LABOR & DELIVERY
I labored for 55 hours, but since I was induced prematurely (only 3 days after my due date), I never dilated enough to deliver the baby. I really wanted a natural birth and was rather disappointed at the outcome. We were admitted to the hospital, because August didn’t move enough during an ultrasound. Although we tried to argue that the test came when he always sleeps and I hadn’t eaten, they admitted us anyway. I was evidently having contractions that I couldn’t feel. Everything with August was fine when they finally let me eat about 8 hours later and he was moving like crazy, but at that point, they wouldn’t’ let me go home. Instead I got two 12 hour rounds of Cervadil to thin my cervix (didn’t work), they swept the membrane (ouch), gave me Pitocin for 12 hours, broke my water, missed 3 times trying to give me an epidural and ultimately took me in for a C-Section. It was the farthest scenario of what I could have wanted.
I didn’t get to hold the baby right away, and whatever drugs I was given for surgery made me vomit. It was a very stressful experience, but when I finally got to hold August, who smiled right away and took to the breast immediately, everything was all right. He was swollen from all of the IV fluid and had been put through the wringer too, but he was healthy. Mom, baby and dad couldn’t wait to get home.
My best advice is to research your options for delivery. The cesarean rate for my doctor and the hospital is 50%. I didn’t know that until after the fact. My doctor was on vacation the week I should have had the baby, so we didn’t feel particularly good about the outcome after we learned that. There are plenty of scenarios when a cesarean is necessary though, so try not to set your heart on only one option. We all know that both the baby’s and mother’s health are top priority, but when it doesn’t go how you would have hoped, it can lead to heartbreak and even depression. Allow yourself a grieving period and then put all your energy into loving that little baby. If you weren’t taken care of the way you had hoped, at least you can care for that little baby better than anyone could hope for.
Can you describe what it was like the first time you held August in your arms?
As I mentioned above, I didn’t get to hold August right away. My husband got to hold him first. With a sheet blocking my line of sight during the surgery, I asked my husband, “How does he look?” Well, Michael didn’t know that babies can have a cone head, and August was already head-down in my pelvis so his head was a bit misshapen. Michael said, “He looks good… I guess?” I was like, “What do you mean, you guess?” When they wheeled me out of surgery and finally handed him to me, I saw a perfect little baby, just swollen from all of the IV fluid. With happy tears in my eyes, I had to laugh when Michael explained to me that he had never seen a cone head. When we got home and got August dressed for visitors, my husband would comb his hair or what he affectionately likes to call his cone-over!
NUTRITION & TRAINING: POST PREGNANCY
How have you approached your nutrition these first few months? How will you adjust in the coming months?
With breastfeeding, I’d be lucky just to get enough meals in. If my husband didn’t bring me breakfast in the morning when he was making his own, there were times that I wouldn’t eat for 3 or 4 hours after waking up. We had a lot of pre-made buffalo and egg white breakfast wraps, protein pancakes, lasagna and soups frozen and ready to go. Everything was made very clean. Although, I realized quickly that the tomatoes in the lasagna didn’t really agree with August, so my husband ate that.
Moving forward, as August reaches 3 months old, I’ll try to stick to a better schedule of eating. Fortunately, he is sleeping 7 hours through the night at this point. If that continues and we can regulate his naps, I think I’ll be back to my regular clean eating schedule of 5 meals a day very soon.
To figure out the amount of calories that I need to maintain adequate milk supply is a best guess at this point. I am taking my current weight of 116 lbs and multiplying that by 10 to get a base number of 1160 calories just to survive. Then I’ll add about 300 calories to provide fuel for everyday activities and then add 500 (the number of additional calories that doctors recommend for breastfeeding mothers) to get 1960 calories. I then divide that number by 5 and get 392 calories per meal. This gives me a ballpark to aim for, but I’ll be looking for cues to increase calories if needed. When my exercise becomes more regular, these numbers will increase.
How have you approached your training these first few months? How will you adjust in the coming months?
With an unplanned cesarean, I really didn’t bounce back as quickly as I had anticipated. In fact, August is currently 11 weeks old, and I still have to be careful when handling the weights when I’m lying down and need to sit up, as I feel a pulling sensation and pain at the incision site.
I’ve been doing a bit of belly dancing and planks to try and strengthen my core with a little bit of weights here and there, but nothing very regular. In these coming months, my goal is to train my upper and lower body with a “two days on, one day off” approach, alternating when possible. That way, if I can only get two days in, at least I trained everything in those two days, but hopefully I’ll get more. With a two day on, one day off approach, I can change a lot of variables like the exercise reps, sets, time under tension, intensity, etc. When I can, I’ll then increase my training days to three, changing the workout split and then with luck, eventually to four.
I saw a picture you posted on Facebook about 8-weeks after giving birth, and you explained that you were just a handful of pounds away from your pre-baby weight. You looked amazing. Had I not know it, I wouldn’t have guessed you just had a baby. How are you feeling these days? Were you surprised by the quick changes your body made?
Thank you for the wonderful compliment! I’m feeling good these days, but my body has certainly changed. Although I am only 6 lbs from my pre-baby weight, I went from a junior size 0 to a junior size 5. I can’t fit into my old jeans and with my new hips, I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to? I guess only time will tell!
As for the “quick changes” my body made, it really is amazing what the human body is capable of. I was in the hospital for six days hooked up to an IV, so needless to say, when I got home I was holding a ton of water. I actually went into the hospital weighing 144lbs and came home weighing 154 lbs. I didn’t even know that was possible? I was so full of water that I couldn’t bend my legs, and I bruised super easily. Looking in the mirror at that point, I was pretty horrified. I didn’t look anything like myself. However, just three days later, I lost 25 lbs of water and two weeks after that I was just 8 lbs from my pre-baby weight with no exercise.