Party of 4

I have never been happier than I am now, with my (complete) family of four.

My pregnancy days are behind me, since we’re stopping at two, and I’m so in love with my family.

The 1st time around

Everything about Aidan’s (baby #1) entry into the world was dramatic. The poor guy gets dogged on every time we talk about how easy his sister has been.

I was nervous the whole pregnancy because of a previous early miscarriage. I passed out a couple of times and, after 22 hours of tough labor, rife with his heart rate scaring us half to death, I ended up having a cesarean section. Then, he had a painful, shallow latch for feeding initially, but as a newbie it took me a month to figure it out, and it caused my supply to be just enough – so pumping was never an easy option. Having said all that, I breastfed for just over 12 months, and although he was a tough baby (I don’t think we slept for a year), he’s an amazing toddler, and an outstanding big brother.

I honestly didn’t realize other parents of infants WERE sleeping. I thought all babies were just like mine. Even though it was rough, we were willing to go through it again.

Take 2

Funny, I spent my first pregnancy worried about Aidan, and my second pregnancy… worried about Aidan.

Because he was my first baby and we were already “established,” I was very nervous about him adjusting, and about him hitting the baby. I had no idea how much our attempts to prepare him were sinking in, and really wasn’t sure what he would think of having a baby sister. Turns out, he was born to be a big brother. He’s loving, gentle and helpful. I didn’t know I could love him anymore than I already did, but I do!

About a girl

Kennedy (baby #2) entered the world via VBAC after 9 hours of labor and 1 hour of pushing. It was such a relaxing experience – if one can say that about labor. I requested an epidural right away since I determined I’d felt enough contractions to last a lifetime with Aidan, and my husband and I watched episodes of “Homeland” on the iPad. Every now and then he’d look at my chart and announce I’d just had a huge contraction. I have no regrets about not feeling those suckers.

After latching on fairly easily (considering their mouths are the tiniest when your boobs are the largest), she went right to sleep without even being swaddled. We were astonished! We had heard of baby’s sleeping, we’d just never witnessed it. Aidan needed the 5 S’s all the time, and frankly, we could’ve used S’s 6 & 7!

I’m really glad my tough baby was my first baby so I could really focus on him, and I’m really glad labor was easy this time so I could continue to love on him and pick him up as I always have.

Kennedy was back to her birth weight in record time, so we were cleared to let her sleep. This was also drastically different as Aidan had to be woken to eat and they monitored his weight closely for the first month. Miss K came out on a 3-hour schedule and always gives us a longer stretch at night.

Recovery

My recovery this time has been completely different from the first time. Unlike post-surgery, post-VBAC I was able to walk around as soon as I felt up to it. It was wonderful!

My body is bouncing back faster this time as well. Some of that is because I was able to be active sooner, and some is because I’m in a better place nutritionally. I have products to help with energy, strength and weight loss that I ran by my doctor, which is good because I have a deadline for being back in shape. My sister is getting married in November! Baby weight is temporary, but wedding photos are forever. Thankfully, chasing a toddler around while carrying an infant is quite sporty, I’m back to exercising, I gained less weight this time around, and I’m nursing.

Why is the second child so much easier?

I’m sure anxiety was a large factor in our first experience as parents. It’s impossible to be second child parents until you actually have a second child.

Parenting is more fun this go round since we aren’t second-guessing ourselves or each other. First time, it was the blind leading the blind, which can get pretty ugly when you’re tired.

I questioned whether or not to share this entry since it is very personal, but I decided to because our first and second experiences having a baby were so different. We always knew we wanted two children, and I can’t wait to see how these two, unique love bugs turnout.

I thought I was busy when I was single, then I thought I was busy when I got married, then I thought I was busy when I had one child. Now, I know I’m busy. And… back to it! Cheers!

Advertisements

Body after baby

True story: All of my mom-friends have amazing bodies.

Common denominator of moms with amazing bodies: pre-pregnancy fitness.

For years I’ve had clients tell me that their bodies went downhill after having babies. It was the ultimate excuse for being overweight and unfit. I never debated this because I’d never been in their shoes… until now.

Yes, pregnancy does a number on your body, and babies aren’t exactly respectful of a workout schedule; however, it’s not “over” after babies.

If you were always thin without having to workout, then had a baby and lost your physique, it’s because the lack of muscle on your body before you got pregnant was exacerbated by pregnancy, and lean muscle mass is what determines the rate of our metabolism as we age. You were thin, but you were also “skinny fat.” Skinny fat means that you’re small, but you’re also soft – lacking muscle tone. I’m not trying to be insulting. In fact, at times I’ve been jealous of you for the days you were slender without trying.

If you know you want to get pregnant, the best thing to do is start a fitness routine before you conceive.

Pregnancy exercise maintenance doesn’t have to be difficult. I mostly walked, with some pushups, planks and glute bridges thrown in a few times a week. When I say I walked, I mean I walked 2.5 miles almost daily up until I gave birth (at which point it was more a waddle). Plenty of people do more than I did, but I want to point out that I wasn’t hitting boot camp all the time, and it still made a difference. Plus, it made me feel good and helped with pregnancy symptoms.

I understand that being bed-ridden, and having a desk job, can make exercise difficult. All I’m saying is, if you’re physically able to keep moving and can find even 10 minutes a day, you will have an easier time ditching the extra weight postpartum.

Another common denominator between the moms I know who’ve gotten their bodies back quickly is that they are all breastfeeding. Breastfeeding burns calories and helps shrink your uterus; although, you also have to take in more calories when breastfeeding, so it’s not the only reason these moms are svelte. Again, I recognize not everyone is able to breastfeed, and some choose not to. I’m not criticizing, I’m simply supplying information based on experience.

What I’ve done: After more than 20 hours of labor, I had to have a c-section, so I wasn’t released to exercise until 8 weeks postpartum. At 2 weeks, I started taking easy walks. Since I was cleared, I’ve mostly focused on baby, and haven’t really pushed myself yet. I do pilates leg circles, planks, supermans, pelvic tilts, pushups, glute bridges, and reverse flys about 4 times a week, in addition to walking daily – with the occasional light jog or hike.

My advice is, take your time, but still make time. It took you 9 months to completely jack your body so it could be an incubator for your little nugget, so allow yourself that same amount of time to get back in shape. We aren’t all celebrities with nannies and trainers, and your priorities should be your own health, and a healthy baby, before you get worked up about getting back in your skinny jeans.

Pre-pregnancy, I was really hard on myself about my physique. Postpartum, I find I’m actually kinder to myself because I have so much pride in what my body has accomplished. Rather than using my baby as an excuse, I prefer to look at my post-baby body as a badge of honor. I look like this AND I have a baby. I’m 3 1/2 months postpartum, and I’m not where I want to be yet, but I feel pretty darn proud, just the same.

photo