I was in the BEST shape of my life directly before we got pregnant.
I mean, the BEST shape. As I’ve noted before, I’ve struggled with body image, weight, and self esteem issues. Before we got pregnant, I had gotten to the point where I was “ok” wearing a two-piece bathing suit. I didn’t feel I needed to constantly keep on a long pants and a jacket. I had reached a point where, I didn’t LOVE my body, but I accepted it. I accepted how it was and I could be comfortable.
It would only make sense that it was then and only then that I got pregnant with not 1 but 4 babies. My very first concern, besides the fact that I feared I couldn’t carry 4 babies long enough, was that I had NO clue how to eat for 4 babies. Then reality set and my doctors informed me I also wasn’t going to be allowed to exercise anymore- it simply burned too many calories and could put stress on my body.
But- I gained the weight I needed. I ate massive amounts of food and I grew those babies. I grew 14 lbs of baby in 31 weeks. They were all at or above average size for their gestational age.
And I easily lost 50 pounds the first week. Ok- so that was baby, fluids, and all that stuff that goes into making a baby…
Granted- I was eating like a beast. Because I was breastfeeding and pumping for 4, I was so incredibly hungry. So hungry- all the time. Just pumping alone would exhaust me and make me nauseous. I continued to eat a sizable amount of food and didn’t gain weight- but also didn’t lose weight.
No worries. Those first few months were survival. Minimal to no sleep. Constant feeding. Hyper vigilance to ensure the babies were ok and doing well. After they were about 4 or 5 months old, I went to the gym a couple times. It wasn’t the same as when I worked out pre-pregnancy. I couldn’t get back in the groove. It didn’t help that I had 4 babies at home that I was concerned about. Summer approached. I felt out of shape. I was exhausted. I needed to get back to a workout routine.
Finally, in August, when the babies were well big enough to sit upright in a stroller (had good head control & were crawling) I ventured out to a local stroller work out group.
I was terrified. First- the stroller alone weighed 85 pounds. Second- I was out of shape. Third- I had 4 babies. I was so afraid of not being accepted by this moms…or being judged. I went with very low expectations. And I was embarrassed. As much as I wanted to be all “my body is wonderful because I gave birth to 4 babies at once!” I was more “I gave birth to 4 babies and I am exhausted and I don’t like how it left my body and I feel like a slob.” It was hard work just getting there. Making sure I pumped before I left, getting a diaper bag with enough for 4 babies (snacks, sippys, diapers, clothes), loading the 85 pound stroller. But I told myself I’d try it at least once.
And I loved it. The ladies were so incredibly welcoming and interested in my babies and in me. They encouraged me- and continue to be a big support in my life. We try to make workout at least 3 times a week- though sometimes doctor appointments or illnesses get in our way.
Since starting, I have ran at least 5 5ks- including our infamous 5k that goes over the biggest bridge in Savannah (4 of those was pushing babies). I’ve improved on my time and learned how to manage pushing over 180 pounds of stroller and baby.
Ive been able to lose almost all the baby weight- and i’ve gained so much more in strength, stamina, and fitness. Every time I go to my workout group, I’m amazed at what I can push my body to do with the help of all these other amazing moms.
Fitness after quads is difficult. Most all higher order multiple pregnancies include some type of bedrest or modified bedrest- and lots of lounging. Because I couldn’t work out while pregnant, both because it would burn calories I needed for the babies and because it would put too much stress on my ever growing uterus and pressure on my cervix, most of my muscles had lots of atrophy. My multiple pregnancy made me exhausted much of the time…and having the babies didn’t relieve that. Instead, I went full mode into trying to care for 4 infants. Caring for 1 infant often leads people to exhaustion- and I had 4 to worry about. Then factors in the inability to do things that you might normally do with 1. I couldn’t easily get out and about- everything takes planning and logistics. Half the battle is just getting the energy to want to go out alone with 4 babies. There are just moments where, logistically, having 4 babies at once is a bummer. But fitness has been important to me. For sanity, to feel comfortable in my body, and to be my healthiest self for the babies.
My motto: Just get out there and do it. So I have 4 toddlers who are incredibly active and busy- so what. Just get out there and do it. Want to go to walmart- do it. Want to take them to an enclosed play center- do it. Want to get fit again- DO IT! There are things that I definitely have to limit myself on having four toddlers (like pools, playgrounds that are crowded, restaurants)- I’m not going to let it hold me back from doing something that I love. I just incorporate them as needed. One having a bad day and screaming in the stroller? Put on Tula or use the baby as weights instead of actual weights. As cheesy as Nike sounds- Just Do It!
Fitness after quads is definitely a challenge…and definitely a blessing. For me, it’s been life changing. I’m a much better mom, more patient, calmer, and a better wife when I’ve been able to work out. And being fit makes me feel better about myself, which makes life go a lot smoother. Fitness after quads was Important to me- and because it was important, I’ve made it a priority. Sometimes that means I have to run pushing over 180 pounds of stroller & baby, or utilizing tabatas and short workouts while the babies are playing, or going for a run as the sunsets when my husband puts the babies down. Sometimes it means incorporating the babies- running around the house, up and down stairs, toting 2 babies at a time, teaching babies exercises (they’ve got squat and downward dog down pat!) I’m determined to do what it takes because I want to be active—and because I don’t want to let having quads hold me back anymore than it already does. Fitness after quads is definitely a challenge…and definitely a blessing. For me, it’s been life changing. I look forward to continuing my fitness goals, meeting new obstacles, and having the babies even more engaged!