2 Weeks Post: Good Feelings Gone

What a difference a week makes. Seriously. I felt so good about myself physically, I felt good about Baby Girl (although she’s still a rockstar, I’m just tired), and I had energy and patience to keep up with my boys.

Gah, hormones are a tricky, little widget, aren’t they? So deceiving. All the positive feelings I had about my body image have disappeared. All the energy I had has burned off. I feel like your typical “new mom.”

This week I’ve been praying for patience and strength to deal with my rowdy boys and balance everything that comes with being a mother of three. I don’t think we’ve had a “normal” schedule since Baby Girl’s been born. (But honestly, with kids, what is normal?)

Recovery: Still feeling good, no pain or soreness. I am a bit tired, but c’mon, that’s a given. And since Baby Girl lets me sleep more than your average newborn, I have nothing to complain about.

Baby Girl: Still great, still sleeping a lot, but has a few more moments of wakefulness. She had started to get herself in a bit of a rhythm, but that quickly ended. Life with a newborn is never predictable! (Even when we think it is.)

Workouts: Nothing has changed since last week. Still doing my gentle core exercises.  I have checked for diastasis recti (abdominal separation) and I’m pretty good there. Have about a finger width separation everywhere except around my belly button. There is about a 2 finger gap. You can check for yourself here, but only a doctor can diagnose diastasis recti. I’ve still been walking, and I’ve added a bit of very gentle yoga (like 10 minutes a couple times a week).

Nutrition: Still the same. The one area I need to focus more on is WATER. Immediately after baby, I’m always extremely thirsty and it’s easy for me to drink vats of water. This is so important for breastfeeding! Eventually my thirst tapers off, but I still need water! Especially as I’ve begun the night sweats. (Which I’m happy about; gotta get rid of that extra fluid somehow!) But sweating that much and while trying to make milk requires a lot of water. So my focus this coming week? Hydration!!

Weight loss: I’ve lost a couple pounds since coming home from the hospital, but that’s probably just the fluid loss. No real weight loss here yet. And that’s ok. It is always a hard pill to swallow when you expect the pounds to start melting off after baby, but that’s just not gonna happen  without some hard work and mindful eating.

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Two weeks post

The biggest challenge for me now is to hold onto that relaxed feeling I had a week ago. I need to let my body take over and remember the amazing thing I just accomplished. Body image after baby is such a struggle for so many of us! Our bodies have gone through such a HUGE change and we don’t really recognize ourselves. Everything’s out of place, we have bags under our eyes, we’re carrying around extra poundage in weird spots, we sweat, our hair falls out, our skin does strange things, the list goes on! (And that’s not even some of the grosser aspects!)

The good news is, time will pass and you will get back to normal. The bad news is, it seems to take forever. I have to tell myself what I tell my boys: Practice patience. Focus this time on snuggling your newborn before he/she grows up and doesn’t want to snuggle anymore. Try to enjoy the sweet moments that will be gone before you know it. Try and see yourself through your husband’s, kids’ or family’s eyes: with love, appreciation, and admiration. Your husband thinks you’re beautiful, even with the smushy skin or stretch marks. Your children think you’re beautiful, even with your big thighs or hair loss. Those who love you, love you no matter what and think you’re incredible. Focus on that. Not on what the mean little voice in your head is saying. At least that’s what I’m trying to do.

And every once in a while, put on some mascara and a pair of pants that aren’t leggings or jammy pants (even if they’re a pair of maternity jeans) to remind yourself that you are a beautiful woman. Even when covered in baby spit up.

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The Finish Line

Well, Baby Girl arrived about 10 days ago. (Two days before my due date; I love that she was early!) She has settled in quite nicely and her older brothers are doting on her. (They give Mom and Dad plenty of grief, but they love their little sister.)

I started this blog as a means of sharing my journey of running through pregnancy and after, and how it benefited me. Guess what? The payout was great.

Labor and Delivery: Seriously, probably the easiest I’ve had. I chalk it up to being physically prepared. I had planned to try and do this one unmedicated (like my second), but I chickened out and got the epidural. (I use the phrase “chickened out” not to slight anyone who has gotten pain relief; this was my personal reaction. I was afraid. I remembered the pain from my second, and he was a very fast and frightening delivery for me. That panic reared its ugly head at the crucial moment and I based my decision on that panic rather then my goals or personal feelings.) I regret this decision simply because of the effects it had on me, the baby, and the fact that it didn’t work on half of my body anyway. (So basically, a waste of time and money). I’m not encouraging you one way or the other; I don’t care what you decide to do. Just don’t let your decision be based on fear and panic. That being said, after about 5 minutes of pushing she arrived, and she’s beautiful and healthy. That’s all that matters anyway.

Recovery: So far, it’s been a breeze. Really. I think going into pregnancy at my fittest and trying to maintain that fitness throughout really benefited me. I had very little soreness,  no stitches, and both my muscles and uterus seemed to bounce back quickly. All the work I put in on my core and pelvic floor really helped. After a couple of days, the back pain eased, and I can laugh and sneeze without any embarrassing accidents.

Baby Girl: She’s a dream! I don’t know if she’s just a good baby because she has to be with two loud and rowdy older brothers, or I’m just more relaxed this time around or what. But she’s a fantastic sleeper, pretty chill and content, and a super fast eater. (Making feedings quick and simple.) She already sleeps at night for 6 hour stretches and it’s wonderful. I hope she stays this way for a while, because it makes recovery that much easier when I’m  able to get plenty of sleep.

