6

The welcomed mutilation of my body throughout pregnancy

I have been struggling with the mess of a body that was left behind after I had Turner. While I appreciate everyone who tells me I look great and that I was all baby and am now back to normal…. they are very wrong.

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On average, I weigh about 125 pounds. With Turner, I got up to 164 pounds. When I was pregnant, the weight was all in my belly. At first, I thought that was a good thing. You even couldn’t tell I was pregnant until I was about seven months. I just woke up one day, and BAM, I had a huge belly. Because I have always had a relatively small frame, 5 foot 2 inches, 125 pounds, when Turner decided to finally grow, and all at once, my body could barely handle it. That is when the stretch makes started. I didn’t have any crazy cravings or increase in appetite, so I didn’t really put on much weight at all until my belly started to stretch just for Turner to have more room.

The rapid growth all at once basically ripped the skin from my body. At one point, I didn’t think that I would have to give birth to Turner because I thought my skin would just give way and he would plop right out! Don’t worry, I am going to spare you a picture of the devastation left behind, but I would compare the destruction to that of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

In all seriousness, because I stayed “skinny” until about seven months, when I started to expand,  the stretch marks formed from above my belly button to below my knees. Sexy right? They are still in that stage right now where I would rather die than have anyone see them, even Andrew. Its just not cute. I was all cocky through the majority of my pregnancy because I was little and cute and didn’t have any stretch marks, then one day…. my body just gave up and gave out!

And stretch marks hurt. Like, they feel like 100 tiny bruises. When I am holding Turner and he kicks and hits my stretch marks around my belly button, I contemplate throwing him or removing his legs (totally kidding here) but it stings like a bee, really. Turner will be three months on Friday, and I am still dealing with all of this extra fun.

I have decided that with my next child, or if anyone ever asks my advice, I would say to get fat first. Because while it may not be true, my theory is that if you are a little heavier when you are pregnant, your skin is not strained as much and stretch marks won’t be so bad.

I know they say stretch marks are hereditary and you either get them or you don’t. Well, neither my mom nor my little sister got them and here I am a walking lightening bolt-esque billboard for stretch marks. I tried all the creams and oils, I mean I spared no expense, both during pregnancy and after, and if this result is what happens when you try all of those products, heaven help what I would look like without it!

So not just stretch marks, but extra skin that is just not fun for anyone. I know they say it takes nine months for your body to change for your baby, give yourself nine months for it to change back…. Well, its been three and its not looking too good so far…. literally. I have lost 15 pounds. So I look ok…..on the outside. I still have 30 pounds to lose. THIRTY! That is more than a small child. I mean, realistically, I will take anything from 20-25 and be happy, but geeze, how is that supposed to happen? When I am working full-time, or taking care of Turner when I am not at the office? It seems impossible. And I have this awful fear that if I do not do something about it now, my body will accept the extra flab and just take it in as if its normal, and well, ain’t  nobody got time for that. I want the extra skin on my stomach to go away and I want to go back to normal!

And then there are my boobs. I have written about the destruction breastfeeding has had before, but now that I am no longer breastfeeding, I had hoped some sort of relief would come and maybe they would tighten back up a little, well that was wishful thinking. Even without milk, they are bigger than they were before I was pregnant and even bigger than they were at their largest point during my pregnancy. And not a good big either. For my stature, I have always had unproportionally large boobs. But now, they could not be less attractive. Too big for my body, and just loose and gross. Luckily, while the entire bottom half of my body is now scarred with stretch marks, my boobs were relatively spared and do not bare the daunting marks of pregnancy. I have told Andrew I wanted a boob job in the near future, in hopes of gaining back some sort of confidence and in attempt to not be so depressed about what pregnancy has left behind, but if we decide (and if we are able to) have another child, a boob job would just be silly so I must wait. It may be years, but mark my words, one day, I will return the girls to their perky, solid, upright position.

So my C-section scar. A lot of people are against C-sections because of the scar it can leave behind… after 36 hours of labor and three epidurals, you could have cut me open like a thanksgiving turkey and I would have not cared. The last thing I was worried about was a scar, and surprisingly enough, the C-section scar is hardly noticeable. It would not show in a bikini (not like I will EVER wear one of those again). It is very small. Other than the fact that the doctor couldn’t cut a straight line so it looks like a back mountain road, I have no complaints about the appearance.

