Jul 062016
 

I knew that things would be different after.

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1 Week Postpartum

Having lost 110 pounds — nearly 10 years ago — I had some loose skin on my stomach. It wasn’t too bad. I think a combination of being 25 years old when I started to lose the weight and the fact that it took me a year and a half to lose the weight made the skin “bounce back” a little easier. But I still had a little bit. It was something I was self-conscious about. Even at my skinniest (143 pounds) I never felt truly comfortable about my stomach. I wore a bikini in Hawaii and it was both scary and liberating but I was never 100% confident when I wore it. It was just the way it was.

Something happened when I got pregnant. I was no longer self-conscious about my stomach. As it grew I also grew to love it. It was something special and wonderful. Even during that in-between stage where I just looked kinda chubby and not quite pregnant yet, I still loved it.

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Now that Logan is here, my body is mine again. Sort of! Things sure have changed and in a lot of ways it feels like my body is that of a stranger’s instead. My stomach is kind of oddly deflated right now. It’s not really about loose skin as much as just being “deflated”. It’s a bit weird and it feels like it’s not my body.

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I’m definitely in-between in clothes. Nothing fits quite right. Part of that is the extra pounds and part of that is the deflated stomach issue. So maternity clothes are too big and baggy, my old clothes are too small, the clothes I wore in the early months of my pregnancy sort of fit but don’t look quite right either. Pre-pregnancy I was in a size medium for most shirts, now mediums don’t really fit but sometimes the large sized shirt is too big. I need a half size!

I recently decided to buy some new clothes. I just had to. Breastfeeding = I definitely needed new bras. I bought some new workout clothes that fit a little better. Had to buy a pair of jeans for work (pre-pregnancy I was a size 8, now I’m somewhere in between a 10 and 12 and of course neither size really fits well!). I bought a few pairs of capris, shorts and shirts. Some of them are in a size bigger than what I used to wear, some aren’t. I’m trying not to give the label too much mind, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a bit disappointing.

It’s just weird not feeling quite yourself. 🙁

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15 weeks post partum

Another issue I’ve discovered is that postpartum healing takes time. I knew it would. But to be honest I “bounced back” pretty quickly at first and perhaps went back to some activities to soon? Who knows, hindsight and all that…but I’ve stopped running temporarily. Partially due to the flare-up of my back issues. I am disappointed for sure. I thought I was “Back to Normal” (normal???) and so it is frustrating to see my limitations.

Talking to my doctor about some of the general issues I’ve had she explained that breastfeeding does a number on your body that you just don’t realize. The big one? The ligaments are still loose like when you were pregnant. I did not know this. It’s funny–there are a zillion books, websites, blogs, etc about pregnancy and all the shit your body goes through giving birth but rarely do they ever REALLY discuss the aftermath. I know in our childbirth class she whizzed through the postpartum part in 30 minutes and didn’t cover any of the issues I had after giving birth (perfect example: hot flashes? Who knew that was a thing?!?! Thank goodness for Google.).

My doctor said some of these issues I’ve been having won’t resolve until I stop breastfeeding (come on ligaments! Get back to normal!!). Again, I’m disappointed. I was really looking forward to getting back into running, running outside this summer, and running the two 5k’s I signed up for this fall. It was kind of crushing to realize that that might not happen and I just need to make peace with that and do what my body CAN do. I’m trying not to think about it, or put too much pressure on myself but it’s hard. I was so expecting this all to just happen naturally and I was healing really well and felt okay to get back into fitness.

In addition to my back flare-up I’ve noticed my IT band is inflamed. I haven’t had issues with my IT Band in years (thankfully my runner’s knee hasn’t returned–knock on wood). I am guessing this is related to breastfeeding and ligaments being looser.

So in a lot of ways I am feeling frustrated with my body.

I saw the physical therapist I was seeing last year for my back this week and she said that my back issue is entirely related to being pregnant. My core is gone. The repetitive issue of bending over to pick up the baby, not having core strength due to pregnancy just lead to a back strain. She thinks the IT band flare-up is also related to my core issues (and the breastfeeding thing) so basically it’s all just a “you had no core strength for almost a year injury”. She said that running probably didn’t help–because you DO use your core a lot for running. So I went back to running too soon and should have focused more on core strength in those early days of being back at the gym.

She also suggested I don’t do the ab machines at the gym (she said they are not good for the body), which I stopped doing once my back hurt. She gave me some PT exercises to strengthen my core and I’m hoping that I can try running again soon.

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My new goal is to focus on strengthening my core and doing some low-impact activities. We used to go hiking every 4th of July–we didn’t this year–but I’m hoping we can start that soon. It’s a good, low impact activity we can do together.

