Postpartum body update: love it or hate it?

It could be that it’s bathing suit season and we have a pool. Or perhaps it’s because my pre-pregnancy clothes are not of the loose or baggy variety. Likely it’s a combination of both that is making me realize that I’m not a big fan of my body these days.

I had a pretty decent body before I had kids. Sure it wasn’t perfect, but at 5’6″ and 130lbs, I looked ok.

I gained about 30 lbs with my first pregnancy and lost it all (and more) pretty quickly after giving birth. I was more fit than I’d ever been in my life during my maternity leave and felt pretty good about how I looked once I went back to work.

My body hasn’t been so forgiving this time around. I gained an extra 10 lbs with this pregnancy and it’s those 10 lbs that are being stubborn. Besides my breasts, which have to be storing some of the weight, I seem to have a rather unsightly bulge in my tummy area. I can fit into most of my clothes, but my muffin-top looks unattractive when I wear any of my more fitted tops.

I’m doing a weekly fitness class and going on tons of walks with the stroller, but my pre-baby body alludes me.

I am trying, I really am, but it seems that I’m losing the battle against my sweet tooth. In fact, as I type this, I’m waiting for some chocolate chip cookies to bake. You see, breastfeeding makes me crave sugar. I mean, I need it. Like ALL THE TIME.

Since I don’t think I’ll be able to stop myself from eating treats right now, I’m just going to try to do it in moderation. That’s the best I can hope for right now! (Does 6 chocolate chip cookies count as moderation?  They’re small.  Really small.)

In an attempt to motivate myself to move more, I bought myself a fitbit.  I’ve been using it for about a month now. It definitely helps, although it frustrates me because I don’t think it’s totally accurate. I bought the fitbit flex, which you wear on your wrist. I thought this was the best option for me because I can keep it on all the time. I’ve used pedometers in the past but wouldn’t always remember to clip them on before heading out. With the wrist version, it’s always on me.

The problem I’ve discovered? My stroller. I don’t think the fitbit flex tracks my steps accurately when I’m pushing my stroller. My mom and I have gone on a few walks together and she always ends up with a lot more steps than me, even though we walk the same distance and would have similar strides. It’s annoying, although I suppose it’s better to underestimate rather than overestimate my step count.

That being said, I generally really like it.  Some of the things I enjoy are:

  • It’s always on my wrist, so no fear of forgetting it or running it through the wash (although it is water resistant!)
  • It tracks sleep, so it’s interesting to see how shitty I’m sleeping these days (as if I don’t already know!).  I think I’ll like this feature better once Bo stops waking so much in the night.
  • The ability to have friends (who I secretly compete with).  I only have my mom and my brother-in-law right now, but I sure love it when my weekly step count is higher than theirs!  I’m terribly competitive so this helps motivate me, for sure.
  • The fitbit app, which lets me check my steps and distance on my iphone.  I’ve been known to do laps of my main floor when I’m close to 10,000 steps so that I can hit my goal before I go to bed.
  • The fact that it vibrates to let me know that I’ve reached my goal. There is nothing more satisfying than a little buzz on my wrist to remind me of how far I’ve walked (ok, maybe chocolate chip cookies are a little more satisfying!)

As I strolled through the neighborhood this afternoon, I ended up walking behind three teenage girls. They all had long, lean legs clad in tiny jean shorts. They had minuscule waists. There was barely an ounce of fat on any of them, and they certainly didn’t have belly flab or love handles.

I used to look like that. About 20 years ago. But still.

As my fitbit buzzed to tell me I’d walked my 10,000 steps, I thought to myself, would I like to trade with them? Would I give up my flabby belly, and all that goes along with it, for a body like that? I looked at my baby, asleep in his stroller, and I knew the answer. This belly gave me my two amazing boys. It might not look as good as it used to, but I refuse to hate it. This body, muffin top and all, has done amazing things.

I know there is a good chance that I’ll never look the way I did before. I may never love my body. And I know it certainly won’t happen while I keep eating sugary treats. So for now, I will try my best to eat better and work out more, while quietly thanking the fashion gods that loose flowy tops seem to be in style right now.

My postpartum body

I’m struggling a bit with my body these days.  It seems that it’s taking a bit longer to bounce back the second time around and I’m not feeling very good about myself.

