Wednesday, August 27, 2014

On Pregnancy Body… and Stretch Marks

When I got pregnant with Peanut my body was totally on my side.  It had taken me through cancer.  It held up phenomenally through 16 months of treatment, weight gain, hair loss, weird drugs, radiation burns and even weirder side effects.

After chemo ended, I rewarded it by losing 25 lbs and getting in shape.  Arguably the best shape I'd been in since dancing 6 days a week in high school.  Then I got engaged and was in even better shape. I worked out regularly, I mentally and often physically journaled my food, I drank 12 glasses of water a day.  I got regular sleep.  We took our honeymoon in New Zealand where we balanced our eating of enormous amounts of food with vigorous activities like climbing glaciers and kayaking rough waters.

My body rewarded me with a quick and surprising pregnancy.  I felt fantastic.  I was tired and a little nauseous for the first trimester.  Then I felt great.  I felt the pregnancy high.  I developed gestational diabetes but my body was still on my side.

I made it up until the last week of my pregnancy without any stretch marks.  It's as if my body just couldn't hold out any more and you know what, I really couldn't blame it.


image
Taken just now, it's been a hot and humid day so I'm counting on you guys just focusing on the belly.
Oh, the belly.


Then things changed.

I rewarded my loyal body by getting very little sleep over the next 3 1/2 years.  Peanut still wakes in the night some times.  I thought about working out more but never did so regularly.  I lost weight and gained it and lost it again.  I worked too many hours, got too little sleep.

I got pregnant twice.  Actually this is the third pregnancy since Peanut.

Now my body is angry.  I can't blame it.  Instead of growing a baby it's quite possible I'm growing a watermelon and then there are the stretch marks.  The ones I already had from Peanut showed up immediately in that pale, silvery way.  I didn't pay much attention.

Then my skin started to itch.  There were a few weeks where the 2 inches below my belly button felt like my muscles were tearing apart.  I didn't feel any better when my doctor told me it was actually just my abdominal muscles separating… which is apparently better than tearing apart.  Who knew?

And now, the stretch marks are spreading out.  From my belly button and below they are there and they don't feel good.  At least I assume they are below but I can't really see.  I have 2 giant X-shaped stretch marks coming from the long ago belly button piercing I had.

I'm losing hope of one day wearing those super cute, retro, above the belly button bikinis some day.  And yes, I know this is all worth it, really I know.  But seriously, I'm just not sure how much more this skin of mine can take :)

This was not the belly I had during my first pregnancy.  This is craziness.  If this baby comes out a mere 6 lbs or something, I'm going into hiding.

Overall, I'll admit that I feel better in my pregnancy body than I do normally.  There are no fat rolls, no muffin top, I welcome fitted clothes.  But now there is the sensation, after a long day on my feet, that my pelvic bone might be fracturing.  And my hips hurt and sometimes I limp.  And if I sit for a long time my legs fall asleep because my belly cuts off circulation to my legs regardless of the fact that my legs are spread in a really uncomplementing way.   I'm amazed that my body will some day pull itself back together…. because have you seen this belly?!

And all you ladies out there who don't get stretch marks.  Well, I can't type what I think of you here… because this is a family blog.

7 comments:

  1. Oh girl. Hopefully this will be over soon. I got enormous while pregnant, my body stretched everywhere... including my nose lol!!

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  2. My friend, that is an impressive belly. This will be over soon.

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  3. Short girls + pregnancy = woah belly! But you gotta love it. Of course I can say that because I'm not lugging a watermelon around all day. When it's my turn again, I will have you to commiserate with! Do you have creepers just coming up trying to rub the belly? You're lucky that you don't seem to get pregnancy face. My face gets really round and bloated looking. It's oh so lovely. The silver lining to being pregnant during the heat? You get to snuggle a newborn when it's cold outside!! :-)

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  4. I keep checking back to see if your sweet baby has arrived. Being pregnant is hard work, but you look beautiful! Hope all is well. :)

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  5. I have felt your pain. I have stretch marks from belly button level to about mid-thigh. The last few weeks of my first pregnancy I had retained so much water that my thighs developed stretch marks. My poor feet totally stretched a pair of tennis shoes so out of shape that after the pregnancy I couldn't wear them anymore. Luckily it was summer time so I got away with wearing flip flops a lot. which is a really good thing when you can no longer reach around your stomach to tie your shoes!! lol

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  6. I FOUND YOU . . .
    I used to follow you all the time, through ups and downs, cancer, wedding, Peanut, working, hopes for another baby and more . . . and then I lost you.
    This morning I read the words Spontaneous Clapping and I was off in a flash to find you.
    And there you were with a post on your brand new Little Dumpling . . .
    Thrilled for you, over the moon . . .

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  7. Oh my! That's a fantastic looking belly! You've gone through a lot and most people would have given up or fallen into a depressive state. That fact just proves how strong you are, and that is what carried you through. Your little tykes are adorable and I wish them the best of health! Thank you so much for sharing your heartfelt thoughts!

    Willie Strickland @ Alexander Cosmetic Surgery

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