The State of Things: 4 Months Out
|May 2, 2014||Posted by Lauren under LifeontheRun|
…or 4 months in. I suppose it’s all how you look at it.
Remember when I said I wanted to write a 3-month postpartum update, because it seemed like that was a pretty significant amount of time (the end of the 4th trimester and all)? Well I guess I missed that window. So I started typing up a 4-month post the other day, got maybe a quarter of the way through and realized I was boring even myself. Which is a pretty sure sign I shouldn’t publish it. So instead, here is a somewhat random collection of 4-month updates, thoughts, and confessions. I can’t promise it won’t bore you, but at least it’s easy to skim in this format.
The most common thing people want to know (I think) is if I’ve lost all the baby weight yet. I’m finding the answer to be a lot more complicated than it seems. I lost a good chunk of weight pretty quickly and then it sort of stalled out a couple of months ago (I’m sure the almost nightly treats I consume have nothing to do with it!). Technically, I have maybe 5-6 pounds to go before I reach my starting weight (i.e. my weight at my initial 6 week OB appointment a year ago). And honestly – I’m expecting those extra pounds to hang around until Amelia is weaned.
Totally unflattering shot to demonstrate the belly at 11 weeks pp. At least Amelia looks cute!
But – extra pounds or not, my body is shaped very differently. Although my hips aren’t quite as curvy as they were a couple of months ago and I no longer look pregnant when I remember to stand up straight and suck in my belly, I’m just soft. So yes, my clothes fit again (yay!) but they don’t all look as good on me as I remember.
The only parts of my body that are somewhat toned are my biceps — from lugging around a car seat, 500 bags, and a baby on a regular basis – and my calves – from carrying around so much extra weight over this past year. As for the rest? Well…let’s just say I now have quite the collection of cellulite.
I swore many times during pregnancy that I would not miss a single thing about it. Turns out that wasn’t quite true. Over the past few months, I’ve realized that I miss two things: 1. Not having to suck in my stomach. It was so freeing to just let it all hang out! and 2. The thick luscious locks that never shed. I am in the middle of some massive postpartum hair loss. My drains are so full that it’s a wonder I have anything left on my head.
Maybe that’s because at this point, pregnancy sort of seems like it was one long dream. It’s funny to me that you spend the better part of a year pregnant and then once it’s done (and you’ve recovered physically), it’s almost like you never were. I mean, sure, I have lasting physical reminders – my cavernous belly button, the canyon down the middle of my abs (more on that in a second), and oh yeah, that lovely scar. But for the most part I just feel like myself. And I ALMOST forget what it was like to be pregnant. Almost.
Last weekend before baby. Coat not even close to zipping
Labor and delivery though? Nope. No way. I am not sure I will ever be able to forget that.
As I mentioned above, I still have a lovely gap between my abdominal muscles. I wish I had known more about diastasis recti before and during pregnancy. My midwives never talked to me about it, and I just assumed a large separation between your ab muscles was normal. I’m sure I did things during pregnancy that didn’t help the issue…things I would have avoided had I known. Fortunately in the almost 19 weeks since I’ve given birth the gap has decreased — from about 3+ fingers 6 weeks pp to about one finger width at its widest point (around my belly button). So it’s not healed, but at least it’s slowly moving in the right direction. After months of doing nothing for fear that any core exercise would make it worse, I finally talked to my friend Kathleen at Oh baby! fitness. She gave me some really helpful suggestions and I’ve been working hard to engage my transverse abdominals ever since. Still haven’t given in and bought a splint yet. (FYI: some really helpful information about diastasis recti here.)
Except – your transverse abdominals are hard to find! Or at least, they are after they’ve been dormant for almost a year. I’ve been working on scooping or “hollowing” my belly — basically pulling my belly button into my spine — periodically throughout the day. Since I spend so much time sitting in the car, I practice during my commute (about the only productive thing I do during those 2.5 hours). But I really have to focus. The second I stop thinking about my posture, I’m slumped down with my “beer belly” hanging out once again.
Partly based on a recommendation from K and partially out of desperation from not being able to run, I signed up for Barre3 online classes. I will admit that I expected to be underwhelmed, and really didn’t see myself lasting beyond the 15-day free trial (I’m just against paying for online exercise classes). 10 minutes in to my first workout and my legs were toast!! Granted, there’s a lot more cellulite in there than muscle these days (see above) but still. I take back any negative thoughts I had about it…and will even admit that I’m sort of loving it. It’s a workout that I can easily do any time and since I’m still not running, it feels good to do something else active that doesn’t seem to bother my bum (I just modify/omit any core exercises that focus on the obliques for now). Plus, anything that works on toning said bum and those pesky transverse abdominals is good in my book.
I have become sort of obsessed with cloth diapers.
Look, I know that the concept of using cloth to catch my baby’s poo, washing it in the same machine that cleans my clothes, and then reusing it is probably disgusting to many of you. Or at least probably doesn’t sound like your definition of fun. But I’m telling you…there’s something about those cute diapers that’s addicting. I can see now why people build up ridiculously large stashes. I’m one of those people who ordered a bunch of different kinds initially to try them out, and now I want more of my favorites (plus there’s so many more to try!). And yes, we are using them at daycare. This is more of a testament to the amazing teachers in the infant room than anything else, but it did take a little negotiating (side note: I’d be happy to write a post about using cloth diapers, particularly if you are working…if anyone is interested. But my main advice is if you want to use them in daycare: know your state’s regulations! They may be more helpful than you think).
I’ve bared my chest in more public places during the past 4 months than ever before in my entire life. Don’t get the wrong idea, I’m not walking around uncovered with the baby on my hip nursing at will, but you know, the baby gets hungry and she doesn’t really care where we are when that happens. I mean, in what other situation would I feel comfortable going partially topless at the office? (Answer: none). Luckily this whole nursing thing is becoming easier and feeling more natural all the time.
Really this whole being a mom thing is like that. Sometimes it is still strange to call myself a mom; to say that I have a daughter. But I’m amazed by how natural it feels. It’s not that I always know what to do, because I certainly don’t have most of the answers. But having a child of my own — it’s this huge life adjustment but also like nothing has changed, all at the same time.
Related: I’m amazed by how much I have absolutely loved this baby stage. When Evan and I used to talk about the future, it was always about having kids…little people to do fun things with. I knew they’d be babies first, but the pictures in my head of our future family were always when they were older. And although I knew I liked babies, I was mostly excited about the kid stage. Except now that I have one I can’t even believe how much I love her at this age. It’s a lot of work, sure, but it’s way more fun than I ever imagined. I literally get to watch someone learn and grow right before my eyes. What’s more incredible than that?
Little girl loves her books! Reading with Gram on Easter.
Speaking of babies, I’m sure you will all believe me when I say that Amelia is the most perfect, most wonderful baby ever (ha!). No but really, she’s pretty laid-back for the most part and I know we lucked out in that department. Which is why I sort of (kind of) hoped we’d breeze through the dreaded 4 month sleep regression. After all, she has always been a pretty good sleeper, and slept through the night at a fairly early age (don’t hate me). Shows how naive we are. I think (hope!) we are finally at the tail end of it, but I will tell you that it was worse than all those middle of the night, round the clock newborn feedings. At least then you expect to be up all night! I have never been closer to napping at my desk every afternoon than I was this past week.
Good thing she’s so cute! It’s hard to stay grumpy when I see that little face.
And finally — it took me an entire week to write this post. But at least I got it done before the 5-month mark. Little victories.