Again, more TMI. But then we move on to our regularly scheduled exercise-related programming…
Recovering from childbirth is what I imagine recovering from an Ironman would be like… it’s long and it requires patience or you can hurt yourself further. Plus, it’s different for everyone, and for the same person it may vary depending on the particular race. With Super Girl, there was a lot that nobody told me about what the immediate aftermath of childbirth would be like. So, thanks a lot for nothing friends who had kids before me. I was not prepared for the cramping or feeling like my insides were going to fall out with every step I took. I started to feel more myself around a month and was back into my workout routine around 2 months postpartum. Recovery with Super Toddler was pretty similar, but a bit more difficult because I was on bed rest the last three weeks of my pregnancy. I was careful though, and eventually PR’d a 5k when he was 6 months old (21 minutes-ish).
With Super Baby, I had terrible cramping for a couple hours after she popped out. Like, worse than my strongest pitocin-induced contractions. Oh wait, I had an epidural. Still, it was not enjoyable. Once the pain meds kicked in I felt a lot better. But I had to take 800 milligrams of Motrin a few times a day for over a week. That didn’t seem normal. Otherwise, I felt really good south of my waist. It helped that this was my smallest baby though not by much, and with it being my third child my body seemed to be kinder to me. I was going for walks within a few days and at around 10 days, thought I could actually run – but I didn’t. I felt like this was the universe’s way for evening out how ridiculous the labor process went. Until…
At 12 days post partum, I woke up with very odd symptoms. Like, check with Dr. Google odd. Typically, when you consult Dr. Google, Web MD, Wrongdiagnosis.com, etc, you get about 821 different diagnoses and turn into a hypochondriac, and there’s a 99% chance that you don’t have any of those ailments. For me, there was pretty much just one possibility. The next day I had the same symptoms so I called my doctor, who, after an ultrasound, confirmed that I had retained part of the placenta. Gross. On Super Baby’s 2 week birthday, I had to undergo a procedure under anesthesia to get everything cleared out, lest I bleed to death at home. It really wasn’t a huge deal, until I lost a ton of blood on the operating table. Whoops, so that was scary. Fortunately, I narrowly avoided a transfusion although my doctor threatened me with an overnight stay to monitor my hemoglobin. No thanks, I have a baby to attend to.
Since then, I took it easy for almost two weeks. I was left severely anemic, which coupled with newborn sleep deprivation, has made me extra sleepy. I know right- so weird that losing a lot of blood and waking up every 3-5 hours makes me tired. I have been taking iron and getting in as many naps as possible, and have gone to bed early every night which means I can’t watch Game of Thrones with Super Dad on Sunday nights when it airs. So no spoilers on facebook people, I need my sleep.
On Monday, I went for my first run. It lasted 5 minutes. Later I thought my lady parts would fall out but it was just a side effect of the massive iron consumption (google it… I am not going to overshare that much). Yesterday I ran for 10 minutes straight ( that was a mile. Holy moly) and did five one minute “sprint” intervals. And by sprint I mean running at about a 4 second per faster pace than my 10 minute jog. But I felt good, and I stopped myself before I was utterly cashed. Plus, it was 90 degrees out.
Reigning it in is hard. I really want to head out tomorrow and run 20 minutes, then 30, then an hour, but I know that I have to be smart about it or I will hurt any number of organs or body parts that would not have been remotely affected by even a 2 hour run in the morning and an evening Crossfit beating in the past. Childbirth puts your body through the ringer, and just like there is pressure for endurance athletes to get back to training after a race, lest they lose the base they had built up after 6 months of heavy training, there is too much pressure on women to not only crush their workouts until hours before giving birth, but to return to “beast mode” before their milk comes in. Too much? Sorry, not sorry. It’s true. I am done procreating, and have the rest of my life to run marathons, do an Ironman, learn how to do a
muscle up pull-up, and Rx+ a WOD. For now it’s all about keeping this tiny human alive, keeping myself from going insane (aka, sleep as much as possible), and being there to have fun with my other Super kids now that summer is here and the pool is open!
I may be contradicting myself in three weeks when I feel awesome and head back to Athletic Lab for some punishment, but for now, I am trying to be smart about my recovery mode. Beast mode can wait.
Here is the gang at the pool this weekend: