Sincerely Carolina

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ok, so I’m pregnant: 29 weeks

by caroline

Dearest cupcakes, you’ll never believe this: I’m pregnant. I know you’re like … duh. You told us that.

But here’s the thing –– these last couple of weeks have meant ME admitting that very-true-indeed fact. Sure, I have been doing this pregnancy thing for 29 weeks (see photo above for my 29-week-bump) and I am well aware that I have a sweet little girl growing in my belly. But it hasn’t been until recently where I have had to admit some truths about this process, the first being that I truly can’t do everything I did pre-pregnancy.

Like I told you two weeks ago, I have already had to make some adjustments to my workouts and I was OK with that. I’ve said it before and I will say it again: Growing a healthy baby gets top priority. Period.

But the onset of the third trimester has brought with it some new realities. The last two weeks have meant the onset of some serious back pain. Not just the lower back pain that’s associated with the later stages of pregnancy, but also a pinched, burning pain that is occurring about midway down the left side of my back. I’m fairly sure it has a lot to do with the fact that, as I’ve mentioned before, I am a back sleeper and sleeping on my side has proven difficult. (Read more about side sleeping during pregnancy here.) I have never been great at sleeping on my side for two reasons: (1) I suffer from migraines and sleeping on one side of my body causes enough of an imbalance that it has become a trigger for the onset of a migraine and (2) I have had mild scoliosis for most of my life and, again, the imbalance of lying on one side can be the cause of hip and back pain –– and that’s pre-pregnancy, let alone during pregnancy.

Needless to say, that back pain has been a real, well … pain. I have been able to ease it through massage, stretching, foam rolling, a heating pad, sleeping in a reclined position and other methods, but it is still very persistent and always comes back with a vengeance. (More on that in a special post for back pain next week. I don’t want to bore you!)

So, in order to break it down simply: Back pain + having a tough time sleeping on my side + lots of tossing and turning + giving up and just getting out of bed + exhaustion = one grumpy soon-to-be mommy.

This has been tough for me most of all because I don’t want to feel that way about pregnancy. Up until now I have had very little complaints. My feelings of being frustrated with my back situation upset me because I –– very unrealistically so –– wanted to continue having little to no gripes about pregnancy. Sure, I have had little things here and there, but this is the first thing that has really derailed me.

I know that sounds idealistic and probably even whiny. But that’s why I said at the beginning of this post that these last couple of weeks have forced me to come to terms with the fact that I AM PREGNANT. MY BODY IS CHANGING. A LOT. AND DOING HARD WORK. AND GROWING A HUMAN BEING.

Why am I yelling about it? Because it’s taken a bit of internal dialogue (i.e. ass kicking) in order for me to get through this little funk. While my vision of having a dreamy pregnancy where I enjoy every little kick and growth spurt is cute, the truth is this work can be hard.

And so, I am coming to terms with the fact that I am currently carrying about 15 extra pounds and that might mean my body isn’t always happy. Or that my baby girl is definitely proving she’s a little gymnast in there (and I wouldn’t have it any other way), but it’s taking a toll on my ribs. Admitting these things has helped me toss the superhuman shield and surrender myself to the fact that this baby-growing-stuff is both wonderful and hard. And that’s OK. It doesn’t make me any less strong or motherly.

What about you? Have any other moms or moms-to-be had a coming-to terms-with-reality moment like this? Share in the comments section, please!

Anyway, in case you are curious what the beginning of my second trimester (13 weeks) looked like versus the beginning of my third trimester (28 weeks), it’s a doozy and here it is:
second-and-third-trimesterCrazy how much growth has happened, right?! And here’s one more 29-week-bump photo for ya:
29-weeks-bump

OK, so let’s move on to the updates about my workouts, symptoms (I will keep it short since you heard about the main one) and things we are looking forward to!

WORKOUTS

One thing I have been loving is my prenatal workout DVDs. It took me some time to find the ones that would work best for me because, even though I am pregnant, I like to feel challenged by a workout. Of course, there’s always room for gentle stretching and soothing yoga sessions, but my high level of activity before becoming pregnant meant that I wanted to choose DVDs that felt like a workout, while still being good to my body and baby.

