These are things that I took for granted (I think we all do) before carrying twins for 37 weeks and 1 day. I had similar experiences with my first (singleton) pregnancy, but twins brought on my appreciation earlier. I am listing these in no particular order. No “Top 5” or “Top 10” list. Who would want to read something titled “The Top 7” anyway?
At first it was only difficult to breathe when I was sitting at my desk at work. It turns out that when I thought the boys were going from Downward Dog to Child’s Pose at the same time, I was actually experiencing contractions. I just figured they were really into synchronized yoga. These contractions were most intense when I was at work, so I had to alternate between sitting down and standing – not doing either for more than 10 minutes at a time. Then it came to the point where lying on my back, unless my upper body was elevated, became excruciatingly uncomfortable. And trying to breathe during the last two weeks was just a joke.
I didn’t sleep much during the last trimester with our son back in 2007. Carrying twins brought on sleepless nights much earlier. Initially it was from having to use the restroom multiple times throughout the night. Later it was from discomfort and pain. The only upshot is that I didn’t feel sleep deprived the first few weeks of the boys’ lives – my body simply didn’t know any better.
Heartburn took all the joy out of eating. Well, not all of it. All things cow tasted yummy. I’m not a red meat eater, but the protein requirements for carrying multiples is crazy high and my body constantly craved it. Unfortunately, regardless of what I ate I had horrible heartburn. Tums, which worked during my first pregnancy, were no match for heartburn brought on by carrying twins. My OB said it was like bringing a slingshot to a gun fight. So he suggested I try Zantac, and if that didn’t work I’d have to get a bazooka (can’t remember which prescription antacid).
First it was the difficulty breathing while sitting issue. Then my belly forced me to move my seat back. For the average woman that’s not a big deal. But I’m 5’1″ and need to sit as close to the pedals as possible. While I was on bed rest I had to be driven to my OB appointments. Being chauffeured around town sounds much more glamorous than it actually is. Especially when your chauffeur doesn’t drive the way you do. By the time I drove myself it had been a month since I had been able to. I was so excited. I felt like the parking attendants who took Mr. Frye’s car for a joyride in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
It’s the little things in life that I truly started to appreciate around the five month mark. Putting on my clothes – especially undergarments and shoes – made me feel like I was the main act in a Cirque de Sole production. What little sense of balance I had left was tested every time I had to change clothes. And I’d never been so grateful for having a set of stairs in my house, as they were the perfect assistant for putting on my socks and shoes.
Think “Getting Dressed” but in a wet and cramped environment. Joy.
I was very disappointed when I was told that teaching dance fitness classes three to five times a week was out of the question. Something about increased blood volume from carrying twins. I figured I would still be able to teach PiYo Strength (now PiYo Live) well into the pregnancy since it’s low impact. But I underestimated how exhausted I was going to be, and waking up early enough to teach 5:30 classes just wasn’t gonna happen. I taught my last fitness class in early August.
The next time I moved with the intent to exercise was in October, at a REFIT Revolution instructor training. In those two short months I went from being able to move freely to not so much. As a group fitness instructor I’ve offered many different modifications but at only twelve weeks pregnant, I needed more than I had ever offered my class participants. I gained a new appreciation for participants who need modifications and I’m a better instructor for it.
Fast forward another two months to the last time I exercised before giving birth in March. It was in December using a REFIT Revolution DVD. I took modifying to a whole new level. For most of the routines all I could do was “side step touch”, but the music was upbeat (as always), so it was a great workout for my soul.
By the time I was put on bed rest in February, it was a struggle to get off the couch and walk to the restroom. I reminisced about the day when all I could do was “side step touch”. Joni Mitchell’s Big Yellow Taxi song comes to mind. Now, 21 weeks postpartum, I am slowly returning to being fit, and I don’t take my progress for granted. No matter how small or slow it may be.
So what about you? Have you experienced something that helped you appreciate the little things?