although I’m hoping to decrease the negative effects (like postpartum incontinence and an ineffective core) by taking preventative measures.  That being said, I’ve really had to battle between “But I still feel physically able to complete toes-to-bar!” and [what I imagine to be] the squeaky fetal voice saying, “Uh…it’s a little squishy in here” with every sit-up.  The other day, I thought I saw a bit of coning developing (a sign that linea alba just can’t take the pressure) and it scared me into submission.  I heard that sigh of relief, Baby.  I’m sure you’re just glad I won’t be compressing your fluid-filled home in 18.1.

Speaking of 18.1 (the first workout of this year’s Open), it’s happening tonight!  A glorious 20-minute AMRAP of 8 toes-to-bar (or in my case, side planks), 10 DB hang clean and jerks, 12-calorie row.  Promptly followed by Baby gymnastics for half an hour.  Here goes!

Dear, Baby. You have the best daddy ever. The end.

•February 14, 2018 • Leave a Comment

After some careful thought and consideration over exactly how my life is changing and thus how GirlSweat (this blog you’re reading) may reflect those changes, I have decided to write about the good, bad, and ugly in a series of “Dear, Baby” letters.  Until this thing pops out anyway.  Most will be fitness-driven, but some – like today – will just be sappy.  Happy Valentine’s Day!


Dear, Baby.  You will likely grow up realizing that daddy is Mr. Fun-Times and mommy is the slave-driving, routine-driven psycho that you’re actually going to end up like.  But you don’t even know the half of it…your daddy is an insanely good man and I will tell you why.

For all those women that told me that pregnancy was the greatest time of their lives, they either lied or were really freaking lucky.  This has been hard (although I’m sure not as hard as others have experienced) and it has basically turned my life upside-down…and yes, I realize that crazy hasn’t even started yet!

In our household, M. and I have always shared the duties based on our work schedules, training regimes, eating habits, and, well, the fact that we have no kids (unless you count the needy fur babies).  It has always been a lot of give-and-take and it has always balanced out.

Fast forward to baby-growing time.  I’m useless.  I will readily admit that.  I’m not actually sure how I used to get up at 4:00 a.m. – granted it was easier in Chetwynd because that’s when M. would come in from a night shift – hit the gym for an hour of cardio, walk the dog, go to work from 7:30 till 3:00, hit the gym for another hour or so of weights, and then head home to cook, clean, mark math assignments or tests, and start again.

Right now, I crawl out of bed at 7…on a good day.  About every third day, I start the morning off puking like a champ.  Yes, still.  Then there is a shower, breakfast that looks a lot less like a protein pancake and a lot more like honey nut cheerios, and the resistant 4-block trek to the school which I drive because I’m too lazy to walk home after work.  At 3ish, I get home, puke (yes, again), and weigh my options: nap or workout.  More often than not, the nap wins out.  Or I bargain with myself:  If you work out for 30 min, then you can have a nap.  Earn your nap!  I guess it’s better than what it used to be (“Earn your cheeseburger.”  “Earn your wine.”…*sigh* wine…)  Then sometimes I head to the rink…or I go teach bootcamp.

Most days I haven’t seen M. since the morning, but let’s get one thing straight, I’m not complaining.  I have it pretty freaking good.  In the last few months, M. has done pretty much all of the cooking. He takes care of the dogs so I get to sleep in an extra 10 minutes.  He turns off my car when it has been idling in the driveway for 4 hours because I forgot to turn it off.  Yes, this actually happened.

giphy-facebook_sAnd the icing on the cake?  He has organized a spring break trip to sun (I hope), sand (a little), and zoo animals!  We are headed to San Diego for a last baby-free vacation.  He was trying to surprise me, but was worried that he would plan a vacation that involved sightseeing or other activities, and I would be too exhausted from baby-growing to do everything.  So, he asked what I wanted.  Yes, this is the man that I snagged.  And, Baby, THIS is what you can grow up to be.  Ladies, eat your hearts out.

Dear, Baby. Strap on your crash helmet. We’re working out.

•January 16, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Making a baby is hard.

Let me rephrase that.

Making a baby is fun.  Growing a baby is hard.

I’m tired.

Tired of not knowing what to eat…or worse yet, knowing that all I want is Chinese food or French fries and the idea of chicken and broccoli makes me dry wretch.

Tired of worshipping the porcelain god multiple times a day for weeks on end.  (For the record, this is beginning to ebb.  I usually get about 2 days of reprieve followed by 1-2 days when the fetus’ “F U, mom” schedule kicks in.)

And tired of not being able to exercise for 25 minutes without feeling like I’m dying a slow and painful death.

Since about week 7 (I’m at 18 now), I have only been working out sporadically.  The second I’ve felt the slightest bit better, I’ve frantically tied up my shoes and got my ass onto the treadmill, outside for a quick 5K (“quick” haha), or into the squat rack for 30 minutes or so of push-ups and dying and pull-ups and dying and squats and, well, dying.  I’ve also managed to get out for a Zumba class – something I have missed desperately for years since I left Kamloops – that lasted an entire hour and felt like I was running a marathon.

For someone who is used to working out twice a day, this “do-it-when-you-can-and-for-however-long-you-can” programming has certainly taken time to get used to, but I have learned a lot about being kind and patient with myself.  My rest periods during workouts is longer.  I lift about 25% left with certain exercises (much of this is due to the fact that I haven’t lifted consistently in the last 2 months, but I actually do find it somewhat more difficult).  I don’t run nearly as hard or fast.  I often tell people to celebrate the small achievements, which has been hard advice to follow myself.  Short workouts, runs, and “marathon” Zumba classes (actually only an hour!) have become my small successes.

This has been rather disheartening at times, but one thing that keeps me going – and laughing on the inside – despite whatever disappointment or frustration is provided by my ridiculous husband.  Of course.

Very early on in the pregnancy, I was dancing around the kitchen and M. told me that he envisioned our Mr. Peanut-looking spawn with crash helmet on bouncing off the walls of my uterus, yelling, “Ow!  Ow!”  Now every time I run, jump, burpee, or dance, all I can picture is our fetus flailing around.

 

BabyWithCrashHelmet

At 12 weeks, helmet on and ready for the next workout.