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'Bumpy' certainly lived up to her name for over 9+ months.

24. July 2014

I was worried about a lot of things during my pregnancy, but one of the things that I was most worried about was how my weight gain and body changes would affect me emotionally.

I have always been a small tiny person. I'm 5'2.5" (the .5 inch is very important) on a good day, and my weight before pregnancy was 104 lbs. The heaviest I had ever been was 117 lbs, when I was consulting and eating out way too frequently. I've never been one of those women who spends a lot of time on the scale, but I've always been able to tell when I'm gaining weight because my clothes fit a bit differently. 

Baby Bump 17-20 Weeks

I didn't even take bump pics before 17 weeks, because I didn't see any difference! Now I can't believe I thought I had a bump at 17 weeks, now I don't see it at all!

It's only fair to mention that I'm not someone who can sit around (not exercising) while binge eating ice cream and not gain a pound. Exercise has always been a large part of my life and how I spend my 'free' time. Before pregnancy I was staying active by going to CrossFit 2-3 times per week. Believe it or not, those workouts 2-3 times per week were enough to keep me in great shape! 

So, one of the reasons I was hesitant to get pregnant was because I didn't want to give up exercising and my abs and my body in general. Selfishly, I wanted to look fit and I just knew that pregnancy was going to steal that away from me - and I wasn't convinced I would be able to get my pre-baby body back after I popped out a baby.

Baby Bump 21-24 Weeks

During the fifth month, I still took bump pics while inhaling and sticking out my bump as far as it would go.

Thankfully, becoming a mom won out over my vanity, and we got pregnant in October 2013.

Pregnancy brought with it a lot of physical changes, but my body didn't really seem to change much until the 30th week or so. I mean, I thought my bump showed up at week 17 (and I was so proud of it!), but no one commented on my baby bump for several more months. 

Surprisingly, I didn't ever resent my baby bump, on the contrary, I was so proud of it! I couldn't wait for it to grow and grow so that strangers would comment on the baby growing within me. I was excited to grow out of my jeans and to throw on some maternity clothes - even though I wasn't thrilled about shelling out the money to buy new outfits. Also, I was proud to still be working out well into my third trimester. I went to yoga until Bumpy made an appearance, and I did Pure Barre until I was 34 weeks along, when the limitations outweighed the benefits/price of the classes.

Baby Bump 25-33 Weeks

During these few weeks I really started to look pregnant. I even started wearing maternity tank tops to take my bump pics!

Yes, I got annoyed when my size made certain things almost impossible. At the end of my pregnancy, even walking around the block was horribly uncomfortable. Sex? Well, I talked about that yesterday. Sitting at work? It was so distracting because of the constant pain in my ribs that I could barely focus and ended up needing to work from home for the last few weeks. 

I now understand why pregnant women are so focused on pregnancy... it's impossible to think about anything else when activities are so restricted because of a big belly! I was uncomfortable 100% of the time (even while sleeping) but I never resented this little person growing inside of me.

When I delivered Bumpy Miss Clara, I weighed 134 lbs, which meant pregnancy added 30 lbs to my small frame. My midwives were happy with my weight gain, and so was I. Although, I must admit, when I saw the number on the scale go above 130 lbs, I started getting a bit panicky that I would never be able to lose the weight. Also, early on in pregnancy my abs split down the center, so I became worried about how my body would recover from that.

Vain thoughts, I know, but they were real, even though they definitely not all-consuming, thank goodness.

Baby Bump 34-42 Weeks

My favorite picture is when I was 40 weeks pregnant. I think my bump looked gorgeous and I was so proud of it. I was carrying around a full-sized person in there!

Now, 11 days post-delivery, even though I have limited mobility because of the c-section, I am down to 111 lbs. Thank goodness for a big baby (I lost 8 lbs and 6 oz as soon as Clara popped out!) and breastfeeding! I only have 7 lbs left to lose before I'm at my 104 lbs pre-pregnancy weight! Of course, I lost some muscle mass and my belly is a bit 'bumpier' than I would like, but I'm happy that I'm starting to look like my 'old self' again. 

