Tag Archives: postpartum

Pregnancy #3: 6 Weeks Postpartum

10 May

I’ve posted postpartum updates with both of my other pregnancies so why stop now? I’m technically 7 weeks postpartum today but kept this as my 6-week update because it sounds better. Anyway…

Physical Recovery

This pregnancy was my easiest physical recovery by far. The afterpains of uterine shrinking were a b!tch (Tylenol with codeine was a lifesaver) but that was really the only issue. My bleeding was much lighter with this recovery than the first two (though it lasted slightly longer) and I made sure to be diligent about taking a stool softener for about the first month, since I learned the importance of them the hard way after having Annabelle. I didn’t even have the abdominal pain that made it hard to be up walking around after giving birth this time.

Nursing has gone well overall, despite Corbin’s swallowing a lot of air. The fact that he has a weaker latch because of his lip tie means that I haven’t had any nipple discomfort or pain. TBD on whether we do anything about his lip tie. It’s unique in the sense that breastfeeding is going well and he’s gaining weight.

Weight / Body Image

I’m about 5 lbs from my pre-pregnancy weight.

It’s all concentrated in my stomach, but this time I started doing ab exercises at 2 weeks postpartum so I can actually fit into several pairs of pre-pregnancy pants. I did also buy a couple new pairs of jeans though so that I could put my maternity clothes away (and even though the weather is warmer, it’s still jeans weather).

I also bought three nursing shirts from Latched Mama. They are awesome to use, though I have mixed feelings about the fit and fabric. I plan to do a separate post on the nursing tops and bras I bought in the next month or two.

I’ve gone on a handful of runs so far and done some strength training (squats, lunges, pushups) a few times. I’ve been fairly consistent with my ab exercises, only missing a few days (it helps that they only take 5-10 minutes). I’d like to get out biking soon too! It feels good to be active again, and with Corbin starting to sleep longer stretches at night, morning workouts are starting to be a possibility.

Emotional

The first week postpartum was rough. Life just changes so. much. when you’re the mother of a breastfed newborn. The father gets to more or less go back to life as normal (sleep for a full 8 hours, go to work each day) but the nursing mother is now tied to a child 24/7 (even those who use bottles still have to pump). So I was having a hard time with once again staying home full-time and not being able to “accomplish” anything besides caring for children all day. And between nursing and trying to sneak naps in, I was feeling isolated from my husband and girls too. I still feel that way sometimes–I love family time more than anything so when they’re having fun without me because I’m sleeping in or going to bed early, I feel left out and a little lonely. But I know it’s just for this season, and even a little more sleep will help me be a nicer person.

Because I was struggling so much, I re-read the book Loving the Little Years by Rachel Jankovic. I had read it when Emma was a baby but now I have more parenting experience under my belt so I can relate more to what she writes. Her book was the change in perspective I really needed. It’s so easy to let the challenge and mundanity of parenting glamorize other roles and convince me that having ambitions bigger than parenting well is necessary for me to feel fulfilled. This isn’t the first time I’ve struggled with feeling like parenting is preventing me from doing other, more worthwhile things with my life. But Rachel’s book encouraged me to fully embrace parenting as being the absolute best way for me to spend my time, seeing as God has made me a mother three times over.

The recurring theme of my life over the past 8 years or so has been “The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the LORD” (Isaiah 29:19). What that verse means to me is that joy is not found by demanding my life be a certain way, but by embracing the life and circumstances God has allowed. I will never find joy if I am “one foot in, one foot out” in my own life, if even part of my heart is lusting after How Things Should Be or What I Want Instead.

And what I’ve found to be true is that ironically, when I give up dictating what my life should be like, instead of feeling trapped and limited, I find great freedom and abundance. Living within God’s limits on my life brings freedom. Denying or begrudging those limits leads to bitterness and resentment.

These truths have proven to be very helpful and I call them to mind often, especially when I feel like I’m completely in over my head, have absolutely no idea what I’m doing, and fall so far short of the kind of mom I want to be (which is every day). Because parenting well is hard. Frankly, without God, it’s impossible. The last thing I need is a bunch of unrealistic, guilt-producing expectations about What I Should Be Able to Handle and What I Should Be Doing Besides Parenting.