Last week, I attempted to put on a pair of my regular, non-maternity jeans.  Big mistake.  I remember fitting into them two weeks after I gave birth to Littleman.  That certainly isn’t the case this time.  I couldn’t get them over my hips.

And then there are my boobs.  They are definitely bigger than they were last time.  My old nursing bras are too tight.  My nursing tank tops are too tight.  I have a couple of barely supportive nursing sleep bras that sort of fit, so I’m using those right now.  I’m avoiding buying anything new for a while until I feel like my body has settled into a consistent size.

The boobs are also causing issues with tops.  Most things are too tight on the bust, which feels especially bad because my breasts are still a bit sore sometimes. My maternity tops work, for the most part, but then they are super-loose on my stomach.  I feel sloppy when I wear them.

I don’t know the total amount of weight I gained with this pregnancy, but I know that it’s more than I gained the first time around.  I’m going to guess that it was close to 40 lbs (I gained 30 lbs with Littleman).  I still have about 12-15 lbs to lose to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight.

I know it’s still really early – I’m less than four weeks postpartum – but I have to wonder if I’ll be able to do it.  Will my hips ever fit in those jeans again?  Am I going to have to buy an entire new wardrobe to manage my breasts this year?  (Later on, I fully expect my boobs to shrink back to the deflated pancakes that they became after I weaned my first son.  Ugh.)

I’m sure things will get a bit better once I start moving more again.  I feel like it’s been way too long since I’ve been able to work out. When the weather gets better, I intend to get out walking with the baby as much as I can (in fact, we went for our first walk today!). And I plan to do mommy/baby exercise classes with Bo, as I did with his brother.  Until then, I guess I’ll just get used to looking a bit awkward and hope that this won’t last forever!

Then and now

I was looking through some old photos on the computer yesterday when I came across the pics from when I was pregnant with Littleman. I didn’t take weekly pregnancy photos for either of the pregnancies, but I took random bump shots throughout. Turns out, I had taken a 38 week shot last time.

Since I was 38 weeks yesterday (and coincidentally wearing the same top!) I thought it would be fun to take a photo to compare my bump sizes.

So, here’s the side-by-side view of my belly three years ago vs now:


I look pretty farm similar in the photos, although I think my current bump is a tiny bit smaller and lower than Littleman was.

Anyway, I spent today walking around a mall to try to let gravity help bring the baby down. Hopefully I’m making progress and Bo is getting himself all ready to go!

34 weeks

Six weeks (give or take) to go!  This past week was a busy one with my sister’s shower.  Now that it’s over, I’m trying to shift my attention to all the things I need to get done in the next few weeks.

I’m starting to really come to terms with the fact that this baby will be here soon.  After this week, I’ll only have three weeks of work left.  It’s time to start wrapping things up and transitioning my files to my colleagues.  I’ve been lucky to get a ride to work with my new next door neighbours for the past two weeks, so I’ve been able to avoid the public transit system.  Unfortunately for me (at least unfortunately for my commute!), the neighbours are expecting a baby (due this weekend!) and today was her last day of work.  So, I’ll have to suffer on the subway for three more weeks.  Wish me luck!

Symptoms:  The contractions have settled down quite a bit, aside from some random ones in the evenings.  I find them much less scary now – probably because they are much less regular and frequent. 

Dinner has become a major issue for me.  As in, I can’t eat dinner.  For some reason, if I eat even a normal amount of dinner in the evening, I end up writhing in pain all night.  I guess my stomach just fit it in anymore.  During the day, I’m more likely to snack rather than eat a large meal, so that will have to become my new evening routine too.  What a pain.  I really like dinner.

Sleep:  Sucks.   I’m trying to go to bed really early these days because I find that I get my best/longest stretch of sleep in the first couple of hours.  After that, I’m up a ton to pee and can’t seem to get comfortable enough to fall back asleep. 

Other: I put on one my maternity tops this morning, only to find that it is too short now.  I don’t know if it’s because I’m massive or if the baby is sitting lower, but either way, my belly was showing beneath the top.  Not cute.

All showered out

I survived the baby shower that my mom and I threw for my sister on Saturday.  I’m not gonna lie, there were moments that were challenging, but overall it went really well.

