Friday, October 7, 2011

Pregnancy:exercising & expectations

It's week 27 of my pregnancy and I'm just blogging about it now, but better late than never right? It's been a crazy summer. We didn't have a home for two months, so blogging about my experience as a pregnant woman with Cerebral Palsy was the last thing on my mind, although I will blog about my pregnancy experiences during that time later on as they were important.

I have a mild case of Spastic Cerebral Palsy, so I walk with a limp and my left hand is weaker than my right. But thankfully, I walk on my own and don't need any medication for spasticity or other issues.

I was born 3 months premature, weighing 800 grams! My mom says I was born at 26 weeks, so now that I'm at week 27, every week I keep my baby inside me is sort of like a victory. Rationally, my doctor said I don't have any reason to worry about a premature birth, but whoever said emotions were rational? Still, I'm operating on the safer side and I'm staying home and taking it easy as much as possible, which truthfully has been drilled into my head from my mother from the second I told her I was pregnant=) can't live with them and you can't live without them! But my growing belly isn't making it easy for me to walk and since I had balance issues before the pregnancy, you can imagine I'm more than a little off these days because of my belly. I have taken some falls which always scare me and sometimes have me running to the doctor or hospital because I'm worried something has happened or will happen to my beautiful little miracle I'm housing, but I have a resilient litter bugger in there=)
27 wks

Before I got pregnant, I was in the gym three times a week since it's very important to keep the muscles limber and the body strong, especially with a disability like Cerebral Palsy, which in my case gives me tight and loose muscle tone. Now that I'm pregnant and taking it easy, I'm trying not to bounce off the walls from boredom and more importantly inactivity. Because I'm not doing any exercise, I'm having quite a hard time just moving around because my muscles are so tight, and since I'm carrying low, it's really difficult to stretch my legs properly, so I kinda feel like damned if I do, and damned if I don't.

I did try a yoga class where all the exercises are done in a chair so it makes the exercises easier for people who have mobility or other physical issues. I was a bit nervous at first since exercise classes don't usually work for me, because while everyone else in the class is on step 3, I'm still trying to figure out how to do step one and I can assure you it's a painful endeavor to watch me try and figure out how to do the exercises! so I was excited about the chair yoga class because I was told it wasn't going to be difficult, but I did have some issues because my range of motion really is nil right now, especially my legs and left foot, but I did what I could and I may go back for more even though the whole yoga breathing and visualization thing doesn't really work for me. I inhale when I'm supposed to exhale and vice versa. I don't know why. I'm also not the sort of person who has the patience to take my mind to a peaceful place or a babbling brook, although I know the breathing and visualization is important in focusing I just want to do the exercises! Plus, I can't imagine I'm in a peaceful place when it's 100 degrees in the room, no AC and no open windows!

My next trial is most likely going to be going swimming although I know I may get stares and questions from people since I usually look like I'm drowning when I'm swimming. Someone did ask me a few years ago when I was in the college pool if I was OK and I said yes. He said I looked like I was drowning! I swallowed my embarrassment and explained that I have Cerebral Palsy, which is why I don't exactly have the greatest form when I swim. The man, a retired surgeon, offered to help me swim free of charge once a week and it was very beneficial. Who knows? if I go to the pool here in Israel and someone asks if I'm drowning, maybe I can get the same type of help I got in college! but the point is that I have to do some exercise, otherwise I believe a vaginal birth will be quite difficult for me.

Speaking of birth, now that I'm two-thirds of the way through my pregnancy, I'm getting a bit scared and I'm not just talking about the normal fears a woman has the first time she gives birth. I'm talking about fear of just being in a hospital. I have had 10 surgeries throughout my life to correct orthopedic issues, so I've spent a fair amount of time in hospitals and operating much time that I freak out by just walking into a hospital, even if it's just to visit someone. My heart starts hammering away the second I smell that hospital smell. I have to remind myself to breathe normally once in the hospital because all the times I spent in hospital as a child and all the pain I endured comes rushing back to me and I want to get out of the building as soon as I can. I always had this vision that I would be excited at the miracle of giving birth, but last night I lay wide awake in bed at 3am, curled into a little ball while trying to breathe normally because I was petrified of the idea of having to go back in to a hospital, even for a happy occasion. I'm hoping I can have a vaginal birth, because being in a normal hospital room as opposed to an operating room for a C-section will be far less traumatic since it's a surgical procedure and I HATE operating rooms. When I asked my doctor if I could have a natural birth, he said no and wouldn't explain why when asked. After going back and forth a few times, my husband said "I think she means can she have a vaginal birth" The doctor said oh yeah, 80% chance!" I said "what did you think I meant? a birth without an epidural?? Yeah right!"