In this season of my life, parenting is all-consuming. That’s ok. God knows that. He sees me in the midst of it. And He empowers me to keep on sacrificing my life and my desires for the good of my family. I have full confidence that I will look back on these years, from old age or heaven, with absolutely no regrets, but instead joy and gratitude to God for strengthening me to persevere. It will all be worth it because Jesus is worth it.

Pregnancy #2: 4 Weeks Postpartum

24 Apr

I keep having good intentions of blogging but for some reason, whenever I have time to write a post, that’s the last thing I feel like doing. So even though I had wanted to do a postpartum update before now, almost a month has already gone by since I gave birth.

Physical Recovery

I didn’t need any stitches this time, which I was extremely thankful for, because I developed this horrible cough after being in the hospital. Coughing a lot is not what you want to do after giving birth, not only because it surprisingly involves pelvic muscles, but also because you need all the sleep you can get and laying in bed hacking up a lung does not help.

Similar to my recovery with Emma, I again found it hard to be up walking around for about a week after giving birth — I’m guessing that’s from the lack of ab muscles? Luckily, that resolved itself and I went for my first postpartum run last Friday, at 3 weeks postpartum. I took it really slow and conservative, but it was nice to be back out there. I am so ready to get back into shape! I’ve also done yoga and pilates a few times each. In the next couple of weeks, I’m going to put together my triathlon training plan and start crack-a-lacking once I get the official green light at my 6-week followup.

I don’t know if it’s because I’m more used to being sleep deprived or if I’m getting more sleep with Annabelle than I did with Emma, but I actually feel pretty energetic and awake most days (after the morning fog wears off). I have more energy now than I did while pregnant with Annabelle, which has been nice. But nursing takes up so much time, and Emma is so busy busy busy, that I’m still accomplishing next to nothing each day besides surviving.

Speaking of nursing, it’s going really well. Annabelle has gotten a little fussier as she’s gotten older, but nothing like Emma was when she was this age. Nursing still involves plenty of tenderness and discomfort the second go around, but it’s so nice to know what I’m doing and not have to fumble through the first couple of months!

The most lasting effect of recovery from birth is that I am sweaty all night every night while sleeping. It is getting old. I’ve tried wearing less warm clothing and putting a lighter comforter on our bed, but then I’m freezing. I’ve also had a few instances of extreme temperature swings — I’ll be shivering, teeth-chattering cold one minute and then roasting, peeling-off-all-clothing hot the next. Hormones are crazy.

Body Weight / Image

At 4 weeks postpartum, I’m about 7 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight.
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Soft stomach aside, I actually feel pretty good and normal. But my pre-pregnancy pants beg to differ. None of my pre-pregnancy pants/shorts/skirts fit yet, even the ones that I bought at about 3 months postpartum with Emma. So I’m embracing the maxi skirt trend, and I also bought a new pair of capris that fit me right now. Hopefully once I get into tri training, my old clothes will start fitting again. Until it’s capri weather, maternity pants it is!

Emotional

The emotional adjustment to having another baby has been so. much. easier. than adjusting to the first one. Yes, it is challenging having a toddler with a newborn, but in my experience, it’s nothing compared to getting used to just being a parent for the first time. I had such a hard time adjusting to being a mother with Emma that this feels like a walk in the park.

The best part about not being an emotional wreck with a newborn is that I get to actually enjoy her! It sounds horrible, but I hardly enjoyed Emma at all during this stage because I was having such a hard time with everything. But Annabelle is such a good baby and so cute, and I’m so happy that I can enjoy her, even at the 2 am and 5 am feedings. And after dealing with a strong-willed toddler tornado that throws a fists-clenched tantrum over me not wearing the flip flops she picked out when it’s 40 degrees outside, even Annabelle’s little newborn cry is just adorable.