I love my mom.  We are very close and we get along well.  But, she can be a bit hard to deal with at times.  She is the epitome of a perfectionist.  I’m a planner and I like things to be done well, but I can never, ever keep up with her standards.  Nothing ever feels good enough, so trying to throw a party together (especially in my hormonal pregnant state) was almost more than I could tolerate.

I may have mentioned that I am not a fan of showers.  As much as I appreciated my own (both for my wedding and my first baby) I really struggled with being the centre of attention.  I don’t really enjoy attending showers either.  I’m not into games and I’m not great at making idle chit-chat with ladies that I don’t know very well.

My sister, on the other hand, LOVES this sort of thing.  Whenever she gets invited to something (shower, wedding, party, etc.), she get so excited.  She genuinely enjoys them.  She thinks the games are fun.  She’s just that sort of person.

So, against everything that comes naturally to me, I made sure that her shower was something that she would love.  Regardless of the frustrations, the shower went off without a hitch and my sister was very happy.  The cake was adorable, the food was good, she got tons of amazing gifts and got to enjoy time with her friends and family.


The cake!

Yummy virgin punch.

Yummy virgin punch.

Party favours.

Party favours.

You can tell by the colour of everything that my sister is having a baby girl.  I am thrilled to be expecting another little boy, but there were definitely some moments during her shower that I felt some pangs of sadness that I would never have a little girl.  The clothes she got were absolutely adorable and all the pink stuff just made my heart melt.  I don’t want anyone to think I am ungrateful for what I have.  I know this little boy is exactly what our family needs.  Littleman and his brother-to-be are the best things that have ever happened to me.  But, wow, all that pink…

After the craziness of the day, my sister and I finally got a chance to shed our party clothes for something more comfy and compare our bellies.  At just over 33 weeks, it’s interesting to see how we both look.  She had an ultrasound this past week and was told her baby was transverse (lying sideways).  At my last appointment two weeks ago, mine was breech.  You could definitely see a difference in the shapes of our bumps.

33 week bumps!

33 week bumps – I’m on the left!

Anyway, I’m glad that the shower is over and that I survived it relatively unscathed.  Now that it’s over, I can turn my attention back to the final preparations I need to do before my own little guy arrives in a few weeks!

33 weeks

At 33 weeks, the baby is the size of a pineapple this week.  And mommy feels like she’s the size of a house!  My body is starting to feel more and more awkward these days.  I have to sit with my legs wide open in order to be comfortable.  There is nothing cute about that.

I’m home sick today because I spent most of last night feeling like total crap.  Around 8:30 p.m., I started having awful stomach pains.  It was kind of a combo of heartburn and gas, with a touch of nausea and feeling like I needed to poop.  Basically, everything hurt from my ass right up to my boobs.  It finally settled down a bit at 3:00 a.m., at which point I knew there was no way I could get up and drag myself to work.  I’m feeling a bit better now, with just some lingering nausea and a lot of burping.  Littleman was home sick on Monday after throwing up a couple of times Sunday night, but is totally better now.  I’m hoping it was just a little bug and that I’ll be fine by tomorrow.

Symptoms:  Still having the odd contraction here and there but nothing that’s made me terribly worried.

Baby Bo seems to like hanging out around my bladder these days.  In fact, it often feels like he’s using it as a trampoline.  Peeing is becoming increasingly hard.  I’ve learned to sway from side to side and rock back and forth before I get off the toilet to ensure I’ve emptied as much of my bladder as possible.  But, inevitably, I find myself running speed-waddling back to the bathroom moments later to avoid peeing my pants when Bo gives me a good jab.

Sleep:  I’m so big these days that we seem to be running out of room for me, my pregnancy pillow and D in the bed.  One of us has to go, and sadly, it’s the pillow.  I’m still using the wedge pillow a fair amount, but, to be honest, I’m not sure there is anything that would help make sleep easier these days.

Other: Still feeling the nesting instinct pretty strongly, but we’ve made a bit of progress with our pre-baby organizing, which makes me feel a bit better.  Littleman’s room is very close to finished.  In fact, he slept in his big boy bed last night!  More to come about that transition in a separate post.

