I have been meaning to write for 3 weeks since little Mini (we didn't know the sex, so we called the baby "Mini") arrived on the scene-- kinda busy these days with a newborn, LOL! I worked out at Crossfit 2-3 times/ week throughout my entire pregnancy. Later in pregnancy, I did twice a week with a day of prenatal yoga as well. I tended to do the normal WOD at my box, and just modify here and there as needed. Once in awhile if a WOD was not a good option at all, I'd sub a crossfit mom WOD. I think I was the first person to work out during the whole pregnancy at my box, so there was a bit of a learning curve for my trainers as well, and we all found Crossfit mom to be a priceless resource.
I mostly had an easy pregnancy, with some GI symptoms early on and some physical discomforts in the 3rd trimester. I found the following pregnancy symptoms to be lessened by working out: nausea, heartburn, fatigue, back and rib pain, headaches. Many times I was tempted to go home and hit the couch, but I'd usually convince myself to work out, even if it was a slow or lazy day. Inevitably, I'd leave the gym feeling much better than when I arrived.
Anyhow, 4 days after my due date I still felt totally normal and was pretty sure Mini wasn't arriving for several more days. I had my work and workout clothes ready for the following day. I went to bed at 11PM and woke up at 1AM with a new strange sensation in my abdomen. I got up, walked around, went to the bathroom, and thought it went away, so I returned to bed. Another came soon after. After a couple more, I realized they were probably contractions and gave up on sleep. I puttered around the house and called my doula and midwife when contractions were definitely regular at about 5 minutes apart. I held off on waking my husband for awhile longer-- in case labor lasted a long time, I figured one of us could at least be rested!
In the next many hours, I walked around the park, paced around the house, tried to eat and drink some (only mac and cheese sounded palatable-- it was delish, but I later puked it up), watched some TV. By about 3:30pm my contractions were hitting 2-3 minutes apart for about an hour, so we headed to the hospital with our doula. I had about 8 contractions from my house to my room in the hospital and we only live 5 minutes away. Contractions were getting MUCH more painful and I was sure I was pretty far along. When they checked me I was "only" 5 cm and this freaked me out. For the next several hours, I had a hard time mentally and was sure I wasn't progressing. My contractions, while more and more painful, had slowed down to more like 4+ minutes apart. I tried the shower, whirlpool, pacing, birthing ball, etc. I had a few low moments of thinking labor might last forever and thinking I'd need an epidural or meds. It wasn't that the pain was unbearable (though it was bad), it was more than I didn't know how long labor would last and that freaked me out. I made the mistake of thinking that since several of my relatives have had fast labors and I was so active during pregnancy that I would have a fast labor. I caution you to TRY NOT TO DO THIS! It sets you up for disappointment and frustration if things aren't fast! Fortunately my husband and doula reminded me of all the reasons I didn't want an epidural and I worked harder and harder on trying to relax my mind.
On my 2nd try in the whirlpool, I finally let my mind go. I cannot overstate the connection between the body and mind when it comes to natural labor. I really think I wasn't progressing because I was too tense mentally. I KNEW this going into labor and was sure I wouldn't do it, but being the type A person that I am, it took me awhile to get where I needed to be. Well, next thing I knew, I felt a new pressure and like I wanted to push. A check proved me to be 9-10 and complete, almost ready to push. We went back to my room for the delivery (the hospital doesn't have a license for actual water birth).
Pushing was my FAVORITE part! Finally I could DO SOMETHING with the painful contractions! I tried pushing in various positions and was only comfortable in a squatting position, holding myself up with my arms on my husband's legs (he was sitting behind me). Little Margaret made her appearance after about 45 minutes of pushing--yay, a GIRL and a chance to use my grandma's name.
Labor at home was about 14 hours, at the hospital was just under 6.5 hours. I'd say alot of that was early labor and real active labor was about 6-7 hours.
I only found out the next day from my midwife that she realized as I started to push that my pubic bone was shaped a little funny. It meant a narrower passage for the baby and she really thought that if I had an epidural, I would not have been able to push hard enough to deliver the baby on my own. I am SO GRATEFUL I was able to deliver naturally!! That's why the squatting position felt so much better -- baby's head stopped banging down on my pubic bone and could more easily fit under it.
The cool thing was that without meds, as soon as Margaret arrived, I felt like a million bucks! I got up and carried her to my bed, snuggling with our new little human.
I was in the shower as soon as they'd allow it, was up and about the next day and everyone kept commenting on how I didn't look like I'd just had a baby. I credit how good I felt to staying active while pregnant and having a natural delivery.
Although weight concerns were never my real motive, I only gained 20 lbs total and 2 days after delivery I was 4 pounds from my 8 week pregnancy appointment (I don't know exactly what I weighed prior to getting pregnant). In 5 days, I realized that many of my pre-pregnancy clothes fit. Pretty quickly I could wear all my old clothes, and pretty much feel like myself except my middle is still mushy and soft instead of firm (not for long though-- I plan to return to running and crossfit in another week or two).
I realized after everything was over that although I've done plenty of hard things and believe I have a high pain tolerance, I have NEVER done anything without a finish line-- races, long hot backcountry hikes, an especially hard WOD-- you know when they'll end. Not knowing how long painful contractions would last was HARD mentally! That never occurred to me before. Also, I wish I had known that you can make labor progress even if contractions slow down. Mine never got back to 2-3 minutes apart again, but they did get more and more intense. I thought the timing being slower meant I wasn't progressing-- but in hindsight, I obviously was.
I can't say enough how happy I am that I stayed active during my pregnancy. I think it helped me tolerate a long hard labor and helped me bounce back really fast. I will encourage any pregnant crossfitter I know to use crossfit mom as a reference and KEEP GOING to the box! Thanks Andrea for this awesome website and to all of you for contributing to the topics here.