I have one of those bodies that packs on 10 lbs as soon as it sees 2 lines on a pregnancy test. It’s just the way I roll. No pun intended. Ha.
My first pregnancy I packed on 57 lbs. It was very noticeable. That’s just my body, and what it wanted to do over 9 months and I’m cool with that. I lost all the baby weight by the time Vee was about 10 months. It wasn’t entirely effortless - there may have been a lot of Jillian Michael’s involved - but that’s another story.
This last pregnancy (my second loss this year) was different. I was put on progesterone suppositories at about 6 weeks to help make my uterus into some nice, cushy real estate; to give me a better chance of holding on to the baby. I knew there were some lovely side effects but I didn’t think it would be like hitting puberty all over again. Hmm.
Let’s put it this way. The morning after my first suppository, I felt like Growing up Skipper. Remember that? Twist Barbie’s little sister’s arm, and she sprouts a B cup? Ok, it wasn’t exactly overnight, but a few days later I had puffed up like a blowfish and some crazy boobage had definitely sprouted. The scale kept going up too. I’d shot up 5 lbs in less then a week. Gah! Almost a 15 lb gain and I wasn’t even at 8 weeks yet? Scoff!
Now bear in mind, this isn’t about aesthetics. It’s not about ‘thin’ or ‘fat’ or anything in between.
Generally I would celebrate any ounce of baby-making fat on my butt. But in this particular situation I didn’t know how to process the surface changes I was going through. I just felt gross. I wasn’t in the dreamy mind frame of ‘Oooh I’m making a baby!’ because I didn’t know if I actually was. I wouldn’t know until I had my next ultrasound, and then I had an exceptionally high chance of learning that the baby’s heart had stopped beating. My best case was that I’d have to wait some more to see if things had improved - another 7 days of ticking clocks and anxious lip-biting. For some reason it just seemed easier to be frustrated with the size of my thighs.
When I eventually lost the baby, all I wanted was that weight to magically disappear. I wanted no reminders that this had ever happened, let alone twice in a year. I just wanted ‘everything to go back to the way it was’. But all we have to do is look to any movie sequel to confirm that just doesn’t happen.
“Be gentle with yourself, Kat. You’ve just gone through surgery, infection…your hormones are raging, your thyroid is nuts.. and you’re still carrying the baby weight..” I tried to reassure myself.
But it wasn’t ‘baby weight’. It was ‘dead baby weight’. And it’s still keeping me from being able to button up my jeans.
Every time I put on my Spanx, and then my pantyhose (and then my other pair of Spanx) so I can fit into a pair of my dress-pants, I think of the miscarriage.
Every time I look at my chipmunk cheeks in the mirror I feel betrayed.
Every time I try to throw on an outfit that hypothetically would make me feel good and it doesn’t work on my new physique, my anger and intolerance of my ‘failure’ grows.
“I just want to feel normal again. I just want to pretend this never happened. I just want to lose this 10 lbs..”
But I’m done waiting.
I’m not going to wait for the weight to come off. I’m not going to wait until I’m pregnant and can rejoice in each little ripple of fertility.
I’m going to lose something right now: my guilt, my waves of shame, and my saddened self-image.
Going forward, I pledge to love the story that my body tells, whatever it may look like.
I will celebrate my stretch-marks and embrace every tiny scar of growth.
I will focus on expanding my mind and spirit, and not care so much about my expanding physical self.
I will stop running away from myself, breathe deep into my core, and find beauty in the sheer act of being.
I will honour my body’s needs and wishes whatever the scale says.
Like the sound of one hand clapping, we all have to solve the ‘Maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s Maybeline’ paradox on our own.
We all have to learn to love the wisdom that each moment holds, and cherish the boundless beauty of life regardless of what we see in the mirror or what a BMI chart tells us.
If we focus on losing all the time, we live in a world of loss.
And in this amazing life, don’t we all have so much more to gain?
Wishing you a New Year filled with love, abundance, health, wealth, and happiness.
A couple of days before my D&C I headed over to Home Sense, to lose myself in some holiday décor shopping. I got some festive ornaments, throw pillows, and these awesome 2’ x 4’ typographic canvases that pack a lovely graphic punch to our living room wall. Because we all know nothing says Christmas like random pop art. Especially when it’s on sale.
I knew I had thrown myself into a bit of a retail therapy mania, but it was nice to stop thinking about my situation, look around at the transformed living room, see my family ooh and ahh with happiness, and to know that I was still capable of bringing joy to people despite my recent chain of bad news events.
The next day at the hospital, I saw things quite differently. Far from the anxiety I had battled every other visit, I felt peacefully resigned to not knowing what would happen next. As I sat without wearing glasses or contacts waiting outside OR 19 for my surgery, I suddenly stopped squinting and the world took on a velvet quality. Even the ugly, sterile hospital environment seemed to soften and the ‘migraine neon’ became a lovely hazy glow.
“Wow. I should do this more often. I can’t see everything, but I don’t need to..it’s very relaxing and enjoyable to just ‘be’ here.”
It was the moment where the penny dropped. The carp jumped from the water. The cherry blossom wavered in the breeze.
