Post-baby Body

I’ve avoided writing much about this because the post-partum journey is just that… a journey. I’m still in the middle of mine, but here’s the progress I’ve made so far.

The good – 

I’ve lost most of the pregnancy weight by now. It came off slower than I had hoped (I was still about 15 pounds above my pre-pregnancy weight a couple of months after I gave birth), but I’m getting there. I’m now to the point where I’m reluctant to lose more weight for fear that it will effect my (tenuous) milk supply.

I can rest my fears – I my feet did not change sizes. Yay! My rib cage seems the same, as do my hips. My breasts are about the same size too, oddly enough.

My appetite seems to have returned to normal. I was worried that all the eating I was doing while pregnant would continue, but that hasn’t been the case. In fact, for a while after I gave birth I had absolutely no appetite. To the point that I was honestly a little concerned about it (especially as I watched breastfeeders comment about how HUNGRY they were), but that passed as well.

I do not have diastasis recti – whew! My abdominal muscles actually seem to have held up incredibly well to the strain of pregnancy. I think it’s because I continued to work out while pregnant. Speaking of work outs, I’ve been teaching my classes since mid-January. I was looking forward to returning and it went more smoothly than I had hoped (you’d be amazed how quickly the stamina to teach a one hour class disappears!). Right now, I’m just teaching twice a week. I miss teaching my three classes (I feel like it’s a much better pace for the week), but I don’t want to take the time. I miss the dumpling on days when I teach and it means a lot of work for Luffy. Perhaps when the dumpling is a little older, I’ll get back to my three-a-week schedule.

On the TMI front, my sex drive has returned. It took a nose dive there for a long time. I was so tired and sore and unsexy that I couldn’t imagine getting naked in front of Luffy, let alone getting in between the sheets. Over the past few weeks though, it’s slowly coming back. Now my main problem is that I usually get the urge at the most inopportune times. The dumpling’s bedtime. Check. At the playground. Check. On my commute into work. Check. My timing’s not so great.

All in all, I’m really starting to feel like myself again.

The bad – 

I was warned about the post-partum hair loss but, MY LANDS, I am losing a lot of hair. About two weeks ago, I finally went and chopped it off. I hadn’t cut it since probably May of last year. I couldn’t stand it anymore and cut off a good six or seven inches. (Does anyone else do this? I’m fine with my hair until, quite suddenly, I’m not and then I need it cut like TODAY. Or perhaps YESTERDAY. Just cut it NOW.) The style suits my lifestyle much better now as I no longer need to pull it up to nurse or pump. Plus it actually almost looks great when I let it air dry. I call that a win.

Also on the TMI front…. and I can’t believe I’m telling you this…. I legitimately have BO now. Like. Serious BO. Teenage-boy BO. Teenage-boy-after-football-workouts BO. Research tells me that it’s hormone related (see, just like the teenage boys) and that it should subside when my hormones are back to normal. I am still waiting on that. To be fair, it has gotten a bit better. At a month post-partum, my pits were rank even after a serious scrubbing in the shower – that’s how bad it was. At 4.5 months post-partum, I just need a shower every day. Ahhhh hormones.

Last piece of not so great things, the skin around my scar is oddly numb and overly-sensitive at the same time. Does that even make sense? If I bump it or Luffy touches it, I’ll say it hurts because that’s the best description I have, but it’s not really pain. It’s more just uncomfortable. Very uncomfortable. I’m also told that this is normal. So yay?

The ugly – 

In all my worries for my post-partum self, I never considered my scar. Even if I had, my worries probably would have looked something like this: How would my scar look? Would it be easily hidden? Would I be able to love my scar, to wear it bravely? One thing that I definitely didn’t consider, wouldn’t have even known to consider, was a dimple. You see, my incision has a dimple on the right side, like that side got pulled a bit tighter or something. It was extremely obvious right after birth and I hoped that it would diminish over time. It has not. The left side looks perfect, smooth and even. The right side looks horrendous as it accentuates the flabby stomach with an abrupt indention. I still hope that it smooths out over time. Maybe once I can lose more weight? Right now, I’d be happy with even a little smoothing out. I’m trying to come to terms with it because, despite my hope, I really don’t think it’s going away. At least high-waisted swim suits are in style right now, that should cover it for the summer anyway. Luffy reminds me that this scar, this incision, marks the spot our child was born. It’s visible proof of the incredible feat my body accomplished. My body doesn’t need to be perfect after the amazing thing it’s done. Still though. I can’t help but wish that it looked a bit better. More even. Smoother. Symmetrical.

