Saturday, October 9, 2010

Post Pregnancy Body

me and baby, 5 months after giving birth

After giving birth, I was delighted to find that I dropped 20 lbs right away. I had gained roughly 60 lbs during my pregnancy. Because of my starting weight, my ideal weight gain should have been between 28 - 40 lbs. 60. Yikes. But because I lost so much so soon, I'm pretty sure I was packing on a lot of water weight towards the end. Also, my face looked a lot less puffy within two days of giving birth. My belly was a wrinkled blob and I was covered in stretch marks. A bundle of baby is worth it. Six months later, I still have stretch marks, but the pouch isn't so bad. Below you'll find some pictures of me as I track my weight loss. Keep in mind I did absolutely nothing to aid this weight loss. No dieting, no exercising. Just a whole lot of baby rearing and novel writing.

1 week post baby

2 weeks post baby

4 weeks post baby

6 months post baby

9 months post baby
(still weigh 15 lbs more than I did before pregnancy)

Am I close to my pre-baby body? Eh, I'm getting there. What you don't see is that I've gained weight in my arms too, and that's turning out to be a stubborn area. Some people would argue I was too thin before anyway. My goal at this point is to get as close to my pre-baby body as I can before I have baby #2. With my second baby, I hope to stay within the recommended weight gain range so that I have an easier time shedding the pounds. Really, my main concern is back problems. You gain most of your pregnancy weight in the last trimester, and 60 lbs is an awful lot for a body to put on at once. The curvature of my back changed and my back is still a bit out of sorts. I need to start exercising to strengthen my lower back muscles.

pre-baby body

Mirabelle's Birth Story (rated G)

There exist all sorts of tricks to help you go into labor. The day I was admitted to labor and delivery, I had my husband massage some pressure points that are supposed to induce labor. There's one between your index finger and thumb, and another on the ankle. Later that night, I was experiencing my usual contractions but they were getting a little more painful and it was difficult to breath through them. I tried laying down and drinking a lot of water, but they weren't subsiding. At this point, I had been experiencing contractions for over a month (prodromal labor). Every five minutes or so, my abdomen would contract and my lower back would hurt. So knowing when it was the real deal was especially difficult for me. I called labor and delivery, but they told me I didn't "sound" like I was in labor. Um... So I waited and the pain wasn't going away. Finally I told my husband that we're just going to show up at labor and delivery, because there was no way this was another false alarm.

Sure enough, the doctors check me and I'm admitted. They're impressed with my pain tolerance. (yeah YEAH What!) I try to go natural, no epidural or pain medicine, but after twelve hours, give in. I'm exhausted and the contractions are definitely worsening. The epidural works great, but numbs the one side of my body more than the other. I'm allowed to administer it to myself once it's in place in my lower back, and I opt to have a very low flow of drugs. I can still move my legs, the sensation is just dull.

Sorry to just whirl through this explanation, I just don't feel like writing all the details. Maybe you don't feel like reading them.

But honestly labor isn't too bad. It hurts, it really does. But I'd describe it as bizarre before I'd say it was the all-out most painful experience of my life. Yeah, no it's just weird. You'll be in excruciating pain during a contraction, your eyes will water, you'll have a hard time breathing... thirty seconds later you're able to sit up in bed, tell a joke, talk about mundane things like how your foot itches, and then... oh wait, here comes another one! Ow, ow, ow ow, cue difficult breathing, wincing in pain, some tears stream down your face, etc. Oh, okay, it's gone now. So what was I saying? Oh yeah, so I bought a new pair or shoes, yada yada. Weird. Once I got the epidural, of course, I hardly felt a thing. But I'd like to think that twelve hours of un-drugged labor gave me a pretty accurate picture of the real deal. I'm told pushing is the least painful, but the moment right before you push is the worst. Pushing with an epidural? Not bad at all. I hurt my ribs bearing down, but that's a small price to pay for getting that baby out.

So the baby finally comes, weighing in at 9 lbs.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Pregnancy Pictures, Weeks 29 - 40

Ah, 29 weeks pregnant. The baby is still sitting up high but she's in the proper position, head down. My heart palpitations are terrible. I experience shortness of breath and my lung capacity is severely limited. I'm told by the doctors that the baby will "drop" soon and that this will allow my lungs to expand. The baby has pushed all of my organs together.

