Tag Archives: yoga

She Says… Off the Wagon

I’ve fallen off the wagon. The workout wagon.

Finding (nay, making) time to exercise post-baby has come  in waves. Right after Owen was born I had a longer recovery than I expected, so my only exercise was walking my wriggly little newborn around in the stroller, worrying if he was getting too much sun. Despite feeling like I was barely doing anything, I began to see my pre-baby body emerge and the extra padding melt away. Once I recovered and was able to be active again, I got into a really good routine of working out during naptimes and going for longer, more energetic walks with Owen and Schnitzel. When the weather turned colder and walks were not so comfortable (or even possible for my sensitive-skinned child), naps were becoming more regular, so I set up a living room workout space and sweated it out in front of dvd’s during morning naps.

When I returned to work in January, I had visions of working out during lunch hours and getting back into my pre-baby fitness level by power walking my commute and fitting in trips to the gym while Owen was happily playing at daycare.

Do you know what? That’s just not happening. Shocker.

I returned to work at 80%, working 4 days a week. I’m getting paid less, yet I didn’t seem to give up any responsibilities. Which means that essentially I’m doing 5 days worth of work in 4 days. And, I’ll be honest, I was a super efficient worker before, so now I’m kind of on the verge of maxing out. I don’t feel totally overwhelmed, but I am working my butt off from the minute I start in the morning to the minute I close my laptop at night. (Side note: Wouldn’t it be great if we could literally work our butts off? Then I wouldn’t have to make time for the gym…) There are no lunchtime workouts, or quick stops at the gym on my way home. There is not enough time (or energy) for morning yoga routines or strength training or workout dvd’s. Thankfully I am pretty strict about closing the laptop and leaving it closed once the work day is over, so family time is family time. Once in a long time I have to work at night, but that’s rare, and I work hard to keep it that way.

Still, this whole working mom thing is go-go-go all day and all night.

We’re doing fine. The laundry is done (most of the time), and sometimes even folded within a day or so of coming out of the dryer. The dishes are washed (thanks to my resident dishwasher wonderful husband). Owen’s food and bottles are prepped each night before daycare days so we can grab ‘n go in the mornings. We cook yummy dinners (for the most part) and Benjamin and I enjoy a few hours together each night after Owen goes to bed (even if we generally choose to spend them in front of the tv… don’t judge). We spend our Saturdays running errands and seeing friends. I even squeeze out time to blog most days. Life is pretty darn good, even if I feel like I’m running as fast as I can and just barely keeping up.

I may have fallen off the workout wagon, but it’s not really a big deal at the moment. At least I know my priorities are in the right place. Owen is, without a doubt, the most important thing in my life right now. Above work and working out and laundry and dishes and even (gasp!) blogging.

Screw the workout wagon. I’ve got enough going on. At least for now.

 

She Says… Staying Active with a Baby on Board

As you can see from my belly pics, I’m big. My stomach is quickly moving from beach ball to torpedo, and, for a petite person especially, this can cause quite a dramatic change in balance, general coordination and motivation to hit the gym. Yet still, I know how important it is to stay active and fit.

My workout schedule has varied widely throughout my journey to get pregnant and my pregnancy. In February of 2009 when I went off birth control, I was working out a lot. I had lost some weight and was very diligent about a weekly schedule of cardio and weight training. Once I realized I wasn’t getting my period, I did the first thing a lot of women in my situation do — I questioned if I was working my body out too hard and it was stressed. So I cut back. I switched some of my hard cardio sessions to yoga and skipped the gym a few days a week. I put on a few pounds, but I didn’t care, since it was all for the most important cause in my life at the time: babymaking. When the docs figured out that my missing period wasn’t a result of working out too hard, and I started fertility diagnostics and treatment, I kept my yoga-heavy schedule to keep my body and mind calm, cool and collected through the stress.