“Oh. So maybe I don’t have to know everything. Maybe, I don’t need to be a step ahead. Maybe I can stop scrutinizing my past for clues to the future, or bracing myself for the next ‘what if.’ This is heavy. I think I am actually relaxing my eyes like Rodney Yee says in that yoga DVD! Wow. Maybe this is why they say ‘blind faith.’ Or at least -4.25 faith...wait a minute. What was that singer’s name? I’m pretty sure it was Faith...Faith Evans? That’s it…’I never knew a loooooove, a love like this before..ooOOoooo’...”
Not exactly the mind of a Zen master, but I looked around with renewed sight.
I realized that when blurry people walked towards me I wasn’t frightened even though I didn’t know who they were. I realized I could still smile at the faces of those that I couldn’t see properly. I didn’t have to see perfectly to put my hand in someone else’s and trust them so they could lead me for a time. I didn’t have to always know where I was going and what was going to happen, but I could still be happy.
Holy crap. That was deep.
Much later after we got home from the procedure, I sat down in our silent living room eager to recreate that moment of transcendental wisdom. It was like I was sitting in the middle of a Monet; my own blurry little holographic universe. Who would have thought that taking your glasses off could be such a profound experience? Why hadn’t I thought to do this before? What was I so scared of missing out on if I couldn’t see anything and everything, literally and figuratively?
I breathed deeply, closed my eyes, and let my mind drift into a casual meditation about seeing, perception, control, and knowing what’s ahead. Ok, and the Smashing Pumpkins. I don’t know—they just got in there.
After a while, I opened my eyes, put my glasses back on, and found myself staring at the graphic canvases I had just bought a couple of days before.
How the heck had I missed this? They weren’t just random typographic designs.
One canvas said ‘Keep Calm And Carry On.'
The other said: “Seeing within changes one’s outer visions.”
Ha. Talk about messages from the universe. I couldn’t believe that I didn’t notice until I gave myself the time to really focus on me.
Dong. (You heard that this time too, right?)
Hope, faith, messages from the universe, magic, sheer coincidence. Whatever you want to call it, it’s all around us if we just take the time to un-see what we think we know so well.
No matter what lies ahead and no matter how scary the unknown is, try and remind yourself that you don’t have to know anything other than where and who you are right now.
And even when you don’t know what you’re looking for, just believe that it’s probably right in front of you the whole time, waiting to be discovered. Or on sale at Home Sense.
I hope you and your families have a lovely and special holiday together.
This week I found out I was pregnant.
Not kidding. Actually it’s more like a bizarre case of Schrodinger’s Kat. Depending on earlier random events and the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum physics, I am simultaneously both pregnant and definitely not pregnant. Let me explain.
It’s been about 5 weeks since my D&C for Little Bean Number 2. In that time frame, my body has undergone the most complex chain of events, that it feels like my luck went to clown school and I should have a Big Top theme playing as my soundtrack at all times. I made a diagram to illustrate this because I’m getting sick of hearing my own voice as I talk about it. That’s normal, right?
Why don’t we just run with the circus theme, and I’ll say it’s my salute to the art of mime.
Here's what's been going on with me - I never kid about mime:
This week my doctor asked me to drop by for some more blood work. As an aside, I have had so much blood work done in the past month that I am convinced they are selling it on the black market. The requisition was to check my beta hCG levels to make sure they were going down properly after the D&C.
I guess I was seized by a weird MacGyver moment or desperately wanted to feel like I had control over something, because when I got home I decided to see if the levels were high enough to be detected in urine. Actually, I just really wanted to pee on one of the fancy Clear Blue digital pregnancy sticks that tells you if you’re pregnant, how far along you are, and what the long-range weather forecast is.
The scientist in me was proud to see a positive. My soul, however, choked on irony.
“You have got to be freaking kidding me.”
I don’t think I’ve ever seen something in my life that has upset me more. I kept staring at the test like it was this totally alien object, telling me something incomprehensible but vital that my brain kept stuttering over. I felt sick to my stomach and sad at the same time. It was like my uterus had reached out and smacked me across the face.
And before you go there, no. There has been no sex. Let’s just say that fear of miscarriage, D&Cs, infections, and C. Difficile, aren’t exactly the lubricants of anyone’s primal fantasies. This isn’t some awesome “Just in time for Christmas” miracle story, although I have fervently wished it to be. It’s purely science-meets-clown-school-luck.
Sometimes hCG levels take a longer time to come down after a D&C, but because my ultrasound had already showed that I had retained products of conception after the D&C, I knew that it was going to mean more drama.
The next day the lab results were back and my doctor called to confirm a positive on her end too, as well as some concern about my condition. She used the word 'worrisome'. That’s when I lost it. The only thing I could think to say to her through a kind of laughing sob, was “Unkle.”
I love my doctor, because that’s all I needed to say. Within 2 hours, I was at my OB’s office, discussing the ‘what-now’ next steps.
So, for the third time this year, I got a Big Fat Positive; and for the third time this year, I’m going for a D&C.
I’m booked for today.
I am trying to stay upbeat, but I am starting to seriously discredit this whole ‘third time’s the charm’ thing; and is it just me, or does the movie Ground Hog Day jump to mind?
I am so going to unleash my inner Bill Murray to get through this.
Wish me luck!