But like the doctor told me would probably happen, I have no feeling about two inches above and below the scar. The feeling is likely to never return. Its not just a no feeling at all situation. You know when your arm falls asleep and you cannot feel the outside but like the insides tingle? Well that is what it feels like constantly. Its super weird. But if that is the price I had to pay to get my sweet little prince outta me, then I would do it again 100 times.

It is not all bad though. Before Turner, I did not know what hips were. I mean, I had no trace whatsoever of any sort of curve in my mid-section. And while right now there is some extra weight around the edges in that area, if I can lose a few pounds, I think my newly formed hips could be fun. I kind of have a chunky hour glass look going, just needs a little polish thats all.

So while I am dealing with all of these body woes and the mild depression that comes every time I look in a mirror (something I have been avoiding as of late) of course it is all worth it. Shopping is the last thing I want to do, and the ONLY thing Ruby (my sister who scans my blog for her name) wants to do weekend after weekend. I still wear my maternity jeans. They are loose and don’t quite fit like they should, but the elastic band on top provides a more atheistically pleasing look than the size 4 jeans (not only do I refuse to go to a bigger size, I was a 1 before Turner, but any bigger in size and since I am so short I would have to get the pants hemmed, which is just another task motherhood prevents me from having time for). Until my size 4 jeans stop creating a muffin top, I am going to stick to maternity jeans. Those things cost an arm and leg anyway, might as well get my use out of them!

So I may never wear a bikini, or feel confident enough to let Andrew see me change, or anything else for that matter, so what. I have a beautiful, remarkable, absolutely perfect little boy to show for it.

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Putting my blog on Facebook

Before I had Turner, I would get annoyed when new moms would post about their babies all the time. But now that I am a new mother, there is nothing else I want to talk about, which is partly the reason I started this blog. 

I have created a Facebook page so that my blog followers can follow it for daily updates on Turner and things I think and have to say about being a new mom that does not warrant and entire post here. I usually only blog three days a week because of work, but will be able to post on Facebook more frequently, as well as share other articles and mommy blogs. 

So feel free to like my Facebook page!! And if you like my blog, feel free to share the fb page and the blog with your friends… wanting to be a world famous mommy blogger isn’t too much to ask right?

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Adventuring-into-Motherhood-Blog/621560274545609

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A poem for my little prince

It never fails. Anytime I look at Turner I become overwhelmed with emotion. I still cry with joy just looking at him. I really hope this “new mom” feeling never goes away because it is the greatest feeling I have ever had. The purpose and meaning Turner gives me is beyond words and beyond explanation. While I was cuddling him to sleep last night, I started telling him all the things I hoped for him and how I promised to help make them come true. So, this poem was born.

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My promise for you

The day you came into my world,

you gave me more than you will ever understand;

so on that day I made a vow to spend,

every day of the rest of my life loving you to no end.

The simple sound of your cry,

changed the entire world around me,

because of the meaning and purpose you created,

I promise to become the person you need me to be.

I promise to give you unconditional love,

regardless of the circumstance;

To trust and to believe in you

in ways that always provide you with a fair chance.

I promise to do everything in my power to help you achieve your dreams.

Whatever path you choose to go down,

I will always be here to encourage and support you

and to help guide until your right path is found.

I promise to let you make your own decisions,

to let you find your own way.

To try to teach you right from wrong

even if that means keeping my own opinions at bay.

I promise to always be your warrior,

to be here to fight alongside you for any cause.

To make it my sole responsibility,

to jump to your defense without ever taking a pause.

I promise to be your number one fan,

in whatever it is you choose to pursue.

Whether its sports, music, or something you create on your own,

I will always be in the front row cheering for you.

I promise to always listen,

to always take the time to hear your greatest concerns;

because while I should be the one doing the teaching,

I truly believe that I will have the most to learn.

My sweet little prince,

I owe you these things because of what you have done for me.

although you may never truly understand my dedication,

I hope it allows me to become the mother you need me to be.

