Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Breathing, Uninterrupted

Pregnancy does strange things to your body. Some of 'em good, some of 'em not so good.

I'm not so thrilled about having gained 16 pounds and feeling huge. And I'm not so thrilled about having to hold back everytime I exercise so I don't put myself into oxygen debt (thereby putting my little one into oxygen debt by default). I'm not so thrilled about having to sleep on my side every night and peeing every hour on the hour... but alas, these things are all temporary. In a few more months I'll be back in my old (non-stretchy waist) shorts and sleeping soundly on my belly (we do get to sleep after the baby is born, don't we?)

But pregnancy also has some pretty positive effects for me too. I mentioned previously in another blog that I think I'm protected from man-o-war stings which is cool. But lately, I've found another even more positive thing... my breathing is better! I'd heard that sometimes pregnancy hormones protect you from chronic disorders like asthma, but wasn't sure that would actually be the case?

I've struggled for the last 14 months or so with breathing issues... stemming from a virus I caught last summer that ended up in bronchitis and just never left my lungs. I was finally diagnosed (after Ironman last year) with Restrictive Breathing Disorder, which is different from your typical asthma which is more of a Reactive Breathing Disorder. I've never had an asthma attack, but I have felt short of breath on a pretty constant level for quite some time. I guess my bronchial tubes were just chronically inflamed and constricted, making it tough to feel like I could get a full breath. Hence, the restrictive part.

My pulmonologist finally put me on high dose Advair, which I have had to take twice a day for the last year. I was always able to tell when the medication would start wearing off, because every 12 hours around the clock I would start to feel the shortness again. Luckily, high dose Advair worked for me, and as long as I was taking it consistently, I was able to breath just fine.

But lately I haven't been feeling the same shortness every 12 hours. I hypothesized that maybe I could start titrating myself down to a lower dose. So my pulmonologist gave me samples of the medium and low doses a few weeks ago. Sure enough, I spent about a week on the medium dose, felt like maybe I could cut it down to the low dose... and after about a week on low dose, I just stopped all together! I haven't taken a dose of Advair in 4 days now and my breathing feels normal. YEA!

So I'm not altogether sure why my breathing miraculously got better... maybe the pregnancy hormones, but maybe because I'm not swimming, biking, and running myself into the ground anymore? I used to train 15+ hours a week and now I'm just exercising maybe 6 hours a week total. But I've been doing that for 6 months now so not sure why the change is finally happening? It'll be interesting to see if my breathing stays normal after baby is born... and after I start training again? I feel like the human body experiment... but I'll take it.


BreeWee said...

I found you from Liz's blog, I am on taper bored off my bum so I decided to read all her friends since TV is boring...

I LOVE your blog, hilarious! It brings back the best memories of being pregnant! Too much fun reading about it now that I am not having to live through it!!

ALL the best to you... and the no sleep thing is only temporary too :) and SOOOOO worth it!

Baby and Me said...

For someone who gained 16 pounds you look great! I saw you in your beach pictures! I wish I would be in a bikini at my size right now. ha! Pregnancy is crazy how much we change during it and I am only at 20 weeks!

The Chapples said...

Pretty cool about your breathing! I am with you about feeling like a human guinea pig...sometimes the changes are annoying, sometimes more intriguing. Sounds like we're progressing at about the same rate weight-wise. :)

IVF Running Mama said...

That's great about breathing! I too have MANY complaints about pregnancy (um, constant nausea?!) but my pregnancy boon has been no "butt pain"...I have had hamstring tendonitis for 8 years...and poof! gone after getting knocked up! Let's hope our ailments STAY away!