I started coaching Master’s swimming again last week. For those of you who don’t know, Master’s swimming is like swim team but for adults. Many of my swimmers are ex high school or college swimmers, many of them are triathletes and a lot of them also just picked up swimming as an adult. It’s a really fun, diverse group of active adults who come from a variety of backgrounds and who have a range of goals. Some of them are super competitive and travel the nation or world competing against other Master’s swimmers and some of them just show up for fitness.
I first got involved with Master’s Swimming during the summers in college when I would go home for summer break, but still needed to train. I swam with Master’s as a way to stay fast and fit for my upcoming college season. There was a handful of serious women and some men who were very fast swimmers and they kept me working hard and pushing myself. It was a nice break from the stress of the division 1 college training atmosphere but I was able to keep my body in top shape and ready to compete.
I became a coach shortly after I graduated college as a way to supplement income and stay involved in the swimming community. I was too burnt out to actually swim consistently though. I stayed fit with running, cycling and yoga and my only visits to the pool were my coaching shifts. There were multiple times over the few years when I was previously coaching that I got determined to get back in the water but after a few practices or weeks I would give it back up, still feeling slightly soured from the years of college swimming.
I finally think I am back into swimming this time. I really have no other cardio options at this point with a twin pregnancy. I would love to be running, but that ship sailed a few months ago, it just isn’t safe for the babies or I this time around. I ran all the way through my last pregnancy until the day I delivered Sterling at almost 41 weeks and planned on doing that again this pregnancy but twins changed that!
Thus far, swimming has provided to be a wonderful, gentle cardio workout with the bonus of being a nice social outlet because this mama doesn’t get out much. I’ve been enjoying how easily and gracefully my body moves through the water. I am defiantly not moving with that kind of ease on land these days!
I’m only swimming Monday, Wednesday and Fridays at a one hour noon practice. It would be nice to do more but this is what I have the energy for and what fits into my schedule. A year ago I’d think this was some sort of joke, me only working out three times a week, but I’m quite satisfied with this today.
I reluctantly left my job at the Coop this week. I decided it was just too much stress to be on my feet for 8 hours at a time even just a few days a week. It wasn’t worth risking my pregnancy over and since I was working the afternoon/late evening shift, it just isn't a good fit anymore. By the time the evening rolls around, I’m more prone to contractions because my body is tired. I need to be able to sit and rest if I’m having more contractions than normal or feeling particularly tired.
Conveniently, I'm starting a different part time job! In a way this works out perfect. Now, I know what you’re thinking, that makes no sense, why quit one to start a different one, doesn’t that defeat the purpose? This other job is only a total of a couple hours a week.
I’m coaching Masters Swimming at the YMCA, which is something I did for several years when we lived in Boise previously, and I loved it. I’m an ex college swimmer and swimming is something I am passionate about and have a lot of knowledge in. Plus, a big bonus is getting a free YMCA membership!
The timing is perfect because a few weeks ago I was feeling a little overwhelmed that maybe I had bitten off more than I could chew with both jobs. I tend to get overly ambitious and once we moved back to Idaho, I chased after two jobs and got both thinking I could totally handle two part time jobs!
I feel sad to be done working my other job at the Coop in Wellness, but it was too many hours on my feet at this point in my twin pregnancy. I feel super excited to still be getting out of the house and coaching again just a few hours a week. Something much more sustainable for where I am at physically.
My main focus this past week has been my hydration. After that little field trip to labor and delivery during my 23 week of this pregnancy, I do not wish to repeat that.
I reached out to one of my good friends who just happens to be a new twin mama and a medical student in her residency. She told me that now, exclusively breastfeeding her twins, she consumes upwards of 300-400 fluid ounces of water per day!!!!! I have two amniotic sacs that need to replenish themselves every hour so not only do I need to keep my own body hydrated, but I need to keep two babies hydrated as well.