Travis and I are also handling this addition to our family better than we handled Emma. It helps to be getting more sleep! Since Annabelle nurses and goes right back to sleep most nights, I get up with her and Travis gets to sleep for a full 8-9 hours. For the relatively few times she doesn’t go right back to sleep, I ask Travis to get up and get her back to sleep, so that I don’t have spend precious night time hours doing something other than nursing. He’ll also get up early and take care of the girls so I can sleep in on Saturdays. It has worked well for us so far!

And that’s life at 4 weeks postpartum with baby #2!

14 Months Later…

4 Jun

Emma will be 14 months this Saturday and I am just now getting the motivation to really resume the healthy lifestyle I had pre-pregnancy. Even though I trained for and ran a 15k, I have done really nothing at all in the toning department. My core grew stronger through running but it is still pretty weak and squishy.

Likewise, my eating habits used to be fairly buttoned up, but ever since pregnancy, they’ve been looser. For example, I used to hardly ever order value meals at fast food restaurants, but now I barely think twice. Bleh.

So.

I do best with some kind of plan to follow, and want to do more toning than cardio, so I decided to follow the Bikini Body Plan from Tone It Up. I will only be doing 1 workout a day (sometimes they list more than that) and they will be short enough to fit in during one of Emma’s naps. I’ll most likely take 2 rest days a week. But I’m excited about it! I am not into hardcore strength stuff, so I like that their strength routines aren’t anything too crazy, but still get results.

As far as eating goes, I know that if I go too crazy with calorie counting or cutting out carbs or anything, I get obsessed. So I’m just going to focus on:

  1. Eating whole, nutritional foods – which includes switching out Coffeemate creamer for half & half
  2. Limiting alcohol to 1-2 drinks a week, and coffee to 2 cups a day
  3. Drinking at least 32 oz of water a day from my Nalgene, plus water at meals

I want to just start small with the things I know need tweaking, and once those become a habit again, go from there. Too much change at once = FAIL. My family has a reunion on the 4th of July so even though I know this is really a lifestyle change, I’m using that as inspiration to stick with it for the next month.

On the bright side, I have been eating quite a bit healthier here in Minnesota than I was in Colorado. My love for spinach has returned (after disappearing during pregnancy) so I’ve been having big salads for lunch. Dinners are usually a lean meat, vegetable and grain, or a vegetarian dish with lots of veggies!

9 Months Postpartum

22 Jan

Every month, I feel more in the groove of being a mother. In the past 3 months, I’ve started to once again make dinner, exercise, have date nights with Travis and read. We’re also in the thick of learning how to do house projects with a baby. We couldn’t do them this quickly, though, without a bunch of awesome friends who are willing to help us out. Thanks friends!

So here’s life at 9 months (almost 10 months…) postpartum:

Physical Recovery

Obviously I’m long since recovered from actually giving birth, but my body is still not the same. Most noticeably, I can’t sleep on my left side for very long because it ends up hurting my stomach. ?!?!? And I can still tell that my joints are achier/weaker. But maybe that’s just me getting old and/or out of shape…

I still have a linea negra on my belly, though it’s *almost* gone. And I still haven’t gotten my monthly visitor back, which I thank breastfeeding for.

I would also like to note here that my body has mostly adjusted to chronic sleep deprivation. Even on days when I feel like a zombie in the morning, I can usually turn things around after several cups of coffee and be fairly productive/interactive. But to maintain that, I have to go to bed between 8 and 9 every night. Emma is an early riser!

Body Weight / Image

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9monthspostpartum

I am down to my pre-pregnancy weight, but as I mentioned in my 6-month update, I was in marathon shape and very muscular then, so being the same weight doesn’t mean I’m the same as I was then. The 2 main differences that I notice about my body now vs. pre-pregnancy are 1) my stomach is squishier and 2) my butt is flatter – not necessarily a good thing. I’m sure things will start firming back up, though, now that I’m actually working out again. I’m planning to start training soon for a 15K in April. It’ll feel good to have a goal again. Until then, I’m just getting back into the groove of running with some 2 and 3 mile runs.