This week has also been a bit busy because my mom and I are throwing my sister a baby shower on Saturday.  I’m not a huge fan of showers but my sister loves this sort of thing so I’m doing my best to make it something she’ll really love.

32 weeks (and Happy New Year!)

Here we are on the first day of 2014.  I’m 32 weeks pregnant today, so last night I celebrated by having a couple of glasses of non-alcoholic red wine (i.e. grape juice) and staying up late (I lasted until 10:00 – woohoo!)

This week has been fairly low-key.  D finally got over his illness and we hosted his family for a post-Christmas brunch on the weekend.  Littleman had a ball playing with his cousins, which made me realize how amazing it will be for him to have a sibling.  He’s a great kid, but he definitely gets bored when it’s just us adults around.  It was great to see him having so much fun with the other kids.

I saw my OB this week for another fairly uneventful appointment.  However, Baby Bo, who was head down last time, has managed to flip over again.  I know that there is still some time for him to get into the proper position so I’m hoping he does what he’s supposed to do!

Symptoms:  My contractions have finally started to settle down.  I haven’t had a bad stretch of them since Christmas Eve, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that things will stay calm for a while longer.  It will be interesting to see how things go when I’m back at work.  Taking it easy definitely seems to be what helps and I don’t think there will ever be a time when commuting on packed subway would be considered “taking it easy.”

I’ve been monitoring my belly button and I think I finally have to admit that it’s popped out.  Or at least half out.  It was pretty flat for a while but I can’t deny that it’s an “outie” any more.

Sleep:  Sleep just generally sucks these days.  I’m so tired but I find myself awake for at least an hour in the middle of most nights.  I can’t get comfortable and the baby uses that time to kick the shit out of me.  In fact, I think I will go try to nap as soon as I’m done here, since Littleman has finally fallen asleep for his nap.

Other: Nesting!  I never, ever had the nesting instinct during my first pregnancy.  I did all of the prep that I absolutely had to do, but I never really felt like doing it.  This time, I’m totally finding myself wanting to organize, purge, clean, etc.  Unfortunately, nesting and resting do not go hand-and-hand.  Whenever I try to do too much, I start to feel pretty bad and have to force myself to lie down for a bit.  Littleman’s big boy room is almost done so I think I’ll feel a bit more organized after that.


My family is lucky enough to be warm and cozy at our farm while much of Toronto is suffering from the effects of a weekend ice storm.  We woke up Sunday morning to a thick layer of ice covering everything.  Power stayed on at our house, but as close as a block away, all was dark.

Icy trees came crashing down all over the city

Icy trees came crashing down all over the city

D had left early that morning for work and by the time Littleman and I woke up, our entire block was closed in – a downed power line on one end of the street and a huge fallen tree across the other end.  Luckily the tree got moved and we were able to escape to the farm Sunday night.  Now, I’m sitting by the fire and looking out at the snow-covered fields.

Despite the storm, my sister and her husband managed to make it into town for the weekend to have our “Christmas” celebration.  They will spent the actual holiday with her husband’s family.  Littleman’s gift from my sister – a doctor costume – was a huge hit.  He LOVES playing doctor and hasn’t taken the coat off since he got it.

I'm a doctor!

I’m a doctor!

My sister and I also got a chance to compare our 30 week baby bumps!  It’s still so strange seeing my little sister pregnant, but I’m glad that we’ve had a chance to see each other a couple of times throughout our pregnancies.  Hard to believe the babies will be here in a couple of months!

Hope everyone who was hit by the storm is safe and warm!

30 weeks

I saw my OB earlier this week and I am still measuring right on track.  He did what always amazes me and put his hands on my belly to figure out the baby’s position.  Baby Bo is head down.  Although he’s getting nice and big, there still room in there for him to move around.  His movements are getting super strong (sometimes I swear he’s going to bruise my insides!)

I told the doctor that I’ve been having a fair number of contractions recently.  Dr. P actually noticed one while he was examining me.  It happened a couple more times during the appointment.  He said it’s likely Braxton Hicks but he wants me to pay more attention to them, especially if they start to get any more frequent.  If any sort of pattern arises, I need to go to triage and get checked to make sure it isn’t preterm labour.  Basically, he said I need to “take it easy”.  Easier said than done with a three-year-old, but I definitely need to try.