29 weeks pregnant

Here's a picture of me at 31 weeks pregnant. The baby has dropped and I can breath again! I feel some relief but now experience a new set of problems. My lower back is killing me! I waddle when I walk. My blood pressure is still fluctuating, but no preeclampsia yet.

31 weeks pregnant

34 weeks pregnant. This is when it starts to get, er, exciting. So here I am, at my aunt-in-law's house, opening some family gifts for the baby. I start to experience severe back pain but don't say anything because I don't want to be a whiny pregnant woman. When I sit at the dinner table, I prop a pillow behind my back.

34 weeks pregnant

We open baby gifts, life is good. After we arrive home, I go to sleep. I wake up in the middle of the night with severe back pain and slight cramping. The next morning, I call my mom and mention it to her. She tells me to go to the hospital. The back pain and cramping comes in waves, and I tell her it's pretty dull. She convinces me to call labor and delivery. I call and explain to them my situation and they tell me to come in right away. My husband and I are doubtful, but go to labor and delivery. They hook me up to monitors that measure the baby's heart rate and my contractions. "You're in early labor," they tell me. "You're having contractions." Woah! This totally blows my mind and I freak. I'm not ready. Plus, it doesn't really hurt. The doctor informs me that preterm labor is usually mild. The baby can come very fast with little warning. Still, they decide not to take measures to stop the labor because the baby is big and seems healthy. My contractions are steady but do not worsen. I find out I'm two centimeters dilated. I'm kept at labor and delivery for a couple of hours, but I don't dilate any more so they send me home.

34 weeks pregnant

Below is a picture of me at 35 weeks pregnant. No baby yet, but I have to go to fetal testing twice a week in order for the doctors to monitor my contractions and blood pressure. There's still a concern that I might develop preeclampsia. Trace protein is discovered in my kidneys. It goes away when I drink a lot of water. The contractions are constant and doctors are convinced I'll give birth any day.

35 weeks pregnant

37 weeks and still no baby! I want her out of me so bad, but at least she's considered full term now. I'm still having contractions, not braxton hicks contractions, mind you, but real contractions. The doctors have labeled it a protracted labor, meaning that I've been having real contractions for weeks now but am only dilating slowly. It's not very common, but there you have it. The baby is very low. I'm beginning to retain water in my face and feet. I don't have preeclampsia, but I still feel terrible. The worst is having to pee every hour. I have to slowly scooch my way off of the bed. My lower half is so heavy, I've ripped the sheets. Yes, there are gaping holes in my sheets from my shooching. If I don't keep well-hydrated, my contractions are very painful. I have a couple of false alarm trips to labor and delivery.

37 weeks pregnant

And you know what? These last pictures were taken at 37 weeks. I don't give birth until 39 weeks, 6 days! I was huge! I couldn't even scrounge up the energy to take pictures of myself. I counted the weeks by watching Lost episodes. Every Tuesday night I'd tell my baby, "You can't come out now, just wait until I find out the smoke monster's next move."

So, in review, this is what happens to your body during pregnancy:

8 weeks pregnant
37 weeks pregnant

Pregnancy Pictures, Weeks 24 - 28

Here's a picture of me at 24 weeks pregnant. The baby is lively, kicking at my ribs and pelvis daily. I'm alarmed by a rapid twitching sensation in my belly. It's just our baby girl hiccuping! Hiccups are so cute! ...until the baby is born and hiccuping means she's going to cry and spit her food up. But for now, I enjoy the hiccups because it makes me feel close to her.

24 weeks pregnant

25 weeks pregnant and already longing for the end. Sometimes I get a sharp pain on my pelvic bone when the baby leans on it.

25 weeks pregnant

Here's a picture of me at 26 weeks pregnant. This is a nice moment in pregnancy. I look pregnant, I feel pregnant, and yet the fat hasn't settled in my arms and face yet. Sure, my ass is getting large, but there's nothing wrong to being shapely! My boobs are growing nicely, too. If only the fat would just continue to accumulate in those areas...

