My whole life I have worked out and been active in sports. I played softball in college and after graduating I continued my 5 day a week work outs. Due to a heart condition and severe high blood pressure, I was told I would never be able to have children. Because of the stress the hypertension put on my body, I tried to take care of it as best I could by exercising and eating healthy. In August, 2008… on our one year anniversary.. my husband and I found out I was pregnant. I was shocked – especially after being told it would never happen. Giddy with joy, we went to our first appointment where my OB told me not to get too attached.. as the pregnancy likely wouldn’t last. I tried ignoring the baby growing inside of me… still working out 5 days a week… but after three months and seeing my body change, I knew I could no longer pretend my little baby wasn’t happily growing inside of me. Six months later, on April 19, 2009, we welcomed our little girl – our miracle – into the world after 31 hours of active labor and 4 hours of pushing. What a stubborn child!
Throughout my pregnancy I still exercised 5 days a week with light weights – though not as intense as pre-pregnancy (Dr. said this was fine and wouldn’t jeopardize my baby) – and ate healthy. There were times when I wanted so badly to eat a whole cake… a bag of chips… icecream… fast food… french fries. I knew I needed to stay healthy for myself and my baby and fought so hard to stay away from all the things I craved. It was horrible. I craved all things salty… but because of my blood pressure I couldn’t have salt. Sometimes, amidst all my raging hormones, I would cry because I wanted McDonald’s french fries so bad!!!
In the long run, staying active and healthy helped me. The exercise gave me the energy and stamina to be in active labor for 31 hours and gave me the endurance to push for 4 hours (her head wouldn’t come down!). Eating the right foods helped me to keep my weight gain at a reasonable amount and avoiding the salty foods I really wanted helped keep my blood pressure in check so that I could carry my baby to term. I felt great after delivering and was on my feet walking all over the place just a couple hours later.
The pictures I’ve included are of me at 38 weeks (delivered at 39), one day postpartum and me at one month postpartum. Looking at my belly it looks back to normal with the exception of my lingering linea nigra…. but the belly is definitely not the same which is to be expected. The skin is very loose but will tighten in time. I am very thankful for the miracle that was given to me and for the fact that I was able to carry her against all odds. For any ladies reading this that have health problems and are told they will not be able to have/carry children, I’m proof that you can! Stay healthy and strong and you’ll be in the best place for an event free pregnancy and a speedy recovery. To all the women who have posted on this site, you all gave me courage… made me proud of what my body was doing and the changes that would come. I looked at all of your posts as inspiration and something to hope for when I wasn’t very far along in my pregnancy. Thank you for being strong enough to post on here and for being proud of the journey your bodies took!
Pictures: 38 weeks, one month post partum, and one day postpartum.
Postpartum: one month