Body After Baby: 2 Months

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Last week, my baby boy turned 2 months old.  How?! That also means I’m 2 months postpartum.  I’ve been slowly easing back into a fitness routine, which is really exciting for me.  It makes me feel like my old self and gives me ‘me’ time.

On the weight loss front, I’m only 2-3 pounds above my pre-pregnancy weight.  I’m sooo happy about that.  Honestly, I feel like I’m pretty much back to pre-pregnancy weight because those 2-3 pounds are probably in my boobs.  Not even joking.  Breastfeeding is doing crazy things to them.  Ha.

I’d still like to lose 15-20 pounds, as crazy as that sounds.  I’m about 20 pounds above my wedding weight, which just sounds crazy to me.  I was in such awesome shape for the wedding.  I know maintaining that is pretty unreasonable, but I’d like to get closer to that.  So I think I’ll aim to lose 15 pounds and go from there.  I think it should be pretty easy since I’m eating a pretty balanced diet and working out 2-4 times per week right now.  Plus, the breastfeeding.  Did I mention how awesome breastfeeding is?  And apparently, the major weight loss/calorie burn from breastfeeding doesn’t even occur until 3-6 months postpartum!  It’s seriously a gift I think.  A gift for all the woes of pregnancy and the sleepless nights of raising a newborn.  It’s like, “You can’t sleep or take a shower right now, but feel free to eat as much as you like and you’ll still lose weight.”  Amazing.

Another AMAZING thing is that I did not get stretch marks during pregnancy.  I was soooo worried about that.  I will have to write a post about how I prevented them (could also be luck…I don’t think it’s genetics because I did get some in high school from growing) because I was pretty religious about a few things to prevent them.  I can definitely tell I have gained a little more fat in my midsection, which I’m not surprised about since I did carry a 10+ pound baby and all.  :)   But it’s not much and I think strength training, eating right and time will help that go away.  Hopefully I can rock a 2-piece in confidence when I take my little man to the pool next summer. :)

As far as workouts, I’ve been focusing on lifting and trying to get back into running.  I think lifting weights is the number one thing that prevented me from gaining a ton of weight in pregnancy, I think it helped me stay active throughout pregnancy, I think it helped me during the pushing stage of labor, and I think it’s the reason I lost weight and my body looks somewhat back to it’s normal form fairly quickly.  Lifting weights is just the best and I’m so excited to hit it hard now that I’m not pregnant anymore.  I sure wish I could afford a CrossFit membership but I’m too cheap for all that. :)

I went on my first walk about 1 week postpartum.  About 15 minutes.  It didn’t feel great, that’s for sure.  I slowly increased from there to 20-30 minute walks a few times a week.  I did not feel normal for a long time.  I definitely felt pain/uncomfortableness during walks until 4-5 weeks postpartum.  I just now am starting to feel like there is less pain.  However, I still feel cramping-like achey-ness when I run which my doc said is normal.  She just kept saying everything gets better with time and I believe that.  A lot of my friends said I’d feel normal around 4 weeks postpartum, but, for me, I felt a lot more normal physically around 8 weeks postpartum.  And I’m still not pre-pregnancy normal, but I’m sure I’ll get there some day.

I started getting back into running by doing run/walks.  I would run for 1-2 minutes and then walk for several minutes.  It really helped!  My endurance was totally fine because I stayed so active during pregnancy, I just had a lot of pain, so I took it really slow.  I finally went on a somewhat normal run this weekend.  I ran for 19 minutes at around a 10:30 pace.  It felt SO GOOD!!  Adam watched the baby while I got out and did my thing.  It was nice to listen to music, too, and just zone out.  I think doing those things that you love and you used to focus on before having a baby really make you a better parent.  You can give more energy and focus to your little one if you get a little me time every day, too.

Overall, I’m just so happy to be getting back to ‘normal’.  The added bonus is that I have my little guy in my life now and he just brings me so much happiness!  Everything is just about perfect, even if we don’t get that much sleep. :)

The Feeding Situation

 

 

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I wanted to share some posts on various topics of parenthood because I have so many thoughts swirling in my head every day.  I am breastfeeding our little guy and so far it’s going really well!  I’ve had a couple of bumps in the road, but overall I’m really happy with breastfeeding so far.

It’s crazy to think that I’ve spent the majority of the past 4 weeks feeding this guy.  Breastfeeding is HARD.  But I am very lucky that it works SO well for us (knock on wood…so far) and it’s actually one of my favorite parts of being a mom so far.