26 weeks pregnant

Here's another view of me at 26 weeks pregnant.

26 weeks pregnant

28 weeks pregnant. Yeah, pregnancy is starting to suck. I begin to experience heart palpitations because of all the extra blood flowing through me. My heart is working hard to pump all that blood to the baby. Little vampire! First she sticks her chubby little fingers into my calcium deposits, and now this? I'll be sitting at my computer, minding my own business, when BAAMM! I have shortness of breath and my heart is racing. I can't talk because my breath is so short. Instead, I have to lie on my side and hold my breath in short bursts. As suddenly as my bizarre heart palpitations began, they stop. My heart is back to a normal thump thump and I can breath. I'm concerned and go to a cardiologist who hooks me up to an EKG. They don't record any peculiar activity, but they do find that my blood pressure is beginning to get high. I have a reading of 134 / 90. Another reading yields 116 / 75. Doctors now have to monitor my blood pressure more closely for signs of preeclampsia. So far I'm in the clear, but the stress on my body is beginning to scare me.

28 weeks pregnant

Pregnancy Pictures, Weeks 17 - 23

At 17 weeks pregnant, here I am modeling the old bel' in the flesh. Also note that I'm totally rockin' the 1992 butterfly top along with my good friend Skiing Bears Pajama Pants. No more morning sickness! I feel great. My appetite increases.

17 weeks pregnant

At around 19 weeks, I begin to feel the baby kick. Some friends in my home state throw a baby shower for me over Thanksgiving break. Also, I attend my high school reunion. This is the pregnant me I'd like everyone to remember. Lots of baby growin' awaits!

19 weeks pregnant

21 weeks pregnant and wearing a maternity shirt. About time. Doctors say I'm right on track for my weight gain.

21 weeks pregnant

Below, you'll see my pregnant self at 22 weeks. Hmm, looking a little smug, holding that baby belly... I remember thinking, I'm a decent looking pregnant chick. I always dreamed I'd have one of those beautiful Asian pregnancies. You know, the ones with the tiny contained mound of baby popping up under some nice, breezy shirt. Yeah, doesn't quite work out that way. You'll see.

22 weeks pregnant

Here's my side angle.

22 weeks pregnant

23 weeks pregnant! Second trimester really is the best. My appetite increases without the accompanying nausea of the first trimester. I get all the perks of strangers being nice to me on public transportation without the terrible back ache and swollen feet (third trimester monsters).

23 weeks pregnant

Pregnancy Pictures weeks 1 - 16

I hope you enjoy my pregnancy photo series. Watch as my body morphs before your eyes, skin stretching taut, baby fists jabbing my ribs...


So what's it feel like to be pregnant before the pregnancy sign says it's so? Sorry kids, it feels like it always feels around that *time* of the month. The good news is that you have a sense that you're pregnant. Like you want to howl at the moon or something.


Here's my flat belly at 8 weeks pregnant. That's right, at two months you barely show. Patience!

8 weeks pregnant

In the next picture, I'm 1o weeks pregnant, cue: MORNING SICKNESS! I remember the first time it struck. I was on a tiny, rickety plane flying from Homer, Alaska to Anchorage, Alaska. I got up to exit the plane and everything became warbled. I thought I was going to vomit and pass out in the aisle. A flight attendant asked if I was all right and I grunted at her.

10 weeks pregnant

14 weeks pregnant. Ah, there's the bump. I'm so exhausted, I can barely get out of bed. I feel nauseous all day long. The doctor says I'm a little slow to gain weight. Food aversions? Corn. Yuck, disgusting. All things barbecue, gross.

14 weeks pregnant

Below, you'll see my baby at 14 weeks 5 days. We don't know if it's a girl or a boy.

14 weeks, 5 days

16 weeks pregnant. Time to put the belly shirts away! Er, wait I don't wear belly shirts. More like, time to buy maternity clothes, ya cheap lazy loaf!

16 weeks pregnant

*** Also, a note to all the fashion princes and princesses out there: I wear like, the same clothes over and over again. Yeah, I said it. I was all about the comfort, my friends. Don't hate cuz my skiing bear pajama pants make you want to raid my closet.