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.

Reminiscing

One interesting part of being back at the office is that I keep having flashbacks to being pregnant. I suppose because the last time I was in the office for any measurable amount of time was when I was pregnant. So every time I use the restroom, I remember going to the restroom a bajillion times. I remember walking waddling from the parking lot to the building. I remember making snacks and lowering my chair.

This has prompted me to look back through my archives here and I realize that I’ve already started to forget things about my pregnancy, especially in the early months. For instance, I totally forgot all the burping I did and how uncomfortable I used to be after eating and how I took up napping. I’ve already forgotten how I waffled for weeks over whether I had really felt the dumpling move. Most of all, I’ve already forgotten how long it too us to accept that I was really pregnant, after months of infertility.

Last night, I was browsing through posts and I came across this one. It’s so crazy and amazing to look back at it now and know that this WAS our cycle. This was it! We just didn’t know it yet. This cycle would be the one and we’d have a beautiful baby boy to show for it. Incredible.

Also, there’s one small piece from his birth story that I keep forgetting to tell. Like all crazy sane women trying to conceive, once I had a positive pregnancy test, I tested multiple times. I had cheapie tests from Amazon that I was using, but did splurge on a fancy digital one. Of course, they all said the same thing, but the digital one just gave a wonderful feeling – seeing that word “pregnant” displayed. Even more fun was the fact the the box boasted the result would be displayed six months, long enough for you to plan fun announcements or something. That’s sweet, I thought to myself, as I tucked the pregnancy test into my bathroom drawer. Each morning, I would open the drawer to get my hair brush or my makeup brush or my contacts, see the test and smile at that word again. I sent a picture of it to my mom when I told her. The test was a happy little reminder, especially in the early weeks before I started showing. Six months, however, came and went and the test still displayed its cheery little result. I stopped giving it much attention as my belly grew larger and larger each day. I was however amazed to find it still said “pregnant” by August. And September. And October. By the time late October rolled around I joked to myself that the test was going to outlast my pregnancy. Then, on the morning of October 25th, that momentous day, I opened up my bathroom drawer to find the test window blank. That’s right, I thought, in a few hours I won’t be pregnant anymore. Somehow, the test knew. My little silent testimony to the Dumpling’s existence was no longer needed.

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!

Tomorrow

Tomorrow.

Tomorrow our lives change.

It’s so odd, putting a fixed date and time to a lifetime event like this. My brain can’t quite comprehend it and I find myself seeking that whoa moment over and over again.

While I organized the kitchen today, I savored the quiet, trying to imagine our house with a newborn.

While I swept the floors, I tried to comprehend the fact that at this time tomorrow, I’ll be holding a newborn. My newborn. My little boy.

While at dinner with Luffy and my mom (a last meal of sorts, since it’s no more food for me until well after my surgery), I tried to picture our table with a car seat in a chair.

As I sit on the couch and type this, before heading to bed, I keep thinking to myself: Tomorrow I’ll be a mom. Tomorrow I’ll be a mom. Tomorrow he will be here.


Since I know exactly when I’m giving birth, I’ve been able to savor these last few days of pregnancy like many women don’t get the chance to. I’m not plagued by the feeling that my pregnancy will never end, so I’m appreciating the end much more. Every push and roll. Every case of the hiccups. Every stretch and nudge. I’m excited for the next phase and for all the years to come, but I’ll always cherish these months when I carried him so close to me and was able to provide for him and to keep him safe.


So many thoughts, swirling in my head. I hope tomorrow goes well. I hope the surgery goes smoothly and that my Little Dumpling arrives safely. I can’t believe it’s time. Just like I couldn’t believe those two little lines and now here we are. I can’t believe that by this time tomorrow, I’ll be holding him in my arms.

Coming to terms with a c-section

Before we ever got pregnant, Luffy and I discussed adoption. Our attempts at conception hadn’t been going well and we were discussing the alternatives. I told Luffy that, much like he considered having children part of the human experience, I considered being pregnant part of the female’s human experience. And indeed, it has been. I am in awe of my body and what it is capable of creating and handling. My distended abdomen bears no resemblance to my once flat stomach and yet, I know I will get back to that place eventually. My son kicks and moves around inside me and the sensation is so unique, it’s indescribable. The sheer physicality involved in being pregnant – in lugging around 30+ extra pounds each and every day – is astounding.  So that part has been absolutely true, for me at least.

However, I’m nearing the end of my first pregnancy and I’m trying to come to terms with the fact that part of that experience for me, arguably the most important part, will be missing. And not only is it missing from this pregnancy, it’s likely to be missing from the rest of my pregnancies. Which means, as a first timer, that it’s highly likely I will never experience it. I’m talking, of course, about labor and delivery.

As y’all know, my little boy is breech and our attempts at turning him haven’t been successful. A breech baby means an automatic c-section for me. At least, for me with my current doctor. Let’s pause for a second here because every time I come across this scenario in online communities I always see someone do a quick drive-by with a you know you don’t HAVE to have a c-section – you can CHOOSE to have a breech baby vaginally. And that’s true. I could absolutely choose to do that. However, I am not choosing to do that for several reasons. First off, it would mean changing my care provider with mere weeks left in my pregnancy. I am comfortable with and trust my doctor and do not want to go on the hunt for a new doctor with literal days left. Additionally, as many pro-low-intervention people seem to gloss over, there are real risks to delivering a breech baby vaginally. With the head being delivered last, the cervix may not open wide enough. Additionally, it’s difficult for the head to navigate the pelvis when it’s the last to be delivered. One of the biggest risks is cord prolapse, where the umbilical cord is squeezed between the birth canal and the baby, thus depriving the baby of oxygen. This could be a huge problem, especially if the baby gets stuck in the birth canal while the head is being delivered.

