I am so excited about today’s post as it’s my first ever guest post here at HEAB. Back when I started reading blogs, I had 3 regulars that I read everyday: Mizfit, Mark’s Daily Apple, and The Great Fitness Experiment. Eventually, I started a blog of my own, and I am so honored to have Charlotte, the hilarious and very talented author The Great Fitness Experiment as well as Y member extraordinaire and amazing mom to four, shed some light on pregnancy and labor.
In honor of her guest post, Charlotte has graciously agreed to send one of my readers a copy of her new book, The Great Fitness Experiment: One Year of Trying Everything. The book chronicles 12 months in the life of Charlotte and her Gym Buddies as they attempt all sorts of workouts, including everything from Cross Fit to kettlebells to days filled with double cardio. I just finished reading my copy last night, and for anyone who enjoys reading about fitness and exercise while laughing out loud, then this is the book for you. Charlotte, thank you for giving me hope that I will someday be able to do an unassisted pull-up (my dream!) and for sharing your HIIT treadmill mishap. Good to know I’m not the only one. 🙂 Anyone who leaves a comment on this post will be entered in the giveaway, and trust me, you want to read this book. I was entertained from cover to cover.
I give you Charlotte…
Over the years, Heather and I have tried out a lot of things together. I gave her the barftastic Tabata workout on the spin bike. She gave me her awesome recipe for maple nut oaties, which in my incapable hands turned out looking like turds, although they did taste awesome. (Seriously Heather, how do you make such perfectly uniform balls?!)
My perfectly uniform balls.
We won’t even discuss how I massacred her 2-ingredient no-fail chocolate coconut fudge recipe. Clearly she and I are a great team: I give her sweaty, painful workouts and she gives me day after day of delicious recipes! It’s a win-win… for me, anyhow.
So I was beyond excited when Heather told me that she and I would get to try out having a fit pregnancy together! (That came out wrong. CD is definitely the dad. I did not help with the getting pregnant part. Although I do wish I’d thought of the va-jay-jay cake – that might be the awesomest baby cake I have ever seen.) Through some fluke of the Internet gods and weirdly synced up cross-country ovulating (Katy Perry was right – us girls are magical!), she had Summer the HEABlet exactly one year to the day after I birthed my 5th baby, Jelly Bean.
Success: we both had beautiful, healthy, baby girls while still exercising and eating well! But while Heather specializes in making difficult things look easy, my superhero power is making easy things look difficult! And making difficult things, like childbirth, positively PTSD inducing! So after reading Heather’s beautiful labor and delivery story (I cried – seriously, I did – something happens after you have kids where your tear ducts get rewired to your uterus so that anytime anyone even talks about having a baby, even in a Johnson & Johnson baby wash commercial ahem, you bawl uncontrollably. It’s especially embarrassing when a Kotex ad comes on. Don’t judge.) I decided that there are few minor parts she left out.
Three Things Nobody Tells You About Having a Baby
1. Heartburn, cravings, swollen ankles, mule kicks to your cervix (surprise: it has nerves too!) – the discomforts of late pregnancy are pretty well known but one that they hardly ever mention is swollen gums. All those wacky pregnancy hormones send extra blood to your mouth where it inflates your gums until you have Lisa Rinna lips, but on the inside. Your teeth feel like they’re going to fall out, hot and cold drinks have you wailing like a Jonas Brother and you may crave crunchy popcorn but all you can handle is room temperature yogurt.
2. Even though you are not a toddler nor geriatric, you will pee your pants. And I’m not talking about your water breaking. (Side note: That old “tip” about carrying a jar of pickles in your purse to drop on the ground in case your water breaks in public? Insanity! People are going to be way more concerned about a crazy woman randomly shattering glass objects that spray acidic liquid in communal spaces than an obviously pregnant woman with leakage.) No, if you see a woman very late in her pregnancy or right after delivery with damp spots down her legs, she probably wet herself. Even worse, she probably doesn’t even know it yet. Pregnancy hormones loosen everything up, even afterward and that combined with having just shoved a bologna loaf out your hoo-ha make an accident a near certainty. Take comfort in knowing that it has happened to all of us!
3. Your butt will look like one of those baboons in heat at the zoo.
Yep, that about sums up how it feels.
There’s swollen tissue and then there’s what happens after the baby comes out. (Unless you have a c-section – it’s a Get-Out-of-Baboon-Butt Free card.) Just accept the giant mesh granny panties the wise nurse/midwife will give you, stuff one of those cookie-sheet sized pads in there and waddle with pride. If you can talk your nurse into it, they even have pads now with an ice-pack core! Also, sitz baths work miracles. And you should probably stay away from the zoo, just in case. (Heather here. OK, none of my nurses mentioned the ice-packs. Totally requesting those should there be a HEABlet #2. Oh, and those sitz baths…couldn’t have made it through that first week without them!)
Now that I’ve frightened you out of ever having children, I will say that even with all of the awfulness I’ve described I’ve still had 5 of the little darlings. Babies are that wonderful! While you do not forget the pain involved in getting them here (a man must have made that one up) they are totally, miraculously, beautifully worth it. The cliche is true: what you work for, you value more! I’m so grateful that Heather and CD have shared their pregnancy and now Summer with all of us (mostly so I can get my baby fix here because I’m never popping out another of my own) – it is a gift and I love watching their little family grow day by day. Thanks for letting me be a tiny little part of that Heather!
For all of you that have had babies – what part of the process surprised you? Any advice you wish someone had told you first? And for those of you who are child-free, don’t you agree with me about the pickle jars?!
Written with love by Charlotte Hilton Andersen of The Great Fitness Experiment (c) 2010. If you enjoyed this, please check out my new book The Great Fitness Experiment: One Year of Trying Everything for more of my crazy antics and uncomfortable over-shares!
Charlotte, thanks again for making an appearance here at HEAB! ‘Twas truly an honor, and I’ll announce the winner of Charlotte’s book as well as the winner of my photo editing giveaway tomorrow.