Re-Shaped

Posted on
Categories Health, Parenting, Perspective, PregnancyTags , , , , , 9 Comments

309649_958048037137_1387649529_nThis is me a few months before getting pregnant with my twin boys.

I was climbing a mountain and just had to stop and get in a dance moment on the way to the top…where some yoga may have occurred. And then I ran all the way down.

I walked to work or rode my bike, then hauled it up to the top story of our apartment building. I taught 4-5 dance classes per day and danced along with the students in each one. I did Pilates twice per week, and on the weekends, I took long walks, runs, or bike rides for fun. Sometimes (I’m laugh-crying as I write this) I would have to go for a 45 minute run on a Saturday morning so that I could be tired enough to enjoy lounging on the couch that afternoon. Like, I had so much energy I couldn’t sit still unless I burned some of it off.

And my plans for the afternoon included “lying around.” Ha!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is me pregnant, 38 weeks and 1 day, right before I went in for induction (which took another 2 days and ended in a c-section, gah).

This body did not do a whole lot of running, let me tell you. I complained constantly that I wasn’t doing anything. My (sainted) husband kept telling me, “You are doing everything.” He was right. I was growing big ol’ healthy babies, who came out at 5 lbs 15 oz, and 6 lb 5 oz.

But I literally did almost nothing else while gestating. Friends who were pregnant with singletons were dancing, biking, even running. One had the audacity to tell me she “didn’t really feel any different,” and “didn’t have any limitations” while pregnant. Wow. I would love to have danced, taken the stairs, or made a sandwich without needing to pause and rest. My husband came home one day to find me sitting in a chair I had pulled up to the stove, resting my weary head against the wall, barely finding the strength to stir a simmering pot on the stove. I was simply desperate for cheese sauce.

Yep, my perspective on “tired” has evolved since my pre-pregnancy and pre-baby days.

But so has my concept of strength.

DSCN0470Almost one year postpartum, I love my new body. Sure, I have stretchmarks on my thighs, belly, boobs, and, swear, there is one my left calf that I don’t know how in the world I achieved. And yeah, the twin-skin belly practically flaps in the breeze, it’s so saggy. That part is still weird. I look at pictures of myself from this year, and wow, I really do not look like that fit young woman I used to be. But all the extra squishiness in my midsection makes my lap rather cozy. I’ve got Amazon arms and the balance of a monkey. All of the late-night bouncing, nap-time stroller walking, and getting up and down off the floor 1,000,000 times per day, has worked wonders for toning my lower body. Did you know that the lower your boobs hang, the easier it is on your back? Just pop a child in your lap to breastfeed and you barely even have to lean forward! If I listen to my kids’ eyes and not the mirror, I have never felt more beautiful. My sweet boys light up when I come into the room. Mine is their favorite face, their most sought-after frame.

But there is one thing I like best. My Baby B’s knee was shoved up in my upper right abdomen for so long that it formed a permanent sort of corner there. When he was in there, it felt like a little hard bump; now it’s a soft lump that remains even though he’s out in the world.

My whole lumpy belly looks like a new ancient ruin, the site of a civilization which evolved out of its primitive structures but hung on to them like shrines.

Now if I can just find an outfit that says, I’m not fat/pregnant/suffering from a goiter, I’m the landscape of a miracle, damn it!

What is your favorite thing about your re-shaped, post-twins body? What amazes you the most?

Share this...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponShare on TumblrShare on RedditDigg thisShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone

Belly Up

Posted on
Categories Medical, Mommy IssuesTags , , , , , , , , 13 Comments

Alright gals, I did it. After two years of agonizing over the appearance of my belly, I finally got the gumption to go to the plastic surgeon. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t actually have anything done. But I took the first step with a consultation. And let me tell you, it was fifty bucks well spent.

First off, if you have the ambition of making a crap-load of money during your time here on earth, become a plastic surgeon. I stepped into this guys’ office, and I felt like I was at the Venetian in Las Vegas. Super deluxe…and I live in Austin, Texas, where you can go to a five star restaurant in jeans and a tank top (and don’t forget your cowboy hat!). When I got a look at his fees; let’s just say he makes somewhere in the range of $1,500 an hour. Not bad!

I was oddly comfortable waiting for Dr. 78735 in the plush terry robe and g-string scrubs, although it would have been nicer if they had offered me a glass of wine and a pedi while I waited. He entered the room and after brief introductions, asked me what I was interested in. Huh – isn’t that what you’re supposed to tell me? I admitted that I was a total neophyte and meekly stated a tummy tuck and a boob job. He asked if I wanted both a breast augmentation and lift. I answered with a blank look. After some discussion over the technicalities of each procedure (more blank looks), it was time to disrobe (eegads!).