So no, I really haven’t considered attempting a vaginal delivery of my little boy. Mostly I am hoping that he has decided to turn head down before the date of the surgery.

And yet, I am also finding it challenging to accept a c-section. As I scroll through my pregnancy apps, with all of their suggestions about how to tell false labor from the real thing and how to manage pain during labor. As I remember my coworker bragging on his wife last year that they were in and out of the hospital in under 36 hours. As I read through others having a hard time getting their desired VBAC. As I read through other women’s birth stories… it all weighs heavy on my heart. Labor is not something I will experience. Luffy will not hold my hand and kiss my forehead and stroke my hair as I labor to bring our child into the world. I will never be able to recount something along the lines of well I had no idea that today would be the day or I felt miserable all day but the contractions just would not get into a steady rhythm!

Instead, Luffy and I will wake up on the morning of Tuesday, October 25th knowing full well that we will be parents by the time the sun sets. I’ll make him breakfast while I fast. We’ll give Jas scratches and treats as she (unknowingly) laps up her last morning as an only child. Then we’ll head to the hospital, completely calm and collected. I’ll be stripped and disinfected and anesthetized. Luffy will scrub up. I’ll lay prone and bare on a table as my doctor surgically removes my son from my womb.

It feels so clinical, in comparison to the primal and natural process of vaginal delivery, and I am sad that a vaginal delivery is not in the cards for me.

However, there are pros and cons to both sides (as I keep telling myself and anyone who will listen – oh look you!). For instance, in that little scenario I played out above, my mom will be in town because she knows exactly when to expect Little Dumpling to arrive. In this scenario, my son has a much better chance at arriving safely, of course, but it’s also somewhat safer for me (even with all of the complications involved with a major surgery). True, I’ll need to stay in the hospital longer, but going into labor myself and attempting a vaginal delivery (even if baby boy were in the right position) is no guarantee that I wouldn’t end up on the operating table anyway. Then there’s the fact that we do know exactly when we’re going in and getting him. I won’t be one of the many women who go past their due dates and face medical intervention on the other side. I can count down the number of days I have left (eight full days of pregnancy left!) and can savor them (and also freak out over them).

So pros and cons. Oddly enough, it’s a lot like that rambling, nonsensical post I did the other day – all about the paths of life and how we can’t choose every path. While I would love to have a vaginal delivery and not be facing an automatic c-section, it’s also nice in many, many ways to be working with a scheduled delivery. So I’ll relax this week. No more uncomfortable positions, no more worrying that my heating pad is positioned in a bad way (heat at the bottom of the uterus), no more wallowing on my hands and knees. I’ll simply enjoy my last week of pregnancy and look forward to meeting my little guy next week. That is, of course, unless he decides to flip in the meantime. Then I’ll probably be freaking out about vaginal delivery and missing the dependability of my scheduled c-section.

Stubborn baby boy

Welp. My version was yesterday morning. Spoiler: the procedure wasn’t successful.

Luffy and I got up as usual on Tuesday morning, grabbed our hospital bag, gave Jas her medicine, and headed towards the hospital. We were dismayed to find the check in desk was closed (even though the sign clearly said they open at 7am and half an hour past). However, we were completely surprised when my mom stepped out from the hallway! She drove in Monday night, apparently, and had stayed at a nearby hotel to surprise us. She said she wanted to be here for the procedure just in case something went wrong and Little Dumpling made an early appearance. Having her here was very comforting and I so appreciated her presence.

After we exchanged hugs, we happened to meet a nurse who was more than happy to take us back to the L&D desk (behind locked doors of course) so that I could check in. Once the paperwork was complete, I was shown to a delivery room so that I could change into an exceedingly sexy hospital gown (I am very short, so the gown positively swallowed me from neck to ankle). I was then hooked up to fetal monitors and given an IV. My doctor came in to check on me and the process. An ultrasound tech came in to pinpoint Little Dumpling’s position for my doctor and the procedure began!

If anyone out there is wondering how an external version feels…. it is uncomfortable to say the least. I hate to use the word painful, because there were only a few moments of actual pain. There was mostly a lot of unrelenting pressure. My doctor tried four times before we called it quits. He managed to move him a bit, but never past horizontal. My doctor kept me for two hours after the procedure for monitoring, to make sure that Little Dumpling continued to do well.

I have to give a lot of credit to Luffy. He was amazing during the procedure, trying to keep me calm and giving me a focal point. He held my hand and kissed my forehead. He told me he was proud of me and made sure that I was really ok with another attempt and another attempt. He was fantastic.

While the procedure was unsuccessful and fairly uncomfortable, the highlight of the morning, for me at least, was getting to hear Little Dumpling’s heartbeat for three whole hours. I was hooked up to fetal monitors the entire time (excluding the procedure itself) and we got to listen to his heart rate rise and fall. He didn’t like the monitors very much and kicked them a few times, which was hilarious. At one point during the monitoring afterwards, he got hiccups, which the monitors picked up. It was so funny to hear the rhythmic hiccups over the speakers. (It was also pretty crazy to see them. I can usually see them a bit, but, because my uterus was relaxed due to medication, yesterday’s hiccups were huge movements.)


Today I am sore and tender, but Little Dumpling seems to be doing just fine. I am coming to terms with a c-section, as it is highly unlikely that he’ll flip in the next two weeks. I’ll continue to visit the chiropractor for Webster adjustments and I’ll keep doing most of the recommendations from Spinning Babies. At this point though, I just want him out safely. In the meantime, it is a bit exciting to be able to look forward to an actual day – just two short weeks away! Two more weeks of pregnancy. Two more weeks before Little Dumpling makes his grand arrival.