I’ve also been doing some strength training at home, and last week, I checked out a bunch of workout DVDs from the library. The only workout DVDs I currently have are either too long to do during naptime, or too intense for my poor joints, so I’m looking to add some to my collection. I haven’t been going to the gym for workout classes and stuff as much as I thought I would – usually because it’s either Emma’s naptime, or will be soon, and she is known for having meltdowns when she’s tired and not with mom. But I don’t want to use that as an excuse to not work out at all – hence the DVDs. In our new (bigger) house, I’m hoping to have an exercise room where I can have my bike set up on the trainer, an elliptical (my birthday present from my parents last year! We just don’t have it at our house because it’s too small), a TV for workout DVDs, free weights, exercise ball, etc.

Since the new year, I’ve also been eating healthier. Most notably, I’ve been eating a fruit or veggie with (almost) every meal or snack, cut WAY back on my sweets and wine intake, and cooking something for dinner besides a frozen pizza. Planning is key. If I fail to plan, I fall to pizza. Anyway, eating better and exercising more has helped me start feeling more like my old self, and not so much of a blob. It’s nice.

Emotional

I still have my moments, but overall, I am really enjoying being a mom right now. Emma is such a delight and even when she’s screaming, I can’t help but smile and say “Oh, she’s so cute! I could just eat her up!” I love the noises and faces she makes. I enjoy seeing her little personality emerge. I love when she giggles, and how she loves being held upside down and spun around in chairs. Crazy little girl!

During one of Travis’ recent work trips, I realized that I’m not scared to be alone with Emma at night anymore. I’m not scared of her waking up, or her screaming bloody murder for no reason. Because I’ve done it all and survived! But really, I think it’s because I know Emma so much better now. There are still times when I have no clue what’s wrong, but for the most part, I know what’s up and can remedy it. It does help to know, though, that the world won’t stop spinning if I don’t get much sleep one night. I just look forward to Travis coming home so that I can have a nap!

It’s hard to believe that Emma will be 1 year old in just a few months. It’s gone fast, and yet so much has happened during that time. I’m probably the only one, but I honestly do not feel like time is going too quickly. I don’t want Emma to remain forever young. I want to know her personality, to find out what she’s interested in and talented at, to experience the world with her. That means she has to grow up. And I welcome it! Maybe someday I will miss the baby days, but right now, I’m enjoying the baby days but excited for all that the coming months and years have in store.

Community Christian 5K Recap

15 Sep

Yesterday, I ran my first race since June 2012, when I ran my first (and only) full marathon. I can’t run nearly as far now as then, but I’m faster!

The night before the race, Emma had her worst night of sleep in months. She woke up every 2-4 hours, which is very abnormal for her. The only nice part about it was that she was in a good mood whenever she woke up – instead of crying, she’d just lay in her crib and talk (aka. ‘squawk’) to herself. My longest stretch of sleep was 4 hours. After being up with her 4 times, I asked Travis to get up the last time so that I could stay in bed for another 40 minutes.

Anyway, not quite the way you want to prepare for a race but oh well. I had a cup of coffee and cinnamon raisin bagel with peanut butter before the race, dropped Emma off at my friend’s house, and made it up to the race site about 20 minutes before the race started.

It was a very small race so it only took me about 5 minutes to get my packet and go to the bathroom. I found my friend Cathy and her husband James just a little before they asked the runners to move into the street where the start line was. Then they said the start was still 15 minutes away so Cathy and I did a slow jog around the block to warmup.

My goal for the race was to at least run faster than an 11:00/mile pace, and if I beat my previous 5K time of 33:43, that’d be great too. Cathy wanted to see if she could beat her husband so we agreed to not run together.

I thought about taking my phone so that I could keep track of my pace and the mileage, but in the end, I decided to just enjoy the race and push myself by feel.

Finally, the race started and we were off. I settled into a nice, strong pace and kept Cathy and James in my sights for about the first .5 mile. Then they were gone. I kept running strong. I was pushing myself, but not too much. It was downhill, which was nice, but I knew that meant an uphill later so I couldn’t go too crazy.

