Permission to run: granted

Tuesday of last week was when Oscar turned six weeks old.  Six weeks!  In some ways, it’s gone really quickly, but in other ways, oh so slow.

When I was discharged from hospital five weeks earlier I was told that I would need to book a six week appointment with my GP for both Oscar and I.  It wouldn’t be until this appointment that it would be determined whether or not I was ready to return to driving and exercise again.

Those first six weeks were so restricting.  Not being able to drive or go anywhere on my own was horrible.  Because of my operation, I wasn’t even strong enough to put the pushchair together and get it out of the house, so I really was housebound until Dan returned home from work each night.  Lack of sleep, combined with cabin fever and a crying baby do not make for a fun start as a family of three.  Those first few weeks were really trying times, as Oscar and I tried to understand each other and work out what the other was trying to communicate.  But by week five, the smiles had begun and having booked an appointment at the doctors, the end was in sight.

I made sure that my appointment fell dead on the six week mark.  There wasn’t one day longer that I wanted to wait before I could run or drive again.

I was rather annoyed at the appointment itself though.  It was a twenty minute appointment, to be allegedly split 10mins/10mins with Oscar for his first check up.  (Although it actually wasn’t his first check up.  We’d already been to the doctors and spent a night in A&E by this point.)

When I arrived for the appointment the doctor began by asking “How are you feeling now?”
“Yes, much better thanks!”
…And that was it.  Me, done!  She went on to tell me that my baby looked malnourished (I assured her that I was still being seen every three days by the Health Visitor for his small size) and that she planned to refer me to paediatrics as she didn’t feel comfortable performing some of the assessment on a baby his size (He was nearly 8lbs by this point).  (I informed her that he had spent the night in the paediatric unit at the hospital the week before, where he had been given a very thorough check over.  The team there had reassured Dan and I that O was in fact very healthy and incredibly strong for his small size, with nothing for us to worry about.)

She didn’t check my scar or ask any further questions about me. In fact, it wasn’t until after I had left that I remembered I had also wanted to bring up the varicose vein on my right leg which has hung around after pregnancy.

As she was hurriedly passing me Oscar’s clothes to (what felt like) push me out of the office at the end of the twenty minutes, I asked her if it would be alright to drive and run again now?
“Yes, yes.  You’re past the six week mark.  Everything is back to normal again now.”
“So I will be able to run?  Long distance and that’s OK?”
“Yes, just make sure that the baby is in a car seat.”

I’m not sure she really understood my long distance question, but as she was opening the door for me to leave at this point, she made it very clear that my time was up.  I decided that I would go home and research online about Caesareans and returning to running.  I’d been searching unsuccessfully for any running blogs where runners have returned to long distance running following C-sections since first finding out that Oscar was going to have to be delivered that way.  It makes sense that each woman is going to be different though.  Each birth is different and each person’s running experience is different in the build up to the birth. Whatever information I am able to find online doesn’t necessarily apply to me and my situation.

The plan had been to head to Kettering parkrun last Saturday with Laura.  Dan had hoped to join us, run the first lap and then come and collect Oscar from me once he had finished so that I was able to attempt running the remainder of my second lap once I was buggy-free.

However, the norovirus shattered that plan.

I have never been so sick in my life as I was on Thursday night. I must have thrown up nearly 40 times, and felt so, so very weak.  Although feeling a lot better the next morning, when I attempted a short walk I really struggled energy-wise and knew it would be silly of me to attempt parkrun the following day.

Dan was then hit with the virus over the weekend, so I was unable to leave Oscar with him to escape for a run.

In fact it wasn’t until the following Tuesday evening when O turned seven weeks old that I finally managed to get out, having first posted asking for post-baby running advice in several running forums and Facebook groups. I received lots of helpful and encouraging comments. The gist of which encouraged me to ensure I listened to my body and didn’t try to take things too fast.

It felt good to be lacing up my trainers again after such a long break (seven weeks, three days).  Garmin on, long sleeved top on, shorts – dug out of the wardrobe.  I really didn’t need a long-sleeved top on Tuesday night, but wasn’t sure how quickly I would heat up over the one mile I intended on attempting as a test run.

First run back after baby

It’s pretty sad how excited I was about heading out for that one mile.  I was also nervous though.  Perhaps I should have forced more questions on the doctor about my recovery?  Made her examine my tummy and check over my scar?  At the end of the day I’m not sure it would have made a huge amount of difference though.  I don’t think doctors are the best at understanding runners, unless they are runners or sporty people themselves.

I knew I would be able to run that mile, and I was pretty sure it would be pain free.  I’ve had no pain from my scar since leaving the theatre and only occasionally in recent weeks have I felt a slight pulling on my abs when I overdo something.

I intended on keeping things very gentle on the run, and immediately could feel that my running style was very lumbery.  Without picking up the pace I wasn’t too sure how to adjust it, but figured I wouldn’t be doing a huge amount of damage running just one mile.  I kept it to as smooth of a motion as possible and quickly ran a mental check over my body.  Scar – fine.  Tummy muscles – no problem.  Legs – not forgotten how to do this.  It was only really my breasts which were sore.  I’d fed just before leaving, but the bouncing around in an old, slightly stretched bra wasn’t the most comfortable situation.  Hopefully it won’t be a problem once my new bras arrive.  I’ve ordered a couple which came in bra sizes rather than S/M/L, so hopefully they will help hold everything in place.

