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Worth the Weight

I saw this title as a title of a scrapbook page a while back and I liked it. I liked it because of its double meaning and because, of so many of the things that I need to remember as I prance through this pregnancy (though, really, I hardly feel like I’m prancing!), this is a big one.

Because here is the cold, hard truth: gaining weight is hard for me. Not hard as in “oh boy, I have to eat 99 dozen doughnuts before I even gain a pound.” No…I wish that was my problem. But it’s hard because watching those numbers rise on the scale is frightening. It’s overwhelming. Every Thursday, when I weigh myself, my heart races in those few seconds before I have the courage to step on the scale. I love, love, LOVE my growing belly, but I am scared of being fat forever and scared of the effort and misery it will take after Skittle arrives to get back to my pre-Skittle weight.

For those of you whom haven’t been reading from the beginning, a little background: I was a kid and preteen of average weight. But when puberty hit, so did the pounds. In a year, I went from being average to overweight. At age 13 or 14, I weighed about 117. By the age of 16, I was almost 190. (I’m 5’7.5″ if anyone cares.) I knew I was chubby (and thank God, I was never given a hard time about it at school), but it wasn’t until after my freshman year of college that I had the desire and willpower to do anything about it. I worked hard to lose that weight, to get to an acceptable weight of the high 130s, low 140s. I spent hours at the gym and restricted calories and cut sugar from my diet. And while my weight has fluctuated by 5-10 pounds since then, I have maintained my new, healthier weight ever since. Except, of course, when I gained 38 pounds while pregnant with Cupcake. I lost it all by her first birthday, though — but not without an incredible amount of exercise and a very limited amount of calories. I loved being a new mom, but I was not a lot of fun to be around because I was so hungry and cranky all. the. time.

I don’t want to relive that if I can help it, guys. I want to return to my goal weight, but not at the risk of my mental health or my happiness. And yet, I don’t really know any other way. I am trying, in this pregnancy, to gain less weight, but I don’t feel confident that there will be a big difference. My appetite in the first trimester just ruins me. In the first thirteen weeks while pregnant with Cupcake, I gained 12 pounds. This time, 8 pounds. That’s an improvement but still too much. (At 18 weeks, I am now up 13 pounds.) And I mostly eat well. I try to stick with a 2nd trimester caloric intake of 2200 calories or less and I work out almost daily. I allow myself to indulge in the good stuff, but there are lots and lots of healthy foods in my diet, too. And still the pounds pile on. I don’t know if it’s my PCOS or just a slow metabolism, but nothing short of starvation seems to keep this from happening.  And all I can see in my after-baby future is two hours of daily exercise and menu plans of 800-1000 calories and nights spent awake because I’m so hungry. It’s depressing.

But please, please, please don’t see this as complaining or ungratefulness for the gift I have been given. I am neither of this things. This baby is worth the wait, and the weight. In fact, I would gain 200 pounds, if I had to, just for the privilege of carrying this child. But we all have our baggage. Mine is that I don’t have a healthy body image or a healthy relationship with food. And it’s hard to not panic at the prospect of losing this one thing that I have worked so hard for, and obsessed over for so long.

I know, in the end, it will all be okay. I am still a work in progress and I will find my way through the tricky business of losing baby weight once again. There will be ups and downs, good days and bad, splurges and restrictions, but there will also be a change in the way I see my body. I will love it again. Love it for growing another child. Love it for giving me what I desired most of all. Love it for the child it created, the pregnancy it supported, and the boobie milk it is making. And I do believe that will be enough to overcome all the ugly things I will tell myself when I see my flabby belly and the God-awful number on the scale.

It will just have to be enough, because this time, I am not letting anything get in the way of savoring those early months of a baby’s life. In God’s great plan, weight is such a very small thing to worry about. And I’m going to try to worry less.

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Random Musings Because I Have No Ovulation or Other Good News To Talk About

Last night was Bunco with my mama’s group, my first one since The One That Made Me Cry. Though I walked away with $10 less in my pocket (rather than the $70 I won last time!), this Bunco went smoothly for the most part. No tears. I am in a much better place now than I was two months ago, of course. And though there is still a sort of sadness when I see Lady N, whose daughter is three weeks older than mine and who is due about three weeks before I would have been, I was able to talk to her about her pregnancy and do so without feeling the irresistible desire to punch something. She’s having another girl and I am happy for her. Today, when I say that, I actually mean it. That’s progress, people!