7

Waiting on results…

So a few of my previous posts have said that Turner my end up being my only little prince, so I have decided to tell you why. 

When I was pregnant with Turner, the doctor discovered that I had high grade abnormal cervical cells. Never having this problem before, I tried not to worry about it. Even though, when the doctors called me to tell me about it, they told me depending on how bad it was, I may have to terminate the pregnancy or risk dying during delivery, you know, just casual conversation. 

Well I freaked out and was hysterical, especially because Andrew was out of town when I got the news. Well, during my next doctors appointment, the doctor, not just a nurse with the office, explained the test results a little better and assured me everything would be ok until after I had Turner. Because of Turner’s position in my belly, they were not able to do a colposcopy, the procedure needed to determine the severity of my condition. My doctor assured me from what she could tell, everything should be ok and they would monitor it throughout my pregnancy, then follow up after I gave birth. 

Everything was fine and Turner was obviously born healthy and perfect. My follow up appointment shows that the high grade cells has actually gotten worse during pregnancy and I needed to have the colposcopy now. I had that about a month ago. Doctors explained that the procedure was to determine the severity of my condition, and even determine if I may possibly have cervical cancer. 

Cancer is a terrifying word. Especially since my dad died from an aggressive form of Liver Cancer in April. The thought of possibly having cancer is awful. Any form of cancer. I am still not over my father’s death and don’t know what I would do if I received the diagnosis of cancer. Cervical Cancer isn’t exactly like lung or liver cancer, but it has potential to turn into it, which is the scary part. If I do have cervical cancer, doctors can remove all or parts of my cervix to hopefully get the cancer cells. But if that were to occur, I would more than likely not be able to have anymore children, which I am surprisingly ok with. Turner is perfect. I could not ask for a more perfect person to have come into my life. The amount of love and joy that little nugget brings me is beyond words, and if it turns out that God only wants me to have him, then that is fine by me, because just having Turner is a blessing. 

The colposcopy results came back two weeks ago, and they were not good. The way the doctor explained it to me was, “On a scale of one to 10, one being nothing to worry about and 10 being cancer, you are a nine.” NOT fun words to hear….at all. 

So I had to schedule a LEEP procedure. A LEEP procedure is a step above a colposcopy and allows doctors to get a little more info on my condition. In my case, the LEEP procedure was used to scrap out the bad cervical cells. The doctors took out chucks of my cervix that proved to be abnormal in hopes that would do the trick. It was not fun, and was considerably painful. 

I now have to wait until Thursday or so to find out where I stand. The extremes are…. I have cervical cancer and then we will go from there with treatment options, or the cells are not bad and I would have a follow up in three months, then another three months, and if both of those doctor visits are ok, another in six months before being able to return to normal annual visits. 

I do not know what the results will be. I of course hope and pray everything will be alright. Ideally, I would like to have another child. But there is nothing I can do and it is all in God’s hands. Turner is an amazing little miracle, and I can give him all of my love for the rest of my life and be just fine with that. I was barely pregnant and a nurse told me because of all of this I might have had to terminate the pregnancy. Well that just was not going to happen. Turner was never at risk, I was. If my condition was worse, then delivery would have been risky for me. But I would have gladly taken that risk to bring Turner into this world. 

 I have been fighting with all of this. I have been scared, depressed, worried, afraid, and a million other things, but I just keep telling myself, that it is beyond my control, and at the end of the day, I have Turner. 

3

Hats off to single mothers

I commend single mothers. There is no way in the world I could do it. I am not strong enough. I am sure if it came down to it, something would kick in and at the end of the day I would make it work, but I really do not know how. 

 

ImageAndrew works out of town a lot during the summer. Last week he was in New Orleans, and his next trip sends him to Washington. When he started traveling, he was going to be gone either all or part of 8 of 13 weeks. 

Some weeks he is just gone for three days, like he was last week. And over those three days i realized how much I need him. Not even to actually help me do anything with Turner, but just for the support he gives me. I cannot explain it, but when I am changing a dirty diaper or warming up a bottle, just having him in the same room makes it easier. 