Despite being a little uncomfortable breast-wise, the run went smoothly and I could have easily turned that mile into several miles on Tuesday night!  I decided to be sensible about it though and turned in to finish after just after a mile, heading out for a 20 minute walk as a cool-down afterwards.

First run back after baby

As long as things continue to go well I think the plan is currently to continue just running up until Christmas, building on the mileage as much as I am able whilst still breastfeeding and fitting in family life.  I won’t look to re-introduce any hard sessions such as speedwork, hills or overly long distance until the New Year as I don’t want to end up injured and spending more time away from training.

I want a family, but I also want to be able to enjoy my hobby and even though I know it’s going to take a fair bit of juggling, I’m determined to have a good shot at giving both a good go.

Maintaining a healthy life after pregnancy is essential. The overall body must be nourished with vitamins and minerals. A healthy body includes aspects such as healthy gums and teeth, the strength of bone and a good condition of the skin and muscle.

To know  about your oral health condition contact the Wahroonga Dental Group for more.


How did/would you plan to return to running following pregnancy?
Are your doctors understanding of runners?

10 thoughts on “Permission to run: granted

  1. That’s really quite shocking about the doctor. I mean I do understand their understaffed and overworked but really, that is very rushed. But then I suppose you do know your body best and if she’s not a runner then her advice wouldn’t be that helpful anyway. You often hear those stories of runners going to the doctor about injuries and the doctor declares they should never run again. It’s a tricky thing being a GP having to cover so many areas. When I speak to my German friend she’s always bewildered by our process as she says they don’t have a GP but rather specific doctors for specific things (but if you don’t know what’s wrong with you how do you know where to go??)
    Anyway, nice work on the mile! I didn’t have any doubts that you wouldn’t get back to running fairly smoothly – you’re a warrior runner!
    Anna @AnnaTheApple recently posted…Why I’m OK with being averageMy Profile

    1. That sounds like a really good system in Germany. Although like you say, if you don’t know what is wrong, you won’t know who to see! Although I guess one doctor would then refer you to another one?

  2. Hooray for running a mile! I know it isn’t the same, but when I got back into running after my op I was so nervous, and I went back to a run/walk as I had not run for 6 months by that point I think, as I could not run while I was waiting to have it either. I was very paranoid about internal damage, as I could see the scars on the outside healing but not inside. Although I did have a scan (ultrasound) and they said everything was healing fine, so that gave me confidence.
    That is bad about the GP, but if it isn’t their speciality I think they have no idea really. When I have been about my hip/back/whatever it is, I have had two different diagnoses and I don’t know really if they are correct. I asked to be referred to a physio but they said it would be so long there was no point, so I am just stuck with it really.
    I am sure you have already, but a lot of the ladies in my club are on the run mummy run facebook group (and I have been told I could join it even though I am not a mum, but I would feel very weird I think!)- anyway there must be people on there who have had c sections. I suppose really you know your body, so just ease back in gently and keep checking over how you feel.
    Maria @ runningcupcake recently posted…Time keeping at parkrun and a little trip to LondonMy Profile

    1. That is good that they were able to scan you to check that you were healing well on the inside and reassure you. I honestly felt so nervous about running again I put it off for a little while – really not wanting to cause myself any damage. Luckily I seem to be doing OK.
      Yes, I have joined the Run Mummy Run Facebook group, thanks. I actually joined up a while before even thinking about having a baby and it is more a ladies running support network than a mum support group. I did write a ask a couple of questions on there about Csections but everybody gave different advice or answers. Like you say, I think I’m the person who knows my body best to be able to judge how to approach a return to running and so I have pretty much just eased back in gently and *touch wood* things seem to be going OK so far.

  3. Again, my doctor was fairly clueless about running: partly because she had no idea how much I was running beforehand. I think I did slightly overdo it (mostly by going to November Project when I was in Indianapolis…I do not recommend burpees and situps 6 weeks post laparascopy!). Another few days really wouldn’t have hurt, but, oh, I was so itching to get out by that point, I was becoming hell to live with.

    Treat yourself like you did when you very first started running. Leave yourself wanting more! It won’t quite be what you imagined, but it will be ace.
    Jane recently posted…Thames Meander…Oh. So Close.My Profile

  4. Oh i know how you feel since my sister is a runner and she just got pregnant 5 months ago. Not only the doctor but also her husband do not allow her to run anymore *so sad*
    However, to me, i think you could run slightly during pregnancy right ? It is still good for health as well as the baby ! But avoid the hiit and hard cardio workout for sure 😀
    It is still up to you if you feel everything is ok to keep running during pregnancy, so just do it !
    Take care !
    MICHAEL BRANDON recently posted…By: Tricia@MissSippipiddlinMy Profile

  5. I have never been in your situation before but my older sister was. She liked running as her every day habits, but she was still running when he got pregnant. :) But not too much. It depended on your health and recommendation from the doctors. You should ask advise from them.

  6. my friend was running when she got pregnant for a few weeks. i think in the first period of prenancy, we should be careful and shouldnt have a run, and i asked her to go to doctor to asked some prenancy advices. Fortunately, the doctor said her condition was ok for running but not to much. So i think you can running in this period but remember to listen to your own healthy. Have a good run, girl.

  7. My wife went through just the same situation as you! The doctor just not really paid attention to her question about running after pregnancy. As she loves running that much, I tried asking my friends and searched online for advice and your post really helps me.
    Thank you for sharing this, we always need to enjoy our hobbies.
    Richard Friesen recently posted…2016 Black Friday Fitness Equipment DealsMy Profile

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