Hi! Happy Halloween!
It’s 1:38pm EST and I am yet to put a piece of candy into my mouth today. Lactation cookie, yes (just 1). But no candy…as of yet. It helps that we have all of about 2 trick of treaters most years, and so we just plan to steal from Mr. Prevention’s everyday stash of fun size candy. Lily is sporting her tutu, just as she has every Halloween. I mean, if it still fits, she’s wearing it.
Speaking of clothes (costumes, whatever) still fitting, I thought it’d be nice to open up about my pregnancy weight gain…and loss.
It’s no secret if you follow along that my pregnancy was pretty tough. I didn’t suffer from the morning sickness (THANK GOD!), or even the extreme fatigue, but I did have severe carpal tunnel (almost all gone!), major swelling, and back pain that was excruciating much of the time. It was tough for me, as an active adult, to not only side line my most favorite workouts (hockey, running, and all things moderate-to-high intensity that would have my heart rate above 150) on account of fertility treatments, but to watch the scale climb. Until last weekend, I hadn’t had a great sweat session in nearly 8 MONTHS.
It was hard for me to watch my body change, especially at first. There was a solid 6 months of weight gain without having that very defined baby bump that had me looking unquestionably pregnant versus overweight. Never fun or easy, especially for someone like myself who has battled my weight my entire life.
By the end, I looked as though you could pop me with a pin I was so puffy and miserable. I took a week of vacation prior to my induction simply because I couldn’t bear the thought of putting on nylons one more day to go to work. In fact, I don’t know that I was physically capable of putting on nylons without assistance. I say that jokingly now, but by the end, I was truly exhausted by the time I’d hop in the car to head to work in the mornings.
I saw my personal trainer twice a week until week 36/37 (you can see at week 35 I was looking pretty chipper but by week 36/37 I was puffy and looking…over it). We would do 30 minute workouts that consisted of strength and core, with very little cardio thrown in (heart rate restricted me). I tried to continue workouts on my own, but it was a futile battle. I did, however, stick with tennis (carpal tunnel and all!) until about week 35.
But, I gained 40 pounds.
My diet never changed throughout my pregnancy – no cravings of insatiable appetite. If anything, I was perhaps eating less on account of my decreased activity and need to control my weight gain based on my pre-pregnancy weight — I was encouraged to limit my weight gain to 15 pounds. I felt like a failure and I was sure that I would struggle immensely to get the weight off after Shea arrived. It was something that I regret to say weighed on me (no pun intended) heavily during those last few months. And for those who have been pregnant and know the stupid comments people make…it didn’t get any easier as time went on.
“You look huge, are you sure you’re not having twins?”
“Girl, you look ready to pop!”
Not. Okay. People.
And around week 36 is when 9 pounds hopped on in 11 days. I got scared, even though I knew it had to be (mostly) fluid. My blood pressure started to rise and I began to feel like garbage. My OB was closely monitoring me for pre-eclampsia and I was encouraged to do even less. So, yes, by the time I delivered I had gained 40 pounds (on my 5’2 frame) and I wasn’t happy about it. Frankly, I was really upset by it.
We welcomed Shea into the world on October 6th (you can read all about that here), and something crazy happened. I was down to my pre-pregnancy weight SIX DAYS after her birth. I ate, drank, and did very little other than nurse her, cuddle her, and occasionally catch some shut eye. I couldn’t believe it. And of course, I was hoping the downward trend would continue, but it has not. DARN 😉
My post-baby body is a little softer (belly) and my weight is redistributed a little differently, carrying my abdominal weight a little higher than before. Otherwise, my recovery was a breeze (especially when compared to the horrific labor and pregnancy…) and we were taking family walks the day I got home from the hospital, about 36 hours after her birth. I returned to tennis less than 3 weeks after her birth, and even went on a 2 mile jog less than 3 weeks after her birth, being sure to listen to my body. It made me glad that I not only worked out prior to conceiving, but also grateful that I kept up some type of regimen throughout my pregnancy despite a lot of restrictions.
I feel good and for having a baby less than a month ago, I’m feeling like I look pretty good, too! It’s a huge boost of momentum to continue healthy eating and regular exercise despite the huge life change that is motherhood. Being a mom to a newborn and on maternity leave means a lot of time on the couch, especially in Michigan as the seasons begin to turn and being outdoors is rarely a feasible option. It also goes to show that the scale is not always indicative of what’s going on with your body as I didn’t lose 40 pounds of WEIGHT in 6 days…I lost 40 pounds of baby, fluid, and other “stuff” that had appeared on the scale as a result of the pregnancy. It reinforces the fact that when you make healthy choices (most of the time) and lead an active lifestyle, you need to dissociate healthfulness from a number appearing on the scale…as hard as that may be at times. 🙂 Even I need to be reminded of this!
A huge thank you to Allison from Allison Christians Photography for all the images in this post (with the exception of the photos of me on the swing with Mr. Prevention and Shea 😉 ).