Once I got pregnant I planned to increase my workout schedule a little, but the complete and utter exhaustion of the first trimester took over, and I couldn’t do much more than walk to and from work each day without feeling like I had run a marathon. Then in the second tri I started feeling like myself again. Not just myself, but better than I had in months. I had more energy and a renewed sense of motivation to be fit and healthy. But this time I was working out to energize my body and prepare myself for an awesome labor; not just burn calories, so I had to change my workout a bit. No more intervals or running several miles at a time. I stuck to the elliptical, treadmill and recumbent bike (the regular bike caused me to knee myself in my stomach too much!). I kept my workout sessions to 45 minutes or an hour at the most. I watched my heart rate monitor carefully to make sure I wasn’t blasting too hard. I was not afraid to turn down the resistance and just “phone it in” on the machines if that’s what my body felt like it could handle on a given day. I lifted weights and continued strength training, but used only 5 lb weights or my own body weight. For the first time in a long time, it wasn’t about pushing myself, it was about enjoying my time being active, and “training” for a new kind of endurance event — birth!

Now I think I’m entering a new phase. I can only really handle the gym 3 times a week (max). More than that and my body starts to let me know I’m doing too much — I get pains in my pelvic area and my legs cramp. My body gets tired, and it feels like a chore just to hold my belly up. I walk every day with my dog, and/or commute to work, which means I generally walk about 4 miles even before I hit the gym. On non-gym days I try to find time (and energy) to do a quick prenatal yoga session at home, or at least some stretching and squats.

Little by little, though, I’m choosing to sit and put my feet up rather than lace up my sneaks for another walk. And you know what? At 33 weeks, I think that’s totally ok.

She Says… The Big Apple

Benjamin, Piccolini and I are going on another trip. This time to New York City. Again, it’s kind of for work  for both of us (I have meetings all next week in our New York office, and Benjamin has some shoots and meetings lined up), but we’re turning it into a little vacay by leaving early and seeing friends while we’re there.

While I know NYC is a destination spot for many, I’ll be the first to admit it’s not my favorite place. I find it a little too loud, too fast, too dirty, too expensive. Don’t get me wrong, I always marvel at the architecture and love the amazing variety of food available, but I never found it appealing enough to want to live there (I used to think I wanted to, back when I thought I was going to be a Broadway star :), but obviously — and thankfully — that didn’t happen). One huge reason I don’t love New York is that I like having space. Whenever I go to New York, I inevitably end up staying on the floor or couch of a friend’s apartment, and inevitably end up feeling constricted by the tight quarters and sharing a bathroom. Boston is the perfect fit for me: it’s walkable, has a ton of history and culture, yet still maintains that “urban” vibe. Our house, while small, allows us to have a separate dining room and a living room and our bedroom and laundry on another floor. Even though our backyard is barely bigger than a swimming pool, it is fenced in and quiet and there’s room for the dog to play or for us to have outdoor dinner parties with friends.

This time, Benjamin and I are incredibly lucky to be staying at a friend’s parents’ empty apartment. I’m sure it will be immensely more comfortable than my usual digs, and I’m really looking forward to being able to enjoy New York without feeling cramped. I’ve crammed our schedule with seeing friends, enjoying some of the fabulous food that New York has to offer, and even a yoga class with one of my girlfriends. What a fun change of pace!

That said, we may not be around to blog a whole lot over the next few days (I am in NYC until Friday). But don’t forget about us!

She Says… I’m back!

I’ve heard other women describe this point in their pregnancies before. Many say that all of a sudden, one morning around 12 or 13 weeks they woke up and felt fabulous. The nausea of the first trimester was mysteriously gone, their energy and sex drive increased, and they began to LOVE being pregnant. A few weeks ago, in the throes of all-day nausea, excruciating exhaustion and an intense fear that any minute something was going to go wrong with the tiny baby growing inside me, I really couldn’t imagine waking up one morning and having it all be gone.

And while it didn’t happen all in one morning for me, over the last week or so I have started to feel the fog lift. The nausea has passed, I have been able to make it through a normal work day without falling asleep at my desk, and hitting the 12 week mark has almost entirely eased my fears about miscarriage. Now, I’ll be the first to say that my 1st trimester experience was NOT THAT BAD. My sister, for instance, spent nearly 6 months puking every day with her current pregnancy. I never threw up once. But as I’ve started to feel more like my pre-pregnancy self over the last few days, I’ve realized just how out of whack I had been.