Workouts: I’ve really been focused on trying to take it easy. That way when I start running again, I’ll have had plenty of time to let me body recover. I have been doing some very light and easy core exercises to help strengthen that smushy core. (Note: please don’t attempt anything without a doctor’s permission. She/he could probably give you some simple core exercises to perform after birth.) And of course, doing kegels. I’ve also walked a bit, just to get my body moving, and nothing too far or too fast. Since I committed to staying active throughout pregnancy, I can take it easy for a while and know that my body is healing and  getting back to normal. I do plan to start running again once I feel up to it; starting slowly and easing back into it.

Nutrition: Focused on making milk. I have cut out sugar, gluten, and dairy, and I’m really focusing on getting plenty of fats and proteins. Avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, ghee, eggs, organic beef and chicken plus plenty of fruits and veggies. Little has changed from my pregnancy diet except not as many treats. Not only do I want to give my body the best I can for recovery and healthy, but I’m feeding another human. She needs great nutrition too.

Weight loss: Honestly, I’m not in “weight loss mode” yet. I’m feeling pretty good about how I look. I don’t look  like a super model or even at my pre-pregnancy body, but I’m ok with that. Just knowing that I did everything I could to keep my weight gain normal (which incidentally ending up being about 28 lbs) and my muscles strong allows me to relax about how I look. I will get my body back. Nursing doesn’t usually let me loose everything until I’ve weaned, and that’s hard for me to accept but it’s the priority. I’m hoping to be back by pre-pregnancy weight in a couple months, but I don’t feel any pressure, and I think that’s what we need to remember. Give your body a break! It just did this miraculous thing and it’s going to take time to get back to normal.  Ignore those celebrities who lose baby weight in minutes, and remind yourself of the amazing thing you just did! Try and love your body for what it’s capable of, not what you dislike about it.

As I enter the “4th trimester,” I’m so happy I continued running and weight training throughout my pregnancy. It has made such a difference! Just putting in the time during those 9 months makes these next couple of months much more manageable and less daunting. I have been there at the end of pregnancy with about 30+ pounds left to lose. It’s doable, but it’s scary! Don’t let that stop you. Wherever you are in your pregnancy or postpartum body, just take care of it! The first step is always the hardest.

This is me at about one week post baby. As you can see, I still look pregnant. It takes about 4-6 weeks for your uterus to shrink back down to normal. The rest is just extra fat and loose muscles, and it’s up to me to train those muscles back into shape.

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One week 

I think it’s important to remember that everyone’s weight loss/ post natal journey is going to be completely different. This is mine. I plan to share it every step of the way.

 

39 Weeks: Are we there yet?

At this point, being so close to the end, you’d think that it would get easier, since the finish line is in sight.

Not so much.

In fact, I’m at the point of wanting to pull my hair out in anticipation of this little girl’s arrival. I feel like I’m nowhere near ready for her (but let’s be honest, I don’t think anyone is every fully ready for a baby to arrive), but I’m so ready to not be pregnant anymore.

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At my last doctor’s appointment, she did inform that things were progressing; now it’s just a waiting game. The past days have been filled with bursts of energy and incredible fatigue, not to mention two days of contracting with nothing more to show for it.  (which believe me, is the most frustrating thing – let’s just do this already!) Sigh.

So while I’m waiting oh so patiently (yeah, right) for labor to begin, I’d thought I’d share a few exercises that can help bring labor on, or encourage labor to progress. (Not that it’s been working for me, but I will keep trying!)

Please note: I’m am not a medical professional and a natural induction of labor should never be attempted without a doctor’s permission. That being said, NEVER try to induce labor before baby is full term. (39 weeks.)

  1. Walking: Now if you are able to continue running to this point, congrats! Keep it up! I however, completely converted to walking two weeks ago. I could tell baby had dropped and was really throwing my gait off, so I switched. It stopped being a workout/exercise/fitness thing and became a “Let’s get this baby moving down” thing. Walking helps baby get into the proper position: down and engaged in the pelvis. With baby’s head pressing down on your cervix, it might encourage labor to begin or continue if it’s already started. Maybe. I’m not really proof of that.
  2. Bouncing on an Exercise/Labor ball: This is the same general idea as walking: the bouncing will help baby move down and encourage dilation. Just be sure to exercise caution since exercise balls can be a little tricky to balance on. But it’s a super easy task to complete in front of the TV.
  3. Squats: I could sing the praise of the squat all day. Turns out this exercise for your lower body can also help bring labor on. Squatting can help open your pelvis, move baby down, and decrease labor time. Not bad! I’d been using weights while squatting, but now I’m focusing more on quantity rather than weight. No matter what, get down and do some squats.
  4. Climb the Stairs: Again, the motion helps get baby down and pressing on the cervix. I also think the gravity must have something to do with this.  There’s no need to sprint up the stairs, but climbing up and down could  move things in the right direction. If nothing else, it should give you a nice butt workout.
  5. Make Whoopie: Yes, I’m totally counting this as an exercise. I’m sure we’ve all seen the Friends episode where Rachel is past her due date and the doctor suggests they try the “one that’s been proven most effective – sex.” You can read the science behind it here, but I’ll just say, it totally worked with my first. If nothing else, your husband will soon be going through a 6 week (or longer) dry spell. Couldn’t hurt to show him a little love.

All that being said, Baby Girl will come when she’s ready and not a moment before. I just pray that she comes sooner rather than later, since things are getting just a tad uncomfortable. In the meantime, I’ll keep working hard, and maybe make sure the nursery’s totally prepped.