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Postpartum Expectations from a Runner Girl – Reclaiming My Body Through the Onset of Emotions

26 Jul

Hello lovelies!!!

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Happy Weekend! Yay!!!

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Today I am 73 days postpartum. I was given the green light to start running, I mean training, for a fall marathon by my OB on July 11. It took a whole 8 weeks to be cleared to run after our baby girl debuted. But as you know I’m stubborn and determined so I began running the week-ish prior (hey, my doctor was on vacation and my appointment was delayed!)

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After having been patient for close to 40 weeks to meet my little rosebud, how on earth did doctors expect me to hold off from running for 2 whole months? I ran my entire pregnancy and then they put a moratorium on it?! Not okay.

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Anyway, I took it easy with doctor approved light cardio. I engaged in walking, the elliptical and mini weights beginning at the 4 week postpartum mark. I started running again around 7 weeks (I may be a liar). But I’m not lying about taking it easy. It wasn’t until July 11th that I started to run farther and faster. 

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I wanted to run farther and faster because shoot, I have had my eyes set on a fall marathon. But I also wanted to run farther (not faster) to engage my fat burning furnace to melt the lingering pounds that made themselves home to my thighs, hips, stomach and back. Maybe in my breasts, too, who am I kidding. I definitely don’t need the weight there. If I had a say in its allocations I’d rather see that weight in my boot-tay. Am I right!?! (Squats all day don’t do me any favors…I’m just saying.)

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But because I’m not on an episode of Botched I can’t have anyone rearrange my ASSets how I see fit. I’ve been working hard reclaiming my assets through sweat. Today, more than ever before, I have been focused unremittingly on my core. I have not only engaged in core circuit training, but also legs and booty circuit training, and now, marathon training!!!!!!!

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I’ve been feeling ah-mazing! I feel like I can come back and come back stronger and faster.

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But before feeling ah-mazing I was feeling really discouraged. Don’t misunderstand what I am saying – my having a baby girl has been the greatest gift ever, but being forced to “recover” and recover longer than normal because of a c-section really shook me. That on top of the imminent (and grave emotional) loss of our mother. My little family was paralyzed by pain and forced to accept the bitter dichotomy of life – birth and death. Anyway, that’s another matter… What I’m saying is I was active my entire pregnancy and then boom – no sweat sessions were prescribed for 6-8 weeks. I had to handle my emotions, both postpartum and grief, without running. That was brand new territory for me.

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Speaking of new, I was also a brand new mom who was losing a mother (my fiancé’s). The wave of emotions felt like oil and vinegar – how could one be so blissfully happy with grief and despair rising in the horizon. They didn’t mix well. The onset of emotion overtook me (us). We found ourselves faced with the highs and lows of the reality we were in. We felt guilty for being happy then guilty for being enveloped with grief.

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We traveled by plane 7 days postpartum to visit Andy’s mom before she passed. We had begged for time to spare us so that she could meet her newest granddaughter. I traveled back home, alone, only 10 days postpartum. I was a wreck. I bravely accepted the fate of our mother on my journey home while dodging insults of having such a new baby on a flight, let alone in an airport. I was shuffling between whether or not to spew my circumstance with strangers or smile and embrace the mommy shaming. I did the latter. The judgement only amplified my emotions.

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We lost mom shortly after I returned home. I had emotions storming through me. My mind was in a turbulent capricious state. All I wanted to do was run it out but my body ached in ways that I cannot describe. My cesarean cut pulsated. My heart was heavy. My heart was light. And it was full of love. In the deep of love. My reaction to life was that love surely does cut you. I was a vat of vehemence smiling through all the pain and smiling through all the joys. 

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But rewind…

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On top of all my emotions, my vanity also played and integral part in my hormonal hurdle to find harmony. To find peace. Sanity. Normalcy.

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Rewind again. When I finally got home from the hospital, I wanted so badly to hop on the scale to witness the miraculous weight loss from this “having a baby” diet.

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And.

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Dun. Dun. Dun.

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The weight I gained during pregnancy was still there. Every. Single. Pound. Yes. Every single pound was accounted for.