Some day. One day. I’ll get there.

A Birth Story

As I predicted, that Tuesday morning was uneventful. My mom was in town, as I mentioned, so she joined us for our morning walk as Luffy and I freaked out a tad. (Our go-to meme for the weekend was Tina Belcher’s, from Bob’s Burgers, anxiety noises.) We packed up our hospital bag for the extended stay. Mom and I finished a movie we had started the previous night and then I showered again with the clinical soap. Time positively drug by until it was finally time to head to the hospital.

Since I was already checked in, we were buzzed right back. The nurses complimented me on our punctuality and began the process of getting me ready for surgery. I changed and they started an IV line. I answered a slew of questions about medications and complications and medical history. Once all that was done, we waited around for the scheduled time. Luffy changed into his surgical gear and then… then we headed back into the OR to change our lives.

They left Luffy in the hallway while I went back and was prepped for the spinal. Honestly, that part was the scariest since Luffy wasn’t there and I was in the OR all by myself. Such a surgical space, all sterile and bright. My nurse was fantastic in getting me to relax and into the right position for the spinal. Once it was administered, I laid back on the table and basically hung out while they hooked up all their monitors and disinfected (and shaved) my belly. I tried to relax; I was nervous about how the spinal would affect me. (I had heard that a lot of women start having a panic attack because they can’t tell if they’re breathing anymore.) My doctor came in and greeted me again and then finally they brought Luffy back. He had a huge smile on his face and he sat right down beside me and grabbed my hand. It was a sweet moment – our last as just the two of us.

The surgery started and there were some weird sensations, as they opened me up. Time stood still and then I heard him cry! Little Dumpling had arrived! I immediately starting crying myself and said something silly – probably along the lines of there he is! My doctor had them lower the drape so he could show us Little Dumpling who looked so chubby. They set him to the side and pulled Luffy around so that he could take pictures of Little Dumpling being weighed and measured. Everyone joked because LD just screamed and screamed – no mistaking that his lungs were just fine! (His APGAR scores also reflected this liveliness – he scored an 8 and a 9 at his one minute and five minute intervals.) Then they brought him to me so that we could get a little skin-to-skin action, which was a challenge because of the drape and the fact that I’m so short! There wasn’t a lot of room, but we did it. I marveled at him and just sort of stared at this little dude, this little wrinkly squalling newborn. We were fascinated with his extraordinarily long fingers and he had so much hair!

As the procedure came to a close, they took Luffy and LD back into recovery and finished me up. I was wheeled out, after speaking with my doctor, and spent two hours in recovery being monitored. LD spent a bit of time in the warmer and a bit of time with me. The drugs administered during the surgery made this time a little hazy (like, I still remember it and I was there but I felt a little loopy). We took pictures of LD and updated our friends on his arrival. Luffy looked perfect holding LD. I really can’t describe the feeling of watching him hold our son. Just perfection. I fell a little deeper in love with him in that moment (as I would further over the next few days).

At one point, a passing nurse asked me if my mom was perhaps here – waiting? When I affirmed that my mom was indeed waiting, the nurse told me there was a woman pacing the halls, wringing her hands, who hadn’t sat down in two hours – might that be her and should the nurse at least tell her everything went fine? My poor mother – so anxious! Luffy left recovery occasionally to update his parents. The pediatric nurses took LD away for a few heel pricks as his bilirubin levels were high and he had a weakly positive Coombs test (meaning my blood cells had started producing antibodies against LD’s blood cells). The two hours I spent in recovery were a blur of emotions and weird feelings as my body started processing out the spinal block.

Finally, it was time to go back to our room. At first, I was dismayed to find we were headed towards their overflow section (which meant smaller rooms), but we did just fine. My parents were waiting, as were Luffy’s – everyone was excited to see the little boy! We shooed everyone out after a few moments because it was time to try breastfeeding! Amazingly, LD latched right away and even managed to get a bit of colostrum from me. The rest of the evening is a blur for me. I had nausea around 6pm and got medication. It came back around midnight and I actually vomited before getting another dose of medication (I had thought the nausea might pass without it – I was wrong). Luffy actually got quite a bit of sleep – mostly because LD was still exhausted from delivery and slept most of the night. I’m pretty sure I held him on my chest for most of the night. I got up out of bed for the first time around 5am. Go me!

