Peta Murgatroyd On Being A First-Time Mom: “It Was Overwhelming”

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Dancing with the Stars pro Peta Murgatroyd covers the latest issue of Fit Pregnancy and Baby with her 4-month-old son Shai and opens up about family life with fiancé Maksim Chmerkovskiy.

On her surprise pregnancy: “Maks and I were so careful, but one night we weren’t. Days later I had this massive hot flash and I thought, ‘I better take a test.’ So I did. ‘What?! How?!’ A tear went down my cheek, because I didn’t know what to do. I was thinking, ‘Do I go to work? Do I call 100 people?’ I called Maks, who was in Vegas, and said, ‘Well, I’m pregnant.’ He thought I was kidding. When I told him I wasn’t, he said, ‘Wow, that’s good, babe’ in kind of a monotone. It was really weird! He added, ‘I’m in a car full of people. I love you so much. I’ll call you back.’ He did a few minutes later and he was absolutely thrilled and came straight home to celebrate.”

On being pregnant during DWTS: “I had to dance through nausea, which wasn’t great. The worst thing, though, was fatigue. I’d literally fall asleep on the couch in the studio while I was supposed to be teaching Nyle [DiMarco, a model and deaf activist]. Eventually Nyle said, ‘I know your secret.’ He’d figured it out, because my boobs had grown and Maks was bringing me food every day. But Nyle and I won the season with me eight weeks’ pregnant!”

On her birth story: “I was induced at 40 weeks, because they thought Shai was going to be too big. [He was 7 pounds, 11 ounces.] My plan was to give birth naturally. But my doctor warned me that induction would hurt, so I got an epidural. Then I got pitocin, which gave me terrible shakes. Because of the epidural, I never had to feel intense contractions. Half the time Maks and I were laughing, half the time we were staring at the monitor. Sometime during the night, my water broke. I pushed for 30 minutes and he was here! Suddenly my baby was on my chest. Maks and I were in shock for the first 30 seconds. Then Maks started to cry, and then I did too. Shai looked at me, took his first breath, and just made a little noise. It was the best day of my life.”

On her post-baby body: “I still looked five months pregnant right after I gave birth. A friend who came to the hospital said, ‘Oh, you sure there’s not another one in there?’ I laughed, then went into the bathroom and cried. I’d just had this beautiful kid. I was high on life. That was a joke that I didn’t need to hear. Back home, I didn’t recognize my body. I had massive DDD boobs. It was overwhelming. So I posted a selfie on Instagram as a way to reach out to other women. I’m a dancer who is usually pretty damn fit, and I looked like a different person. Now I know you have to give yourself time.”

On the newborn phase: “At first, I had no idea what I was doing. I’d never even held a newborn before. I was nervous, and I didn’t want to make any mistakes. I tried to give Shai a bath and he was so slippery, I felt like I was going to drop him, so I had my nanny do it for weeks. She’s a godsend. She said, “You’ll do it when you’re ready.’ And eventually I did. Now his bathtime is one of my favorite times of the day.”

On breastfeeding: “Shai latched on right away, so that was incredible. What they don’t tell you is when breast milk comes in, your boobs go rock-hard. That was super painful! I had Maks in the shower with me, massaging my boobs. My nipples were bleeding too. But now, breastfeeding is totally fine. I even look forward to pumping. I write notes on my phone, watch videos, plan my choreography. The only funny part is my left boob no longer produces anything. All the milk comes from my right boob. Everybody at work knows I’ve got one big boob. It’s hysterical.”

On their scare: “When Shai was 11 days old, he got a fever and we took him to the hospital, where he stayed for two days. He had a bacterial infection. That experience made me more fearful. Our house went into lockdown. We put a Purell dispenser at every door and allowed only family to see him. No friends. Having visitors can feel overwhelming anyway. And I wanted Shai to myself for a while.”

For more from Peta, go to Fit Pregnancy and Baby

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