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It’s now been 10 weeks since my baby Todd was born. I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot so I might as well put it down in writing. This blog has become a place for me to journal, it seems!
Before I found out I was pregnant, my weight was 99 pounds. After much discipline with diet and exercise, I’d achieved this all time low of body weight and body fat. That sounds bad, right? I promise I’m not anorexic! I’m also not disordered in my eating at all. My diet was simply nutritionally rock solid (plant-powered NSNG). And, I was exercising for a balance of upper body/core strength and cardio conditioning.
I’ve always been an “exerciser,” never missing more than a day or 2 a week. Eric and I were avid mountain bikers every weekend in non-ski season. We’re avid skiers every weekend during winter. I did yoga, pilates, swimming, road biking, walking and running. I’m the type of person who gets depressed when I can’t work out. My body needs to be moving!
Just before I got pregnant, I wasn’t trying to lose more weight. I was very happy with my appearance. In fact, I had come to the realization that- for the first time in my life- I was no longer striving for a goal. I was there! What next?
Next…I got pregnant!
During my first trimester, I got desperately hungry. I also felt incredible fatigue. There was no way I could exercise. I started gaining weight steadily. I didn’t fight it. I gave my body what it needed at the time. My legs and butt store fat the easiest, so I quickly outgrew my pants. I bought bigger ones at the thrift store and I outgrew those too. Finally, I started wearing only dresses that I couldn’t outgrow!
Throughout my pregnancy, I used hunger as my guide. I ate the same healthy foods that I ate before, but I did indulge in a fair amount of junk food, especially early on. After 20 weeks, I cut back significantly. I gained just under ~1 pound per week throughout my pregnancy. Once I got my energy back (late first trimester), I still didn’t exercise as much as I wanted to because I was working so much. I was saving money for my maternity leave.
My highest weight (at week 37) was 132.8 pounds, which means I gained about 34 pounds total. I lost a few pounds after week 37 because my belly just couldn’t fit much food in there. It was also summer and I was craving mostly fresh fruit.
When I was pregnant, I assumed that my stored body fat would fuel my milk production. I planned to focus on breast feeding rather than quickly losing the pregnancy pounds. After Todd was born, I ate generously to maximize my milk supply.
As it turned out, breast feeding didn’t work out for us. Todd’s been exclusively formula-fed since his 4th week (See “My Bottle Baby” for more details.) Although I was heartbroken about my breast feeding failure, it was a freedom to start eating just for myself. I was no longer eating for two. I could start focusing on losing the extra pounds and inflating my flabby muscles.
The food part has been easy. At home I have no temptation whatsoever to eat junk. I’m back to my old NSNG (No Sugar No Grains) way of eating. I’m not eating much because I’m so sedentary right now.
The exercising part has been the struggle! I’m not doing much yet. My pain was significant for the first 4 weeks. (And I was exhausted!) I started doing some light abdominal and upper body resistance work and short walks at week 5.
I way overdid the walking during week 6 (up hills pushing the stroller 4 days in a row): BIG mistake. For week 7, I limited my exercise to yoga (twice) and a couple gentle walks. Week 8 in Bend, OR I did a few more slow, level walks. Last week (9) I did yoga once. This week (10) I’ve done a little light abdominal and upper body resistance work. Since I’m home with Todd, some days I get out of the house and some days I don’t.
My physical healing from childbirth is taking so much longer than I ever expected it would. Superficially, my episiotomy incision seems to be healed, but perhaps I have some deep sutures that have not fully absorbed. My scar tissue feels thickened. Internally, I’m still swollen. Sorry for the TMI! (I’d like to think that I’m not alone in my experience.)
What I feel from all this is an uncomfortable pressure in my perineum. I can tolerate household activities like standing up to cook, but I still feel moderately impaired when I walk any distance, including during basic shopping activities (especially when moving baby and car seat in/out of the car and loading/unloading the stroller.)
I have been exercising my patience!
I took a post-partum belly pic at week one. (Trust me, the frontal view does not show the degree of pooch that was there. And, pictures don’t show the mushiness!)
I’d planned to take regular “progress” pics, but it just didn’t happen. It didn’t make sense to take pics of progress that wasn’t happening. I won’t make real progress until I can exercise properly.
