Postpartum body update: one year in

As I scarf a rather large, white bagel with cream cheese, I thought it might be appropriate to take a look at my body and where I stand almost a year after giving birth.  As I mentioned a few months ago, I seemed to be struggling to get rid of the final 10 lbs after this pregnancy.  I had expected it to melt off while breastfeeding like it did with my first son, but, sadly, that wasn’t meant to be.  I decided not to let it get me down and, instead, continued to work out while still eating what I needed/wanted to sustain my milk production.

Here’s an update on what’s going on with my body these days:

Exercise

On top of my weekly mommy and baby fitness class, I took up running in the summer and ran my first 5K in the fall.  I (unexpectedly!) really enjoyed it and I know it’s something that I’d like to continue.  Unfortunately, the frigid winter weather has kept me from running outside for the past few months and I don’t have access to a treadmill, so I’ll have to start over again this spring.

I also haven’t been able to get nearly as much walking in as I was doing before.  In the summer and fall, I could get close to 20,000 steps per day on a good day and 12-15,000 on a bad day.  Now, a good day is 5,000.  It felt amazing to be in Florida and get out walking again.  This is something I’m going to have to make a point of doing when I go back to work.  Sitting at a desk all day is not good for me so I’ll need to be creative in order to get more daily steps.

Weight

I’m 5’6″ tall and my typical weight is around 135 lbs.  I seemed to get stuck at 140 for a while after Bo was born but I’m pleased to report that I hit 130.2 lbs this morning!  It will be interesting to see what happens once Bo is weaned.  He’s still nursing a fair bit, although it’s already slowing down this week with his longer days at daycare.  I don’t expect to lose any more and I know I’ll have to be careful to adjust my diet once he’s done breastfeeding.  I still crave sweets and carbs a lot but I won’t have Bo as an excuse to eat them as frequently much longer!

Birth control

In January, I finally bit the bullet and got an IUD inserted.  I regretted it almost immediately as it caused me to bleed for about six weeks.  I finally stopped bleeding about a week ago and hope that’s the end of that.  My OB said that it’s pretty normal for non-breastfeeding women to bleed for a couple of months after having it inserted but that it’s uncommon for nursing women.  I appear to be an exception to the rule.  Lucky me. Other than that, I haven’t noticed any other side effects to date.

I was totally certain because of all the bleeding, but I don’t think I’ve had an actual period yet.  I’m curious to see if/when I’ll get one and hope that it will be light and easy.

Breasts

I’m in that tricky phase where my breasts are either full and massive or empty and deflated.  Bo is going much longer between feeds right now so my body is still trying to adjust.  While my weight is down and I am fitting into my smaller clothes right now, my breasts still make me feel a bit awkward in my clothes.  I know this will likely get worse before it gets better because I refuse to buy any new bras until I’m totally finished breastfeeding.  This means that there will be some gaping or overflowage, depending on what bra I choose to wear.

So, there we go.  I’ll check in again after I’m back at work and no longer breastfeeding.

Overwhelmed and underprepared

In a week and a half, my maternity leave will end and I will be back at work.  It will mark the end of thirteen months at home, waiting for and then caring for my sweet baby boy.  

D is working day shift this week and Bo is doing progressively longer days at daycare in preparation for my return to work.  Littleman is back at daycare too, after our trip to Florida (and an injury that caused him to miss a few days of daycare upon our return).  This means I’ve had some time at home on my own.  

Sounds great, right?  Well, unfortunately, my anxiety means that I’m not able to sit and enjoy some of my final moments at home by myself.  I actually tried to watch a show from my pvr this morning, thinking it would be like the good old days when I’d have some down time.  But no such luck.  I could feel my shoulders getting tighter and my mind was racing with all that I should be doing.  There are so many things that I meant to get done before I go back to work and just not enough time (never enough time!) to do them all. 

Yesterday my mom came over and we cooked a bunch of meals for the freezer.  Soups, sauces, stews.  Today I baked some muffins to freeze.  With the current freezer stash, we should be able to make it through a few weeks of me working without having to stress too much about dinners.  I sorted through my make-up and tossed a bunch of old stuff.  I cleaned out my jewellery box and detangled necklaces and earrings.  I walked around the house in my new shoes in an attempt to get used to wearing heels again.  Tomorrow I’m getting my hair cut and next week my mom and I have a spa day planned (thank goodness because my shoulders really, really need a massage!)

This isn’t my first time going back to work after a year-long mat leave. I’ve done this before and I know that it sucks. It’s damn hard and it won’t get easier for a long time. I wish that I could stay home and take care of my family. I wish I didn’t need to stress about when the laundry will get done or how I will manage to make dinner or when I will get to spend time with my boys. But I don’t have a choice so I’m trying my hardest to prepare myself and our home for this big change. 

Heartstrings

I sat in the waiting room of my OB’s office this morning with a bit of a lump in my throat. I wasn’t there for anything exciting. Just a post-IUD-insertion check-up. Nevertheless, I felt a strange sadness as I sat there.

You see, that hospital is where I experienced the best and worst days of my life. It’s where I lived out some of my scariest and most joyous moments. It’s where I found out I had miscarried baby #2. It’s where I learned that Bo was still ok in there, despite my heavy bleeding. It’s where I felt the worst pain I’ve ever endured. And it’s where I met the two most incredible little boys in the world (in my humble opinion).

I guess that’s why the knowledge that this could be my last visit to this doctor’s office made me a little emotional.

I realize that I have some things to work through with respect to the end of our family building. I never thought I wanted more than two kids but now that the baby is almost one year old, I find myself struggling to accept that we are done having kids. Logically, I know a lot of my feelings stem from the fact that I’m about to go back to work. My emotions are all over the place (I cried during Bo’s first haircut this afternoon!) and I’m sure (at least, I hope!) that I’ll feel differently once we’re settled into our new life as a family of four with a working mom.

