Posts Tagged ‘preeclampsia’

Why I Love My Post-baby Body

Thursday, January 21st, 2016

why i love my post baby bodyBefore having babies, I had a terrible attitude toward my body. No matter the size or shape, I was never proud of the body I had and I went to great lengths to shame myself into hiding or masking what I had. After dieting and obsessing over every bite that entered my mouth, I ran and tried the fads out there and never found a cure for my own displeasure.

Then, I got pregnant with my first baby boy. I was suddenly aware of my body, aware of how it functioned and behaved and wanted to fuel it with real good food to help that tiny bean grow. Suddenly, it became less about my looks and more about my health–and for that I am eternally grateful. Now, six years and three babies later, I find the love and respect for my body has increased. I adore my body today in a way that I never would have six years ago.

My weaned breasts are floppy and deflated from their rich, milk filled glory. They no longer look great as they did before children, yet they managed to sustain my children’s life for years on end. They’ve done their job, they put in hours and hours of good hard labor nourishing my little guys and helping them grow. I’m proud of my breasts and their work, and even proud of what they look like now.

My stretched out belly, let’s be honest, was never flat or close to it. It’s always been chubby and full but today it is more marked and stretched than before. I’m very much proud of my love handles, my strong abs that bounced back after babies. These abs are a work in progress, yet they have made a wonderful resting place for my babes, allowing them to bounce and climb all over my cushy tummy.

I remember seeing my swollen ankles the days right before my third baby came. Preeclampsia had made them swell to epic proportions, looking more like swollen pufferfish than ankles (the lack of shaving sure didn’t help!). My toes were sausages, my feet, tamales. Yet today, those same wonderful ankles, feet and toes chase and kick and play with my boys. The keep me going all day and allow me to keep going strong.

Let’s be real about it all–I wobble, I jiggle, I am squishy and roly-poly. I have a thousand flaws and stretch marks, but every one of those are marks of what makes my body unique to me and what I do. I may not look like a supermodel, but I bet you they don’t garden, run or roughhouse my boys like I do.

I may not be a size 6 or 10, or even a 14, but I am very proud of the strength, beauty and health aspect that my post-babies body has given me. I pay attention to health, to balance, to setting a good example for my boys to know what healthy is. And I try to show gratitude for what I’ve been given on a daily basis.

Pia Watzig is a stay at home mom to three crazy boys ages 6, 3 & 1. She enjoys knitting, cooking and trying to wrangle her crazy kids. She lives in Portland, OR. 

My Birth Story: 41 Weeks

Thursday, August 20th, 2015

IMG_20120531_113708My pregnancy with my daughter was blissful. Honestly. I never had any morning sickness. I was comfortable for most of my pregnancy, my energy levels (after the first few exhausting weeks) were great, and I generally just enjoyed every minute of it. I planned on a natural childbirth in my local hospital and had every reason to think I’d get it…until I began to show signs of pre-eclampsia. Around my thirty-seventh week my blood pressure began to climb and my feet looked like tree trunks. I underwent a Non-Stress Test (NST) and a urine analysis for protein. Both tests went well and my blood pressure dropped a bit, so I was placed on reduced activity and a plan to continue NSTs every other day or so. I knew this could completely change my plans, but the fact that I was already 3cm dilated and 50 percent effaced at 37 weeks helped ease my mind.

At 38 weeks, knowing that I was growing tired of the NSTs, my OB recommended an induction. We scheduled it for the next day (Wednesday). Then I went home, spoke with my husband, listened to my heart, and canceled the induction. By then I was 80 to 90 percent effaced, walking around at 4cm dilated, and not feeling a single contraction (although the NSTs showed that I was having them). Instead of induction, I agreed to continue the NSTs every other day and they moved the induction to the end of the week, just in case any issues popped up.

