Kerry Pillal is a friend across the pond. She is one of BirthFIT’s biggest supporters from the UK. Kerry has shared her birth story with the BirthFIT audience. Kerry and her sweet little Dottie will captivate your hearts through their glamorous smiles and infectious positive energy. Enjoy.
Kerry, you recently have birth to your first child. Tell the BirthFIT community about your little one.
My lil lady Dottie was born on October 20th 2012, I didn’t think she was ever going to make an appearance as she was 12 days late. She’s an absolutely amazing milk guzzling little redhead who has totally changed my life.
That’s awesome. Was your pregnancy a surprise or planned? If it was planned, what sort of things did you do for prep?
It wasn’t a surprise but was a very pleasant miracle. 5 years ago I weighed nearly 20stone and had fertility problems so I lost 10 and a half stone (not through CrossFit but through diet and exercise). I was very small but not as healthy as I am now. Over 2 years ago I started CrossFit and quickly changed to a paleo diet. I put on muscle mass, lost body fat and February 2012 we found out I was pregnant just before I was about to teach an aerobics class. It was one of the best moments of my life. I had cleaned up my diet so much and started taking folic acid. In the end it came down to relaxing.
Creating and maintaining balance is something that I see a lot of women with fertility issues have to learn and deal with whether it is nutrition, stress, or even working out. How did you maintain balance throughout your pregnancy?
I have a pretty hectic life and was working full time and teaching aerobics during my pregnancy. I am also a bit of a stress head so knew that I had to manage that. I carried on working out 2-3 nights a week but my body, certainly in the first trimester, set its own limitations. I wanted to go faster but my body kicked in and I naturally found myself listening. I added in a yoga class each week to make sure I was working on my flexibility as well as maintaining strength. Stress I managed via my exercise. I think during my pregnancy it was the most relaxed I’d ever been ( until I went overdue then it was all a bit too much.) Nutrition I very much listened to my body I ate predominantly clean, lots of vegetables, lots of good fats and I ate oats, one of the few things that helped with nausea.
What was one of your go-to meals being a busy lady and all?
Eggs scrambled with paprika and avocado, so easy and so good. I snacked on almonds and pistachios.
Since yoga was a bit new for you and your routine, what did you like about it or did you grow to appreciate?
I really enjoyed the breathing and the quiet time, the breathing has definitely helped me in life and was essential during labour. Post baby I certainly need to get back into it and get more flexible.
Did you utilize anyone for bodywork and/or alternative therapies during pregnancy (chiropractic, massage therapy, acupuncture, etc.)?
I continued to have massage throughout my first two trimesters especially focusing on my back and shoulders. I also had some acupressure from a friend when I went overdue. My husband although not trained gives a mean foot massage and I utilized that.
Did you take any child education or birth prep classes to prepare you for birth, babies, and beyond?
Five to ten minutes after delivery.
I attended antenatal classes with my husband, which covered the basics but didn’t focus on the importance of positive mental attitudes towards labour and active birth. I really wanted Owen, my husband, to feel that he had a big part to play in the labour, so we discussed options and he knew what to ask for if I wasn’t in a position to. I read a lot about beyond and since having Dottie have been to Grobrain training, which focuses on the importance of attachment in the early days to grow your baby’s brain and make them feel safe and secure from day one. I really rate the ” Wonder weeks” whenever Dottie is having a cranky day that’s my go to and it’s pretty much always got the answer.
I think no matter how much you prepare when they come along you just go with instinct and do what works for your family that’s what’s most important.
Much of training CrossFit involves a lifestyle both in and out of the gym. How much would you say a lifestyle that supports vigorous exercise, strong community ties, and a priority in nutrition played a role in the success of your pregnancy?
I had so much support from the community and my friends at my gym, Outcast (home of CrossFit Swansea). My coaches were awesome at keeping me going alongside my husband who coaches and kept an eye on me throughout. I truly think it gave me focus throughout my pregnancy of maintaining the healthy lifestyle that I love, if there’s ever a time that you need to be at your best health and fitness wise it’s during the time you are growing a human.
It seems like that which helps athlete’s in a workout, for example, would also help a woman in pregnancy. From focusing on the task at hand, to trusting the process and fighting through to the end. In what ways, if any, was giving birth like the mental game that plays out in a WOD?
I said throughout my pregnancy to people who questioned why I continued to workout and stay focused that I think labour is the ultimate workout there’s no more important WOD you are ever going to undertake, so in the same way I would train for a marathon I trained to give birth. Birth for me was all about staying mentally strong and the realization that it’s such a short period of time and what you get at the end is worth the work.
Labor & Delivery.
I had an easy birth in comparison to lots of people but I was let down by misinformation and perception. I was 12 days overdue and gave birth on the day I was due to be induced (my worst nightmare), although I really didn’t want any intervention. The night before I went into labour I did a chipper and that definitely got Dottie moving.
Contractions started around 4am Friday and I continued in early labour throughout the day, I carried on as normal. Went out for a long walk, did some shopping then Friday evening the contractions got closer and closer together. During my time at home I used my ball, practiced breathing and took a bath.
I went to the midwifery unit when my contractions were 90 seconds apart unfortunately the first medical professional I saw made an incorrect call from the way I described my contractions and said that I must be back to back this was then fed on to the unit. I was 2cms at 5am and was put in an early labour room at around 5.30.
I had a bath and at about 6.15am I felt like I needed to push lots of pressure and I told the midwives who thought I was too relaxed and decided not to examine me as they didn’t want to cause me distress, they put me on a monitor and there was very little change in my heart rate during contractions. I spent the next 5 hrs breathing through contractions and feeling an urge to push but stopping it, eventually my wonderful husband went out and told them that I needed to be checked, he told me afterwards that he’d said, “my wife is tough as nails, but her legs are buckling with every contraction so something MUST be happening, if you tell her it’s another 8 hours she’ll deal with it but she needs reassurance.”
They checked me and as expected Dottie’s head was nearly out. My body had done all the hard work without my help. They did apologize and said they couldn’t believe I was ready to deliver as I was so composed and my hair and make up was still intact.
My contractions had slowed down dramatically but Dottie was delivered about 45 minutes later with the aid of an episiotomy due to Dottie’s shoulders being locked in.
Even with the delay I found the whole process euphoric I was on an absolute high after giving birth, it was all about endurance and keeping focused mentally throughout.
Any advice for new BirthFIT mamas out there?
Enjoy every minute even the labour. It’s such a fantastic journey.
Speak up and make sure that your birth partners know what you want so that if need be they can speak on your behalf.
When it comes to breastfeeding and looking after your baby just go with your instinct and what works for your family, the love you feel for your little one wont let you do anything wrong.
Advanced (44#), Intermediate (26#), Beginner (18#)
Warm up with a row or light jog.
20 Goblet Squats with KB
15 Pull ups
60m Farmer’s Carry (2KBs)
Weight is always what you feel comfortable with today.
If you are super uncomfortable, then just try moving through two rounds slowly.
The farmer’s carry walk should be done with two KB that are medium to heavy to you.