I had my first shot at nursing him about 3 hours after he was born.  Definitely not ideal.  It did NOT go well.  By that time, it was midnight and the lactation consultants at the hospital had already left for the day and we were exhausted from no sleep/food (as I mentioned in the birth story).  So it was up to me and Adam to figure it out.  We spent like an hour trying to get him to latch on.  Adam jokingly says now that he held him in some awkward lunge position for like an hour straight to try to get him at the right angle.  Because we didn’t know what we were doing, we caused some injuries to me (owww) which isn’t uncommon, but I wasn’t prepared for how painful it was.  I was devastated at how horrible it went and thought breastfeeding wouldn’t work for us.  The nurses ended up supplementing with a bottle of formula that first night.  And I woke up the next day in a TON of pain.

Thankfully, the lactation consultants came to our rescue that day and we made GREAT strides in figuring it out.  Me and the little guy were learning together.  When it finally worked the first time, I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy in my life.  I kept wondering if he was actually getting anything to eat (since your milk isn’t in until 2-4 days after birth and they’re eating small amounts of colostrum at first), but once I felt that Oxytocin hormone kick in (the love/bonding hormone that makes both of us super tired) I knew it was working.  He would get ‘milk drunk’ (so cute!) and I would feel SO tired.

After several meetings with the lactation consultants, I felt so much more prepared and more confident in breastfeeding.  I’m happy to say that I’ve exclusively breastfed him the entire 4 weeks, aside from the first night of formula feeding.  I don’t see anything wrong with formula feeding and I know some people aren’t able to breastfeed, it was just something I really really wanted to do.  I feel beyond blessed that it is working so far.

The pain from the damage we did the first night lasted about 2 weeks.  It got significantly better after about 4-5 days, but I still had some initial latch pain for a couple of weeks.  I know they say it’s not supposed to be painful, but every girl I’ve talked to said they had pain in the beginning.  I think it takes time for your lady parts to ‘toughen’ up.  But after that, the pain has pretty much been nonexistent.  I have also had a couple of clogged ducts, but focused on massage, heat, and lots of nursing on that side and they cleared pretty quickly, thankfully.

So, every 1 to 2 to 3 to 4 hours for the past 4 weeks, I’ve nursed my babe.  Feeding a baby (no matter which way you do it) is crazy time-consuming!  I feel chained to the glider or couch a lot.  I’ve been lucky to have Adam home for the first 4 weeks with me to grab me a water bottle (the thirst is crazy!) or a burp cloth.

I have found it so emotional to share the connection of breastfeeding with the baby.  It amazed me in those early weeks when he would open wide and latch on.  He figured out how to do that!  I know they have those instincts built in, but he definitely wasn’t opening wide like that from the very beginning.  So cute.  Now that he’s more alert and older, I love the eye contact we share when he’s eating during the day.  I’ve cried multiple times during nursing sessions.  It’s so sweet!

I’m really hoping that it continues to go so well.  I haven’t started pumping yet, but I know I’ll have to soon to get a supply built up for when I have to leave him for an evening (Nooo!) and of course when I go back to work (I can’t even think about that right now).  It’s just so convenient to whip out a ready-made ‘bottle’ for him anytime and not have to prepare it in advance or clean-up afterwards.  I’m lucky that we have a pumping room at work and when I work from home I’ll even be able to pump and work at the same time.

My goal is to make it a year breastfeeding him.  We’ll see if I make it!  Every day is a success in my book!  Even if I just make it a couple of months, I’ll be proud of myself.  It’s a lot of work – not only the time commitment, but also ‘giving up’ a little bit of your body.  But I know it’s so good for him and that’s all that matters.

Oh and the weight loss from breastfeeding is epic! : )  I’m constantly hungry but only 3-4 pounds above my pre-baby weight now!  What a nice treat after pregnancy and childbirth, huh? : )

How has it been 4 weeks since he’s been here?!  In some ways, the time has flown by, and in other ways, it’s seems like time has gone really slow.  Either way, I am madly in love with this guy and having so much fun being a parent with my best friend.  <3

Birth Story

Our little guy joined the world on May 22, 2014 at 8:42pm after about 19 hours of labor.  Here’s the story!  (Warning: It’s very long!)

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I didn’t have much of a birth plan going into labor.  The only thing I wanted to avoid was a c-section.  I mentioned this to my doctor over and over that I wanted to do anything possible to deliver the old-fashioned way.  The one other thing I wanted to avoid was an episiotomy.  If you’re not familiar with the ins-and-outs of labor, that’s basically where they take a scalpel to your nether regions.  Doesn’t sound too fun and typically involves a longer healing time and sometimes more scar tissue problems.

I was 40 weeks and 5 days pregnant on Wednesday, May 21st.  I woke up to some ‘signs’ of labor coming.  I won’t go into any gruesome details here. :)   Throughout the day I had on and off cramping, but nothing super painful or regular.

