November 17, 2012

2 Months Post Partum



Oh, how life has changed. I remember when each morning was about waking up early, getting a massive workout on, taking a shower, eating a large amount of food for breakfast while doing my daily devotional and reading God's Word, bringing a well-packed lunch to work, carpooling with my mom and talking about exercise or something or other, working as well as I felt capable, coming home, washing my face, changing into my pijamas, eating delicious grub while watching something on the DVR, cooking something rad-zolla for the next day's lunch, doing some blogging, watching more DVR maybe, cooking more food that I really don't need but enjoying every free second I had in the kitchen, and maybe planning the next day's workout, inspired by blogs and YouTube channels around the world, then hubby would arrive (usually while I was cooking) home from work, we'd give each other a "good evening!" kiss, he would go upstairs to get changed, we would shortly curl up on the couch with some sort of dessert, and the night would come to a close (if we were lucky and disciplined enough, we would read some Bible!)

Now?

I feed a gorgeous baby a few times a night, hubby wakes and goes for a run somewhere around 5:45am, arrives home after 8:00am, Santiago and I attempt to greet the day and crawl out of bed/crib/I crawl out of bed, then pick him up out of bassinet by our bed, I might get a shower, I might brush my teeth at a reasonable time while the little guy lies on his play mat and watches a toy cat as it plays music and lights up before his eyes, I eat a smoothie quickly, Santiago sometimes let's me blend it without holding him (he chills out in the Rock N' Play), I hope to get my bible-reading and reflecting time on...



....We might get our playtime on, papa goes to work, I nurse mr.baby, diapers are changed, more nursing happens, I might do some work on the computer while he might take a nap, we might read a book, we might sit on the couch staring at each other and singing, he might cry his head off from being sleepy, I might try real hard to get him to go down for a nap by bouncing him up and down in the Moby Wrap or Bjorn Carrier, I eat more fruit and nuts and seeds and carrots maybe, more diaper changes and nursing, maybe more play time, papa arrives home for his lunch hour so I spend a while trying to cook him something in between Santi's mealtimes/playtimes otherwise he will cry while I do meal-prep for his padre, we eat together sometimes or I may just have eaten earlier when naptime happened, Edu returns to work, my mom and Santi's grandma arrives here shortly after for playtime, I might be able to do more house-work like the dishes or laundry, I might blog, I might pump, I might prep some food for the next day, I might do some exercises that my physical therapist gave me as homework....



As I watch Santiago grow and change each day, I also feel like I'm playing a game of, "when will I have a moment to do this...." Everything revolves around baby boy Carrillo. First, he eats, then we do. First, he gets changed and ready for the day, then I do. First, he has play time, then I do. First, he has a wonderful nap, then I skip mine. Yeah, he is definitely top priority, but I know I need to take care of myself, too. The other day he had his 2 month shots: there were 3 needles involved, containing 5 vaccinations total, and an oral vaccine. He spent the entire day asleep, a deep, rich, delightful sleep. I was exhausted, my eyelids were heavy, my head hurt a little, and I was a little grumpy. I should have slept, I know I should have slept. I could have probably slept for 6 straight hours like he did, but I didn't. I sat in front of the computer, I got some work done, I cooked a little (delicious), I did some exercises to heal my post partum insides out, I did everything but sleep, just because I seem to care more about finishing my To-Do list than I care about taking care of myself. It's not good. It wasn't good. I'm still sleepy.



My priority as a mommy, wife, daughter, child of God, is first and foremost to read the bible daily - each morning. Before I turn on the computer and start working, before I edit photos for the blog, before I read a book for fun - I need to meditate on Scripture. Otherwise I feel empty, I can't feel true joy if I'm simply going through the motions of the day as they come to me. I am weak without God's Word, I can't function on broken sleep, I can't smile when my baby is crying and needs me, unless I am memorizing verse like this one:

Psalm 86:15 But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.