Another friend, Lady A, did ask about when we will be expanding our family again and I told her about my loss. I am finding it easier to talk about now, and often I want to. I want people to know about Teddy Graham, that he existed and that I’m not completely barren — that we tried and succeeded, then failed. Somehow, that is better to me than all those months that I tried to conceive Cupcake with nothing at all, no ovulation and no BFP. (However, it must also be said that I have found this experience more painful…but I will talk about that some other time.)

So while I did not walk away from Bunco with any extra heartache or money, I did come home feeling extra fat. That is the real problem with Bunco: the food. Everyone brings the yummiest, most indulgent food and the biggest problem is that I eat it. In fact, I eat it like I haven’t eaten for a week. So I spent a good half hour tossing and turning in bed last night, unable to sleep thanks to a sugar-high and feeling the jiggle of my belly each time I rolled over. And this is what I have come to realize:

1) My stomach will never again be the same. While I cannot claim to have had a flat stomach in my B.C. (Before Cupcake) years, it is now a stomach I miss. I weigh just four pounds more than I did when I conceived my daughter and yet my stomach has transformed completely. It has stretch marks (I call them my “badge of honor”) and it’s softer and rounder and I imagine it will only get worse with each new pregnancy if I ever get pregnant again. I’m not complaining…it has all been worth it. I will take this jiggly tummy any day, over the alternative! But I’m pretty sure I will never be able to change it. So instead, I’m trying to accept it. Yes, perhaps it’s time to retire the bikini and graduate to something more mom-ish.

2) I’m trying to be healthy, to make all nutritional decisions based on its effect on my fertility, but I am failing miserably. I am not dieting like I was anymore, but I still try to shoot for a calorie range (1500-1800 cals/day) and yet I do not always use those calories wisely. Sometimes, they are consumed by things like cookies and chocolate and ice cream. You can eat just 1500 calories per day, but if you use them all on sugary treats, it does not make you any healthier than someone who eats 2500 calories. And worst of all, I will sometimes have a no-count day and then I become a bit of a Wild Child. A rebel, if you will. There’s no stopping me from stuffing my face like there’s about to be a famine. After dieting for so long, that’s all I know. Either starve or stuff…there is no middle ground for me. So that’s what I need to work on. That is going to be my new goal: eat in moderation. Eat when hungry. Stop when full. Sounds easy enough. But I know too well that it won’t be. Not for me.

And 3) I have no idea what I weigh right now. For the first time in maybe, oh, ten years. I have not stepped on the scale since I stopped dieting. I’ve been too scared. But I do know this: my clothes still fit! In fact, I recently realized that it’s time to go jeans-shopping when my jeans were so loose that I could grab a healthy fistful of fabric in the thigh area and had to keep pulling them up all day long.  I haven’t shopped for jeans in years. I mean, years. This is kind of exciting. And good news, right? Right???

On an even sweeter note, I have spent all morning opening cupboards, drawers, boxes, and books, only to discover little post-it love notes that declare “God made you for me” and “You are so pretty.” Apparently, my husband got a little bored while I was at Bunco last night. 🙂 You know, my Honey and I have been through a whole lot in our six years of being together, but our marriage is rock-solid because of it. I am so lucky to have this man to take this journey with me, and so lucky that he feels so lucky to have me too.

Okay, well, I realize this is a long post, highly uninteresting, and really about nothing at all, but that’s what happens when you’re on CD19 with no positive OPK and nothing new to report. I will try for something more exciting in my next post.

Before I go, I want to leave you with the link for a recipe for Spiced Cocktail Nuts. I brought them to Bunco last night and they were well-loved and well-eaten. I have also made them for my husband’s graduation party and my sister’s housewarming party and they are always a big hit. I mean, they are amazing. Truly. Whenever I make them, I make extra to enjoy at home and keep them in the freezer so they don’t spoil before I have the chance to eat them all. Don’t be intimidated by the long list of ingredients — they are easy-peasy to make and well worth it. Trust me, you will not regret it. I may even become your new best friend. 🙂

Hello, My Name is Fatso….

What? I’m fat, you say?

Oh, well thank you for that. Because I didn’t know it already.

No, I didn’t know it from the I-look-3-months-pregnant-even-though-I’m-not tummy pooch.

Or from my Jell-o thighs.

Or from the lovehandles just above my soft and round booty.

Or from the number on the scale. Which didn’t budge but by one-and-a-half pounds since last week. Even though I exercised until my legs couldn’t  hold me up any longer. Even though I starved myself and went to bed hungry last night.

No, I didn’t know I was fat.

Oh…but I did. I do. And now that’s all I’ve been telling myself all day long.  You’re fat. You’re a fatty. Your new name is Fatso! Oh, if there was a prize for negative self-talk, I would win it.