I have some work to do, but as soon as I rest for a few more weeks and my doctors give me the 'ok', I'm getting back on the exercise train! 

All this is to say I'm so glad I didn't allow myself to be over-whelmed with shallow and negative thoughts, and instead allowed myself to live in the moment with the pregnancy and appreciate what my body was doing.

My body created, grew, and nourished a perfectly healthy human life, and that's a big freakin' deal. As I type this, I'm leaking breastmilk because I have an abundant supply with which I can feed my child.

Every day I continue to be amazed with what this body of mine did and continues to do. (Plus, I still don't understand how Clara Jane even fit in my belly. Yes, I was huge, but she seems even more huge.)

In the future, I hope I'm able to continue to accept and even appreciate physical changes to my body. I know that aging will create changes. The c-section created changes that I'll probably be recovering from for quite a while. Subsequent pregnancies (if we're blessed with more children, some day) will undoubtedly bring new and different changes and challenges. 

* Linking up with Juliette and Amber today!

Cheers!

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Having sex did not convince Bumpy to make an appearance.

23. July 2014

Confession: Pregnancy after 40 weeks is not fun. 

And I loved pregnancy. I seriously did. I loved almost every single moment of being pregnant. I was blessed with a very easy pregnancy and I didn't take it for granted! I've heard other women say they don't know if they can have more kids because they don't want to go through pregnancy again, and I feel quite the opposite!

But after 40 weeks... it's awful.

Family and friends start to get anxious overly excited.

Sleep is impossible because the bump is HUGE.

The end seems impossibly far away even when it's not.

Induction dates are set, adding to the pressure of getting the baby out before 42 weeks.

Desperate times call for desperate measures and I began to Google everything related to natural induction. 

Honestly, even if I hadn't Googled it, I would have known about these 'methods' from our doula, midwives, family, friends, everyone else who sent me links to inform me of everything I 'should' be doing to push out Bumpy sooner...

Thoughts on natural induction methods for labor

 

I swear, we tried everything.

I...

  • Went to acupuncture.
  • Got prenatal massages to relax.
  • Took baths to relax.
  • Went to a chiropractor.
  • Ate spicy foods.
  • Ate pineapple. (OK, not really, I ate pineapple-flavored yogurt and I'm sure that does not count.)
  • Walked and walked and walked, even though it hurt my abs like crazy.
  • Took evening primrose oil (both orally and vaginally) and drank raspberry leaf tea - neither of these are really for induction purposes, but rather help soften the cervix and strengthen the uterus, which ideally help labor to progress.
  • Sat on the yoga ball and did pelvic tilts.
  • Had sex.

The only thing that has been 'proven' to help labor start, based on my 'research', is walking and sex.

Walking wasn't that much fun in 90+ degree heat, so Plan B it was!

Let me tell you, when my midwife and doula recommended sex over and over again as a way to start labor, I wanted to laugh at them. I mean, do you know what does not put me in the mood? Being 9+ months pregnant.

It's not that I didn't feel sexy, because I did actually feel quite attractive and loved my pregnant body. However, my belly was big and it just made everything a bit harder (no pun intended).

I mean, almost all positions were out, because the belly was either in the way or the pressure wasn't comfortable or it involved me doing too much 'work'.

Let's be honest, at that point of pregnancy, all I felt like doing was being a passive participant, at best.

Plus, every once in a while Bumpy would move around and nothing killed the mood (for me) quite like the realization that there was a baby just hanging out between us. I mean, it was just a bit of a creepy thought for me!

I even read some articles about late third trimester sex, and the articles suggested that the couple get used to laughing their way through 'it'. I actually thought that was excellent advice, but it didn't work for Tim and I. I mean, laugh we did, but after cracking up, we would just go to sleep.

It doesn't mean we stopped trying, though. Tim and I made a valiant effort for weeks on end. It was hard work, but we were committed, darnit.