Once I am finished with my morning devotional, I can start my day and feel great about it. Whatever comes my way, I can handle because Christ's Spirit lives in me and He is my only source of strength. I know that whatever happens that day, whatever trial or joy, is part of His will and I am bound to learn something from it - some day. It's amazing being a mommy, all I want to do is fill Santiago's mind with all of the Lord's promises and be a good example to him. I want to really learn from this motherhood experience - to live a life of sacrifice, doing everything to take care of the baby boy God has placed in our hands, setting my needs aside for just a moment in order to fulfill the needs of our 9-week-old. To remind myself that breakfast can wait, while I go change his diaper that is causing him to feel uncomfortable. To take the day slowly, and enjoy sitting in a rocking chair and reading the same book five times, while my to-do list grows in the back of my mind. 



I'm amazed at how God placed such an incredible husband in my life. He is truly an awesome daddy (even though he doesn't like me to call him "daddy" - he's all for being Santiago's "papa" or "padre" or "papi") and I don't deserve him. He was so nervous at first, to hold his baby boy, to change his diaper, to bathe him. He, voluntarily, has become Santiago's go-to papa when it comes to bedtime. One evening, I gave him a little training, "hold him this way, or this way, whichever is comfortable to you, and you can make a shh shh noise, or pat his bottom, or sway, or all three..." and he put his son to sleep. After that initial night, Eduardo has loved the feeling of success with putting his baby to sleep, and we're going many weeks strong with this routine. Every other night we bathe the bubba, and I wrap him in a swaddle and hand him off to his padre. After a few minutes of "no no noooo!" crying from a tired peanut, silence fills the house. He sleeps like a rock in his papa's arms and is transfered to a soft crib. Even when the bedtime crying lasts a while, I might bolt upstairs to offer a nighttime nursing session to put him to sleep, but Edu tells me, "he's tired" as he calmly tells me he's got this, and I don't have to worry, or take over for him. He's a rock star, my husband - I thank God for him!


My body is going through a lot of changes. Well, the changes already took place, now I am trying to heal. So, at my 6-week post partum check up, my midwife diagnosed me with ab separation, or diastatis recti, and a weak pelvic floor. She mentioned something about my bladder hanging pretty low, and that if it bothers me she can write a prescription for physical therapy. I didn't want to go to physical therapy, actually, only because I thought I wouldn't need to and I was, honestly, worried my insurance wouldn't cover it. I had noticed something weird going on down there but was ignoring it. I was told I couldn't/shouldn't run, jog, or jump too much since things were loose in the pelvic area. Le sigh, I just accepted it. She told me I could, however, do your basic crunch as long as I wrapped a towel or scarf around my waste and pulled tightly to bring my abs together while I crunched upward. I never actually did it, but it was nice to know I was allowed to do some sort of exericse. She also recommended yoga and pilates. I recommened having an extra 3 hours in the day to do those things. Having a baby = not having time to do yoga in your living room when you're the only one home from 8:50am-5:00pm. and anything before 8:50am = sleep, anything after 5:00pm = mark off items on the to-do list (I swear, that to-do list haunts us all!).

I am down to my pre-pregnancy weight - but I am not going to go into it at all because I know this isn't my pre-pregnancy body! It's called: muscle weighs more than fat, or lack-of-muscle, so once I get my body back into shape I'll proudly weigh more than I do now! Hooray for happy weight!

Days/weeks passed and I noticed something was for real messed up in my pelvic area. This might be too much information for a food blog (??!?! you mean, baby, faith, family, sometimes food, not that much fitness - blog?) but here goes: I saw a bulge down there, something was trying to escape from my body and eat my family. I called my midwife, after not really wanting to, and after my mom and husband asked me to. She wrote the prescription for Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy. I went. My first appointment included an internal exam, lots of discussion on my pregnancy and what may have caused a weak pelvic floor (besides the obvious: child birth) and a list of exercises to do to strengthen things back together. The internal exam was a little nerve-wracking, since she showed me what was bulging (oh my gosh pelvic floor muscles visible for all the world to see!!!!) and she also made it very known how awful of a kegal-doer I am. With a mirror down there, I tightened the muscles to the best of my kegal-ability and nothing happened. That means I have zero strength in those muscles. She said it may have been because I ran up to 33 weeks pregnant, and the weight of the baby was constantly pushing down, down, down, on everything, but that there are marathoners who run longer, faster, and harder in their pregnancies and don't experience what I am experiencing. Each woman is different, I s'pose. We also discovered a possible culprit that could have slowly, over time, caused the weak floor: holding it in! At the daycare I used to work at, I would hold it when I had to go to the bathroom for hours if I had to, just because I started drinking a lot of water and didn't want to constantly call my boss to send someone to my room to let me have a bathroom break. 