The next day (Wednesday) was pretty good – also a bit of a blur. My parents brought breakfast for Luffy and enjoyed some newborn snuggles. I got real food at lunch time. My parents gave us privacy during the afternoon for our hospital’s nap time. Everyone got a bit of sleep. My parents brought us dinner (pho! ultimate comfort food) at Luffy’s request (again, he wanted to make sure I was well taken care of and knew the pho would make me feel better).

I’ll pause here to commend my husband. He took such good care of me – of us. He was, and continues to be, absolutely incredible. He loves our little boy so much, it makes my heart hurt. He immediately dived into diaper changes and was the first to figure out that LD likes to hold someone’s hand (holding his hand can help calm him down and I used the trick too while trying to nurse over the first few days). He watched over me, making sure I was doing ok, enforcing rest and naps, questioning care if needed. He was fantastic. Even after we came home, he knew without prompting that my recovery from surgery would need sleep and lots of it. Thus he and my mom took the night shifts that first night home, allowing me to (try) to get a full night’s sleep. He is my foundation and I truly couldn’t have done it without him.

Back to our story – Wednesday night was not a good night for us. I’ll give about 10% blame to LD because my milk had (obviously) not come in yet and he was frustrated with nursing. There wasn’t much for him to have and he had no patience to work for it. The other 90% of blame I’ll assign to the overnight pediatric nurse on duty. The problem was that she kept telling me she wanted to check LD before he nursed. The first time she told me that, I was nursing him (probably about 8pm), so she said to just page her when he was hungry next but that she hoped to be back at 10pm. 10pm came and went, with no sign of her. LD woke up and started fussing at 10:15 and I paged her. And I waited and waited and waited as LD howled and became more and more agitated. Finally, at 11, I said screw this and nursed him (not well, because he was so upset). The nurse did not come by until midnight – a full hour and a half after I paged her. She apologized for not getting there sooner but I wanted to rail at her that she should HAVE TOLD ME so that I could have nursed. LD was asleep once again and so she said to page her again before nursing next time. This went on and on and on. It was awful. Luffy and I passed LD back and forth, each trying to drown out the screaming and catch a few zzz’s.

In hindsight, I don’t know why I ever waited that first time. When she didn’t show up in ten minutes or so, I should have just nursed. My newborn does not have to be on your schedule and he should eat when he wants to. Also, I probably should have requested a bit of formula to get LD over the hump before my milk came in. The only positive thing the nurse did was to suggest a formula dropper to get LD interested in nursing. I don’t think it actually did anything for nursing, but it did give him a few calories to make it through the night. I finally got to sleep around 6am and heard later that Luffy refused to let at least two nurses/techs come in the room for fear of waking me up.

As awful as Wednesday night was, Thursday was good. We were discharged! Before 1pm! Go us!! Going home was fun and surreal. We introduced Jas to LD – completely adorable. She totally missed him until he cried and then was like whaaaaaat is that????? Later in the evening, when I was trying to nurse (again, not well, LD is super impatient), he was crying and Jas was biting me like mom – why aren’t you helping that poor squalling human???? (And I’ll clarify, it was love bites, like she does when I’m not paying attention to her. Clearly I just hadn’t noticed the little guy was upset and she wanted to right that!) She’s been wonderful around him though, generally leaving him alone. Although, adorably, she has sort of taken over the co-sleeper we set up the Sunday before he came. She really likes it and sleeps there a lot.


I’ll take a break here. Obviously it’s been a while since I posted and there’s plenty to update everyone on. We’re home though! Doing well. LD is gaining weight and chubbing up beautifully. Jas is doing good. Luffy is amazing. I’m finally in a good place again, mentally. All is well.

Quick update!

Hello from the other siiiiiiiiiiide!

I don’t have to much time, so this won’t be a full update. However, can’t keep everyone waiting for ever. 

Little Dumpling is here! He arrived on schedule (Tuesday, October 25th) at 1:01pm, weighing 6 lbs 13oz, and measuring 19.5 inches. Quite the little peanut!

We spent a couple of nights in the hospital, of course, but we both did well. We were discharged on Thursday afternoon, which was my doctor’s optimistic timeline, so that made me happy. 

We’re home now, with my mom here to help (omg, so much help, I kind of wish she could stay forever). 

Luffy was incredible through it all and he continues to be amazing and supportive. He loves his little boy so much that it makes my heart melt. 

Ok, more to come later. Wish us luck as we move into the second week!