The truth: I know I’m not fat. I’m completely within my targeted weight range, based on my height. My BMI is healthy. I’m less than two pounds above my personal goal. *

But I feel fat. I feel unattractive and inadequate. I feel unworthy.  Those two pounds have all the power.

But I don’t care. But I do. But I’m trying not to.

There was a time in my life, when I cared much less — for example, after giving birth to my daughter, when I loved my body and felt it was a temple and oh-boy look at all the amazing things it can do! It can give life! And there was a time when I cared much more — after losing fifty pounds, after falling in love with my personal trainer, all through college, all through my engagement (not to the personal trainer, though), on my wedding day. Today, I am somewhere in between these two extremes. I care, but maybe not enough.

Today, I didn’t even count my calories. We went out of town and I just didn’t want to. But tomorrow and Tuesday, I will. I will starve and I will exercise, all in the name of making up for my “naughtiness” today. But then that’s el fin. The end. I’m done. I don’t want to be fat and I don’t want to feel fat, but I do want to be pregnant. I want to conceive. Soon. And I don’t know if restricting calories and overdoing the exercise can harm my fertility (beyond it’s already irreparable damage, that is), but I don’t want to find out. **

So on Wednesday, when I will officially be done with the progesterone and just waiting for CD1, I am choosing my fertility over my figure. There was once a time, not very long ago (maybe yesterday), when that wouldn’t have happened. But then I asked myself: Do you want a baby or do you want to weigh less? And the answer was obvious. So obvious, I wonder why I didn’t ask sooner. I want another baby and I want to create the family I long for, and I would even gain ten pounds for that. I can’t believe I just typed those words, but it’s true. I really would.

And who knows, maybe I will? Because when I’m not dieting, that slice of cheesecake seems a little less dangerous.

But I will hope that one day, it won’t even matter. Maybe I’ll even be okay with it.  Maybe I’ll love myself and my body, whatever I weigh.

Um…yeah, right. Maybe when pigs fly? Or there is a cure for infertility? Or miscarriage is just a figment of our overactive imaginations?

 

*  I know some of you are probably laughing. Because two pounds is nothing. But for me, it has always been everything. I hang all my self-worth on those last two pounds. And I don’t lose weight easily, but I seem to gain it just by breathing, so two pounds can be a mountain I may never be able to climb.

** For some compelling evidence that too much exercise can cause problems, see this article.

I’m Fruity.

So here is what I had for lunch today:

Cheese and fruit — healthy, no?

And my afternoon snack yesterday:

A big glass of fruit — because the glass was prettier than a bowl

I’m fruity and I’m proud of it.

I’ve been spending a lot of our grocery budget, and a lot of my calories, on fruit lately. Eating fruit is nothing new to me. I have always loved it (don’t ask me about vegetables though, or I may be forced to lie). But I have never made a meal of it. I have never taken such pleasure in every sweet, juicy bite. I’m passionate about carbs. Real carbs…not the lame carbs that fruit provides. And I have a sweet tooth the size of Texas. Yes, I like my bread and dessert morning, noon, and night. But right now, I’m loving my fruit too.

Full disclosure: I did have hot chocolate and a brownie for breakfast. I never claimed to be perfect! But I’m trying. Does that count at all? I’m trying not just for the sake of my diet, but because I want to be healthy. I want to do what I can to increase my fertility and give any tiny baby we create along the way the best odds possible.

So it’s not just fruit and cheese I’m eating. It’s vitamins. In researching infertility and miscarriage, I came across a discussion about which vitamins can help with ovulatory issues and which ones have some science to show in preventing recurrent miscarriages. And so in addition to my prenatal, I’m also taking extra Vitamin C, Calcium, B6, Copper, and omegas. That’s not mentioning the tiny baby aspirin I take once a day. Am I overdoing it? Probably. Because that’s what I do. I overdo everything. I’m an overachiever, and not the good kind. Sometimes, I worry I’m really over-overdoing it, in the sense that I’m killing my liver for the off-chance that I may be saving a potential baby. I’ll ask my doc about that when I see him, but for now, this is what I’m doing. I’m trying.

Or trying to control that which can’t be controlled.

One or the other.

Hope vs. Stupid Reality

Hope, I have learned, doesn’t always get us very far.

I once hoped to be a marine biologist. A psychologist. A teacher. A nurse. A very successful author who was more like a rockstar (think: J.K. Rowling).

I hoped to take a leap of faith, to move to London, and to fall in love with a sexy foreigner.