Cooking
One of my favorite things in the world is cooking. It’s like therapy to me. It’s my passion. I love the process of menu planning, trying new ingredients, and the sounds and smells of chopping, sizzling, roasting, baking, etc. And I love having a husband who both appreciates my love of cooking, and is willing to try all of my new recipes with an open mind. The other night, after a run of pizza, frozen pasta with vegetables, and grocery store salad bar for dinner, he said to me, “Honey, I miss your cooking”. And that was that, all of a sudden I wanted to get back in the kitchen again. The lovely combo of nausea and exhaustion had pretty much kept me out of the kitchen for the last few weeks. Oh don’t get me wrong, you could often catch me with one hand in the pantry or rummaging through the ‘fridge, but I hadn’t made a delicious home cooked meal in weeks. Which is really unlike me. So I’m spending today flipping through my “Cooking Light” and “Every Day with Rachael Ray” magazines and finding the pages I dog-eared months ago, before I started wanting only crackers and bagels. It’s going to be a delicious week! I might even kick-start the week with some homemade bread today. Yum.

Exercise
I know, I know, I used to write about exercising a lot. Somehow I went from someone who obsessed over just how much I could exercise while trying to conceive, to someone who barely went to the gym at all in the last 2 months. I blame it on the exhaustion. I could barely get myself to work and back without feeling like I was going to die. But, as with so many other symptoms, the exhaustion is disappearing and I’ve had the opportunity to hit the gym more often in the last two weeks. It feels awesome! I’ve always wanted to be the cute, pregnant lady workin’ it out on the elliptical, not the overly fat one sitting on the couch stuffing her face. I’m a little ashamed to admit it, but I’ve been a bit more of the latter recently. But now I feel like a new life has been breathed into me. I’m back! I’m back at the gym, I’m back to yoga almost every morning, I’m back to enjoying breaking a sweat and feeling sore muscles the morning after a really great workout. I still have quite a bit of work to do to get back to my previous level of fitness, but I’m working up to it slowly and adapting my routine for my new pregnant body.

Sex
Not going to go into great detail here, since now all of our friends and family are reading (hi, Mom!), but let’s just say that the first trimester put a bit of a damper on our sex life. Between feeling pukey and being exhausted by 3pm, I wasn’t really up for a lot of action. Couple that with fear that sex will somehow increase the risk of miscarriage, and you have a recipe for, ummm, a bit of a dry spell. That said, I feel like the tide is turning. I’m sure Benjamin will be happiest about this new development 🙂

So, to all the ladies struggling through the 1st trimester… trust me, it will pass! And all those who have made it through this miraculous transformation can understand the relief and excitement I feel for the next trimester. Yay!

She Says… Working Out With Baby on Board

I have posted several times about the issue of working out while trying to conceive. It’s something a lot of women struggle with, as some doctors say “chill out on the cardio” and others say you don’t need to change a thing about your routine, and that exercise is a key part of making a healthy baby. When I first went off birth control pills back in February, I was the slimmest and most physically fit than I have been in my entire life. I had shifted my eating habits and lifestyle to be more conscious and health-focused about 2 years prior, and slowly but surely the extra pounds came off. I felt like I was at the top of my game. I worked out pretty hard about 5 days a week, and ate a balanced flexitarian diet of mostly veggies and whole grains, lots of low-fat dairy, and some meat (when it was high quality and hormone free).

When I didn’t get my period for a few months after stopping the pill, I began to wonder if I was working my body too hard in my workouts. Now, don’t get me wrong, I was certainly NOT training at the professional level, but I began to realize that maybe my body had a lower tolerance for extreme exercise than others, and maybe it was inhibiting my babymaking. So I called it quits on the really rough stuff — no more 4 mile runs a couple times a week, no more back-to-back weight lifting and cardio kickboxing classes, etc. I started practicing yoga at a studio near my house, and tried to get my kicks (pun intended) through power walking and shorter/easier stints on the stairmaster. While I realize now it was not my exercise that was keeping my period away (it was my PCOS), I still think this shift from gym rat to yogi was a really important one for me and my babymaking efforts.