Adam and I ordered pizza that night and watched a movie.  Adam also found time to clean out the fridge from top to bottom.  One last little nesting spree I suppose!

I felt like I should go to bed early, but unfortunately didn’t listen to my gut on that one.  I ended up finally getting to bed and falling asleep around 10:30pm.

I woke up at 12:06 am on Thursday, May 22nd in the middle of a strong contraction.  I immediately knew it was a true labor contraction because it was completely different than the Braxton Hicks contractions I had been feeling for weeks.  This one was very painful and had that telltale wrapping from my lower pelvis around to my low back.

My first thought was “Shit, this is really happening!”  Haha.  I was immediately scared!  I figured I’d lay there and time the contractions since my water hadn’t broken yet.

I kind of went in and out of sleep for the next 45 minutes and around 12:45 am, I felt a surge of liquid down yonder.  It’s so dumb to say this, but I really did wonder if I had just gone to the bathroom or if my water had truly broken.  I thought maybe my bladder had finally given out after months of this big baby pushing on it. :)

I got up to use the restroom and definitely felt like it was my water that had broken.  I was still kind of in and out of sleep at this point, but I still knew that it was my water.  Since I was Group B Strep positive (a type of bacteria they have to give you antibiotics for during labor), I knew we needed to head to the hospital pretty soon instead of waiting around.  I was a little bummed because I was hoping to time contractions throughout the night and labor at home.  Once your water breaks, you’re put on about a 24 hour stopwatch to have the baby to prevent infection.  Otherwise, you pretty much have to get a c-section.  But the fact that I was having contractions on my own already was a good sign.

I woke Adam up and told him I was having contractions and my water had broken.  We laid in bed for about 30 minutes, timing the contractions.  They were coming every 3-5 minutes and lasting about a minute.  A good sign that I was probably progressing!

After that, we called the doctor and started pulling things together to head to the hospital.  While we were up getting ready, another gush of my amniotic fluid came out, which definitely confirmed my water had broken.  We were out the door within 30 minutes.  I said goodbye to Gracie which brings a bit of a tear to my eye to think about.  I knew that her life was about to change quite a bit and she didn’t really know what was going to happen.  I think she sensed something was up because she gave me a big snuggle right before we left.  It was about 2:00 am at this point and I texted my brother that he would need to come by in the morning to let Gracie out.  He was going to be staying with her while we were in the hospital.

Contractions were still manageable at this point but still very painful.  Those Braxton Hicks I had been so used to were such a joke in comparison!  We got to the hospital and opted to park and walk to see how I could manage contractions while walking.  I had to stop twice on the way to the door and another time on the way to the elevator.  A very nice security guard brought me a wheelchair at some point. :)

We got all checked into triage and she said I was 2-3cm dilated and about 75% effaced.  I was so excited because I had been at a 1 and 40% effaced for weeks!  Finally making progress.  We were admitted and they let me start walking the halls after they checked on baby. 

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We walked the halls for a couple of hours.  Contractions were coming every 2-4 minutes and lasting between 30 seconds and 1 minute.  They were painful but I tried to remember some tips I had read online about managing labor pain.  Instead of tensing up during a contraction, I tried to keep all my pelvic and back muscles relaxed.  I also focused on breathing in and out.  It really did help!  Especially not tensing up.

I got checked again around 6:00 am and they said I had progressed to about 4-5cm and 80% effaced.  I was so proud that I had made it that far without pain medicine!  At that point I opted to get the epidural because I was able to manage the pain so far and knew I’d have to stay still for the epidural and didn’t want the pain to start to get too out of control.  I ended up getting the epidural around 7:00 am.

After that, I was strapped to the bed, so it was time for us to hurry up and wait.  Adam kept bringing me Italian Ice and popsicles which was the only thing I was allowed to eat during labor.  (The last thing I had eaten was pizza at 5:00 pm the night before.)

We spent the rest of the morning lounging around and watching TV.  We tried to sleep but it didn’t happen for me.  My doctor came by to check on me (my doctor’s office is attached to the hospital so it was easy for her to stop by).  I had a sonogram scheduled for 3:30 pm that afternoon to check to make sure everything was okay (since I was overdue) and I jokingly told her I wouldn’t be making that appointment.

I got checked again around noon and was about 7-8cm and 90% effaced.  Yay, more progress!  We were still in very good spirits at this point.  We figured I’d be fully dilated and ready to push in a few hours.  Of course, things never go as you plan. :)

We spent the next few hours doing some more waiting around.  (Oh, the beauty of epidurals.)  I got checked around 2:00 pm and was at a 9, so I thought I would be pushing soon.

