Wednesday, September 25, 2013

weight for it, 27 weeks, 5 days

Spoiler: I do not have gestational diabetes. <collective sigh of relief and DEEP RESENTMENT FOR MY UNNECESSARY SUFFERING>.

Which provides the most obvious, natural and totally-not-cumbersome-at-all transition to today’s inspired discussion: pregnancy fitness and weight gain.

Otherwise titled: why every pregnancy book seems to want me to go bowling.

Ah, pregnancy fitness. Pregnancy weight gain. Pregnancy shape and body image. Let’s just all hold hand and sing kumbaya[1], shall we? <deep breath>.

When I was struggling with infertility, I used to make bold proclamations – if I could just get pregnant, I wouldn’t care what the physical cost was; I wouldn’t care if I had to spend 9 months projectile vomiting, on bed rest; I wouldn’t care if I gained 85 lbs and was never able to see my toes again; I wouldn’t care if all my hair fell out and my entire body was riddled with gestational acne. Just get that baby in me[2]!

Of course, as with most reckless proclamations and appeals to the universe, reality was slightly different. The first trimester was a nauseated mess of an affair, full of bland carbohydrates and sea bands and shingles and mystifying rashes. It was also a time of completely disrupted exercise because TIRED! and NAUSEATED! and did-I-mention-I’m-creating-human-life-over-here?!

I slept, I ate a lot of spaghetti, I took a reckless backpacking adventure on a deserted island, then I ate a lot of potato salad. For good measure. And then, because of it all, I gained nearly 15% of my body weight in 21 weeks. I was, ahem, a bit of an overachiever on the early weight gain front.

Let me be clear: I was and still am very happy to be pregnant. But, simultaneously, for the first time in all the joy and the surrealness and disbelief, I was also uncomfortable. My sudden it-appears-she-has-eaten-many-burritos gut, while a nice reminder of my freshman year of college, was new and strange. My relationship with food and exercise was upended and I began to envision my future 85-lbs-heavier-never-sees-her-toes-again self.

Meanwhile, everyone wanted to talk to me about pregnancy fitness. My downstairs neighbor, who just delivered twins, cornered me on every occasion to EXTOL the virtues of pregnancy swimming. Buoyancy! Weightlessness! Wearing a bikini! My fellow pre-natal-yoga attendees Рmost of whom were much further along than I Рprovided carefree and almost blas̩ accounts of their practice of Bikram until they were basically 39 weeks and pushing. A colleague of mine Рapparently limited in the benefits of self-awareness Рyammered on about how amazing it was that she had three kids and no stretch marks and it was all because of genetics some convoluted pregnancy exercise regimen that I could never quite pin down. And then there were the books and websites. For reasons that are beyond me Рand likely have to do with the endlessly entertaining image of a pregnant woman rolling a bowling ball that might aswell be under her shirt[3] Рevery book and pregnancy website devoted an unusual amount of type to assuring pregnant women everywhere that BOWLING WHILE PREGNANT IS TOTALLY FINE. SERIOUSLY WE SWEAR!

Falling under “sports you may want more information about” (because, okay?) Your Pregnancy Week by Week offers the following gem of wisdom: “Bowling is OK (caps in original). As balance changes, bowling could be more difficult for you.” I’m pretty sure that the normally-sane-and-not-bananas Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy even devotes space to this hot-button issue[4]. And I’m not even going down the rabbit hole of internet pregnant-whilebowling tirades. See here, here and seriously, how could I not mention Yahoo Answers, HERE.

But where was I?

Body. Weight. Fitness. Right. Well, a funny thing happened at about 18 weeks: I started to feel like myself again. Vegetables were appealing; I returned to working out regularly; I no longer felt like I had been hit by a truck, I began (mostly) sleeping through the night, etc.

And then, after rapid early weight gain and not having made any dramatic changes – save returning to how I ate, exercised and (more-or-less-plus-heartburn) felt pre-pregnancy – I completely by accident went four weeks without gaining any weight and am now being admonished to shovel whole eggs and cans of tuna down my gullet. Well then.