So, I’m not gonna lie, I’ve gained a few pounds since changing my schedule. Nothing major, just about 5 pounds, and I’ve realized that this is probably my “happy weight”. I’m happy, healthy, I have a normal BMI (which I always did… I was never underwight) and I don’t have to push my heart rate out of my comfort zone 5 times a week to maintain it.

But I still enjoy going to the gym to feel like I’m keeping my body fit. So I took it VERY easy during the two weeks wait, just in case there was a little egg (or two!) trying to implant in my uterus. I did yoga a few times, and walked a lot, but skipped the gym for the most part. Then when I found out I was pregnant, I decided that plenty of women exercise while they are pregnant, so I probably could too. I have been trying to keep my heartrate around 140 bpm (which is recommended for pregnant women), but I’ve noticed that my body feels SO DIFFERENT while working out now.

  • My resting heart rate is faster. Which means that my heart rate while working out is faster. Which means that I have to go very, very slowly or with very little resistance before my heart rate reaches 140 bpm.
  • Almost as soon as I start exercising, I feel little dizzy spells. While this is a common pregnancy symptom, it is sort of scary if you’re on a stairmaster or treadmill.
  • Pregnant women are supposed to avoid extreme twisting, stretching or tension of the stomach muscles. That means no deep twists in yoga, no ab work, etc.

Yesterday at the gym I was so exhausted after 30 minutes on the stairmaster that I was dreading coming home to walk the dog. That’s when I realized that maybe I should just be relaxing, at least for the 1st trimester. My body has a lot going on, and why test the limits of what I can withstand just because I want to workout? And while I am slightly nervous about gaining more weight than I need to for my baby to be healthy, I think I will be happier if I know that I’m resting as much as possible and not doing anything to stress little piccolini out while he/she/they are developing in these very important first three months.

If you’ve been pregnant, did you work out during your first trimester? Have you heard doctor’s opinions one way or another?

She Says… 10 dpo

Well folks, here we are again. 10 days past ovulation. This time last cycle I was starting to take pregnancy tests (since 10dpo is just about the earliest time you can get a positive on a home pregnancy test). Five straight days of waking up at the butt crack of dawn to test was exhausting and disappointing, to put it mildly. So this time? NO TESTS UNTIL 14dpo… the day of my expected period. Also happens to be the day I go in for my blood pregnancy test. I may even just wait and see what the beta results are… but Benjamin said he really wants that moment of seeing the positive test together, so we’ll probably test that morning.

This morning I woke up to a lower temp than I was hoping for, so who knows, maybe that’s a sign that this month isn’t it for us. However, I woke up several times last night, and ended up taking my temp at 4am, two hours before my normal time… so those results are probably not reliable at all. I got a 98.0 at 4am, and then 98.8 at 6am. Confusing. My nipples have been tingly and a little tender on and off for the last few days, which could be a good sign. I never get sore boobs, not even way back when I used to get my period. So who knows.

I’m restricting myself from Google, which means I might have to restrict myself from the computer as a whole 🙂  But, lucky for me, Benjamin and I have a TON to do this weekend to prepare for Turkey Day next week. Today: acupuncture, yoga, dog walks, cleaning the bathrooms, making my checklists and grocery lists. Tomorrow: deep cleaning the whole house and giving the dog a bath. Here we go!

She Says… Plans Change

woman-running

First things first: I am not a runner. Until about a year ago, my only experience with running was being forced to run “The Mile” in gym class. And let me tell you, that was a traumatic experience. Every year. Even now, as a very fit and active person, running is hard for me. Mere minutes into a run my heart rate skyrockets, my breathing goes into overdrive and I’m sweating like a man pig. Over the last year I have made a more concerted effort to run longer, and more often, to see if I could ever be one of those people who nonchalantly say, “I’m going to go for a run”. As it turned out, it got easier the more I did it. I began to like the challenge. So when someone at my office decided to put a team together for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure back in January, I signed up immediately. I was ready to run my first 5K.

