Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Life After Baby: Health and Fitness

   The end is within reach. Because babies don't follow a set time line, but more an average around about 40 week gestation,  I am full term. It feels like crossing the finish line when I did my half after heart surgery.  Nobody, especially me, thought I'd make it this far. The Doctors said 30 weeks. I shot for 34. Here I am with a little over 2 weeks to go. When I realized it, I high fived Chris like I'd conquered a sporting event.

   I technically have 2 due dates: 9/12 and 9/20. But I know it's 9/12. Size and fluid around baby are pointing to somewhere between those dates. So I go in each week to monitor baby. The minute she gives any sign she needs to come out, she will. I could have her Thursday!

  Her bedding is ordered, her furniture has been purchased.  Now we need to paint her room and select new carpet.  She potentially has a name. Her outfit to wear home has been bought and I am waiting on anything else until after my next baby shower. We are expecting out of town family soon and are as ready as we can be at this point. 

   So where is my mind? Staying healthy after she arrives.  Obviously I'm terrified about the surgery itself.  But I've also been warned that when autoimmune disease calms during pregnancy, it tends to flare terribly after. The same bounce in hormones that causes postpartum depression also causes sometimes horrific flares.  The very last thing I need is to be bedridden with a new baby. Thankfully if I do flare I have family available to help. But my mind is focused on how to avoid it.

    Obviously I want to avoid chemicals as much as possible in food, soaps, and detergents. But I also know that strenuous exercise weakens the immune system. So as soon as I have the okay to work out, I'm going to start training hard. Hard, hard. Marathon, triathlon bucket list hard.  Did I mention because I've decided to breastfeed,  I will not be able to take meds to prevent or fight a flare? My best defense is lifestyle. I plan on going at it full force and controlling this bastard disease naturally. Maybe if I succeed,  I'll be able to keep it in remission and remain medication free in the future.  That would be amazing.  The meds are as bad as some of the disease symptoms.

   I am very lucky. Because I know taking care of me is so important,  I don't feel selfish putting the time and effort into my fitness. Taking time for me after baby is going to help me be healthy and available to all my kids. Because my health has been so fragile,  I don't mind spending the extra money on child care to be free to work out. We are also looking into a membership at a fitness center with a pool, as swimming is at once gentle on joints but great for the heart.  This drive has nothing to do with fitting into my old jeans or getting a six pack stomach.

As I was writing this post a post came across my facebook feed.
I had never heard of Vasculitis until my 29yr old daughter was diagnosed with it on 6th August, Sadly she was diagnosed to late and passed away on 9th Aug with Anca positive vasculitis ( Vegners Granalomatosis) 10 days before her 30th birthday, I just keep asking myself what if and why, So many unanswered questions, 
     (She writes Vegners because that's how it's pronounced)

The comments came pouring in beneath a photo of the woman's daughter.  Story after story of loved ones passing from the disease, in some of the scariest most brutal ways I can imagine. I won't go into all the details, but the way the disease can make the body fail is disgusting and brutal. I'm not defined by illness; heart or autoimmune.  But when Doctors stress the possibility of becoming very sick, it weighs heavily.  When I see people dying from what I have, it weighs heavily.  My only choice is to approach it as I approach every challenge: ready to battle.  Hopefully, there won't be a need.  But, one can never be too prepared.