I hoped be a young wife and a young mom of a large handful of babies.

I hoped I’d get pregnant quickly with my first child, that I’d be so fertile I could conceive with just a kiss, or at least that wishing on a shooting star and praying with all my might would be enough to create a baby.

I hoped that I would never know the pain of a miscarriage.

And I hoped that, if nothing else, when I weighed myself this morning, at least one thing would go my way and I’d have lost a couple pounds. Just a couple. I didn’t think that was too much to ask.

Instead:

I’m a nursing school dropout and a stay-at-home mom who writes a somewhat pathetic and poorly written blog and can barely carve out two hours every Wednesday to work on The Novel That Maybe Will Be…One Day.

And while I have traveled to London several times, my all-American husband came into my life four months before the big move and I chose him over a hypothetical foreign romance. (Well, that’s one way that Stupid Reality didn’t totally screw with my life…I do love him so!)

And I married at age 24 (which did not feel so young to me at the time) and had my first baby at 27 (which felt really, really old after the struggle to get there) and will probably struggle for each baby thereafter, if there ever are any more babies.

And I am not fertile. I am infertile, though you will rarely hear me use that word. And no amount of prayers or wishes has changed that yet.

And I do know how much a miscarriage can hurt, how it can make your heart explode with the grief of it and all that is left is the shrapnel in an empty hole, and how you can’t know if another full heart can ever grow in its place.

And in the last two weeks, though I have worked out over an hour every day and spent the last few days living on a daily limit of 1000-1200 calories, when I weighed myself this morning in all my naked glory (because clothes might add a few ounces, you know!), I lost a measly half a pound. Yes, that’s right. All my hard work was for practically nothing. And so now, in just the next 8-12 days, I have three pounds to lose to reach my goal. It doesn’t sound like a lot and I’ve done it before, but can I do it again? Clearly, time and my body are not on my side.

So thank you, Stupid Reality, for really wrecking my life. Here’s hoping that some day Hope can be enough…

Dieting Relapse

I’m just going to say it: I was a chubby teenager. I was afraid to believe it then, but the pictures are proof. From the ages of 14-19, I was 30-40 pounds overweight. I blame it on puberty, denial, and a daily afternoon snack of a half-box of Cheese-Its while I watched TV in my bedroom. I hated my body and myself back then, and sometimes I still do, even though I now weigh almost 50 pounds less.

After my freshman year of college, I decided to lose the weight and I did, over the course of about a year. But it created a sort of monster in me. I began obsessing over my weight, food, calories, and exercise. A daily caloric intake of 1000 calories and three hours of exercise after classes was nothing for me. They got to know me very well at the gym! Gaining one pound on the scale was enough to make me collapse in tears, and to make me work even harder. My mom worried that I was overdoing it, and I definitely was. It consumed my life.

And for most of my adult years, that is how I have lived. Counting every calorie. Exercising too much. A slave to the number on the scale. I did manage to take a break from it all during my first pregnancy, but that does not mean I didn’t occasionally panic as I packed on the pounds. I did. A lot.

But when my daughter turned a year old, after I had dieted like a crazy woman to lose the baby weight, I knew it was time to stop. It wasn’t healthy. It wasn’t normal. And it wasn’t the example I wanted to set for my little Cupcake as she grows up. So I declared that I was “divorcing” dieting. I was done with it. My only focus was to be healthy. Eat well, exercise regularly, and hope everything evens out in the end.

But now I confess to you, after six months, I have suffered a dieting relapse. I can’t help myself. In my last pregnancy, the one that ended far too soon, I had already gained five pounds in the five weeks since I had conceived. That’s too much too fast, I know! But I don’t have any excuses because I don’t know what happened. I didn’t eat any differently for either pregnancy and yet I gained weight very early on for both. It strikes me as highly unfair that, for this pregnancy with my tiny Teddy Graham, I’m a couple hundred dollars broker (is that a word?) and five pounds heavier, and I don’t even have a baby to take home.

So now I feel desperate to lose this weight before we officially start trying again for another baby. I know that dieting while TTC can have its own effects on my fertility, so I have to do it now.  The urgency of the matter is getting to me. To be at my goal weight, I’ll need to lose 3-5 pounds in the span of 2-3 weeks. Even if I calorie restrict like crazy and hit the treadmill hard and frequently, I don’t know if I can do it. But I’ll try. This is not something I’m proud of. Crash-dieting is not the way I would recommend losing weight to anyone. But it’s the only way I know how to do it in such a short time. It’s the only way that has ever worked for me. And it’s the only control I have in my life right now.