I had no idea how far we had gone, but I figured it had to be close to a mile at least. I ran past the aid station (stopping for water would have just thrown off my pace) and then saw a sign that said Mile 2. ‘Holy cow!’ I thought. ‘That’s the quickest 2 miles I’ve ever run!’ It didn’t quite seem right, but if it was, I was going to kick this 5K’s butt!

Around a corner, there was another mile sign. It also said Mile 2, with an arrow to the right. Um, what? I took a right and found the uphill. I walked a bit at the top of the hill and was told by a flagger that first time through, we had to do another loop. Second time, go straight.

On my second loop, I saw the Mile 1 sign, which I had missed before. So I was just now coming up on Mile 2. That made more sense.

We passed the aid station again and were directed by another flagger to turn right for Mile 3, making a smaller loop than the first time, but not too small to miss the hills! I walked a bit again at the top, so I could catch my breath.

Even though it was only 65 at the start, the sun and (rare) humidity made it really hot. I was getting tired, and couldn’t accurately judge how long we had left. But I kept pushing it, reminding myself that I wanted to beat my old 5K time, and that I hadn’t been pushing it for 2 miles only to give up at the end.

We passed a different school and I thought we were getting close, but I saw runners far ahead of me… climbing another hill. Bummer.

I muscled up the last hill long enough to see one of Community Christian’s buses, so I knew where we were – and that the end was close! I crossed the finish line strong and grabbed a water, banana, and half a bagel from the volunteers.

I felt confident that I had made my goal of running faster than an 11:00 pace but had no idea of my time. I found Cathy and James, and we stood around talking until they posted the times. James had beaten Cathy, but she wasn’t too upset. Men…

Finally, the times were up. I finished in 31:52! That’s a pace of 10:17/mile, I later figured out, for a new 5K PR! YAY! I was very happy with that. Cathy finished in 29:50 and James in 26:19.

This was my first time doing a really small race (there were about 130 runners), which I’ve always wanted to do because I figured I’d at least have a shot at placing in my age group (which is now 30-39! I feel so old.) But when I looked on their website, it said they would award ‘the fastest in each age group’, which I took to mean only THE fastest (one person). I was mistaken though, and I got 3rd place in my age group. So I actually got a medal! YAY again! (Cathy got 2nd place in our age group. The 30-39 Female winner finished in 25:12.)

So my first race back was a success AND fun. I’m glad that I didn’t take my phone. The mile signs kept me guessing, and I ran on feel not on time, so I didn’t get discouraged.

About the race itself – it was the inaugural race, and a small one organized by parents instead of race professionals, but I was very impressed. They had a decent website, with all the pertinent information included. They sent out a pre-event email with lots of details. There were a ton of volunteers and even though the course could have been a little confusing, their flaggers were very helpful and it wasn’t confusing at all. The course was also USATF-certified and they posted a course map online (though I didn’t realize that before the race). We were instructed to park in the Target parking lot, and they had a shuttle taking people to the school (even though it was only like 2 blocks away). And the race proceeds benefit the school, which is where Cathy and James’ kids go. I would definitely do this race again!

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Me and Cathy

I’m unfortunately not going to be able to do the triathlon relay this coming weekend (long story) but I’m already looking forward to doing another race. I’M BACK BABY!

And quick sidenote, this is my 700th post!

3 Miles Straight

19 Aug

There was a week when Emma woke up at 6 am every day. Travis and I got into a routine of him watching her from 6:30 until around 8:30 so that I could have some time to myself to go on a run, get into the Word, etc. Travis went on runs and ran errands at night. But then Emma stopped being predictable and we got out of the routine.

So for the past 6 weeks, I’ve only been running once a week. Which also means I’ve only been working out once a week. But now I have a reason to get my butt in gear: I signed up to do a triathlon relay with two of my friends. It’s the Oktoberfest Sprint Triathlon on September 22 in Longmont. I’m doing the running leg. I also might do a 5K fundraiser run with one of my other friends on September 14 but that depends on whether or not I can find someone to watch Emma.