And a huge thank you to all of your kind words as we enjoy our beautiful, growing family…as well as your patience in my getting blog posts up! Have a wonderful weekend!
Appreciated this post so much Nicole. Kudos to you and your pregnancy pre-post journey! I find that weight gain is something most people comment on- and most moms despise the questions/comments associated with it! You have a beautiful family!! xo.
Thanks, Katie! I enjoy your baby posts so much – please keep them coming! 🙂
Yep, I lost 30 pounds the week after I had Hannah. I was 180 pounds when she was born and a week later I was 150 – and I thought I was still so fat – ha! Now I am 170 and would kill to be 150!
You look beautiful – most importantly you had a healthy baby, and that’s all that matters in the whole grand scheme of things.
But that picture of Lily and Shea is my favorite so far 😀
Haha, I love the Lily and Shea photo, too. DUH 🙂
Love the photos of Shea!
Glad the baby weight loss has been a lot easier than pregnancy and labor!!! Love that you have been able to be so active right after giving birth!
I gained about 40 pounds with both pregnancies. The first time, I lost the weight very, very quickly. The older kid was born during a very, very hot and humid July, and I was very swollen and the weight seemed to literally drain itself from me after he was born…
The second time not so much… 25 pounds came off easily but the other 15 were a real struggle. I think being 16 years older had something to do with it…
Happy Halloween, Nicole!
Thanks, Andrea! I am already anxious over #2. Conception, the pregnancy, everything. A bit presumptuous for me to think of a #2, but lord loving…there will be a #2 and given how #1 went, it will hopefully be sooner rather than later 🙂 Happy Halloween to you and your lil man 🙂
Thank you for writing this! Women need to hear stories like this to help reassure them that their body changing and gaining weight during pregnancy is NORMAL and HEALTHY! If you are leading a healthy lifestyle your body is going to do what it needs to do during pregnancy to nourish you and your growing baby and that looks different for everyone. Yes, I know that 30lbs is normal, or if you’re overweight to begin with you should shoot for 15lbs, there are even some doctors who tell women to gain nothing. But you know what? Women aren’t a textbook. If you are living a healthy lifestyle that’s all you can control. The scale is going to do what it’s going to do to keep mom and baby healthy and typically you will shed most or all of what you’ve gained, even if it takes a while. We women are so hard on ourselves and our bodies. And I get it, it’s not easy to give up your body to nourish another little life, there are a lot of changes going on in a short period of time, but we could be kinder to ourselves in the process. Society and sometimes crazy care providers (treating women as if they are all the same) don’t help!
So glad to hear you’re feeling good! You’re certainly looking great! If you can embrace your postpartum body at this point you’re only going to get happier as time goes on.
Enjoy those baby snuggles!
AMEN, Stephanie! Thank you! Baby snuggles are THE best!
Congratulations! It’s great to hear you’re bouncing back, and what an adorable little blessing you have!
I think if we as woman could walk a mile in each other’s shoes, we would be much more gentle with ourselves and our bodies. I have hyperemesis; while I’m improving, at 15 weeks I’m still down 12 pounds from my prepregnancy weight. Even though my doctor isn’t overly concerned, it’s hard not to worry about the little peanut growing in there. Not to mention there aren’t words to describe the agony of months of being so nauseous you can barely swallow your own spit. At this point, gaining any weight would be like a dream come true; however, I would never have said something like that if it weren’t for what I’ve gone through, and I definitely stressed about baby weight before I got pregnant. While I’m upset/frustrated/angry that my body is reacting this way when other woman easily get by without any vomiting or sickness, I’m trying to respect that it’s creating a miracle and this is just the way it reacts to that… much easier said than done on most day 😉
Good for you Nicole on the weight loss so quickly…when I had my son 36 years ago…I gained 50 lbs…and it took 30 years to lose it 🙂 Your baby pics are some of the most adorable I have ever seen! Keep ’em coming !!!
I really wish doctors wouldn’t put the added pressure of setting a weight limit on pregnancy. Each woman and her body are different. My doctor told me no more than 20 pounds, I gained 50 with the 1st and 55 pounds with the 2nd. When my girls hand their children, their doctors said don’t worry about the weight gain, your body knows what it is doing, just listen to it. They only gained 20 pounds. Without the pressure to keep their weight down, they were able to listen to their bodies and feel good about themselves.
Thank you for sharing your story. It’s something many women need to hear! I love the last pic best. It makes me want to snuggle her. 🙂 Congrats!
I love the photo with Shea and your dog. She’s amazing!
Congrats, Nicole!! Shea is beautiful 🙂
There is a lot of pressure for women to regain their pre-baby body immediately after delivery which is very unfair. Your body changed in nine months, you can’t expect it to go back in hours.
It can be even harder for women who already have had issues with weight in the past to watch the scale climb. It’s an incredibly stressful numbers game.
I know it’s easier said than done, but don’t be so hard on yourself. Give yourself time to regain your energy levels. You’re putting so much energy into nurturing your baby, you have to remember to nurture yourself.
Lots of love,