Happy anniversary to us!
Eleven years. Man, that seems like such a long time. But so short, too.
Strange, what things we dreamed of back then. We were going to breed and raise sport horses, once upon a time. We were not going to be living back in my old college town, in a too-small house, with a postage-stamp sized yard, with a minivan and three cats and an hour-plus commute. I wasn't even going to be a writer, back then.
We were, however, going to have three kids. That part we're on the way to fulfilling. It is the most fulfilling part of the dream to achieve. Three kids. Sometimes we look at each other and shake our heads - what were we THINKING? Were we NUTS? Other times, we grin, and nod, and know that yes, this is just right for us.
I'm definitely starting to show, and I have noticed that I rest my hand on the top of my tummy in that 'I'm pregnant' way without even thinking about it. One more step towards just being pregnant and not thinking about the losses that came before.
I also have noticed that when I walk, my protruding tummy shifts from side to side in front, giving me the precursor to the pregnant waddle (a.k.a. penguin walk) that will come along later. I still am not feeling much movement, just the odd poke here and there. I can't wait until I get more of that. I like the movement thing, as long as I get a bit of a break now and then between jabs, kicks, and pushes.
I'm also finding my clothes don't fit so well anymore. Time to switch to maternity clothes, I think. 14 weeks, I think that's pretty good - not early, not late. My in-laws gave me some money for my birthday, which I will use for wardrobe enhancement. I want something professional this time, since I'm doing a lot of client-site meetings. I'll be hitting the Lands' End website. Maybe JC Penny's, too - they have great stuff for tall pregnant women - most maternity items are too short for me. I've got a few shirts left from before, but since I've lost so much weight in the last two and a half years, they're all a bit big.
I wish I could say I was tough and determined and fought my way down to the weight I am now (still on the high end of my healthy range, but I was at least INSIDE the range for the first time in years, sixty-five pounds down from my peak)... but no, it was just 'one of those things'. It turned out I was allergic to dairy, and I didn't know it until Brendan came up allergic to dairy, himself. With the vomiting, diarrhea, hives, and congestion, I knew something was wrong with him. Dairy, it turned out, was the culprit.
I cut all cow's milk products out of my diet so that I could continue to breastfeed him. Our family doc considers significant allergies a 'risk' issue, and any infant who has a risk issue he'd prefer to see breastfed as long as possible. It makes sense - breastfeeding is shown to reduce the risk of allergies, and Brendan had definitely proven himself to be high risk. Our doc would have understood if I decided that quitting all dairy (including traces) was too much to do - our culture doesn't exactly exclude butter, milk, cream, cheese, or milk derivatives from the customary offerings! But he was glad to have me quit the dairy and keep nursing.
I can say that it was hard at first, so there's my one bit of 'I worked, I didn't let it stop me, and I kept going!' that I can claim with pride. Still, the weight loss was a bonus, not the goal. Once dairy was out of MY system, I started to lose weight. First, a pound off, then two a week, then three a week! While breastfeeding, the usual advice is to keep it to no more than two pounds lost per week. I had to increase my fat intake, add in nuts and more (good) oils, more fatty fish, and so forth, just to slow it down. But down it kept going. It pretty much melted off me without any additional work, other than having to cook meals from scratch for the first time in years. And having to be annoying at restaurants. And having to make sure all my relatives knew what I meant by 'dairy'. And having to bring my own mashed potatoes to Thanksgiving (fortunately, I make killer garlic mashed potatoes, even without milk or butter!). And having to modify my husband's (and my) favorite recipe for pork chops. Ah, well, it has been more than worth it.
My weight loss slowed and then stopped at just about what I weighed in college. I'll never be a size 8 again, my hips have spread from the baby carrying... but I am no longer a size 24, either. The really odd thing was that my feet shrank, and kept shrinking. They stopped at a full size smaller than they were back when I was in high school. Two kids born, and my feet are smaller than before I was even fully grown? Wow. It was only after I did a dairy challenge (adding it back in to verify that Brendan was still allergic) and then couldn't put on my (new, cute,
SMALLER) shoes the next day that I realized that the dairy affected me in a bad way, all on its own. My rings were jammed and my shoes were too tight for three days after every dairy exposure. Ugh. No more dairy for me, even after Brendan weans, whenever that will be.