I’m happy to report that I have finally worked my way up to running 3 miles straight, with no walking. I’m still slow, but when haven’t I been? 😉

My mile splits on my run today:

1 – 11:49

2 – 12:05

3 – 12:07

.08 – 11:08

Average pace – 12:02 (3.08 miles in 37:03)

81913paceMy goal is to run at least twice a week. Ideally, I’d run 3 times a week but with Travis traveling so much right now and Emma not being old enough for daycare, it’s hard – partly because I want to hang out with my husband when he is home! Maybe one of these days we’ll try taking Emma on a jog with the two of us…

Anyway, I plan to do a speed workout (intervals, repeats, tempo, etc) for one run and a easy run focused on distance for the other. My fastest run so far was on August 9. I ran 2.57 miles at a 10:42 pace.

How does that compare to my previous running times? My 5K PR is 32:52, a 10:34/mile pace. My PR for the running leg of a triathlon, is 30:50, a 9:55/mile pace. So it’s possible that I could get better than 32:52. We’ll see how the rest of ‘training’ goes.

I felt great after my run this morning though! It reminds me of why I love running, and endurance sports. It just makes you feel good!

My Next Half-Marathon Plan

16 Jul

When Travis asked me what I wanted for my birthday, my answer was “To run a half marathon.” But with Travis traveling so much this summer, and Emma being too young for gym childcare, I can’t commit to training quite yet.

I have a plan though. Our gym has childcare starting at 6 months. If I could run 3-4 miles by then (beginning of October), I could start a 12-week training plan and run a half in January or February.

Travis is thinking about running the half with me, and we’ve talked about doing a destination race – ideas so far are St. George, UT; San Francisco, or somewhere in Arizona or New Mexico. We’d obviously need someone to watch Emma while we ran so my parents might join us too. I’m so excited!

Since I’ll be working 3 days a week and those days will be too busy to fit in a workout, I’ll have 4 days for training. I plan to run 3 days (1 long run, 1 speed workout, and 1 short to mid-distance run) and do 1 day of cross-training (yoga, biking, or swimming).

Now to research some races!

12 Weeks Postpartum

27 Jun

It’s been 12 weeks since I gave birth to our little girl. Here’s how things are going:

Physical Recovery

I feel more and more like my old self every day. Albeit, a weaker and less fit self but it’s still nice.

With Travis traveling a lot for work now and Emma not liking her carseat a whole ton, running, and working out in general, has really taken a backseat. Hopefully I’ll figure out how to squeeze something in but I’m just trying to be patient right now – it’s only for a season. Emma and I do take a short walk every day so I’m not a total bum.

I had started to take birth control with a low dose of estrogen (Lo Loestrin) but when I went to get my prescription filled after finishing the sample pack, I discovered that our insurance didn’t cover much of it, so it would cost me almost $90 a month. Um, no. So I’m going to start taking a generic progesterone-only pill that my insurance will cover.

I still have a lot of breakouts on my face, though it does seem to be slowly getting better.

I still have the linea negra, though that is also starting to fade slowly.

And finally, I’ve started sleeping on my stomach again! I mostly sleep on my back and side still because of breast fullness but that’sbgotten a lot better than it was even a month ago. Oh how I’ve missed sleeping on my stomach!

Body Weight / Image
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I haven’t lost any weight since my 6-week postpartum update, so I’m still 7-8 pounds above my pre-pregnancy weight. I bought a few new pairs of pants that I can wear to work, a couple pairs of shorts, and some looser tops, so I’m not feeling tons of pressure to lose the weight – and I’m pretty sure it’d be darn near impossible anyway since some of it comes from having grown 2 cup sizes (pregnancy and then breastfeeding). And though I would love to tone up my stomach, it’s just not my focus right now. I’ll get there eventually.

My eating habits haven’t been the greatest either. With Travis gone, I’ve been surviving on leftovers and easy things like cereal, bagels and toast. I do have dinner with friends on a regular basis so that helps me eat healthier meals (since they’re cooking). My plan is to cook healthy meals while Travis is home, with enough extra to give me leftovers for lunch or dinner while he’s gone. I’m also going to try to eat more fruits and veggies.