Right now, my average weekly workouts look like this:

Monday: 30-35 minutes of run/walk intervals (on treadmill or outdoors, depending on weather) + arms and booty strength sections on prenatal DVD (30 minutes total) + stretching/foam rolling
Tuesday: 35-minute to 45-minute walk (on treadmill or outdoors, depending on weather) with hill intervals +  Postural Alignment section on my prenatal DVD (11 minutes)
Wednesday: 3-mile-ish run (on treadmill or outdoors, depending on weather) + hip-opening yoga sequence on prenatal DVD (20 minutes) + more stretching/foam rolling
Thursday: 30-35 minutes of run/walk intervals (on treadmill or outdoors, depending on weather) + Pilates arms and legs section on my prenatal DVD (18 minutes total) + stretching/foam rolling
Friday: One hour prenatal yoga DVD + more stretching later in the day
Saturday: 3-mile-ish run (on treadmill or outdoors, depending on weather) + Lower body barre workout on prenatal DVD (15 minutes) + back relief yoga section on prenatal DVD (20 minutes)
Sunday: OFF, but a light stroll with Dan and stretching/foam rolling is included somewhere in the day.

This, of course, is just an example week and the “-ish” references are because I am allowing room for flexibility, especially on a day where I think I might go for a run. If I wake up and something just doesn’t feel right, then the run is going out the window. Last week was especially one of those weeks with the increased back pain. However, I did notice that moving through some of the pain helped to keep my back loose; sitting and doing nothing actually made it worse. But the last week or so has meant every day has been a wild card –– the daily status of my back pretty much dictated what my workout would look like.

Flexibility has also allowed me to break up workouts on days where time constraints don’t allow me to squeeze it all in. I usually never devote more than an hour to the workout + stretching process, but on some days I will get the cardio done in the morning and save the strength workout for the evening or vice versa. Other days, even the best laid plans just don’t pan out.

And, of course, the opposite has occurred too! There have also been days where I wake up and plan to take it easy, but I feel great and go for a run to enjoy the spring weather that has been appearing here and there in our neck of the woods. As of right now, I have been able to fit in two 3-mile-ish runs a week throughout my pregnancy (much more in the first and second trimesters) and that makes me happy. I love that time with my baby girl and, as opposed to pre-pregnancy running, I am just hitting the pavement to feel good and enjoy my favorite activity.

As I’ve said before, my primary goal each week is to stay active, while still listening to my body. That means if I am really not feeling a run or strength session, then I swap it for some stretching or posture exercises, and call it a day. Sometimes, that mid-week workout goes out the window because I’m exhausted, busy or all of the above. The conversation I have with myself? “You are a vessel for bringing this beautiful life into this world. Your body is doing miraculous things –– honor those miraculous things.” One of my favorite things to do when I begin to feel my competitive edge creeping its way into my brain (“Quit being a baby! You can do this!”) is to place my hands on my belly and close my eyes while taking a few deep breaths. Feeling her wiggle in there brings me back down to Earth. No workout can beat those moments.

On Friday I will be sharing my favorite prenatal workout DVDs, so keep an eye out if you’re interested! 

SYMPTOMS

You’ve already read about my most nagging symptom above. Other than that, the only other things I’ve noticed are itchy skin, never-ending chapped lips and a pinkish tinge to my belly (helllllo stretching skin!), plus a light burning and tightness in my sternum/rib area. From what I understand, this is fairly normal at this stage of pregnancy and it’s the result of a growing baby and expanding uterus. It’s uncomfortable, but manageable with some stretches to open my chest. Lightly massaging the area also helps.

Stay tuned next week for a post about the various things that have helped alleviate some of my back pain.

CRAVINGS

Again, nothing major. Lots of sparkling water as usual and a rotating stock of the new So Delicious Cashew Milk Salted Caramel Cluster frozen dessert (I will be posting a review of it soon). It’s stupidly good and I wish I could blame my inhalation of it on pregnancy, but I have a feeling I would be doing the same thing even if I wasn’t pregnant. ;)

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WE’RE EXCITED ABOUT …

Holding her and smelling all of her baby smells. We both keep looking at her clothes and imagining her little body filling them. I swear if you hold them close enough you can almost smell that glorious new baby scent. It’s wonderfully delicious.

Do you have any questions for me? If so, then shout ’em out in the comments section below!

sincerely-caroline-signature