But, even with all of hard work with various induction methods I still went 10 days over my due date. 

And in the end, my water broke without contractions starting - so obviously the induction methods weren't too at all effective.

I think it's safe to say that babies come when babies are ready to come.

But there's no harm in having lots of sex anyway, even if it's only for comedic effect.

Cheers!

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Evidently, newborns sleep a lot.

22. July 2014

Clara is over a week old.

A few days ago I burst into tears because I realized she was 6 days old, which led to the realization that she'd never be less than a week old ever again and our 'newborn' days were numbered... it was around this time I also realized my hormones were back in full-swing.

The last week has been a whirlwind for sure, but also rather calming.

In under 2 days we went from praying and hoping that our baby would be born on his/her time so that we didn't need to be induced - which involved us doing everything under the sun to convince Bumpy to come out - to staring at our new daughter for hours on end, commenting on how perfect she is.

 

Our last week looked something like this:

 

Sunday

Clara Jane was born on Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately, we had to undergo an emergency c-section to get her out of my body. I'll talk write about this experience more when I can put all of my thoughts into words, but right now, it's still too emotional and raw.

I met Clara Jane for the first time a few minutes after she was born, but I don't remember it. A few hours after she was born, the nurses and Tim wheeled my bed into the 'Special Nursery' (NICU) to 'meet' Miss Clara Jane. I put her to my breast right away and she latched on. I was absolutely thrilled and amazed that she seemed to understand breastfeeding. What a little miracle. At that point, I desperately needed a happy moment, and I clung on to this one.

After a bit of time with our daughter, Tim and I invited our parents in to meet her. Of course, it was beautiful and it became very apparent that our little girl is going to feel an infinite amount of love in her life.

Then, it was time (for me) to recover. I was only able to drink a clear liquid diet, so I basically ordered everything I could from the hospital 'clear liquid' menu and tried to get some rest. Getting rest is easier said than done in a hospital, when someone new is coming in every hour or so to check meds, vital signs, etc etc etc.

The nurses in the NICU called me every time Clara needed to eat, so I was able to breastfeed every few hours. Clara spent most of her time sleeping, so we slept in our room and visited her when she woke up, but spent the rest of the time in our room. It makes me sad that we couldn't spend more time with our brand-new daughter, but I was so exhausted I could barely stand it. I won't pretend I wasn't a bit emotionally distant from Clara this first day. I was in pain, I was full of drugs, and I was so beyond tired that I couldn't even think straight.

 

Monday

I was able to move into a wheel chair (instead of sticking to the hospital bed) on Monday, which was really nice! I could more easily get to the NICU, with all of my IVs in tow.

It hurt so badly to move from my bed to anywhere else. I needed a lot of assistance to lie down and get comfortable, or to sit up, or to do anything, really.

Our parents came to visit and Tim's brother came to visit and the day passed by really quickly, considering we were spending time in a hospital. Our parents were able to hold Clara for the first time and it was magical. It was a little frustrating because every time we picked up Clara, her monitors would get moved and the machines would start beeping and the nurses would run in to turn them off... it just didn't feel like she was my baby and she seemed so fragile!

Back in my recovery room, I was able to move to a 'normal' liquid diet, so I filled up on Jello!

When I needed to pee, I had to tell a nurse so she could help me into the bathroom and measure my urine to ensure everything was working properly. I couldn't believe how hard it was to pee at first! It's like my muscles totally forgot how to function.

By Monday evening, my IVs were removed and I was able to walk (very, very slowly) to the NICU to see my baby. This made me especially happy because Tim had been making more trips to the NICU than I could handle, and I was really jealous that he was seeing our baby without me.

Tuesday

Tuesday was such a happy day, because at 2:30am, they wheeled Clara's little bed into our room, and she was able to stay there, IV free! It was like we had a 'real' baby, since she wasn't hooked up to machines that made those annoying beeping noises. Plus, I wasn't hooked up to my IVs anymore (well, I got hooked up every few hours for a few minutes, but I wasn't continuously receiving drugs) so I was able to hold Miss Clara much more easily. It finally felt like we had our baby to ourselves.