And then my plans changed.

As you all have seen, I’ve struggled with exercising (over-exercising, specifically) as we’ve run into challenges trying to make a baby. Was that the problem? Was it too much stress to put on my body? What if I’m pregnant and my heart rate gets too high? For awhile I put my running on hold, concentrating more on low-impact cardio and strength training. And then my doctor confirmed that it was the PCOS, and not the exercise, that was causing the anovulation, so I was given a clean bill of health to continue exercising. But I had realized during that time that I really liked my more holistic and balanced view of exercise (spending my time in yoga classes or on long walks with my dog instead of sweating it out day after day on the machines at the gym to reach a certain calorie burn). So I stuck with my new, more relaxed workout schedule, but kept doing one 4-mile run a week, mostly so that I could still run the 5K.

Yesterday was the 5K. And now that we’re officially in our first “two week wait”, I just didn’t feel comfortable putting my body into that type of stress. For these two weeks, I want to be calm, respect my body and not do anything to jeopardize what could be going on in there. And that definitely means no 5K. Now, I know the rule of thumb is that if you had an established exercise routine (including running) before you were pregnant, you are generally ok to continue that level of exercise once you get pregnant until it’s no longer comfortable. However, I also know that exercise causes excess cortisol, a stress hormone, to be released. And I don’t want my body dealing with hormone changes when it should be dealing with implantation!

So I showed up at the race, got my t-shirt, and happily walked the 3.1 miles. As I saw runners breathlessly crossing the finish line, I felt a twinge of jealousy. But the fact is, my plans have changed. I’ve got more important things for my body to be doing. Let’s hope it’s doing them!

He Says… The Reader

So Kate went to her yoga class about fifteen minutes ago, but before she left she had to POAS (I really can’t believe I am using these acronyms…but Kate assures me they are common knowledge) for her OPK (man, I feel like a 13-year old girl).  But she had to run out the door to get to her class, so I was left to read the results.  I waited the requisite 10 minutes, and here is what we got:

posOPK

Now, I am not sure if this is a positive or not.  Looking back at Kate’s post from earlier this week, the line in that is clearly lighter (I guess when the line on the right matches the one on the left it is positive).  Maybe tomorrow it will be darker and match the control line.  I am not an expert on this certainly.  Anyways, Kate can look when she gets home from yoga and decide what it means.  Either way, I imagine we will decide to “cover our bases” today, so to speak.

It’s kind of weird to be getting all excited over this kind of test being (possibly) positive, as it’s really just a sign that she is ovulating…something which most women do regularly.  We still have to have luck in our favor that we will even get pregnant this time if she does ovulate.  Oh well, it’s still a step in the right direction.  Right?

She Says… Yoga = Pregnant?

Quick little update: I went to my first “real” yoga class on Tuesday night (in place of the cardio kickboxing class that I normally do on Tuesday nights!). I’m trying out this cute little studio just a few blocks from my house. Couldn’t be more convenient; I like the idea of strolling down the street, yoga mat in hand.

First thought: It’s hot in here. The room is kept at 80 degrees, and it was a relatively humid day. At first it felt slimy and gross, and then I succumbed to being sweaty and it felt lovely. I was all noodley by the end of class.

Second thought: Man, there are A LOT of pregnant women here! Seriously, I don’t think I’ve ever seen that many pregnant people in one place at one time. And no, it wasn’t a prenatal yoga class 🙂 

So, I’ m unsure about the causality, but I’m pretty certain there’s a correlation.

Pregnant people do a lot of yoga.
A lot of people who do yoga are pregnant.
Ergo, yoga = pregnant?

Yeah, yeah, the logic’s not quite there. But maybe some of the baby love in the yoga studio will rub off on me?