Being dairy-free has been rather a pain for pregnancy. I'm not an anti-dairy person in general. I don't think it should be our main food source, but I do consider it a rich source of nutrition when used appropriately. High in calcium, protein, and vitamins. Instead, I have to eat canned salmon (wild, with bones), drink fortified 'non-milks', eat way more broccoli and greens than I typically do (even though I like them), and STILL have to take calcium supplements to keep even close to the amount of calcium I should be getting. The pregnancy-related calcium drain on my system has left me craving cheese and milk in ways I haven't for two years.
The other side-effect of my diet change has been on my body image. I had pretty much slid into my overweight state, and kept sliding. I felt okay, and Will still loved me, and still apparently found me attractive. Those were the important things, as far as I was concerned. How I actually looked wasn't really grabbing my attention.
But then I lost weight. I saw the difference start to appear. I really liked what I saw, though I'd long since learned to like my body in general, no matter what it looked like. Still, the skinnier me was very nice to look at, and I felt really good, too (partly due to the lack of joint swelling from my dairy reaction).
I never much cared before whether I was slim or not. Now, I cared. And so now I'm facing something I didn't face with my two previous pregnancies. Body image issues.
I have to laugh at myself - when I probably would have qualified for 'having issues', weight-wise, I had no issues at all. I enjoyed my body, I loved the growing roundness of my belly, and I ignored anything that wasn't ideal. I was growing a baby, after all, what else was important? (Barring serious health issues, which my OB and later my midwives assured me was not as serious an issue as some might suspect, as I ate well and exercised.) I still don't object to the rounding of my belly - it is rather cool that it does that, and I love knowing that my progress can be seen.
What I don't like is that my thighs have gained weight, too. My face has padded out slightly under the chin and in the cheek. My belly has a handful of extra softness over that firm roundness... Yes, I know I had to eat to keep from feeling awful during the worst of the morning sickness. Now, with my consistently low blood sugar, I still have to eat often, and sometimes have to really push to get my blood sugar up to a normal level... but why can't it all go to the baby? Sigh.
Me, with a body issue. I haven't had a real body issue since college. But here it is. I catch myself frowning at the (admittedly moderate) layer of chub, pressing it back with my hand so I can see what I 'really' look like in profile. Just the muscle part. Like that's the real part, somehow, and the rest of me doesn't count.
I know the weight will come back off. I lost my 'baby' weight with Gabe by about 7 months postpartum. With Brendan, I didn't gain in the last trimester (yay for a low glycemic-index diet), despite eating very well and plenty, and ended up weighing less after he was born than when I started. I'm using a low-glycemic index/low glycemic load diet this time, too (except for emergency blood sugar raising). It is really nutritious, helps keep my blood sugar stable, and helps me feel good. I hope I get the same weight benefits again, but who knows. So far, the previous two have not been the same, both different. I'm older, now, too. I could end up with an unexpected outcome, just like before.
In the meantime, I have to sigh, and let the irritation at the lost svelteness go, buy some new clothes, and concentrate on keeping my blood sugar where it belongs. I have managed to avoid thinking about calories and such, and am getting better at keeping my mind focused on my diet as a way to provide the nutrition my baby needs - including the stable blood sugar. I can worry about anything else later. I can be annoyed by it later, if I keep eating 'good' things now. I can deal with the chub-as-byproduct-of-the-effort later, if I keep my baby healthy now.
So why is that so hard to remember when I glance in the mirror right before I get in the shower?
Sigh. Rueful smile. Much head-shaking at my own foibles and weaknesses. I'm human, I guess. Time passes, and I get to deal with my life anew from each point, just like everyone else.
And now, my body is hungry. Time to go feed the baby...