Around 4:30pm, my doctor came by to say Hi and check on my progress.  I was still at 9cm, which wasn’t good.  I had been stalled there for awhile.  My doctor said that if I didn’t progress in the next few hours, they’d have to look at other options.  Other options meaning a C-section.  I was devastated!  After laboring for 16 hours, I didn’t want to hear that I might have a C-section.

I forgot to mention during this whole time, the nurses kept coming and flipping me from side to side (something you can’t do on your own when you have an epidural – no feeling!) and putting this peanut shaped ball between my legs.  This was supposed to help with progress.  The baby’s heart rate would drop when I was on my left side.  Unfortunately for me, that was the side I felt most comfortable on.  When they flipped me on my right side, his heart rate would stabilize, which was great.  BUT, when I was on my left side, I could FEEL my contractions.  Contractions when you’re further progressed in labor (and hooked up to a pitocin drip) are much more painful and stronger than early labor contractions.

So, being able to feel my contractions combined with my doctor telling me I might have a C-section after 16 hours of labor plus no sleep and no food pretty much sent me over the edge emotionally.  By that point, I was exhausted and hungry and physically and mentally spent.  I couldn’t stop crying.  I was texting friends from church and asking them to pray for us.  Adam and I started saying a lot of Hail Mary’s for strength and a normal delivery.

One of my friends suggested via text that I try elevating my bed to get gravity to help out(at that point, I had been flat all day long).  I asked the nurses to do that, but they wouldn’t, so Adam and I took matters into our own hands, and elevated my bed ourselves.  I think this is where I really started to progress!  It lessened the pain from contractions quite a bit and I started finally feeling that pressure in my tailbone that they kept telling me to look for which meant that the baby was moving down the birth canal.

FINALLY, at about 6:50pm, our nurse checked me and said I was fully dilated and it was time to get set up for pushing.  Hallelujah!  I was so grateful that I would probably be able to deliver naturally instead of having a C-section.

Another curveball was that I started to develop a fever, which is common after your water has been broken for several hours plus being on a pitocin drip.  They had to keep checking that to make sure I could handle delivery.  If it got much worse, the threat of C-section would come up again.

A bunch of nurses and the on-call doctor filled the room and I finally started pushing around 7:15 pm.  I was so scared!  I just pictured everything being pulled apart down there from the pushing.  But I had to remind myself that this was my only choice!  I needed to get my baby out safely and I wanted labor to be over with already.

I totally went into another world during pushing and worked my ass off.  Adam and the nurses counted for me during every contraction.  I did 3-4 sets of 10-count pushes during each contraction.

Everyone was really encouraging and said I was making awesome progress with every push.  I know they were lying a few times, but it was still helpful.  After a few pushes, they said, “He’s got blonde hair!” and that was so encouraging.  I couldn’t wait to see him!

After an hour and a half of pushing (and an unfortunate episiotomy from the doctor), our little guy was born!  I’ll never forget that feeling of that last push when I could feel his whole body come out.  Of course, I started bawling instantly.  What an emotional rollercoaster of a day!

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The baby had a bowel movement during the delivery which isn’t super uncommon, so they had to suction him out pretty quickly.  He also was having trouble breathing and was just grunting, so they kept checking his oxygen levels.  Everything looked good but he just didn’t sound very good.  So, I didn’t get that immediate skin-to-skin contact with him because they were spending time checking him out.

They finally weighed him – 10 pounds 2.3 ounces!  Wow!  We were NOT expecting such a big boy.

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He was still grunting, so after I held him for a bit and got to meet him, they took him to the nursery for more checks.  I don’t remember much else of the next 24 hours!  It is so weird.  My memory is very fuzzy from his first day of life. :(   I think the stress of the day plus no sleep and food and all the hormones are to blame for that.  Luckily, we have pictures to remember the day by.

Overall, I am just happy he is healthy and safe.  After that, I’m so grateful that I did not have to have a c-section.  The doctors and nurses were so great in trying to prevent that as much as possible.  Although, I didn’t have my “perfect” delivery because I did end up having an episiotomy and I didn’t get that skin-to-skin contact right after, I think it went pretty darn good considering how big he was and the obstacles we encountered along the way.  I know that I’ll be flagged for future births as having big babies, so hopefully my doctor will work with me to avoid a c-section for all future deliveries as well.  Life with a newborn is hard enough with a normal recovery!  I couldn’t imagine breastfeeding and caring for a newborn while also recovering from a C-section!  I have way more respect for anyone that has had a C-section.

So, there’s the birth story of our little man!  The hardest thing I’ve ever done, but also the best thing I’ve ever done!  We love this little guy so very much.  He is literally the best thing that has ever happened to us! <3