Emotional

The emotional aspect of motherhood is still hard for me. There are some days when I love being a mom and feel optimistic about the new pace of life – those days are a breath of fresh air that help rejuvenate me. But other days are a struggle. I long for the old days of freedom and ease. I feel isolated at home and totally unsure of my decisions as a mother (specifically regarding Emma’s sleep habits). I get discouraged because I don’t have time to do things like workout or cook dinner.

But I’ve been reminding myself of 2 truths for encouragement:

One, I will never again have this much time to devote to one child. I won’t be able to sit and hold Emma or her siblings for naps when she’s older and not an only child, so instead of wishing this time away so that I could do laundry or dishes, or an exercise video, I should enjoy it – it’s only temporary.

Two, the words of James: “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

My main struggle is faith – am I truly trusting that this is how God wants me to spend my time? Or do I think there’s something more noble, fulfilling and worthy of my energy? Not every woman is called to be a mother, but I am. And after my calling as a wife, there is nothing more important for me than being a mother. It may look differently than I expected (and it does!) but it’s exactly what God expected and planned for me. I’m still learning how to let go of expectations and joyfully embrace the reality that God has ordained for my life. I’m sure it’ll be a lifelong lesson!

God is using parenting to teach me self-sacrifice and to find my joy and worth in Him alone. I am being shown how much of my identity and self-worth has been tied up in being productive and doing things I’m good at – or at least things I know a lot about. With those reassurances stripped away, I am completely dependent on God’s help and grace. There’s nothing like the feeling of helplessness to drive me into God’s arms. So for that, I’m thankful. And I’m praying that God would continue to help me embrace my new reality and joyfully make these sacrifices for my family, as well as give me the wisdom I so desperately need.

And that’s where I’m at 12 weeks postpartum!

6 Weeks Postpartum

22 May

This past Monday, I had my 6-week postpartum checkup. Everything looks good and I’ve been officially cleared for exercise. Yay!

At 6 weeks postpartum, here’s how things are going…

Physical Recovery

The weird tightness in my upper abdominal muscles is now officially gone. My abs are still fairly weak, though all the bouncing on the exercise ball that I’ve been doing to calm Emma down has helped to regain some of my core strength. I could notice a difference during the 2 runs I went on this week.

Yep, I went on 2 runs this week! Emma has been sleeping better at night (more on that in Emma’s 7 week update) so that has allowed me to go running in the morning instead of catching up on sleep. I thought about doing the Couch to 5K program but it seemed to be a little bit more conservative than I’d like. So I’m just doing my own thing. I covered 1.5 miles in 20 minutes on Monday and 2 miles in 30 minutes today, doing run/walk intervals. I mostly ran because I’ve missed it so much, but I know I need to listen to my body and walk when my legs feel tired or tight. Don’t want any injuries!

This week is the first that I’ve really been back at it with exercise. After that initial run at 12 days postpartum, Emma started getting really fussy and workouts fell very low on the priority list. I tried to get out on walks as much as Emma and my energy levels would allow, but that wasn’t very often. I’m glad that things are turning around now!

Body Weight / Image

I have about 7-8 pounds to go before hitting my pre-pregnancy weight. I’m trying to transition out of wearing maternity clothes but it has been hard. My boobs have grown so much from breastfeeding and my stomach is still ’round’ enough that I’d say about 75% of my pre-pregnancy shirts don’t fit – they’re either too short or too tight. About 90% of my pre-pregnancy pants, shorts and skirts don’t fit, also due to the stomach. I have been able to fit into a few things again (though not without causing major muffin top action) and I bought a few new things from the thrift store that fit me better. But overall, this is still an extremely frustrating part of being postpartum.

postpartum_comparison_2Maternity jeans on the left, pre-pregnancy jeans on the right

As a person who loves fitness and feeling in shape, it’s hard to be comfortable in my own skin when I feel so flabby and blah. I know that my body will never be exactly the same again but I’m looking forward to the day when I get to a place where I like how I feel and look again. I know that having clothes that fit will help me feel better, so I’m hoping to go shopping again in the next couple of weeks.