Since Tuesday of that week I’d been doing all the things they say to try for natural induction of labor, hoping to avoid being induced. I ate spicy things, walked, did bedroom activities, ate Chinese food. My NSTs on Wednesday and Friday went well, showing that baby was healthy, but didn’t indicate impending labor. Since the NST on Friday morning looked so good, my Dr. felt comfortable enough with my slightly increased BP to cancel the Saturday induction and allow me to continue on with monitoring. I left the clinic and treated myself to a large iced chai tea, feeling happy and very indulgent. I then decided to treat myself to a pedicure, since I really needed one and since massaging the feet was also one of those things that might help bring on labor. My nurses later commented on my cute toenails!

Unfortunately, my parents mistakenly had taken the Saturday induction for a sure thing, so they bought plane tickets and were due to arrive Sunday. All I could do was hope that my girl would show up at some point during the week they’d be there. That morning I had posted what was to be my last pregnancy photo on Facebook, with the caption “39 weeks! You can come out now baby!” Little did I know how well she would listen.

pizza before laborMy husband got home from work that afternoon and we intended to pick up the house, mow the lawn, and finish some other chores before my mom and dad arrived. We were going to do inside house things that evening, so we ordered a pizza and were goofing around. At 6:45 I performed a ridiculous “Come out baby” dance (which my husband caught on video). At 7pm we decided to hang the curtains in the nursery. I got up off the couch, walked 10 steps to the nursery door, and felt a small “pop” followed by a release of some warm fluid. It wasn’t much, but we were certain that my water had broken. The dance worked! We called the hospital, let our parents know, put the few lingering things into the hospital bag and waited for the pizza guy. My mother was adamant that I not eat, since I could get sick during labor, but I wanted that pizza!

By 8pm we were at the hospital and that’s when the fun began. While checking in I began to really feel contractions and thought I needed to use the bathroom. They let me, and although it helped a bit, the feeling that I needed to go “#2” got stronger and stronger, which was initially mortifying. The strength of the contractions also went from 0-60, pretty much instantly. For a split second, I contemplated asking for an epidural. Looking back, I only did that because I had skipped the easier contractions and went straight to strong ones, so I was scared about how much stronger they had the potential to get. Both my husband and my nurse urged me to stick to my birth plan, which set my head back into a better place.

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The urge to push was so strong that I begged to be checked. My first check showed 7-8cm dilated and 100 percent effaced. One more contraction, and I was up to 8-9cm, and just one more brought me to 9.5. My fantastic nurse was making sure I didn’t push, to make sure I didn’t cause swelling that would slow the process. With her on one side and my husband with oxygen for me (the most wonderful thing they gave me!!) at the other, my doctor arrived and helped me gently push past the 9.5cm lip. Once we’d done that, it was go time. They gave me full permission to push and the urge pretty much overwhelmed me. I had my eyes closed through most of the process, lost in the crazy sensations and lost in my own head. I very much remember wondering how in the world people go through labor again and again. My daughter tended to yo-yo, so I’d push, my husband would see her and encourage me that she was coming, and then she’d slip back into her cozy world. Frustrating child, I just wanted to meet you!

Ready to leave the hospital-2

After an hour or two of pushing, my daughter was ready to join us. My amazing doctor brought me through the final pushes and then she was here. The whole process was incredible and overwhelming and I was shocked at how fast labor amnesia set in! Just minutes before I was willing her backwards, and then she was there on my chest and the memories of the pain were already hazy! She weighed 7 lbs 9 oz., was 19.5 inches long, and arrived at 11:32pm. From water break to birth, I was in labor for just 4.5 hours. In the end, I had the unmedicated labor that I had hoped for, along with fairly uninterrupted bonding time immediately following delivery.

While the day after her birth was a crazy one in its own right (a story for another time!), I honestly look back on theday my daughter was born with such love and happiness. With all of that uncertainty, all of the stress in the two weeks before her arrival, she chose to arrive on a sunny day when her momma was happy, daddy was close at hand, and family were soon to arrive to celebrate her. She chose a good day.

Kate Cunha lives in the Pacific NW with her husband and daughter. She is a strong believer in birthing without fear and hopes every woman can have a positive and supported labor experience.