Jin, my physical therapist, explained it to me this way: When you have to go to the bathroom, your bladder contracts. This sends a signal to your brain, "I gots to pee, master" and your brain sends a signal to the pelvic floor, telling it to relax so urine can be free to greet ye' ol' toilet. When we hold in our urine for whatever (dumb) reason, the bladder's signal to the brain is pretty much cut off completely, so the pelvic floor might partially relax, but nothing happens since you're holding it (and you're dumb - okay, I'm dumb) and so it might tighten up again, or relax again, while the bladder is contracting like crazy and screaming at you in 20 different languages. That is what I have done to my poor pelvic floor, sorry buddy.



Anyhow, she also said that diastatis recti (when your abs separate) can most definitely affect your pelvic floor. Simply put, there are muscles around your entire waist-line area and inner hips that all work together to strengthen the pelvic floor. Lower transverse abdominals, lower back muscles, inner hip muscles, millionz of musclez all ovah! So when your abs are like 954598435 inches apart from a stretching belly holding a baby, well, they ain't so strong now, are they? Not really doing their job of holding everything in, right? Right. So, she has me doing crunches while literally grabbing and pushing my extra tummy skin in towards my belly button, about 20-30 reps/day, to bring the muscles back together. She actually didn't check the degree of the separation on my first visit (last week), but my midwife said they were about 2 inches apart, some 3 weeks ago. Yesterday was my second PT appointment and she said that my abs are doing a lot better, I think less than a finger-width apart now - praise God! I did do some Google research and read about sucking my tummy in and never doing any physical activity that causes me to push my abs outwards, so I think that has helped a lot.



With the pelvic floor healing, my homework is a bunch of different exercises that, to be honest, I almost completely set aside the first week after physical therapy. I simply "didn't have time" like we all throw out as our excuse, and I got a frowny face from Jin when I told her this. She didn't do a second internal exam, since she said there would be nothing to see because I didn't do my homework, so this week I am determined to work hard. Here are some pictures of my exercises (not pictured: kegals on an incline with pillows under my lower back - 10 reps of 3 seconds holding, 10 seconds rest, about 6 times a day... I'm averaging about 2 incline kegal sets a day and 3 non-inclined sets and abs, you basic crunch, while hugging my tummy muscles and pulling them toward each other - looks a lot like grabbing all your lose belly skin and gathering it to the belly button, and doing a sit up):


Anyhow. There it all is. It's been a joy-filled two months, and I (we) are so blessed to have Santiago in our lives. I'm for reals already feeling that, "what, what did labor/pregnancy feel like?" sensation - making me want to have more babies. Soon. Yet, it takes two to tango, and hubby isn't exactly on board quite this early! I'm kidding, of course, but also super serious about the fact that there is nothing better than being a parent, and I am super excited to do this again! The whole body-recovery thing seems like it is going so fast (with all that scary right after birth business - tenderness, painful breastfeeding, awkward to go potty....I'll spare you the details) and Santi is growing even faster which makes me already miss having a brand-new baby in our life. To make it clear, though, we do want to enjoy each week, month, year of his life and if God blesses us with a second babe, we're looking at trying for #2 when this guy is a toddler. Give me a few more months of Physical Therapy, a half marathon and a hopeful full marathon, and I'll give you the news on a positive pregnancy test. Deal?



Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

4 comments:

  1. love the life comparison then and now. it reminds me how much life changed too! :)

    I agree that we should put ourselves into the equation too other than do everything around the baby. I feel that during the maternity I can do that, but once it ends, real life beings and I need to prioritize according to the situation and not feel bad about it.

    hope the physical therapy helps your recovery, being a runner and not being able to run must be hard.

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  2. oh... and you both look great! the last pic shows clearly how Santi has grown and how you shrunk! :)

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  3. It's amazing to see how much Santi has grown! It looks like he's more than doubled in size. So adorable!

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  4. You look great! You will be as good as new in no time :)

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