After that race at about 35 weeks, I did mostly run/walk interval type workouts at easy paces, just a few times each week... (you know, like run 3 minutes, walk 1 minute kind of deals). I thought about doing more or getting back into solid jogs, and really, I probably would have been fine to do so. But mentally, I was feeling done. So after about the 38 week mark, I pretty much stopped it all, minus some short walks outside with the kids for some fresh air. Other than that, I rested and prepped for the coming events.
I was due on October 10th, but at my appointment on the 11th, I still wasn't feeling any contractions or anything.... so they scheduled an induction for me on October 18th. But we didn't make it to that date. On Saturday, the 13th, I woke up, had some breakfast, and the contractions started. They kept going throughout the day, anywhere from 6-15 minutes apart. Of course, they got progressively more painful and more frequent as the day went on, so Adam and I left the kids with G-mom and Pa at about 5 pm, (we were visiting with them in Stafford since I appeared to be nowhere near labor... hahaha... so it goes), and we drove the 2 hours down to the hospital I was supposed to deliver at. By the time I got there, the contractions were steady and painful at about 4-5 minutes apart. And we were just praying that we didn't drive two hours only to have them turn me away and say I wasn't ready enough (which happened with my first pregnancy).
Luckily, they didn't even talk about the possibility of sending us away. They admitted me a little after 7 pm, and when the doc checked, I was at about 6 cm. We did all of the in-processing, Adam left to get himself some food (since the cafeteria was closed at the hospital), and I got into the jacuzzi tub... I had never done this before, but the nurse offered and said it sometimes helps move things along or even lessen the pain of the contractions, so I figured why not. Stayed in there for a little while, then got back out shortly after Adam returned. Not too long after that, the contractions got serious. And by 9 pm, I was asking to push. My water hadn't broken, so the doc broke it for me, and about 2 minutes later, I was pushing. And about another 2 minutes later, there was a baby crying on my chest.
This was my first ever natural birth. I didn't really plan on doing it that way, but was approaching it with an open mind. I figured, if it seems to be going fast, I'll try it without the epidural. There was no way of telling for sure, but I felt like it would be quick, so I turned down the drugs. After it was over, the nurses (and friends on the phone) were asking me if I would go natural again. To which I said, "I don't know... maybe not". Holy cow, that is one intense experience. Sooooo painful, but when it's done, it's done. And my recovery has been great. So unless the labor was dragging on slowly and painfully, I would be likely to do it again... probably.... maybe... I don't know. Ha! Childbirth is too unpredictable to decide that now.... can you tell? I prefer to just go with the flow and decide when it comes, I think. But it was nice to be able to get up and shower and go to the bathroom after, and just walk right on over to my recovery room. Definitely some good perks, but no lie... it hurts like crazy in the moment.
How running helped:
I have no science to back up my findings. This is just what I felt myself. The pregnancy itself was super easy. Being active, in shape, and healthy helped immensely. I felt like my body was able to handle carrying that baby really well. I didn't gain a lot of weight (more on that later), and I was ready for the extra burden, so I had very minimal aches and pains, and again, have had a great recovery these first couple of weeks.
Adam and I both feel like it has made labor a different story as well. Running has made me stronger, tougher, and better at mentally dealing with pain. I felt like I was ready to endure and breathe through the contractions so much more so than with my previous births. It hurt, but I knew I could handle it. My body was ready and armed for the task. Thank you, running. I even had the nurses and doctor telling me over and over that I couldn't really be in labor, since I was laughing and smiling every time that I was between contractions.
For the weight gain, my goal with this pregnancy was to keep it at or under 30 lbs. My first pregnancy was about 50 lbs of extra weight (yikes!). My second was probably 35-40 lbs. And this one, I started at a lower starting weight (thanks to my running), and was still able to meet my goal. I was right at 30 lbs when they weighed me at the hospital check in. (Starting weight was 135, end of pregnancy weight was 165). I am super proud of this! And it was 90% due to running, since my eating is nowhere near perfect.
If you can run during your pregnancy, do it! It is so worth the time and effort. It will energize you, it will give you a great stress outlet, and it will keep your mind and body strong and prepped for the craziness that is childbirth. And at the end of it all, you get an adorable, healthy, little baby to cuddle with. Good motivation.