Yes, I’m Still Here
Where does everybody think I’m going? I’ll keep practicing and teaching until the little papoose comes out. Everyone says exercise helps to bring on labor, so I am all over it. I can only imagine that yoga is even better. If I can do something to help facilitate this process, I’m there. Just this week I have been struggling to get my head to my knee in the final Janushirasana. My uterus starts contracting and I can’t get the big bulge out of the way enough to touch it and keep breathing. I am just doing my best (If you can you must. If you can’t, try, right?), although it makes me laugh every time I attempt it.
I have a little more room to eat and less heartburn this week, so I think she’s making her way down into my pelvis. What a nice relief to be able to eat most of my dinner without wanting to throw it back up. At this point, any sign is a good sign that things are progressing.
I’ve heard everything to get the baby ready to come out: walking, yoga, a bumpy ride, a cheeseburger and a beer, sex, a hot bath, lifting heavy furniture, walking up stairs. I’ve tried as many as were reasonable, but no baby yet! She’s a Scorpio.
Let the Countdown Begin
Any time in the next month is considered normal and healthy. We are in serious countdown time now. Trying not to spend EVERY day waiting, but it’s hard. At this point, Jay and I are both so excited we could bust. The clothes are washed, the diapers are ready, her bag is packed. I’m trying to find more projects to help the days pass faster. Physically, I am pretty much the same. She hasn’t dropped yet, so there’s still a ton of pressure up under my rib cage. That makes it a challenge to breathe in for the full six seconds in Pranayama. There’s just not much more room for anything to expand past the first few seconds.
I find myself doing Fish and Half Tortoise at night when I can’t sleep to relieve the pressure on my ribs. The midwife thinks Tortoise and a little Cat/Cow will help to get her to drop out of my chest and away from my ribs. Fish Pose feels great because it gets my rib cage off of my uterus for a few moments.
I went swimming at the Portsmouth Pool for the first time this week. It felt great to lie face down and float around. It’s incredible to me how much swimming actually works your whole body. Just a few laps and my heart rate was at 70%. There was so much less pressure in the water. Even when my uterus was contracting I didn’t feel the same pelvic pressure and need to pee. It took a good bit of will power not to jump into the hot tub, but I restrained myself.
Yes, I’m still practicing
I can’t tell you how many people have asked me that question. I can’t imagine going through a pregnancy without yoga. It has helped me adapt to my ever-changing body and gets 100% credit for getting a former back pain-sufferer through pregnancy with zero back pain.
It feels good. My hips have definitely gotten tighter during the third trimester so it feels good to get in that hot room and stretch. My new best buddy is Pranayama. I’ve started doing it every morning when I wake up. It gets me alert much faster and reminds my body how to breathe deeply. I can finally get my lungs off the baby and take a deep breath. I feel for women who haven’t practiced Pranayama-type breathing because as this baby gets bigger, I have to breathe into my chest. There just isn’t any more room in my abdomen for my diaphragm.
We talked with our midwife a few weeks ago about birthing classes. She said, “To be honest, everything you learn in a birthing class, you already practice every day in yoga.” Staying focused and calm through challenging moments, rhythmic, slow breathing, endurance, meditation, etc. The only thing she recommended was a hospital tour.
It’s amazing to me how many woman have said to me that I should keep in mind getting an epidural. When I’ve said I was interested in natural childbirth, I’d say 75 percent of women have told me that’s crazy and to be ready to take the drugs or there’s no reason to feel the pain, etc. It’s pretty incredible that that has become the absolute norm in our country and at the same time we have complications rates similar to most third world countries. We’ll see. I’ve never done this before, but I have to believe that positive thinking and faith in myself can only help.
I think the hardest part now is waiting. Maybe that’s been the hardest part all along. I can remember at 16 weeks, thinking that at 32 weeks I’d almost be done. Now, here I am at 34 weeks and the end seems so far away. It’s like waiting for Christmas morning for eight months.
Now it’s all making sense. So much that I had read about pregnancy and relaxin is finally happening in my body. Relaxin is the hormone that softens a woman’s ligaments so that the pelvis is more malleable and can accommodate magnificence of the human head at birth.
A lot of the postures that we teach students to modify in the pregnancy series I haven’t had to modify (except to accommodate my belly) at all until now. It seems like in a week, my whole pelvis has changed. I went from comfortable doing Toe Stand on Friday to “what am I thinking?” on Sunday. I can see why they say to avoid excess pressure to the perineum and symphysis pubis. It feels like my symphysis is going to crack open if I put too much pressure on it. Now I know why they encourage you to do Kegels from the beginning.
I can really feel the effects of the softening in my ligaments. In straddle splits, there is a point where my muscles are no longer stretching and I can feel I am just pulling on my ligaments. It actually feels like my ilium are spreading away from my sacrum when I fold too far forward in it. When I pushed it too far, I felt like I’d been riding a horse too long for the rest of the day. I’ve noticed, too, when I do Forearmstand, that I have INCREDIBLE stretching across my abdomen that just doesn’t feel right. I just don’t feel in control. I am sure some of that has to do with the lengthening of my rectus abdominus…it just doesn’t contract like it used to…
It really is inappropriate for any pregnant woman to do Toe Stand and deep straddle splits during pregnancy. It may feel okay in the beginning, but contributes to instability in the ligaments that stabilize your entire body and can lead to long-term problems with the sacroiliac joints. I have always been very strong and was very pig-headed about dialing back my practice. Although it feels never-ending at times, pregnancy is a tiny period of your life. You’ll get back to all of your favorite poses before you know it.
Other than that, I am really just in the grow-the-baby stage. She’s gaining weight and getting bigger, kicking up a storm. She loves hot chocolate. Some times it looks like an alien is rolling over under my skin. I wish I could see what she’s doing in there.
Things are pretty uneventful lately. I feel good, the yoga feels good, I have plenty of energy and a good appetite. Things are right on track. She’s a good size and developing well. She has gotten incredibly active. I used to feel her just at night or very quiet times during the day. Now I feel her kicking and rolling all day long, especially during class and after backbends. She used to be quiet the whole time I was teaching, now she’s kicking me while I’m talking. The one part of class that completely mellows her is Kapalbhati. I don’t know if its the motion or the rhythmic squeezing, but I don’t hear a peep from her for about an hour after we’re done. Even when I am just demonstrating or joining the group while I’m teaching.
Her favorite place to plant a kick is right in my liver. I am happy, though, that she’s on that side because if she were reversed, I’d be seeing my lunch again as she jabbed me in my stomach.