My own story…

When I got pregnant, I decided to get certified in pre- and post-natal fitness training. Much to my surprise, shortly before the start of the class, I found out that I was pregnant with twins.

While trying to conceive, a respected reproductive endocrinologist told me that owing to my “advanced maternal age” (then 36) and my BMI, that I should consider IVF — and that I should also be willing to consider an egg donor and a gestational surrogate. He doubted my ability not only to conceive, but also to carry a healthy pregnancy to term — given only my age and size.

While I could understand that statistics would improve dramatically if I purchased someone else’s eggs and hired someone else to carry my pregnancy, I couldn’t believe that I wouldn’t conceive on my own AND carry to term. Shortly after he told me that, I got pregnant on a natural cycle — so you can imagine my surprise when I found out I was carrying twins!

So, it was with a great amount of “twinshock” that I started learning not only how to train other pregnant women, but also myself, given the additional risks and issues and uncertainties in a twin pregnancy.

Some statistics on twins pregnancies: the average gestation for twins is 36 weeks. Only 13% go to 40 weeks. The average birth weight of twins is 5lbs5oz each.

I wrote my own training program, being pretty conservative: I swam 2-3 days/week and did water aerobics 2-3 days/week. I also walked on flat surfaces and stopped running stairs. All of this with the blessing of my ob.

I was determined to have the healthiest pregnancy possible. I consulted with Dr. Barbara Luke, a specialist in multiple pregnancies. Much to my surprise, she told me that being heavier than average (and also taller than average — I’m 5’6.5″) were in our favor for a longer-term pregnancy.

I was closely monitored for my own health and the health of the babies. I had more ultrasounds than I can remember; and several NSTs (Non-stress-tests). My urine was regularly checked for signs of protein. I was regularly checked for signs of gestational diabetes and high blood pressure. I had an incredibly healthy pregnancy — no signs of ill health for me or the babies. When I showed up to my 36-week appointment, my doctor’s nurse said she had started checking the hospital records to see if I’d been admitted. And every week after that, the staff was surprised that I showed up for my appointments — still pregnant (VERY pregnant).

At 37 weeks we started talking about induction. I agreed that if I hadn’t gone into labor naturally by 40 weeks, that I’d consent to induction. At 38 weeks, I started acupuncture for induction and started running (or waddling) up and down 10-20 flights of stairs a day to try to bring labor on naturally. My 40-week due date was September 25, 2007. I agreed that at 7:30am on that day that I’d call to go on the induction list.

At 4am on September 25th, my water broke. I took a quick shower, knowing it would be a L O N G time before I could shower again, and we went to the hospital.

At 9:13 and 9:17 September 26, 2007, I gave birth to Simon Edward and Michaela Renee Snyder-Braasch, weighing in at 6lbs5oz and 5lbs5oz respectively. I was able to avoid a surgical delivery (over half of all twin deliveries are surgical), owing in no small part to being and staying fit during my pregnancy.

And now I am thrilled to work with pregnant women of all sizes as we work toward healthy pregnancies.

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Why “BumbleBee”?

With its short fat body, little short wings and small wing span, some experts claim that the bumblebee is theoretically incapable of flight — using conventional rules of aerodynamics, at least. Yet despite all of the experts contentions and conclusions, the bumblebee defies those rules. I use the bumblebee as a symbol for my business because, as fat women, we are so often told we cannot be physically fit. However, I believe — and my clients prove every day — that fitness is independent of weight and size. Very fat people can be very fit. We can enjoy all of the benefits of improved health, fitness, and vitality at any size. We can fly!

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