prenatal yoga and prenatal worries
Last weekend, I attended my first session of prenatal yoga. I’ve attended yoga classes on and off for the past three years but I’m really not someone who would call herself a yoga enthusiast. I’ve gone to yoga because, as a runner, I recognize the benefits of stretching and lengthening those muscles that I’m constantly tightening and contracting while out on a run. Yoga is good for me but I’ve never truly loved it.
Prenatal yoga was completely different. I truly loved Saturday’s session. Although you supposedly get more flexible while pregnant, I’ve found myself to often feel stiff, achy, and mildly uncomfortable. The modified yoga stretches we did loosened up all those stiff muscles and made me feel tall and slim and stretchy (instead of short, tubby, and immobile). But the best part of prenatal yoga was the community. We spent the first 15 minutes of class sharing our latest pregnancy news, exchanging tips, and commiserating together. This, more then the stretching, did my body a whole lot of good.
In my pregnancy news, I had both ups and downs to share. Our big ‘up’ was finding out what we were having and getting really excited about envisioning a little girl and coming up with a name for her. We picture her running around with Indie in our backyard, helping us plant our garden, getting dirty in the soil, and laughing over how silly her dog-sister is when roaming the backyard. We talk about taking her camping with us, taking her to Romania to meet her extended family, teaching her to ride a bike and sharing our love of books, science, baking, and traveling with her. Although we were picturing all of things things before we knew the sex of our baby, knowing that we’re having a little girl and giving her a name gives all of our fantasies an even more concrete and solid feel.
Our excitement at finding out about our little girl was somewhat dampened by receiving some not so good news at the ultrasound. It turns out that little C. has a rare condition called SUA – a single artery umbilical cord. Instead of three vessels, her cord only has two vessels (one artery and one vein). We spent the week after receiving this news frantically reading everything we could on the subject and, naturally, fearing the worst. We’ve since come to terms with this news and are hopeful that little C. will still be strong and healthy despite this setback. Many babies with SUA are still born perfectly healthy and we have every reason to believe that C. will be one of them. She looks perfect now and all her little organs are growing and developing just as they should be. And after all, as the descendent of immigrants who have survived a dictatorship and three immigrations within ten years, she’s made of tough stuff. There’s no way that a little cord problem is getting her down.
T. and I are coming to terms with this news and we’ve found that talking about it, reading forums where others talk about their experiences (especially when positive), and being open about it is the most helpful in allowing us to accept this news and incoorporate it into the everyday reality of my pregnancy. This is why I found the prenatal yoga class so helpful – talking to other pregnant women about their pregnancies, realizing that most are not ‘perfect’, and sharing stories and experiences felt very therapeutic to me.
In terms of how this affects my lifestyle while pregnant – it doesn’t affect it all that much right now. I’ve still been cleared to continue excercising and cycling and there are no dietary changes that can help with this. It’s just a matter of monitoring baby and keeping tabs on her growth and development especially in the third trimester. So I will continue to bike to work, attend these wonderful prenatal yoga classes, run (aka shuffle) around my neighborhood with Indie, and dream of a not too distant future when I get to do so many of these things with C. by my side and not in utero. Until then, we’re just urging her to keep growing and developing like the strong little fighter that she is. ~ S.