I do not think I am a strong enough woman to be a single mother. Before I had Turner, I had an entirely different opinion of motherhood and being the strong-willed, stubborn person I am, had no concern of keeping Turner alone when Andrew went away because I am so independent, I thought it would be a breeze. Well, boy was I wrong!  It really takes two people. Actually, it doesn’t just take two people, it takes two parents. (not going to say a mom and dad because I think any two people working together can be parents). But it has to be parents, it has to be a team. When my mom stepped into help and came to stay with me, it is just not the same thing. 

My mom cannot replace Andrew. She raised three girls of her own, but it is just not the same. She cannot give me the support, the strength and the help that Andrew does. It is just different. I don’t know how to explain that it is different but it is. My mom loves me beyond words and would do anything for Turner, but she is not his parent and she is not my partner. She cannot fill Andrew’s shoes. 

I need Andrew. More than he can ever understand. I need him beside me. Even if he doesn’t literally do anything, knowing he is there if I need him to, is all the comfort and encouragement I need. I don’t think it is important just for my sanity, but I think it is a really important aspect of nurturing Turner. He needs us both. There is a discernible difference in Turner’s behavior if one of us is absent. He acts better, as if he feels safer. 

I know that there are circumstances where there is no choice but to raise a child alone. I do think it can be done and I think that child will be afforded the same love and comfort as any other, but not without extra work. I am jealous of women who are strong enough to do it alone, because I never could. Single mothers are a kind of superhero that no one talks about and a caregiver that does not get the recognition and praise that they undoubtably deserve. 

I have to be a single mom three days every other week, and between that and working full-time, I am on the border of a meltdown. It is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. It makes me appreciate Andrew so much more. Not enough can be said about the joint effort in raising a child. I may have carried Turner for 9 months and given birth to him, but that doesn’t make me any more of a parent to Turner than Andrew is. In my opinion, Turner needs us both. I need them both. 

 My little sister pointed out to me that women do it all the time. Like women in the military. That is just remarkable to me because I don’t see myself being able to do what they do, while working full-time anyway. 

In a perfect world I would be a stay at home mom. I would love to stay with Turner all the time. I would love to focus on his growth and development and be there with him every step of the way. I think that is the ideal form of parenting and what children need. But lets be honest, it is just not practical in today’s day and age. I work full time and take care of Turner. Not that I should get any praise for that because it is what needs to be done so I am just doing what is expected, but it is not easy. But I think it is easier than having to do it all alone. 

3

Figuring out formula

First, formula is basically robbery. Not that I would not pay any amount of money for something Turner needed, but the fact that a can of formula that is probably only going to last me a week at best is nearly $30 is insane. But then again, considering that as Turner gets older it will cost a lot more than $30 to feed him a week, maybe its not all that bad. 

I think its a monopolized market. Parents have no choice to pay it, so we do, regardless of how outrageous it is. I am sure it doesn’t cost nearly as much to make, but stores still price it so incredibly high. I don’t know if you noticed, but at most stores, at least where I live, formula is behind the counter or in the front of the store. Stores do that for items that are easily stolen. It is so sad to me that formula, something that is essential for a baby’s survival is so expensive that some mothers have to resort to stealing it, but really, I don’t blame them. 

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As I have written about several times before, it took a while to find the right formula for Turner. After days of throw-ups and upset stummys, Gerber Gentle seemed to do the trick. But before we found it, we went through several types that ranged in ingredients and prices. 

We started with Enfamil for newborns. At $25 for a 22.2 ounce can, the stuff was not cheap. Turner didn’t mind the taste, but it killed his stomach. He couldn’t keep it down and it tore his stummy yup. The main ingredient in Enfamil is nonfat milk followed by lactose, vegetable oil then Whey Protein concentrate. I was not the biggest fan of the main ingredient being nonfat milk and because Turner’s stummy never could get settled we tried something else. 

My sister picked us up the Wal-mart brand Parent’s Choice. For 23.2 ounces, it cost $15.47, considerably less than Enfamil, but with reason. The main ingredient in Parent Choice gentle formula for ages 0-12 is corn syrup CORN SYRUP! Then followed by nonfat milk, palm olein then whey protein. When I told Ruby (my older sister who now reads my blog a little bit) that the main ingredient was corn syrup she said, “That is the main ingredient in sodas and I love sodas.” EXACTLY! That is the problem! I cannot give that to my child, no way jose! Not only that, but the formula had a distinguishing sweet smell to it, so I am sure it has a funky taste. Parent’s Choice was easier on Turner’s stummys. He was still hurting, but it was a little better. 