I knew things would change, but it’s hard when you feel like you are “normal” and yet…you aren’t back to your normal yet. I keep forgetting that for nearly a year I had limitations! So that’s what’s going on in my life right now…healing, strengthening and waiting!

 

Dec 212015
 

Usually my huge family gets together for our annual Christmas party and white elephant gift exchange. There’s tons of food and drink and people and it’s a blast. For whatever reason that didn’t happen this year, so some of my cousins decided to throw our own little Cousins Christmas get-together. I’m glad they did! It was a small group of us because so many of us are scattered around the country (and world) but it was so good to see some of them!

First, I went to the gym. 40 minutes of weight lifting (a mixture of body weight exercises like squats, some free weights and then weight machines) and then 30 minutes “running” on the treadmill. Jog/walk intervals about 2-4 minutes each. I did 1.4 miles on the treadmill.

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Then Michael and went out to my aunt’s house for the festivities, Mexican food themed. Yum!

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It was nice of my aunt letting us crash her house for our party. I had cousins come from Seattle, Eugene and Salem. When we arrived my grandma was also there! That was a nice surprise I wasn’t expecting. My aunt had picked her up in Seattle and was taking her to the farm south of Portland to spend Christmas with them. It was great to be able to see my grandma (who I think turned 95 this month) for a little bit. My grandma tried to pawn off her Moscow Mule drink to me and I kind of laughed and pointed to my belly and she said she’d forgotten. Ha!  They left and it was just us cousins for the rest of the day.

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Lunch was so tasty. My cousin Di made tamales. Michael made his amazing guacamole. My cousin Anna made taco salad. I made a bean thing –four different kinds of beans, Mexican spices and Rotel cooked up. Everything was delicious. I was famished and the food hit the spot and satisfied my Mexican food craving.

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My cousin’s husband works at Sound Brewery and brought some beers. I liked the label with the frog on it. 🙂 We spent a few hours just hanging out and catching up, having fun and then called it good. The rest of them were going out to a show that evening. Michael is getting over a cold and I wasn’t feeling up to going out for a late night (as much fun as it did sound to hang out with everyone longer) so we took some pictures and said goodbye.

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LOL My aunt took that photo. Too much egg nog?? 🙂 We were laughing so hard. It took several tries but we finally got a good photo:

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It was so much fun. I’m glad we organized something and got together instead of just skipping it this year. I wish it could have been the whole family, but maybe next year.  Michael and I went home and I immediately got in my PJs, turned on the heating pad and put my aching feet up. Exciting Saturday night for us!

Sunday

Sunday morning I did 4.5 miles on the elliptical:

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And then Michael and I went to the hospital for our tour of Labor and Delivery! I was excited for the tour because I had no idea what to expect and I hate the unknowns. It’s the control freak in me. I really wanted to see what the delivery rooms looked like and the recovery rooms.

The tour started with an introduction on where to park, how to check in, etc. We walked over to Labor and Delivery and got to see where the check in is, and then see the room where you labor. It was a really big room. I’m guessing because there are often a lot of people in that room when things get going for real.

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The guide talked about what to expect and that there was a tub in the labor room, plus there were labor rooms that had big tubs like this one:

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There were a lot of things to assist with the birth. A ton of different kinds of bouncy balls, apparently there’s a squat bar that can attach to the bed for different positions.

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There was a little incubator for the baby with a heating pad under the blanket. They don’t have a “nursery” and the baby pretty much stays with you the entire time, unless you have to go to NICU. I like that. They also had a padded couch/lounger thing for the dad to sleep on if necessary.

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The guide said that they try and give the baby to mom immediately and then everyone leaves the room for about an hour to bond and stuff. Then they come back and do all the testing things they normally do for the baby. After a few hours they move you to the recovery room, where you’ll stay for a few days. That room was a lot smaller.

I’m glad we did the tour and got an idea of what to expect. I admit, I was a bit overwhelmed and anxious at the beginning of the tour but once we got to the rooms I relaxed a bit and by the end of the tour I felt ok. Of course, things don’t always go as planned but it’s nice to see what everything looks like. One weird thing — it was SUPER quiet. I didn’t hear a peep the entire time we were at the hospital. I wasn’t expecting screaming women but not even a baby crying? It was very odd.

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After the tour we turned in our pre-registration forms and then went to lunch at McMenamin’s.  Michael got the Italian salad. I got the grilled Tuna melt sandwich on rye with cajun tots. The tots are fabulous!

Overall it was a good weekend, even if it was busy busy busy. The next thing to check off our to-do list is the birthing classes! Those start in January.