While part of me worries that I’ll always wish that we had another child, I know that I need to focus on our current family right now. Things are about to get a lot tougher for all of us as my time at home ends.

My doctor’s appointment ended up being quick and painless. The doc wants to see me again in six months, which means this wasn’t, in fact, my last time there. (More to come about my IUD experience in a future post). I felt a bit lighter as I walked out of there, knowing that I’ll be returning again. Hopefully by then I’ll feel a bit less emotional and be ready to walk away with no regrets.

The family vacation, part one

I love going on vacation. I hate packing and unpacking but I love arriving at a new (or previously visited and loved) destination. I like exploring and getting settled into a new location. And I especially love visiting a warmer climate during the cold winter months.

Vacationing with kids is a whole different ballgame, though. No sleeping in and sipping cocktails here!

We arrived in Orlando after a very early wake-up and long morning. The flight was quick and painless but the airport experiences on either end we’re trying.

When we finally got our rental car and installed the car seats, we hit the road for the 90 minute drive to our friends’ beach condo.

Neither are car sleepers, but both boys conked out from total exhaustion.

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We grocery shopped, unloaded, ate dinner, settled in and passed out. The next morning, feeling refreshed, we awoke to a beautiful sunrise.

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We took a morning walk on the beach and explored the property. We played outside. We wore sandals (no winter boots!) And, the coolest thing of all? We went to the beach to watch rocket launch from Cape Canaveral.

While D and I both admit that this isn’t the type of vacation that we are used to, and it certainly isn’t relaxing, there is something amazing about watching the pure joy in your children as they experience a new place. Littleman is having the time of his life. He loves the beach with his whole heart. He can’t believe we’re letting him wear shorts.

So, yes, vacationing with kids is not the same as vacationing as a couple. There is definitely more work involved. But so far it is worth it.

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The flock is heading south

When I was a kid, I always pestered my parents to take us to Florida.  Growing up in Canada, vacations in the south were a treat.  My family was a skiing family, though, so our holidays were always spent in cold climates.  I would see my classmates return from Florida with golden tans and stories about Disney, and I’d be so jealous.

As an adult, I’ve taken many amazing tropical vacations.  I’ve been to Australia, the Cook Islands, Tahiti, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Mexico and Jamaica.  But one place I’ve still never been is Florida. And it turns out my husband is the only other Canadian who hasn’t been there.

So, when we were offered the opportunity to use our friends’ Florida condo for free, we jumped at the chance. What better way to end my maternity leave than escaping winter for a week of fun with my boys?

We’ve (sadly) decided to forego Disney this time around. The cost is something that we just couldn’t stomach after me not working for so long. Plus, Bo still needs his naps so we didn’t think we’d really get our money’s worth. It’s still something I really want to do in the future.

Instead, we’ll spend time on the beach and in the pool, or do some day trips. Of course, I will hit up the outlet mall, although I probably won’t be buying much given the value of the Canadian dollar these days. I will definitely visit Target, though, since we won’t be able to do that here anymore!

Mainly, I’m just excited for some time together as a family. Life has been so busy and I know it’s going to get even worse in the coming weeks. Oh, and I’m excited to get away from all this snow!

Eleven months

My baby is eleven months old today and what a busy month it’s been!  The biggest news this month was the start of daycare.  We’ve made it through week one without any major incidents.  He’s been relatively happy there, although there are still some hurdles to cross before he’s completely settled in (i.e. actually attempting to have him nap there!)  At least we still have time before I go back to work.

Personality

He’s definitely getting a bit more shy these days.  At his big brother’s birthday party last weekend, he was not really a fan of the people and the action.  When he was littler, he would smile and go to just about anyone.  Now, he wants to keep his parents close by.

At home, though, he’s all smiles and laughs.  He loves playing with his big brother (who he finds totally hilarious!)

Sleep

Daycare must be wearing him out because he’s slept through the night a few times this week.  Anywhere from 8-11 hours, which feels AMAZING.  Of course, after five days at the daycare centre, he sounds like he’s coming down with a cold, so there’s a good chance this stretch of good sleeping is about to come to an end.  Oh well, I’ll take what I can get.

Napping is still going very well and he consistently does two naps a day.  Morning nap happens around 9:30am and usually lasts 1.5 hours.  Afternoon nap moves around a bit more but he’ll often do another 1.5 hours in the afternoon.

Eating

Surprise, surprise, eating is still a challenge.  He was really into the smooth purees a couple of weeks ago and we were flying through them.  Now, he’ll eat a few bites and start shaking his head (no).  He loves crackers.  He enjoys pita with hummus.  But cooked vegetables?  Eggs?  Fish?  Chicken?  Forget it.  If I put bits of food on his tray, he touches it with his finger, makes a face and smushes it.  We continue to offer him a variety of foods but, for now, he’s still nursing quite a lot.

In preparation for daycare, we spent a lot of time this past month working on drinking from sippy cups.  We finally discovered that he enjoyed using the cup with a straw so we bought a bunch and he uses them for milk and water.  Ever the picky eater, it turns out he only likes warm milk, so we’ve learned to heat it up if we want him to actually drink it.

Development

He still isn’t cruising, but he’s finally pulling himself up to standing position more frequently.  He’s a super-fast crawler these days so we have to make sure to keep things out of reach if we don’t want him to get them (especially his brother’s toys!)  He continues to be obsessed with clapping and wants me to clap every time I sing (which turns out to be very often!)  As soon as I start singing, he comes over and grabs my hands, clapping them together for me.  Hilarious!

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