Nurses and doctors kept coming into check on us every hour or so, and they were so, so wonderful. I feel truly blessed to have been surrounded by such wonderful people during our entire stay at the hospital. However, it is hard to get rest in a hospital! It reminds me of Vegas, it's hard to tell if it's day or night because there's always so much activity happening.

I took a shower and felt like a real human again, even though it hurt like heck. 

The lactation consultants dropped in every day and taught me quite a few things, which helped me out a lot. I even learned how to breastfeed lying on my back!

Our parents visited again and were able to relax in our room and hold Clara. Some of our siblings were also able to meet Clara Jane (they couldn't meet her before because only parents and grandparents were allowed in the NICU).

Originally we had been told that we wouldn't be able to be discharged until Thursday, but on Tuesday the doctor told me I could go home on Wednesday, which was a nice surprise!

One of my best friends was in town for work and was able to visit us on Tuesday night.

 

Wednesday

Check-out day! But first, we had to wait until both my doctor and Clara's doctor discharged us, which took quite a while (because of their availability).

My college roommate came to visit us and meet Clara.

We enjoyed more room service for lunch - I actually really enjoyed the hospital food!

At about 4pm, after receiving the go-ahead from all doctors, I was wheeled out of my room and the hospital and we got into our car and headed home with our baby girl!

My milk came in and my boobs got HUGE and hard. OUCH!

It was an easy transition into our house, and we spent our evening getting adjusted to our new little family and wondering what in the world to do with this little one when she wasn't eating. I guess just watch her sleep?

We were visited by a friend, and it was nice to spend time introducing Clara to another member of our world!

Thursday-Current

We are working on settling in at home.

We ran some errands to get some baby items we need, and that was probably definitely overly ambitious, because I was soon in a ton of pain and we had to head home.

I stepped on the scale and realized I was already down to 112 lbs, only 8 lbs above my starting weight! Yay big babies and breastfeeding! I just have a bit of a belly that I need to work on flattening out - but I'm in no rush, because I'm more concerned about feeling like myself again so I can best take care of my girl.

Everyone in the world comments on Clara's hair - both its length and its natural highlights. I'm proud to say she gets it from her mama. At least she was doing something in my womb for the (10 entire days of) extra time! 

We've been watching a lot of Modern Family and staring at Clara. We could watch her all day and all night long.

Clara has been a champ at eating and sleeping, and we've gotten a lot of rest so far. We haven't even needed naps yet! (I feel like this is going to jinx us for sure.)

We visited Clara's pediatrician and he was thrilled that Clara was already at her birth weight again - further proof that we're breastfeeding really well. We make a good team!

We gave Clara her first bath - and just like her mama, bathing and hygiene just doesn't appear to be her thing.

I got my staples taken out, but my incision and basically all parts of me are still super sore. I'm still taking my pain meds and staying on the couch as much as possible - no more errands for me!

Family and friends have come at a steady stream to visit us and Clara. I've loved having visitors, but we definitely overdid it at least one of the days, when we had back-to-back-to-back visitors for over 12 hours of the day. 

And here we are... enjoying every second with our newborn. Right now she's sleeping peacefully in the other room, and I'm still in shock that I'm a mom. This week we slow down a bit. We still have some visitors coming over, but we're definitely going to be spending more time with just the three of us. It's amazing how much time passes while we're staring at our daughter. Some of my favorite moments are when I'm breastfeeding, because Clara makes the funniest darn faces! If it was more appropriate to post nip pics on Instagram, I would totally share them with you.

Tim and I have been pleasantly surprised at how much we absolutely love being parents, and at how not-exhausted we are. Even if the next few weeks get exponentially harder, I will (forever) be thankful for these past few days at home with my little family!

Cheers!

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