Of course, that freaked me out a bit and I spent the rest of that evening not moving and tracking my contractions on my iPhone app.  I definitely had more than usual (not painful at all) but they tapered off and I was able to go to sleep with no problem.  I’m guessing the fact that I had spent the morning clearing junk out of our spare bedroom and doing trips up and down the stairs had something to do with it.  I definitely won’t be doing that anymore!

Symptoms:  As noted above, definitely more contractions these days.  I’m hoping that it’s just my body preparing itself for the big day – and hoping that the big day is still a ways off! 

I’m also starting to find that I can’t eat as much as before.  I guess I’m finally running out of room in there.  I’ve always been a snacker but I’ll need to make sure I have a good variety of healthy snacks around so I can eat little amounts more often since big meals are getting harder for me to tolerate.

And… leg cramps!  Oh god, I had the worst leg cramps over the weekend.  It happened on both sides, but one side lasted almost 24 hours.  I woke up in the middle of the night in excruciating pain and had to jump around the room to try to get it to settle down.  Luckily, D was working night shift so he didn’t have to witness my crazy cramp dance!  I knew I had to stretch it out but flexing my foot was the worst feeling ever.  I spent the whole next day limping.  Ugh.

Sleep:  Sleeping is officially hard now.  I was awake for over an hour in the middle of the night last night because I couldn’t find a comfortable position.  Even with my body pillow and my wedge, I find I can only lie on one side for a short period before I get super uncomfortable.   The aforementioned leg cramps don’t help either.

Other: I spoke with Dr. P about the mumps scare from last week.  He still isn’t convinced that I’m not immune to mumps.  It was my family doctor who told me that but my Dr. P (my OB) can’t find any record of it, beyond the test results showing that I am immune to rubella (which is part of the same vaccine).  Either way, he said that it’s highly unlikely that I caught it and, even if I did, it isn’t dangerous to the baby (just crappy for me!)  So far, I have no sign of it so hopefully I’ll continue to stay healthy!

29 weeks

With the Christmas holidays right around the corner, time seems to be moving especially quickly these days.  At least it is for me.  I spoke with my sister on the weekend (who is due with her first baby the same week as me!)  She was complaining that we still have almost three months to go.  My thoughts were, “eek, less than three months to go!”  I suppose I might have felt differently if this was my first baby and I wasn’t super busy with an almost-three-year-old at home.  I’m trying to remember how I felt the first time around and I was probably starting to get pretty impatient by now, too. 

Symptoms:  Just when I think my skin is starting to clear up, pimples find new places to appear.  This week: my neck.  I’ve heard of backne, but neckne?  What the hell? 

Also, I don’t remember experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions with my first pregnancy.  I remember wondering what they were like, so I’m pretty sure I never had any.  This time is totally different.  Not sure if they are brought on by activity (I spend a lot of time getting down on the floor and playing “fire truck” these days) but I’m definitely noticing that I’m having contractions pretty regularly.  The aren’t painful, rather it’s just a tightening that can be a bit uncomfortable. 

Weight gain:  I don’t know exactly how much I’ve gained so far, but I’m pretty darn sure it’s more than I had gained at this point in my first pregnancy.  I have an OB appointment on Monday, so I’ll ask him then.  People keep telling me that I don’t look big, other than my belly, but I think they are just being polite.   To test my theory, I pulled out a couple of pairs of my maternity dress pants from my first pregnancy.  They were too big a couple of months ago but I thought they might fit now.  I’m happy to report that they are still too big!  Hopefully that means I’m not expanding quite as much as I think.

Other: When I had my initial blood work done at the beginning of this pregnancy, I discovered that I wasn’t immune to mumps.  I remember asking my family doctor what that would mean.  She just said something kind of useless like “try to avoid people with mumps” and that I’d have to be vaccinated again after the baby was born.

 I recall not being terribly concerned because who the hell gets mumps these days?  Well, wouldn’t you know, one of my friggin’ colleagues just got diagnosed with it.  I called my OB’s office immediately and spoke with the receptionist.  Just waiting for a call back, but I expect that there isn’t much I can do about it at this point.  I just have to really hope that I didn’t catch it!  Just another thing to worry about these days…