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I cried on the inside. 

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These are the things they don’t prepare you for postpartum, especially post-cesarean. The fervent of emotions. The inability to easily pick up your baby from their bassinet because your cut is new and wretchedly deep. The pain. The fear of being a new mother. The weight. Oh my goodness the water weight. But I stress – the emotions. Emotions because as new mom I can tell you expectations are too high. Emotions because I almost had vaginal birth but my baby couldn’t handle the contractions and her heart rate kept falling dangerously low. Emotions because I felt like every single person was overwhelmed with joy over my little miracle and all they wanted to do was meet her but they discarded me. No one (most) thought a cesarean was a big deal. Not many asked how I was. And because notifications of vagina jokes kept coming across my iPhone because… “Hey, it’s still intact!” What the fuck ever people!!!  Hello, I’m in pain!!! Everyone forgot I was the star of the show. But with the birth of my little angel I suddenly became the supporting actress. My glowing beauty transformed to that of a rag doll beat up and ran over by an 18-wheeler that reversed. I looked like 50 shades of SHIT with breasts as solid as boulders that doubled as my serving platter because I could eat dinner off them. Emotions because I was pining for the day I didn’t feel like a dairy cow. Emotions because despite it all, I wouldn’t trade my old self for my new self. Emotions because I thought I was crazy for loving this new role.

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Emotions because of my new body. 

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I remember I stripped off my clothes and looked in the mirror. I stood there for a long time. I poked my stomach. It was soft. I was amazed that the elasticity and muscle memory were not activating!!! Then I saw my thighs. My calves. My legs. I cried hard. Vulgar Tears. I felt disgusting in my skin. How could I have felt like a champion of pregnancy up until birth and return home looking like a foreigner in my skin? I truly didn’t recognize myself. There was no bump but those weren’t my thighs.

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Why hadn’t the doctors sent me home with a “What to expect after you have a baby – cesarean edition” pamphlet that outlines the litany of normal concerns for new mothers (and fathers) who courageously try to navigate through an emotional, sleep deprived battlefield of heightened senses? Mind you it should also detail realistic expectations of what you should anticipate from your body that asserts, “Relax! You don’t have a fever. And no, you did not wet the bed. You are experiencing  hot flashes and night sweats – that is your body’s natural way to flush out all the excess water from pregnancy and delivery.” I had NO pamphlet. I had to resort to Google for this wealth of information to learn that the pregnancy glow alters to a new form…a foreshadowing tale of what I have to look forward to – menopause. WTF.

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I was also patiently awaiting my new form sans baby bump. But I weighed the exact same after having had my 6 pound 5 oz baby girl from the day I was admitted. How was that even plausible even after being forced to fast, too? I drank nothing but water and coffee for days. I made liars of their cleansing characteristics because they surely didn’t act like any kind of diuretic. I was still feeling very pregnant. I was mortified. 

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The pamphlet idea would have been notably helpful at that mile marker. I didn’t know about all the water weight I would gain due to the IVs. I didn’t know my cut would burn, tingle, feel oddly numb but sense pressure for days, weeks, months. I didn’t know about breastfeeding and prolactin.

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I wore long dresses for days to hide my legs but they didn’t cover my newly augmented breasts by milk. People would speculate all my weight went there, and while it made me laugh, I was beyond uncomfortable. I was annoyed and embarrassed by my blossoming bosoms.

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I felt awkward. That’s it in a word. But I was also the happiest I had ever been. It was the strangest thing.

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But now that my little family and I are two months in, I’ve grown fond of my new body and its abilities. I had high expectations of rebounding and I didn’t meet the mark. But I know I will. That’s who I am. I do acknowledge that I’ve snapped back relatively quick but I wanted breastfeeding to be some miraculous cure-all of soft curves and a soft tummy. Newsflash: it isn’t. It’s an old wives tale.

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I am currently working hard at marathon training again and I believe I will get back to where I was before I was pregnant. Perhaps all these months off from intense training have alleviated my hip issues! (Praying!!!)

