Saturday, May 22, 2010

Jump and Jive

After baring my soul in the last post, I thought I’d lighten things up with a quick rundown of what Gilly’s up to at the 4 ½ month mark. No one will probably care about this except for my mom, but whatevs…I’m going to share it anyway.

A couple of weeks ago we bought Gilly the above pictured Fisher-Price Rainforest Jumperoo, and she absolutely loves it. Her feet don’t quite reach the floor yet, so we’ve been putting my college art history textbook to good use, as you can see (sometimes we use Henry Kissinger’s Diplomacy, but that’s neither here nor there). Her favorite thing to do is grab the winged insect and squeeze the life out of it while groovin’ to the happy music. Good times. Some other happenings:

You Can’t Handle the Tooth!
Gillys’ proven to be an early teether—and a big drooler! Whenever her gums are bothering her, she does this funny little mouth thing where it looks like she’s sucking on a lemon. We let her chew on a chilled teething ring, but we haven’t used Infant Tylenol or Baby Orajel yet (I’m semi-crunchy about medicine). Her two bottom middle teeth are almost halfway in!

Rollin’, Rollin’
A couple nights before her 3-month birthday, I put Gilly down on a towel on the floor—on her back—while I went to get her bath ready. When I walked back in the room, her little naked bum was up in the air! Yes, our scrappy little girl decided to roll over for the first time on her own with no one there to witness it. And of course when we tried to get her to do it again, she wouldn’t. But now she’s rolling with abandon, both from back to tummy and tummy to back. I love seeing how determined she gets!

Too Legit to Sit
Gilly is starting to sit up on her own! Well, for a few seconds anyway, before toppling over sideways into mommy or daddy’s arms. So until Gilly masters this skill, she’s using her Boppy pillow or Bumbo seat for support. She has strong legs and LOVES to kick mommy and daddy.

Grow, Gilly, Grow!
I nursed Gilly as much as I could in the beginning, but after many struggles to make it work, she’s now exclusively on formula…and thriving! At her 4-month pediatrician visit she was 15+ pounds and 26 inches, putting her in the 70th percentile for weight and 90th percentile for length. (I kind of hate it when parents brag about their kids' percentiles, but I totally just did it. WHO AM I???)

Cereal Killah
Gilly tried cereal for the first time a couple weeks ago, and she wasn’t a huge fan at first. We’ve since played around with the texture and switched from rice cereal to oatmeal and she likes it a lot better. She still only eats it once a day (at night), but we’ll probably start adding a second feeling soon. Not that you needed to know that. :-)

Monday, May 3, 2010

A Weighty Matter

This is me about a week before I got pregnant. You might not be able to tell by looking at this picture, but I happen to be a person who has lost 100 pounds and kept most of it off for many years.

Baby weight is an issue that many new moms struggle with, but the matter becomes even more loaded when your weight has a “storied” past. The reason I got so big in the first place has a lot to do with a condition called PCOS, but I won’t bore you with those details. Suffice it to say that through proper treatment and lifestyle changes, I managed to reinvent myself, going from a size 24 (at my highest) to a size 10 (at my lowest).

When the size 10 me would look at pictures of the size 24 me, I wouldn’t see “me” at all. I would see a confused girl in a Nutty Professor-style fat suit. It looked like I was literally wearing a mask. When I met Jar, he helped to unmask me, allowing me to break out of my role as the chubby, best-friend sidekick. From that point on, everything changed—and for the first time, I felt like my body was working with me instead of against me. I fed it the right fuel, recalibrated it, and got it to operate on a whole new frequency. It was a new way of life.

While I was never thin by Hollywood standards, I felt good at the weight in this photo. As someone who skipped the prom and rarely had a boyfriend, it was a healing experience to finally be able to wear “regular” clothes and feel confident when I walked down the street. I told myself I would never go back to the way I was, and you know what? I didn’t, for many years.

And then I got pregnant.

Some pregnant women stay exactly the same except for a perfect little baby bump. Others gain weight all over and get bloated in the face. Me? Well, for me it was a bit more dramatic. I gained a RIDICULOUS amount of weight…an amount so ridiculous that it doesn’t even seem mathematically possible to have put it all on in 9 months. It was truly transformative.

I somehow always knew I’d be the type of woman to gain a lot of weight during pregnancy—not because I was mainlining junk food (I wasn’t), but simply because of my history. They say that once you lose weight, your fat cells shrink but they never really go away. Add to that my history of hormonal issues, lack of exercise due to extreme fatigue, and the fact that I had zero morning sickness and a healthy appetite, and there you have it. I was back in the fat suit in no time.

It got the point where it actually became awkward. All the “you look great!” and “you’re glowing!” comments I received early in my pregnancy were soon replaced with “oh, you poor thing.” By the third trimester, I no longer walked—I waddled. The rapid gain put such a strain on my back that I had to start going to physical therapy. I even had to work from home for the last couple of weeks before my maternity leave because I could no longer get up and down the subway steps. I can’t even tell you how many times strangers asked me about my “twins” or “triplets.”

When I would get upset about it, everyone would tell me not to worry—the important thing was that the baby was healthy. That, of course, would make me feel even worse. There I was, worried about my stupid weight when there’s a BABY growing inside of me. I must be a terrible mother! Of course, now I realize that it’s completely normal to feel overwhelmed by the physical and emotional upheaval of pregnancy weight, especially when you have a history like mine.

Everyone told me the weight would “fall off” after I had the baby, saying things like, “Most of it’s just water weight,” and “You’ll be so busy running around taking care of her that it’ll come right off!!” To that, I say HA! Despite my best efforts and all my usual weight loss tricks, I barely lost ANYTHING during my maternity leave. As the day to go back to work drew nearer, I had more and more anxiety about what my co-workers would think of me (as silly as that sounds). You know how people in offices tend to say things to returning moms like, “Oh my God, you look GREAT! Are you SURE you just had a baby?” Yeah, well I knew that no one was going to say that to me. And that kind of sucked.

The weekend before my return to work, I left Gilly with Jar and went out shopping for transitional work outfits that would fall somewhere between my maternity and pre-pregnancy wardrobes. I was in a gnarly emotional state: exhausted, scared, overwhelmed and consumed with thoughts of “how-in-the-world-am-I-going-to-be-able-to-leave-my-baby.” I went from store to store trying things on, but everything was ill-fitting, matronly or just plain wrong. I found myself back in the plus size department for the first time in years, thumbing through racks, angry with myself, tiptoeing through my past.

Finally I gave up, sat on a bench by myself, put my head in my hands, and cried. I must have cried for half an hour. I was crying not only for the current me, but also for the 18-year-old me…the girl in those old pictures. The one wearing the fat suit.

Here I am a few days after Gilly’s 4-month birthday, and I haven’t even lost half the weight yet. The extra pounds almost feel foreign to me, like they’re not supposed to be there. Sometimes I’ll catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror and I won’t recognize myself. I’ll see a picture of myself holding Gilly and my hands will look like they belong to someone else. That’s because I still see the world as the “new” me, but my body doesn’t match.

It’s a bit disconcerting, but then I remember that this body carried a new life into the world—a little girl that illuminates my world like a 1,000-watt light bulb. My weight is still a struggle—and I know it will probably take me well over a year to get back to where I want to be—but as soon as I hold my girl and breathe her in, every pound, every ounce, every minute on that elliptical machine is totally, completely worth it.