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Confessions of a Pregnant Compulsive Exerciser

Posted Sep 24 2009 10:19pm
Yeah, this poster has a typo. Several actually. Kids these days.

I have the feeling that eventually this will be one of those Turning Points in my life that I'll talk about later with great insight. But living it thus far has felt anything but profound. Unless you mean profoundly depressing.

Backstory: Wednesday morning I did Turbokick, per my usual. Halfway through the class, the little girls' room called and I headed out. There was blood, people. A lot of blood. Which is never a good thing when you are pregnant, much less eight months pregnant. Trying not to panic, I raced back into the studio, grabbed my stuff and headed for the nearest stairwell to call my doctor. (The stairwell because the Y has a no-cell-phone policy and I was not having this conversation in the lobby.)

I was on the phone with the nurse and the receptionist for about 5 minutes and on hold for 15 minutes listening to their delightful conver-adver-tisements. (What ever happened to muzak? At least then I can get my James Taylor fix without the embarrassment of having him show up on my iPod. Come on, everyone needs to go "to Carolina in their mind" sometimes!) At first they said they couldn't see me that day. Um, whaaa? Did I sound too calm or something? But then I told them I was coming in anyhow. Right now. And camping out until somebody saw me. Which is exactly what I did, right after grabbing my kids and bribing them with an entirely scandalous amount of sugar to walk fast and stop asking questions.

Condensed for the squeamish: The baby is fine. I am fine. The doctor concluded that the blood was from either an infection of some sort or "trauma" brought on by my, um, exercise routine. Unfortunately, there was too much blood (!) to test for an infection without sending it out for a culture. So to be safe my doctor decided to treat it as both. I'm on a one-week course of antibiotics. I'm also forbidden to exercise - at all - until the baby is born. When I started quizzing my doctor on what exactly that entailed ("Can I lift weights?" "No." "Yoga?" "No." "Walking??" "Not if it involves a track or a treadmill.") I received a very stern lecture. While she was treating the possible infection she said given my history - she was the one who diagnosed my suppressed thyroid from compulsively over exercising, after all - and what I'd been doing that morning and the fact that I had no pain, she rather thought the bleeding was brought on by... too much strenuous exercise.

I know. I did it again. I can't believe it either.

My first reaction was total denial. (Okay, my firstfirst reaction was a lot of mental cursing and not of "the little green apples" variety.) I indignantly told her that it's not like my body isn't used to this level of exercise and I exercised through my last pregnancy with no problems and I was trying to keep the intensity low and and and... And then I realized: blood is blood. First it was pneumonia and now this. I think my body might be trying to tell me something. Yes, other women run marathons up until their due date. But they are not me. And for whatever reason, my body needs me to slow down.

My next reaction was to get really depressed alternating with self-flagellation. How selfish/silly/insane am I to possibly jeopardize my baby (who is fine by all accounts - they checked) just because I'm too stubborn to listen to my own body? How many times do I have to butt my head against this wall? Where are my priorities??

Today I'm trying to be practical. What this means is that with 6 remaining weeks of pregnancy + a couple of weeks recovery, I have at least a good two months off of exercise. Yes I'm going to miss the first Turbo Jam that my YMCA finally gets to host. Yes I'm going to miss the new releases in my favorite classes. Yes I'm going to gain fat and lose muscle and yes that totally freaks me out. And yes I'm really really going to miss all my friends at the gym.

What I realized today is that I don't know who I am anymore without exercise to define me. And maybe it's about time I figure that out. For my daughter's sake.

PS> Prayers are always appreciated, if you are the praying sort:)
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