Dehydration is one of the primary risks for sending a pregnant woman into preterm labor so it is very important to stay hydrated. I normally drink my water out of big mason jars when I’m at home. The jars hold 32 ounces of water so I decided that my goal would be to consume 10 of these jars per day. That averages about a jar an hour with a little wiggle room if I don’t quite make it. Mentally though, the easiest way for me to execute this was to aim for a jar an hour and I made a tally mark on our kitchen white board every time I finished it!
I didn't get around to taking official belly photos this week, but here's one I took in the locker room after I swam a Master's Swim practice!
This week started out great until the very last day, one day short of 24 weeks. It was a normal evening, I cooked dinner, did the dishes and gave our toddler son a bath. I noticed some minor Braxton Hicks contractions which didn’t concern me at first.
Then I started to mentally take note of them because they seemed to be getting stronger, longer and more frequent. I told Matt I didn’t feel so well and that I needed to lay down for a bit and asked him to watch our son who would be going to bed soon. I laid down on our bed for about 15 minutes but they didn’t subside at all and I started to get scared. They weren’t particularly painful; they were just coming fast and seemed to be getting worse not better even after resting a bit.
I guiltily decided to call my OB’s pager and felt bad bugging him afterhours. He called back promptly, not more than five minutes after I left my number. I described my situation and he told me firmly to go to labor and delivery at the hospital. He said, they were the ones with the medications to help stop labor if I was indeed headed that way.
I shyly emerged from our bedroom and told my husband that I had just talked to my OB and needed to go to labor and delivery. I burst into tears mid telling him this information. My young toddler looked at me confused and alarmed to see me crying. He ran to me and I just hugged him as my husband got my parents on the phone and asked them to come pick up Sterling. Thankfully they live close and in 15 minutes my dad was at our house picking him up. This is the first time I have ever spent a whole night away from him!
I was super uncomfortable the whole car ride to the hospital. I couldn’t believe I was headed into labor and delivery at only 24 weeks (not quite 24 w, though I was only hours away from being officially 24 w). I kept thinking, this is too early, they cannot be born yet. Technically the week for fetal viability outside the womb is 23 weeks, but most babies born that early who survive, have pretty sever lifelong disabilities.
Once checked into L&D, I was asked to give a urine sample and hooked up to two fetal monitors and one measuring contractions. The nurse had a difficult time getting two heartbeats. She was worried she was just getting a reverberation of the first baby when she finally thought she might have the second baby. This was because the heartbeats she was getting were exactly the same and that’s very rare.
She ended up calling in an ultrasound machine so that she could get eyes on both babies and make sure she truly was getting two heartbeats. The ultrasound revealed that they were both head up and spooning. She had in fact found two heartbeats but the babies had synced up as they were nestled together in my womb.
They preformed a fetal fibronectin test by swabbing my cervix which was also still tightly closed. This test is a pretty good indicator of whether a woman will go into labor within the next two weeks. If it is negative, I was told, there is about a 90% chance I will NOT go into labor within the next two weeks. If its positive, its merely a 50-50 toss up. From what I understand, fetal fibronectin is a protein that helps glue the baby to the uterus. As the body prepares for labor, the protein breaks down and leaks out of the cervix. Thankfully, this ended up coming back negative.
When I got the lab results back though, they also informed me that I was very dehydrated. This was a shocker. I drink lots of water. I’m that girl who always has a giant water bottle on her and who makes constant trips to the restroom even when she’s not pregnant. The urine sample that I gave the was also fairly clear, not dark like you would expect a dehydrated patient’s urine to be.
The nurse repeated that I was “severely dehydrated.” Apparently, there was all kinds of junk in my urine that shouldn’t be there unless you’re super dehydrated, things that as a non-medical professional, went in one ear and out the other. She told me that my doctor told her to give me a scolding about hydration and to send me home and he’d see me at my appointment the next morning. The timing was quite convenient that I was already scheduled in his office the very next day for my 24 week check up. I was surprised they didn’t give me IV fluids, but I was relieved to be headed home with my babies still inside me.
Lesson learned, twin pregnancies require much hydration and that even if your urine is clear, its still possible to be dehydrated.