Even though I love swimming, when people talk about the joys of swimming while pregnant, I always wonder if these women swam-swam before they were pregnant or if they're talking about bobbing in the slow lane. I mean, the weightless thing is great, and though it is still my favourite thing to do pregnant or not, for me swimming pregnant is definitely more challenging.
Before I was even showing, my abs stopped working, muscles I never really considered while swimming. But just weeks in, I kept crashing into the lane ropes and had to really work to swim in a straight line.
Then of course there was the ever tightening swimsuit situation. I kept my suit from my last pregnancy (that was already on its last legs) but had made the mistake of leaving it in the sunroom over the winter so the elastic in the straps had gone brittle. (The trick was wearing a bikini top underneath!) I probably should've bitten the bullet early on and bought a maternity suit, but I couldn't justify spending money on something I'd wear for such a limited time (and all the maternity suits seem to be more for lounging then for a swim-swimming anyway!) My swimming ladies banded together and got me a new suit for a baby shower gift (um, BEST!) and I am so thrilled to retire that poor old suit once and for all!
I should also add that I was nauseous for seven months and though getting to the pool wasn't easy, swimming was the only time that I didn't feel hungover and carsick all at once. An hour of respite = heaven.
After that horrible seven months wrapped up, this pregnancy kept dishing out surprises. With a hernia and crazy loose joints that kept me on bed rest lite, swimming (and biking strangely enough!) were the only things I could do that weren't horizontal. Swimming was my salvation and I'm truly not sure how I could've made it through without it.
It was a strange and bizarre thing to swim with intense Braxton Hicks contractions or having to stop and shove my baby's foot in from under my ribs in the deep end, but it was so liberating and so glorious to be able to move, and feel my muscles tire.
Of course my suit got tighter and tighter, literally splitting at the seams to accommodate my growing belly. I'd get raised eyebrows every time I got in the fast lane, and I can't tell you how rewarding it was to still be able to keep up...ish.
I have never been a stand around chatting in the shallow end swimmer (I figure if I'm already at the pool I need to maximize my time swimming!). But I became a stander around in the shallow end, waiting for Braxton Hicks contractions to let up, or waiting for the baby to settle, making small talk the other standarounders. And I met some lovely folks - the elderly gentleman who had had a stroke who had been told by the lifeguards he didn't belong in the fast lane until he kicked all of our asses, giving me a conspiratorial wink that made my week; and another pregnant woman who was due in August; and a woman with spiky red hair who told me that I might not believe that swimming was the highlight of her day. I told her I did believe it because it was also mine.
I swam the day before I had my little girl - chuckling at the wide-eyed belly stare I got from every patron and lifeguard - and am now counting down the days till I can be back in the water. Countdown: 29 days!