I was so excited to find out we were expecting baby number two. Our first born, Liv, is such a special part of our lives that doubling our love only made sense. Like any expecting mom, I juggled work, house work, caring for my daughter, preparing for baby #2 to come, and keeping my body healthy for 39 weeks. I experienced challenges with this baby that I didn’t have with my daughter — I was nauseous and sick more, I had insomnia yet extreme fatigue, and my lower back ached most of the third trimester. On the plus side, I had more excitement and anticipation because I was able to share the joy with my two year old who couldn’t wait to have a baby at home. So the good with the bad, my second pregnancy was as much of a blessing as my first, it was fun yet difficult at times and it was also filled with as much love as I could imagine. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat to have the end result, a beautiful and healthy baby boy, Mack Joseph Check.
Sharing My Journey – The Workouts & Milestones
I enjoy telling my friends, family and clients about my FIT pregnancy and resulting easy delivery. The two are definitely related, that I’m sure! I’ve done it twice now, two pregnancies filled with mostly healthy eating and working out & two deliveries that were uneventful and some may even say “easy” (especially the second one which I’ll tell you all about next). For those of you who followed my first journey, My Fit Pregnancy, Delivery and Recovery, you’ll recall an overarching theme, I ate healthy meals consisting of proper carb, protein and fat ratios and I worked out throughout the entire pregnancy – listening to my body and its limitations. For a breakdown of a typical day of eating, visit my first fit pregnancy article to help you plan your meals.
My second fit pregnancy was much of the same as my first with a few changes. I did more planking and more stationary biking, two largely safe exercises for pregnant women. On average, I’d say I planked about 10-15 minutes each week and because I am a group cycle instructor, I was able to bike 3-5 5o minute classes each week. Planking can be modified as necessary but in general most variations of regular planks, side planking and reverse planking are acceptable. Next to swimming, stationary biking/group cycling is one of the best cardio exercises you can do while pregnant as it is low impact and the risks to injury are minimal. In addition to healthy eating and biking, I maintained a regular strength and resistance training regimen and stretched daily. Again, modifying exercises becomes applicable in the second trimester so knowing how to make safer adjustments is important.
In my first fit pregnancy blog, I posted progress pictures and detailed the three trimesters. As much of this pregnancy was a repeat of the first, I’ll just post some new pictures of the trimester milestones and discuss weight gain. Different from my first pregnancy, I barely gained any weight the first trimester. I was sick several times and just didn’t seem to put weight on. I started my pregnancy at 119 lbs and was around 123 at the end of the first trimester. The second trimester is where the big gains took place; I weighed in at 137 lbs at week 27; this leveled out with my first pregnancy as I was a similar size at this point. Then the last lag I gained about 8 more lbs and delivered our baby weighing 145 lbs. I ended up gaining about 26 lbs during this pregnancy. I started out smaller than I did with our first born but I ended up about 5 lbs heavier in the end. With Mack I had an appetite all the way to the day I delivered, whereas with Liv, I ran out of room and just couldn’t eat anymore so I actually lost weight the last few weeks of pregnancy.
I spent nine months convincing myself that the delivery part isn’t that bad, but no matter how easy it was the first time it was still hard. Delivering Liv was the hardest thing I ever did but it was also my greatest accomplishment so no matter what, I was excited to do it all over again. Delivering baby # 2, Mack Attack, really was a surprisingly easy endeavor (as far as labor is concerned). Ladies, don’t throw tomatoes at me, I don’t mean to say I didn’t work hard and it didn’t hurt, it’s just that it was not that bad and again I attribute this to the fact that I was STRONG, FIT and ready to push!
With Mack, I started having Braxton Hicks contractions around week 17, that’s 12 weeks earlier than I had them with Liv. Right around the end of my 38th week they were noticeably more intense and because I was 4 cm dilated, I went to the hospital to see if I was in labor. While the contractions certainly didn’t take my breath away or stop me in my tracks, they were different than my first pregnancy and I wasn’t sure if they were just more Braxton Hicks or real contractions. When the hospital released me with false labor I went home and got back to normal living – walking outside for about an hour a day and doing light strength training and stretching.
The evening of June 16, 2018, my husband, Justin Check, our daughter and I sat down to a nice dinner. We also binge watched several episodes of Shameless then turned in for an early night around 9:30pm. Around this time I decided to start timing my contractions as they did seem a bit more painful than what I had become accustomed to. They were around 3 minutes apart when I felt a weird snap in my stomach. Then with each contraction I “peed a little”; later realizing that “snap” was my water breaking. When my legs started shaking we decided this must be real labor so we headed to the hospital.
By the time we were driving the pain and intensity had skyrocketed and the contractions were definitely the real deal. We arrived at Cape Coral Hospital at 10:26 pm. For those of you following along, at this point I had been in labor for less than an hour. The nurses were quick to get me checked out – I was already 10 cm, water broken, and holding back the urge push. The nurses were hoping I could hold baby Mack in long enough for a doctor to arrive but only three big pushes later out came little Mack! The nurses did a great job delivering our sweet baby boy and we felt so lucky to be in their capable hands. The doctor showed up to assess and deliver the placenta. There was no noticeable tearing and no stitches needed. Weighing 7 lbs and 6 oz & 20 inches tall, Mack came into this world at 10:48 pm – just over an hour after I first started having painful contractions. His fast and furious entrance was a blessing and we were so excited to meet him, be done with the hard part, and start the love fest!
With time on my hands in the hospital, I mostly kissed all over my sweet boy, shared the joy with family and thought about the whirlwind of a delivery I had just experienced. The whole event kept circling in my mind and I kept thinking how easy it was and how awesome that I was only in pain for an hour. I had used my strong core (thanks planks!), strong legs, and my muscle awareness to push baby number two out in a hurry. It is no coincidence that Mack made his entrance in record time and with minimal damage to my body thanks to fitness!
Within a week of delivering I largely felt back to normal. I started some light cardio, stretching and upper body band work. Then 3 weeks after delivering, I added some body weight exercises to my routine – squats, lunges, planks. I couldn’t believe how quickly I felt back to myself. I’m not suggesting everyone should be able to workout shortly after having a baby, or risk your body healing properly, but for me, I could tell my body was ready to move. I listened to how I felt and took it easy until I was 100% sure I could handle lifting weights and stepping up the cardio! Again, my theory is the stronger you go into delivery, the easier it will be, the faster you will heal, and the quicker you can get back to being you!
Fast forward to me writing this article and I am nearly in all of my pre-pregnancy clothes. At almost 6 weeks postpartum, I’ve lost about 20 lbs of the weight I gained. I have about 5 more pounds to lose but I have more work to do on my composition. During pregnancy I was not able to keep the muscle mass that I normally have so now that I’ve taken most of the weight off, it’s time to work on changing my composition to increase muscle and decrease fat. Ladies, it’s a work in progress! But, I feel so much more like me and I’m so proud of the baby I gave birth to, my journey to get there, and the aftermath!
Should you have any questions on what I did before, during or after my pregnancy to stay healthy and fit, I’d be happy to answer them. Seeking professional help to ensure proper nutrition and safe fitness during and after pregnancy is smart. Email me if you’d like help you with your journey!