I took this belly pic this week. The pooch is still there. My skin is loose and my abs are weak.
I’ve had to re-evaluate my goals. Whereas my old goal was to get my old body back ASAP (!!), my new goal is to just feel “normal” again. It’s not about how “perfect” my body looks, it’s about how my body functions.
“ASAP” just aint happenin’! I’m settling for “maybe eventually.” Last week my weight was 113.2 pounds, which is still 14 pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight.
Is my goal to be back under 100 pounds? I don’t think so. My body has been forever changed by having a baby. My short term goal is to get back in the ~105 pound range. Mostly, I’d like to fit into my old pants. My biggest pants are just now starting to get baggy.
Priorities? Now I have a baby to take care of. Duh, right?! That’s made it a lot easier to be patient with my healing and my body. My concept of time is different. The days go by so fast because I can spend hours feeding, sitting and playing with Todd. When I do get up, it’s to cook, do household stuff…and take a shower!
For the first time in my life, I’m letting myself enjoy this slower pace. My full time job right now is simply taking care of Todd and taking care of myself. I don’t need to be more “productive” than that. This is the time for me to take a break from my go-go-go lifestyle.
Honestly, who I am trying to impress anyway, when I strive for ripped abs, lean legs and a firm butt? I look more than fine according to most! When I take Todd visiting, friends always comment that I don’t even look like I was pregnant. “You’re so skinny!” they say. I doubt that Eric really cares all that much, either. Obviously, I’m only trying to impress myself.
Bottom line: I’m giving myself a break…which is very different from just “letting myself go.” Like I said, my eating is back to baseline. Without doing much exercise, I suppose I’ll find out what can be done with diet alone!
Pretty soon I’ll get a lot more disciplined with exercising. I know I will, because it’s just the way I am. I’ll do what I can, when I can, as I continue to heal. And, I’m really looking forward to ski season. We’ll take Todd to the lodge and take turns making turns! By next spring/summer, we plan to pack him along on hikes.
The post-partum period is definitely the “4th trimester.” Trimesters are 13 weeks! Just like all of them (especially the 3rd!), the fourth one can’t be rushed. I surrender…
And I’m happy!
Here, I will recap my 1st trimester with #minivegan. Every pregnancy is a different experience! Here’s mine…
First of all, I didn’t take a pregnancy test until day 45. Up until the test I really did NOT think I could be pregnant! I just couldn’t see how it was possible based on my “data.”
Over the past year, I’d had some really long menstrual cycles…i.e. a 37 day cycle in June, 36 days in July, and 38 days in September. My longest cycle ever in my life was 39 days. But that was a long time ago.
I attributed the increasingly long cycles to peri-menopause. I am 42! Needless to say, at some point it seemed wise to take “the test.”
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 6, 2013
I did my volunteering at New Moon Farm Goat Rescue & Sanctuary in the afternoon. I bought a pregnancy test at Safeway in Arlington, WA, and met Eric for dinner at the Shire Cafe Vegetarian Restaurant & Bar. Eric had a delivery to do for work before he went home, so I beat him home by about 45 minutes.
I took the test right when I got home. The double lines showed up instantly. I didn’t have to wait 3 minutes like the instructions said. My reaction was complete disbelief, shock, and denial. No way could it be real! I paced the house until Eric got home. It seemed like it took him forever!
Once he got home, I brought him back to the bathroom where the positive test was sitting on the counter. I said, “There’s something going on.” I can’t speak for him, but needless to say he was shocked, too. Our birth control method– though not foolproof (obviously!!)– had worked well for 20+ years. Now this!
The next day, Eric described my pregnancy announcement to a friend on Facebook, like this:
“I got home from work and she said there is something going on as she led me back to the bathroom. I was thinking maybe we had a pipe burst or something like that. Fortunately it was just an unplanned pregnancy…”
I didn’t sleep well Friday night. On Saturday morning, December 7, I was still in denial and so I took the second pee test. After the second positive test, I decided it had to be true. Then, I informed my parents, sister and all of my Facebook friends.
I didn’t have any pregnancy symptoms for another week. Starting in mid-December, my appetite started picking up. Hunger has definitely been my #1 symptom, and it hasn’t let up. Sometimes it is a *desperate* hunger!