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Speaking of running, I have been doing speed work, fartleks, tempo runs, easy runs and I’m slowly gaining back my ability to cover distance. I completed my longest distance of 8 miles strong last week! While I’m so fortunate to be logging miles again to gain speed, endurance, and to soon cover distance to chase Boston, I’m finding that despite it all – my running, leg, booty, and killer core workouts – I’m still unable to activate that fat burning furnace I spoke of earlier to shed the last 3 postpartum pounds. .


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I know I sound obnoxious because it may not sound like much weight, but for me, as a runner, each pound adds time to my pace. My inner voice screamed and continues to scream, “WHAT gives!?!?” 

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I told you before, where I once had abs I am soft. Now I assure you I’m not bitching terribly much – I know I’m fortunate to have been able to shed most of the weight I gained without any effort, but these last few pounds have been troubling me, especially with my incessant desire to workout in an effort to reclaim my body! My gosh, I had rented it out for 39 weeks and even provided an eviction notice…can I have it back yet? Please?

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Through all my attempts guess what I discovered?!? Keep reading…This is only another example of the type of content the pamphlet should cover…

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Despite my efforts, mothers who breastfeed, regardless of the old wives tale that breastfeeding helps melt the fat, retain approximately 5-10 pounds of fat to ensure that in the event of famine, we can nourish our littles (so I guess I’m doing well!). The reason is due to the hormone prolactin – the evil but necessary culprit! Prolactin remains incredibly high in your body for up to 6 months postpartum making weight loss a challenge! It is a challenge because it reduces the body’s ability to metabolize fat. BAM! Repeat. BAM!!! It acts like a safeguard to protect a baby’s milk supply. Hey hospital, put that in a pamphlet to help new mothers ward off fatuous expectations! 

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So here I am, I’ve been sweating it out like the badass motherrunner that I am, and I can’t shake all the weight despite clean eating and exercise. I didn’t get it. I was so frustrated! But now knowing that when I decide to stop breastfeeding the weight should come off effortlessly makes me one happy runnergirl. Oh, that on top of the fact that I won’t be carrying melons around that fluctuate in weight every 2-3 hours. That’s right, I’ve been racing against my milk coming in! Maybe that’s making me faster (I can dream). But until I decide I can no longer continue nursing my little rosebud, I will cherish the moments of feeding her while also being proud that my milk is helping her get those adorable little rolls on her legs! That’s right, I’m the reason for my little chubbina (chubby signorina)!

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Thanks for stopping by and reading about my journey – from chasing Boston to chasing baby – motherhood and running – and my life between all those miles.

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XO

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Valgal

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A New Affair 

19 Jul

Hello lovelies,

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Notice anything different?!.

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Other than me not having a baby bump?!?

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The shoes!!! Meet Brooks Launch 3!!!

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That’s right friends, #badass #motherrunner was running on clouds today. Clouds of comfort! I literally had an extra spring to my step for push-off and it gave me amazing energy return! For real though!!! Plus, their ultra light and perfect for me (I’m a neutral runner). I’m in love. .

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Newton, we’ve covered a lot of distance over our 4 year courtship, but your discount code for me has since expired and your 5 lugs just don’t comfort me like the 4. You will be my first love, and I will continue to be a fan, and even wear you for feelings of wild-eyed marathon training nostalgia of the past (I have quite the collection)…But let it be known you’ve got some fierce competition these days! And I’m thinking it’s time for a new affair…#runnergirl

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Today marked my marathon training’s request of an easy 3 mile run – which was totally hard to do because I wanted to rocket through my run with these new badass kicks!!! But hey, I’m following protocol – and that’s a first!!!

Thanks for stopping by!

XO

Valgal

The Anatomy Scan & Baby’s Little Runners Foot

16 Dec

Hello lovelies,

I hope this post finds you feeling as radiant today as I feel! Who knew a little weight gain and a growing belly would have me all jolly and dazzling to match the season! I’m loving these days. But I did not love last Friday afternoon.

