Wednesday, January 26, 2011
The NICU experience
When you are preparing for the birth of your child (especially the first) the farthest thing from your mind is the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). You most likely have these grand expectations of how it will turn out, your birth plan set, the arrival home with your baby, a bag packed for the hospital or birth center and then BAM--it goes nothing like you planned. In birth as in CrossFit you must be prepared for the unknown and the unknowable.
At 32 weeks, giving birth was not what I had planned for, Jason and I were on a "babymoon" in Lewes DE. But, on October 24th at 32 Weeks and 4 days Chloe was born. After my water broke and we made the call to the mid-wife's at the Bryn Mawr birth center and 911 it was apparent we needed a hospital with a level 3 NICU. I ended up and delivered at Christiana Care in Delaware. Chloe was delivered 8 weeks early and weighing in at 4lbs 4oz, and 17 1/4 inches in length.
I never had a friend who had a baby in the NICU so this was all a new experience, we would come to make this our new home for 21 days. I was discharged out of the hospital in 2 days after giving birth and the remainder 19 days would be spent going to and from the hospital. Many of you reading this blog know that we live in King of Prussia, about 1 hour away from DE. This wasn't an easy commute but we didn't want her moved because of the great care she was getting there, so between the drive and hotel stays this quickly became a way of life.
Yes, there are very scary things involved with having a baby in the NICU, Monitors, foreign machines, alarms, feeding tubes...it's a wild new world, but you learn it all fast. I found one of the unexpected consequences of having preemie was the profound gratitude I had for even the smallest milestones. Full-terms parents may not recognize the miracle of holding your baby for the first time or seeing your babys breath without the aid of a machine. Seeing all the IV tubes taken out of her arm and having her moved out of the Isolet to a crib. We appreciated every milestone that Chloe made. Especially the milestone on 11/14 when she arrived home. Learning from the NICU nurses was also a benefit, I asked questions and picked their brains for knowledge daily. This knowledge made the arrival home a little easier. In retrospect it may not have been what we planned for but it's what we got and it's now how Chloe's life began...
Question from a Friend: I kinda need some post partum advice. my doctor told me not to lift anything heavier than the baby, drive, or walk up stairs more than twice a day for two weeks. im all about erring on the side of caution, but this sounds a bit ridiculous. i would expect these limitations if i had a c-section, but i had an uncomplicated delivery with minimal tearing/bleeding. not saying i want to go out and do Murph or anything, but im just wondering how long you waited to resume your normal activity (not necessarily workout related). how long did it take before you felt comfortable coaching/demonstrating movements?
how long did it take for you to start hitting heavy wods again? im not really sure how long i should wait before i start getting back into things. i cant wait to get my ass on the GHD again. haha.
also..breastfeeding. i heard that high intensity stuff can mess with your milk?
Aimee's Answer: As we all know I don't have a professional license but I can share my experience. My first WOD back was 10 days after Chloe was born. It was Rowing Helen- 500M Row, 21 KettleBell Swings, 12 Pull-ups. It was HELL, I remember not being able to catch my breath at all, the weight of the 35# KBS felt like 55#. It was more difficult than any WOD late in my pregnancy. I was inspired to do this since Cate told me (in May) this was her first WOD back shortly after delivering Kiera. And for the gory details no one talks about...Your body is still leaking fluid and other amoeba like things (so if that bothers you, listen to the Dr. and don't come back for 6 weeks)...but for me CrossFitting is not only a physical release but mental one too. So yes my body was leaking funky things, but I wore a pad- It it took care of any embarrassing leaks. Chloe was born pre-mature and after spending the first 10 days with her in the NICU I needed some release. Even though the time attached to this WOD was far from anything to be proud of, I felt a sense of accomplishment. I had done something, I was on the road back. I had no sort of training schedule on days I would race home from the NICU to get something in and some days I didn't feel like doing anything - I wouldn't. I was again, as before, listening to my body. Another sign that my body was not back was evident about 20 days later...EC came for a visit and we did some spicy wall ball, Hang Power Clean combo and It took everything in my being to finish this. It was not easy at all to shoot the wall ball (I opted for the 8ft target). Then we did a Max Back squat in 3 minute type WOD, there was NO way I could squat with 135# (a weight that used to feel light during workouts) I was down to 95# and sore for days after!
About a month after she was born 11/22 I did the "300 WOD"- I was about 6 minutes off where I used to be. And on 12/26 during the "12 days of Christmas" I was narrowing the gap to 4 minutes off of past times and in comparison to the other ladies in the gym. Just yesterday I was only :47 seconds off of Nikki's time on the "liquid cocaine" WOD...I hope to be fully back by late Spring/Early summer.
Over the last three months I made sure to utilize the GHD machine and Reverse Hyper as much as possible. My core had never been this weak and I'm on a quest to get it back!
I just started a new cycle of the Wendler sub-max training and can feel my strength coming back now! Week over week I have seen huge progress.
As far as coaching and demonstrating movements...I think about a month an a half after, I was comfortable doing this.
The road back hasn't been easy, I think I over did it a little by doing the "Bull"- It sent me to Dr. Kropf with a bit of Patella Femoral Syndrome (which took about two weeks to come back). Be cautiou! There is still a good bit of relaxin in your body.
If anything, I think being healthy and active has helped my milk production and hormone level.
In conclusion, listening to how your body feels is huge. I don't think medical professionals have any idea about CrossFit or the level of activity we do or were doing before and during pregnancy. There is just so little research out there. Also, they need to cover their butts (and I have always felt a lot of this advice is for the overweight ladies who had trouble getting up the stairs before they were pregnant anyway)...Just my 2 cents. I have trained a handful of amazing pregnant ladies, some waited the 6 weeks, some didn't, but all-in-all everyone listened to their bodies and had great results postpartum. Remember even though medial professionals say postpartum is over at 6 weeks, it really isn't, you may be feeling "different" things up to a year after (physically, emotionally and mentally).
Thursday, January 6, 2011
Primal Challenge and Breast Feeding
We just launched the Primal Challenge at CFKoP, I want to support the gym and Jason of course so I decided to get back on track with my strict Paleo ways, even though I'm breast feeding Chloe. The only thing I really had to take out was dairy- which has left me starving the last two days, not good of course since breast feeding requires approximately 500-700 additional calories in the diet. I've started researching the topic and found this article from Mark's Daily Apple Click here to read more about Nursing and the Primal Blueprint. I found it helpful. I will continue to eliminate dairy for a week and see how it affects myself and Chloe. My challenge is to get enough calories to support my workouts, work schedule and nursing. Any ideas?
Food Consumption Day 1
Meatloaf (no grains)
Food Consumption Day 2
Turkey Lettuce Wrap
Ground Turkey Lettuce Wrap
Food Consumption Day 3
SweetPotatoes w Chipotle peppers