I guess my point is this <brace yourselves we’re going deep>. The ebb and flow of pregnancy weight gain is not an exact science. Sure, if your body is a body that follows the book of all things pregnancy, you should be gaining about a pound a week at this point. But my body – and if I had to guess, most bodies – don’t work that way. My own ebb and flow and trying to give my body what it wants – which, in the first trimester was basically pad thai, potato salad, and sour gummy peaches[5] – has also been a reminder to trust that my body actually knows what it needs – something of a Sisyphean struggle for anyone who has struggled to get pregnant.

But here I am. Thinking creatively about how to incorporate 70 ever-loving grams of protein into my diet and contemplating whether or not to take up bowling.

Snapped haphazardly as I was running out the door to work yesterday.
(Professional photog in the making, obvs.)

[1] Listen, I didn’t know there was such a thing as “Kumbaya BabyTV” either. But now we’re both better off because of it. Is that a flying octopus?
[2] Like so.
[3] Because apparently someone would want to buy this photo?
[4] I refuse to buy What to Expect When You’re Expecting because that particular breed of fear-mongering is too much even for me.
[5] I’m not proud, but I am honest.


  1. I told my OB that I hadn't exercised once during my first tri. Her response, "No one does." Take that Bikram bitches.
    Also, you're in good (?) company. My body has NEEDED thus far: chicken salad, pasta salad (why don't I just go for straight mayonnaise?), heavily margarined - not buttered - toast and peaches.

    1. Seriously - I have never eaten so much mayonnaise... it's sort of heinous. And peaches, too. Very glad to be in your company in our dubious food choices!

  2. LMAO, 2dognite, "take that Bikram bitches." Awesome.
    I didn't exercise until around week 17 I think? Who the hell wants to exercise when they're exhausted & puking all day every day?

    Speaking of, I also don't want to gain 85# and never see my toes (no matter what I said while TTC - solid point), so I'm TRYING to rein in the all night snacking. And by all night, I mean I get OUT OF BED to snack constantly.

    I'm hunnnngry.

    1. Ha! Love it. I should make an effort to incorporate more middle-of-the-night snacking. Sounds awesome.

  3. ohhhmygoood. i just posted a comment that probably should have been my own post. it was so long! and then it disappeared. NOT COOL, blogspot.

    main points are as follows:

    i read a highly regarded multiples book telling me i should be eating 3700 calories and 175 grams of protein a day. i freaked out. i ate the whole house everyday for a month. i gained 7 pounds but had very little bump and so, therefore, felt like i was just chunking out of my clothes. lovely feeling. then someone i know contacted the author who said that she purposely overstated the nutritional recommendations to "help encourage women" to take the increase in calories and protein seriously. and then i wanted to fucking kill this woman, because what kind of asshole uses scare tactics with women who have high risk pregnancies by telling them that if they don't gain enough weight they put their babies at risk for preterm labor and low birth weight and death. i was pissed.

    1. *shakes fist at blogspot and crazy fear-mongering author*
      Seriously, what gives? Also, 3700 calories is a TALL order. A for effort on that one!

  4. can't even tell you are pregnant or have gained an ounce from the front! let's see a side view of that bump!!! ;-)

  5. I want your hardwood floors!! Also, yes, to echo No Good Eggs, I believe "bump pics" are meant to be taken from the side, yo. :)

    You're looking just great, and I wouldn't actually pay any attention to what you're eating or how much you're exercising, as long as you're living a relatively healthy lifestyle. My only suggestion would be to stay far far away from tuna -- no amount of mercury is safe, really. But if you must, try this handy dandy tuna calculator:

  6. *sigh* I have given up on the idea of having the healthiest pregnant ever. First of all, exercise in the first trimester? Are you fucking kidding me? All I managed was so stay up right. And some days I didn't manage that...I locked my office door and slept on the floor. Then, in the 2nd tri, when I should have been discovering the wonders of pre-natal yoga, I was forbidden to exercise by scary bleeding episode. And then, when I was given the okay, it just seemed pointless. Who wants to start exercising at 6 months pregnant when you've had 6 months off?

    As for eating?? Well, that is a freaking yo-yo. All I can say is, I try my best. And at 35 weeks, I've gained 30 lbs. Ok. I'm ok with that. Oh, and all of my blood work is great. I'm MORE than ok with that.