How can I love my postpartum body?

If you’re one of the lucky ones who bounced back from delivery in a few weeks, hats off to you. But if you’re like most new mamas out there, pregnancy is sure to leave behind a few lingering battle scars. For some ladies your battle scars can include flabby skin, stretch marks, extra weight, c-section scars, breastfeeding boobs and/or a completely new body shape.

Yep, this new and uncharted post baby bod territory can be a strange and sometimes scary place. Especially when the months start to tick by and not everything seems to return to normal. So how exactly can you come to terms with the new you?

Give yourself a break – Just be patient, everything takes time. It took 40 weeks for your body to get to this new normal so it’s going to take sometime to try and change it back.

Focus on your child– Be impressed with yourself! You created a human and brought it into the world. You are already super mom.

Think positive thoughts– As hard as it is, be your own cheerleader! Many people are in abusive relationships with their bodies, even without having a baby. You are not alone but you need to have a positive mindset so surround yourself with other positive people.

Take some “me” time– Even though caring for your baby is super important its just as important that you take care of yourself. Leave your baby with your partner, parents or a trustworthy friend and take some time to do something for you. It can be as simple as getting your favourite coffee or even a workout class if you feel like you need to work towards you’re different post partum bod.

“Workout” a little each day – I have made sure to do an abdominal exercise, work out video or even a long walk with baby when its nice outside.

mif
My favourite post pregnancy workout DVD by Moms into Fitness

 

 

Things I did before baby came that were ACTUALLY HELPFUL

At about 30 weeks I made a list of everything I wanted to get done before baby came. I wanted to prepare, as I knew I wouldn’t have the energy to do most of the things I normally get done in a day. Here are some of the items I did before hand that was actually helpful.

Freezer meals – the hype is true. It was so much easier not to worry about what to make every night. Start small and do a couple meals a day for a week or two and you will feel better. I don’t love some of the pinterest blogs that have 50 meals in a day, that’s too much. I also made different healthy muffin recipes and froze them for snacks to have out for whenever  I felt hungry.

Cleaning crew– it was a good idea to have a cleaning company come in a couple weeks before baby. It wasn’t like I didn’t have to clean at all after baby but it did help with only having to do very little in the first few weeks.

Haircut and color – I might not get my hair cut as often as others so going this chore before the baby came was a good way to keep it off my to do list in the few months after baby was born.

Addresses for birth announcement – I got together all the addresses of the family and friends I wanted to send baby announcements to in the few weeks before baby came. I printed them out on labels so all I had to do is stick them on the envelopes. Perfect time saver.

Stock up on house hold items – I took a day a couple weeks before baby’s due date to stock up on items around the house like COFFEE, laundry detergent, toilet paper, Kleenex, paper towels, pads, diapers, wipes, shampoo and conditioner. If you don’t have time to do this, usually it’s easy enough to find friends or family to do a shop for you in the first couple weeks after birth.

Look into/ Contacted Newborn Photographers – Most newborn photographers like having your session 7-14 days after your baby is born. I didn’t really know how a lot of people felt up to taking photos such a short time after birth yet alone doing all the research just days after birth. Once we decided on a photographer I contracted her to let her know of the date and find out what to do next. I specifically wanted my photos out of the house so I mentioned my preferences at this time as well.

 

How I accomplished my all-natural (drug free) labour/ delivery

  1. Drinking a sip of water after ever contraction. Sometimes I would throw it up but it was good to try to get hydration. A hydrated cervix is a happy cervix
  2. “low-sugar” Electro light drinks like coconut water and Ener-C
  3. Urinating every 30 mins or more often in early labour when I left I needed to.
  4. “Mood” Lighting – Keeping the lights dim. Closing me eyes during every contraction and really focusing on controlled breathing.
  5. Essential Oils – Diffusing essential oils to help with relaxation and stress
  6.  My Birth Partner – Having my husband there to support me through contractions and be on the same page as to what I wanted to accomplish. Words of encouragement are a huge motivation.
  7. Moving into Different Positions- squatting, child pose over birthing ball, laying on my side, leaning against my birth partner, lunging up the stairs and leaning against the shower wall
  8. Bath/ shower – The hot shower on my back helped during contractions for my back labour. The bath was good to get into different positions that were hard out of the water due to pain or the heaviness of my pregnant body.
  9.  Inspirational music. I played Christian music during my whole labour. Some songs that always help me through rough situations are below.
  • Oceans – Hallsong

Sprit lead me where my trust is without boarders let me walk upon the waters whenever you would call me. My faith will be made stronger in the presences of my savior

  • He Said- Group 1 Crew

He said I wont give more, more then you can take and I might let you bend but I wont let you break. I wont ever let you go., don’t you forget what he said.

  • Holy Spirit – Francesca Battistelli

Holy Spirit you are welcome here. Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere. Let us become more aware of your presences.

Aria’s Birth Story Part 2

The drive to The Birth Centre was one of the worst parts of my labour. With every contraction my low back was in just as much pain as the actual contraction pain. I couldn’t sit in the car normally so I decided to sit in the back seat backwards as we drove down Crowchild a little faster then usual. I had four contractions on the 15-minute drive to the Birth Centre and I have never been so happy to get out of the car.

By the time we arrived at the Birth Centre my midwife, Jen, was already there getting paper work started and running me a bath. My sister also arrived as a secondary support from my husband. As a got into the warm bath, my sister set up my aromatherapy diffuser while my husband continued to support me through each contraction. After labouring in the bath for about an hour, my contractions felt like they were coming faster, stronger and I started to feel the need to push. My midwife seemed surprised when I asked her if I should feel that already.