I also know that I need to be better about my eating habits. When we had family out here visiting after Emma was born, we ate pretty well-balanced, healthy meals. But when it’s just me and Travis, convenience is king – which means a lot more processed foods like frozen waffles, deli meat, cereal, etc. Being dairy and soy free really limits what I can eat (and drives up our grocery bill!) and I’ve found myself eating a lot of carb-heavy snacks/meals, like Rudi’s whole wheat toast with Earth Balance spread and raspberry preserves. Not horrible, but that kind of thing shouldn’t be the mainstay of my diet. Instead of relying on processed, expensive convenience foods, I need to be more intentional about eating whole foods – fruits, vegetables, legumes, meat and nuts. They’re cheaper and healthier.

Emotional

My emotions are still a rollercoaster, but a bit more intense than when I posted my postpartum update at 2.5 weeks. They vary from day to day, morning to night, hour to hour. Not surprisingly, they are heavily influenced by how much Emma is crying and sleeping. When Emma is minimally fussy, easily comforted, and sleeping for 3-5 hours at a stretch, it’s a lot easier for me to feel hopeful and enjoy this season than when she is crying inconsolably, refuses to sleep and wakes up after 20 minutes. Then I feel a ball of despair wedge itself in my throat and my minds fills with lots of untrue, very unhelpful thoughts, and I wonder how anyone has ever enjoyed being a parent.

It is because of God’s sustaining grace that I haven’t given up. He provides grace in little ways each day: Emma finally going to sleep when I thought I couldn’t possibly shush or bounce anymore. Emma staying asleep when I thought for sure she had woken up as I put her down and left the room in a huff (which happened last night). Travis and I working as a team to figure out how to do the things we enjoy doing while taking care of a colicky baby. Emma sleeping so well in the baby carrier that we can still do stuff – like clean, grocery shop, go on walks – even when she demands to be held.

I’ve called to mind these evidences of grace whenever I’ve been tempted to dive back into self-pity and discouragement. God does see, and He is actively providing for us. He may not be taking the situation away completely, but He is being faithful in the midst of it. And that has to be enough for me – because joy comes from accepting what He allows, not from demanding what I want. (So easy to say, but so very hard to do!)

Anyway, things are slowly getting better – if anything, Travis and I are learning to deal with the situation better, even if Emma is still quite fussy. That’s something!

Exercise Post-Baby

26 Apr

Like I mentioned yesterday, my post-baby ab muscles are a joke. I discovered this very quickly when I attempted to do the postnatal ab workout included on my Prenatal Pilates DVD. I lasted about 2 minutes and turned it off – plank exercises will not be happening for quite some time. The Prenatal Pilates workouts themselves are more of my speed and ability right now.

My main form of exercise so far has been walking – because I had that tightness under my rib cage, I started out just walking to the end of the street and back. When I started feeling better, I walked my normal dog loop of 1.15 miles, which takes me about 20-25 minutes. And then one day, it was sunny and I was so antsy to get out and jog that I went for it. That was 12 days postpartum.

Stupid? Too soon? Perhaps. But in my defense, my doctor said I could do any exercise that I felt up to, as long as I used common sense. And my bleeding had already stopped, I didn’t have any cramps or pain before or after, and I took it really slow, and walked a lot – so much so that my average pace for my 2 mile walk/jog was 15:58/mile. My jogging intervals were around a 12:30-12:40 pace.

And it was wonderful being out there. It felt like I picked up right where I had left off in pregnancy (at the same slow shuffle), and it got me even more pumped up to get back into running. But I could definitely notice my lack of core strength, and I do realize that my body has gone through a lot and I don’t want to jump into anything too intense too soon. So for now, I’m going to limit my jogs to one a week, and really listen to my body. For the rest of my workouts, I’ll be doing Prenatal Pilates, sit-ups and push-ups to build up my core strength, walking, and hopefully some swimming (now that I can go in the middle of the day, when it’s not busy!).

20130419_150143 20130419_145104

I’m planning to find a race in late summer/early fall to train for, since I love having a goal, but for now, I’m just going to enjoy getting out there.

(Side note: On my jog, I didn’t take Emma, only the pooches. Just in case you were concerned about her being in a jogging stroller so young.)