 I have not tried Similac, but the main ingredient is corn syrup then sugar, then milk protein. After reading the ingredients, I decided to not even try it. 

We have settled with Gerber gentle which main ingredient is Whey Protein concentrate followed by vegetable oils. For 23.2 ounces it cost about $25. This is the easiest on Turner’s stummy, and in my opinion has the healthiest ingredients for him. 

In addition to pricing and ingredients, I read reviews on all the formulas. Enfamil brands have been recalled several times for various reasons, so that that was a strike. When reading the parent’s choice reviews I became furious. 

 The majority of the reviews said that mothers decided to buy this product based on the price being half that of others. Well to me, there obviously has to be a reason. And the fact that any mother would sacrifice their child’s health based on a price, is outrageous! Don’t get me wrong, I am all about saving money because having a little angel baby is not cheap, so Parent’s Choice products are not out of the question when it comes to bath stuff, diapers, wipes or other things, but this is what I am putting into my child’s body. This is his nutrients. This is what keeps him alive. This is what is supposed to replace my breast milk. Ensuring that what I give him is the best in every aspect, there is no price for that. 

While formula’s claim to produce the DHA levels as close to breast milk as possible, without the proper ingredients, those are just claims. and I am sorry, but when your main ingredients are corn syrup or sugar, it is obvious NOT the best thing for a baby. Sure the baby ill like the taste versus bland formulas, which is why I think Parents Choice has a funny smell. So when you are trying to get your baby to take a formula bottle, corn syrup brands are sweeter like breast milk, but the nutritional value is nonexistent. I cannot even begin to think that I would give my little prince something just because it is the cheapest knowing that it is in no way what he needs to be healthy. No stinking way. 

So even though I think formula companies are robbing parents blind and taking advantage of the demand of the product, that still doesn’t mean I am going to spare any expense when it comes to my son’s health! 

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First night away from my little prince

Poop update: We have moved to Gerber Gentle formula and Turner’s poop schedule has finally started to get back to normal and he is spitting up less. Tomorrow’s blog it going to be about different formulas and how I feel about the entire ordeal. 

For Andrew’s birthday this past weekend, we drive down to Atlanta to go to a Braves game. Since Turner was born, this was mine and Andrew’s second Braves game, but this time we stayed over night in Atlanta. From the time we dropped him off with Andrew’s momma until we picked him up, I was away from his for a little more than 23 hours. My first night away from him. His first night away from me.  

I know that I cannot smother Turner forever, despite the overbearing urge that I have to do so. So I reluctantly agreed to the overnight trip… even though it was my own fault for getting Andrew the tickets in the first place. It was not as bad as I had anticipated. Debbie sent us updates often, which helped a lot. And Andrew’s sister Kayla sent us lots of pictures, which also made it easier. I kept it together pretty well, until we were back in our hotel and it was time for bed. 

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 I cried myself to sleep. It was the first night that I had gone to sleep not holding Turner. I know I shouldn’t be holding him anyway and that it is spoiling him… but really it is spoiling me more than it is him. I lost it. I know Andrew thought I was crazy, but I cried like a little girl. I just am not supposed to go to sleep unless I am holding him. It is against the rules. It is not normal, and it broke my heart. 

Turner wakes up on the dot at 3:30 a.m. every morning. So since I couldn’t really sleep because I missed him so much, I woke up at 2 a.m. and sent Debbie a text to let her know that he would be getting up soon. A little obsessive, I know… but he is my baby and I just cannot help it. 

I woke up at 6 a.m. ready to leave the hotel and get back to my baby. Since it was Andrew’s birthday, I let him sleep until about 8, but then insisted we hurried home, and missing Turner as much as me, we did just that. 

We met Debbie at her church to pick Turner up. The church is about a mile from our house and the second we got in our driveway I pulled Turner outta that carseat so dang fast and squeezed him right up. I think it will be a while before I leave him for that long again. It just is NOT worth it!