Last Friday Afternoon – The Level 2 Ultrasound:  – The Anatomy Scan

I was counting down to December 11, 2015 at 2:30p for weeks. This was going to be the big reveal of little baby macaroon’s gender. Boy. Girl. Either one, it was another day to celebrate! December 11th was going to mark the day where daddy and I get to bond a little bit more to our growing baby *cough cough* my growing belly.

But God had other plans like he often does. And hey, I’m okay with that. But what I’m not okay with is the lack of courtesy and bedside manner that I’ve quickly become aware of from other “first-time mamas” that is the apparent norm for ultrasound techs. (I know this is a huge typecast and I know there are several ultrasound techs that are darling – my first one was! Anyway, I’m sorry if you’re in the profession – I’m sure you’re the exception to the rule. I do not mean to put you in such a box…I’m only speaking from experience.) Newsflash Tech: This is my first pregnancy – could you meet me with some grace?

The Anatomy Scan: Part I

The appointment was at 2:30p. I drank 32 + ounces of water between 2:00p and 2:30p to make sure my belly was nice and full for the ultrasound. 3:00p and we were still in the waiting room. 3:15ish – yup, an “ish” we were walked to room number 2. I desperately had to pee. I was uncomfortable.

We were greeted by the tech. “Hello, so you’re here for the first trimester scan?” Me: “I sure hope I’m not in the first trimester! We’re here for the anatomy scan!” Tech: “When are you due?” Me: “May 15th!” Tech: “You’re two days too early. You’ll have to come back.” The tech lacked any empathy in her tone. She was cold. As cold as the room. Me: “I’m sorry but my doctor advised me I could’ve come as early as Monday. I chose today because today’s my day off. I don’t get maternity leave so I’m being as conscientious with time off as possible. Today fit my schedule otherwise I would’ve been here Monday had I not wanted to be so conservative with time off.” Tech: “I’m sorry, you’re too early.” Me: “No. I’m sorry. We’re here because the doctor said we could be here.” Turn on waterworks. Streams of tears rolled down my face. I wasn’t making a sound but the tears were loud enough for her to hear my disappointment. Tech: “I’ll go check with Dr. Rafael if I can do the scan. I hope you know we probably won’t see gender parts. You’re too early. I’ll be back.”

Me: I thought to myself, homegirl is a bitch. Capital B. Who the f*ck is Dr. Rafael. I glanced at Andy. I could tell he was just as put-off. 5 minutes later the tech returned. Tech: “Okay, lay down. We will do the scan. But again, we probably won’t see anything.” Me: “Okay!” Then I thought to myself that it would be okay if we don’t get to know the gender, at least I get to see baby! Tech: Didn’t even look at Andy who was standing near me and with a dictator tone instructed him to take a seat at the back of the room. Me: I was unable to even see Andy at that point. I thought this tech was a passive-aggressive bitch. Capital B x B. Power tripping fool.

For approximately 45 minutes there was silence. The one question I asked was interrupted by a snarky remark. I figured I’d mirror her lead so I kept my mouth shut. That’s right – Valerie kept her mouth S.H.U.T. The tech didn’t tell us anything. She didn’t say what she was doing, what she was looking at – absolutely nothing. It wasn’t until we were nearing the end of what was the first part of the session when she said, “This is the baby’s brain. This is the baby’s foot.” The tone of her voice was detached and unfriendly.

I thought silently but my face probably gave away my annoyance, “Thanks for the excitement lady! I mean shoot, it’s every day I get to see pictures of my growing baby – thanks for making this moment so remarkable!”

Ugh. Her lack of enthusiasm wanted me to slap some sunshine on her cold ass face and then top it off with glitter and more sunshine. I wanted to triple layer it on. Frostbite doesn’t hit as hard when it has to work through layers. I mean, her cold shell would be bound to emit destruction and I only wanted to slow down the freeze of her glance and bitter tone.

Break

The tech instructed me to pee. FINALLY! Dear god I was holding it like a champ. I wanted out of that cold room and her frosty presence. She also told me to walk around a bit to see if I could get the baby to open its legs.

Whaaaaaaat?