If you have followed this blog, then you know that– prior to this pregnancy– I was eating a vegan diet that was largely NSNG (No Sugar No Grains). Well, pregnancy changed all of that. “Desperate Hunger” has meant that I’ve had no choice but to increase my consumption of grains and starches.
For one, I became turned off by some major “players” in my NSNG diet: nuts and nut butters. For two, I started craving things like toast, homemade muffins, rice, oatmeal, cold cereal, and baked potato. For a time, I wanted hummus but I was turned off by tofu. My food preferences seem to change by the day. For now, I still can’t eat the lentil soup that I’d been eating for lunch for the past several years.
Remember my post about going 35 Days Without Coffee? I loved my daily lattes! Once I found out I was pregnant, I cut them out to avoid the caffeine. I had one or two decaf soy lattes at first. But now coffee is “meh.” Pregnancy is goofy!
My nights should be sponsored by the PROBAR Superfood Slam. This is what I’ve been eating when I wake up hungry every night between midnight and 3 a.m. Yes, it contains more sugar than I’d like, but it does give me a substantial 380 calories, 20 grams of needed fat, and 10 grams of protein.
The PROBAR delivers nuts to me in a palatable form. I’ve found that I can tolerate nuts and nut butters as long as I don’t try to eat them “plain.” I can eat peanut butter and almond butter IF I put them on toast or bake them into muffins. I also blend them into banana smoothies.
The very worst of my 1st trimester symptoms was the PROFOUND lethargy I experienced, lasting about 3 weeks. This phase covered the week before Christmas through New Years. It was awful! I never felt so tired in my life. It was downright depressing because I’ve always been a super active person. I felt so weak and inadequate.
Other symptoms: bloating, heartburn, headaches. Some days are better than others. I’m VERY fortunate that I haven’t experienced any nausea or vomiting!!
My favorite symptom? Bigger boobs! I’ve never really had boobs, and now I have a little bit of fullness there. Yippee! It’s definitely worth the minor soreness. They started growing around Christmas. Thanks, Santa! The soreness started out near my armpits and worked its way medially.
Sunday, January 5, 2014 was the turning point for my lethargy. It finally abated. What a great relief that was! I can’t say I feel completely “back to normal,” but the improvement was significant. I can now function during the day. Just as important, I’m starting to get back into an exercise schedule. I do want to be a fit pregnant lady!
TUESDAY, JANUARY 14, 2014
I had my first midwife appointment at Cascade Birth Center. We heard the heartbeat for the first time on Doppler. It took a few minutes of probing my belly to locate our little person, but once the signal was picked up, the sound was UNmistakable! Whoosh, whoosh, whoosh, whoosh, whoosh! That made it REAL. So special. I should have taken an audio recording with my phone.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 17, 2014
First ultrasound! We went into the appointment thinking that I was about 12 weeks along (based on my last menstrual period). My due date would have been July 30, 2014. But, based on the ultrasound, my due date was adjusted to August 11, 2014.
Eric was able to join me for the appointment. I was expecting to have a transvaginal ultrasound, but the technician was able to get all the views she needed via abdominal ultrasound. Right when she put the transducer on my belly, the obvious image of a baby emerged on the screen. “There’s a baby there,” she said!
The best part was seeing the little person start squirming around. The little bug appeared to be turning over, doing ab crunches and making boxing moves with his or her arms. TOO CUTE!!
I intended to include our ultrasound pics in this post, but the radiology clinic’s CD burner was not working. We have to wait until next week to get a copy. I’m going to do a separate post with all the pics. Stay tuned!
Last Menstrual Period: October 23, 2013
Probable Date of Conception: November 17, 2013
Due Date: August 11, 2014
1st Trimester Weight Gain (Weeks 0-13):
November 11, 2013 = 99.0 lb (pre-pregnancy weight)
December 16, 2013 = 99.8 lb
December 26, 2013 = 102.8 lb
December 31, 2013 = 104.8 lb
January 7, 2014 = 106.6 lb
January 14, 2014 = 108.0 lb
January 21, 2014 = 110.2 lb
January 28, 2014 = 110.4 lb
February 4, 2014 = 112.0 lb
Total Weight Gain = 13.0 lb
(My best “before” pics were taken almost exactly 1 year before #minivegan’s due date.)