She wanted me to contract a little longer in different positions before offering to check my cervical progression. My back labour made it painful to sit or lay during a contraction but changing positions is the best way to have baby perfectly placed, ready to come down the birth canal. I had a few rounds of contractions bouncing on an exercise ball while my sister massaged my back, I had a couple rounds of contractions leaning against walls or my husband and I had a few rounds of contractions on my hands and knees/ child’s pose. Finally it was time to see my progression and thankfully I was dilated 9.5 cm but I had a bit of a cervical lip. This term means that you’re fully dilated, but an edge of your cervix (usually the anterior — or front — of the cervix) is a little bit swollen and is still in the way of baby’s head. When there is still a lip you can either push while your health care provider manually moves the lip with their fingers as you push, or you can labour a couple contractions longer in positions that put pressure on the lip and encourage it to “melt” away. I decided to labour a bit longer so back to the bath I went.

At about 1pm on February 1, 2017, my second midwife, Susan, showed up and it was finally time to push. Pushing can take moms any where between 30 minutes to 2 hours. After pushing in many unusual positions and many different areas of the birth suite I could start to feel my sweet baby’s head. After 2 full hours of pushing Miss Aria Lynn Cross was born at 2:59pm on February 1, 2017. I choose to do delayed cord clamping, prolonged skin-to-skin bonding, immediate breastfeeding and keeping my placenta for encapsulation. After about an hour of bonding with baby, delivering my placenta and getting stitched up, it was time for baby to get a quick check up and weigh in. Baby Aria weighed in at 6lb 3oz and measured 20 inches long.

We were both happy and healthy so it was time for us to get ready to go home. The midwives gave us some guidelines for me on normal bleeding and how often I should be feeding baby during the night and they help us gather all of our stuff. Midwives would be coming to the house in the morning to check on us. We made baby all nice and warm in her car seat and we were headed home by 5:30pm on February 1, 2017.

I was so happy to have a completely drug free and out of hospital birth. After 11 hours of labour and 2 hours of pushing I had my beautiful and healthy baby and were back at home by 6pm the same day.

aria

Aria’s Birth Story – Part 1

At 7 weeks pregnant, I was given a due date of February 8, 2017, which never changed through the pregnancy.

At 37 weeks pregnant, you are concerned full term and can start preparing your body to give birth. Most doctors and midwives suggest drinking red raspberry leaf tea, taking evening primrose oil (orally or vaginally), having sex and taking a pill called EZ birth.

On Tuesday, January 31, 2017 at 1:30 pm I went to my midwife appointment, I was 38 weeks plus 6 days. I asked my midwife, Chelsea, to do a membrane sweep but when she check my cervix it was high and still closed so she couldn’t do anything. The only thing that showed any sign of labour happening in the next couple weeks was that baby’s head was engaged.  The midwives expected that could be late by a week since that is very common. I could feel a lot of pelvic pressure so I knew that baby’s head was getting deep in my pelvic so I thought that it was going to be an uncomfortable couple of weeks.

 After my appointment, my husband and I decided to go to Chinook Mall for a walk since the weather had become colder the last couple days and I didn’t want to risk falling on the ice. We stopped at Starbucks and chatted about what I might need to get before the baby comes and what I thought I could just get later in the week.

After a regular evening of dinner, some Tv watching and getting kicked in the ribs over and over, I had a conversation with my bump. I said “ I know I wanted a February baby, well tomorrow is February so you can come out now”. Later that night while lying in bed I had a weird feeling. I felt I needed to go to the washroom but didn’t think I need to pee. The feeling didn’t go away so at 12am on February 1, 2017 I went to the washroom and my water broke as I sat on the toilet. I called to my sleeping husband “ Daniel, my water just broke and my mucus plug is coming out” and with the best response ever he replied “Ha that’s funny”. After taking 5 minutes to have an “oh shit this is happening” moment, I put on a pad to catch the never ending drips of liquid and when back to sleep while I was contraction free.

At 1 am on February 1, 2017, I had my first contraction. It was mild and just felt like a side or stomach cramp. It lasted longer then I thought it would (about 50 seconds) but then it was gone. I figured it would be awhile till my contractions were regular so off to sleep I went again. At 1:40am I had a second contraction that was noticeablely stronger and was just as long as the first, there was no sleeping for me after that. Contractions came regularly and strong enough that I couldn’t stay laying down. By 3am I couldn’t let me husband sleep anymore. I needed him up with me to time contractions or help me breathe. I knew it could be a long road to baby so I wanted to try and eat to keep my energy up, Sadly with every new contraction I would throw up the bites of muffin and water I had consumed moments just before.

At 6:45am on February 1, 2017, I had contractions coming every 4 minutes and they were lasting at least a minute. I was unable to talk or move while having the contractions so I really had to stop and focus while I had each one. I had reached the 411 rule (contractions every 4 mins, lasting at least 1 minute and its been happening for an hour) and it was finally time to call the midwives. At 8 am one of my midwives, Jen, arrived at the house to do my assessment and see if it was time to move to my birth place or if we should labour at home long. All the midwives that had heard I was in labour (Jen, Chelsea and Susan) where a little skeptical on my progression due to the fact that I was just in clinic less then 24 hours earlier with no cervical opening at all. When I was accessed it showed that I was 4 cm dilated and my cervix had completely thinned. It was time to move to our birthplace (The Arbour Birth Centre).

birth-centre
This was my birth room at the Arbour Birth Centre in Calgary.