I didn’t know she even saw the legs!!! Why didn’t she tell me? She toggled through screens at such a rapid speed I had missed it.

I returned from peeing and it felt glorious! I then proceeded to dance like a fool for 10 minutes willing baby to wake up and to spread open those little leggies!

The tech came in.

Anatomy Scan: Cold Encounters Session 2

Baby didn’t open legs.

The tech wrapped things up and told us that we would have to come back because she didn’t get images of the heart chambers. She then advised us that perhaps during the next visit they could determine baby’s sex. I asked, “Is baby measuring okay? Like average for gestational age?” Tech: “Yes. The doctor will give you a report later.” She printed off pictures and handed them to us and walked us out.

The End with the Ice Queen

Post-Anatomy Scan

Andy and I walked out. We were slightly disappointed about not knowing the gender but more upset about the ice queen. I left feeling anxious and scared. To not even be spoken to had me miffed. To not be given any peace of mind like, “Baby’s brain is measuring average” etc. I know there are liability issues but there are also medical charts that spell forth what is average. From speaking with other moms I am told that techs can speak a little about measurements especially when they fall in the average range. I was so uneasy and shaken up. The day I was looking forward to with such elation ended up enveloping me with uncertainty. I remember thinking, is she avoiding telling us things because honesty is tough? Oh my gosh, honesty is tough – it’s a difficult pill to swallow. Shoot. Something’s wrong. Something’s wrong because there’s news we may be uncomfortable with.

I took to Google.

Shit! Never take to Google. Google is bad. Bad. So. Very. Bad.

I had a whole lot of feeling and I had no clue what to do with it. I crammed a bunch of heavy, ugly news in my mind. Not good.

We called our family to report the news. Gosh were they worried because they expected our phones calls so much earlier. Remember the 45 minute delay and a pregnant girl’s super full bladder who desperately had to pee? Oh yea, I was so doing the pee-pee dance in the waiting room. Did I unintentionally omit that? Anyway, we gave family peace of mind and informed them that we would know the gender soon. I felt like a liar. How could I be giving peace of mind to others when my mind was distressed?

I planned to call my doctor Monday to make a follow-up appointment. Monday couldn’t come fast enough.

Monday

When Monday came around there was another blow. The ice queen said the anatomy scan report was complete. No redo would be ordered. You can’t have an anatomy scan for gender only. I was astounded by the size of this woman’s balls. What a liar! Yes, she was an ice queen but a liar too? I talked to the nurse about my issue with the news. She apologized and said she’d discuss it with the doctor and that they’d call me by close of business. She then proceeded to tell me the results of the scan – Good! No anomalies. Everything is measuring and looking good! Oh thank gosh!!!

I hung up the phone both frazzled and delighted.

Delighted: First thing I thought: Baby is okay!!! What a relief. My heart warmed.

Frazzled: I was frazzled because most importantly, how do the doctors know baby’s heart is okay when there are no images of the heart?  Not knowing the gender wasn’t as pressing.

Monday: Close of Business

5 o’clock took forever but there she was. My doctor was calling me. To save you time the news – we get a redo!!! Commence happy dance. I haaaaaaappppyyyyy daaaaaaanced allllll theeeee wayyyyy hooommmmme!!! I had the sunniest disposition coming home I could’ve melted the ice queen if she took one glance at me. 

Baby Macaroon: Pictures

Until our next appointment I stare at these pictures daily. I haven’t met baby macaroon yet but my how attached I am to this little love nugget. I can’t get over the experience of this little babe growing inside me. I am changing every day. I am appreciative of the things I never knew my body capable of. I never knew I could find peace with growing in size. I’m enchanted by my abilities (and women’s really) to create life.

And this little life, just look!!!  Baby macaroon clearly wants to showcase that s/he will be a runner just like mama! Look at that runner’s foot (Dubbed by my good friend, Bryant )!!! I can’t get enough. These pictures keep my heart at peace.

Wishing your heart at peace, too. Today and every day.

Do you have any pregnancy stories? Do share!

Thanks for stopping by!

XO

Valgal and baby macaroon

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