The unveiling wasn’t that bad. I was diagnosed with a large umbilical hernia (which my insurance would cover – whoopee!), major diastasis (above and below and all around the tap that my Be Bo has become), stretched-out skin and, of course, stretch marks. He pronounced that I would need a full tummy tuck to correct everything. He’d try and use my existing c-section scar and then cut a smiley face to each hip bone, a general surgeon would come in and fix the hernia, he would pull my ab muscles back into place, and then stretch my skin downwards to get rid of all the unsightliness. All of the skin and stretch marks from my belly button down would be gone (as in cut out forever), and the stretch marks above my BB would be much less visible because they would be, um, really stretched. Lovely.

As for the boobs, he said I wouldn’t need a lift. After 13 months of breastfeeding two babies, imagine that! At least there was some good news to this visit. But he said an augmentation would “restore the look and fullness” to my deflated mom boobs. He said silicone was the only way to go, because it feels the most like breast tissue. I nodded and tried to mask another blank look.

We sat back down and talked more technicalities of the actual surgery. It’d last about 4 hours, I would need at least one overnight in the hospital (he recommended two), and a pain pump was the way to go (kind of like an epidural for the stomach). The kicker was when I heard about the recovery time. The boob job was hardly anything. The tummy tuck? Six weeks. Yes, you heard me. Six weeks of lifting no more than 10 pounds. With twin two year olds, one of whom attaches himself to me as if he wants to be back in utero, good luck on that one!

After the consultation, I had the pleasure of posing in my g-string scrubs for some pictures. With mirrors and umbrella lights in each corner and a pretty, skinny young thing taking the pictures – let’s just say it was a humbling experience. She took about ten photos, and to add insult to injury, made me step on the scale. They program this whole experience just right, because then I was ushered into a room to view before and after pics. All I can say is AMAZING! I couldn’t believe my eyes. And I loved seeing bellies that looked far worse then mine looking gorgeous after a tummy tuck.

A lovely lady in her 50s entered the room with lots of paperwork and walked me through the process and the expenses. Pretty amusing that she went into all of the details of surgery and recovery, as if I had already signed on, before going over the itemized estimate. Nice to know I have the option of spending my second night of recovery not in the hospital, but at the beautiful Barton Creek Resort where I would have nurses waiting on me and lymphatic massage therapists at my disposal. And then I saw the only piece of paper that mattered. All in all, even with insurance covering the hernia portion, a tummy tuck and boob job would cost…

$14,000. Yes, you saw that right.

She pulled out the doctor’s schedule and asked me what time frame I was looking at. I answered her with an unabashed blank look. I managed to ask if there was any “wiggle” room in the estimate (the negotiator that I am). She said if I removed the second night at the hospital and got rid of the pain pump, that could bring it down $750. Oh, and the $50 consultation charge would be deducted from the cost. Wow. Great.

Now that it’s been a few weeks, I’ve decided against the boob job. After some quick research, I learned that boob jobs have at most a ten year life span. So once you get one, you can plan on getting another every ten years until you have no more money left. Not my cup of tea. Plus, the silicone that was recommended has a lot more maintenance. Like MRIs every few years to check for leaks. With saline, if it pops, you know it. All of the above I wish to never experience in my lifetime (nothing against boob jobs, though!). So I plan on calling them back and getting a new estimate for just the tummy tuck. Not because I’m going to get one anytime soon, but just so I know how much I need to save over the next five years. Amidst a downward spiraling economy.

Belly be damned, I do plan on getting you fixed eventually. But for now, it’s you and me, belly. No matter how ugly you are, we’re in it for the long haul.

You can read my other post on post-partum ugliness here. And to be totally jealous of one HDYDI mama who has a killer and unscathed post-partum belly, read here.

Share this...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponShare on TumblrShare on RedditDigg thisShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone

Semblance of my Former Self

Posted on
Categories Mommy Issues, PregnancyTags , , 6 Comments

When I was pregnant with my boys, I remember very early on being obsessed with looking at belly shots. I can’t tell you how many times I googled “pregnant twin belly photos.” I just couldn’t fathom what two babies growing on the inside of me would look like on the outside. And honestly, I was scared to death. When I started telling people I was pregnant with twins, just after their elated congratulations would come, “you are going to be HUGE!” Thanks, that’s just what I needed to hear. So what better place to go and find out exactly how huge I would get then the Internet! Big mistake.

I found several sites dedicated to pregnant bellies with twins and triplets, along with blogs and personal websites. And what I saw, in many cases, was even more frightening then what my imagination had conjured. Crazy stretch marks. Full-term size at only 25 weeks. OMG! What was going to happen to me?!?! And then I hit the mother of all pictures that induced such fear and spine-tingling horror…the postpartum photos. What the hell is “twin skin?!”Now, I’m not a vain person. But I am 5’3” on a very good day and weigh about 120. Aside from thinking about these frightening future aesthetics, I wondered if my body could even handle this?

33 weeksWell, of course it could…and it did. Despite being fairly paranoid of how enormous I was getting, I lucked out and didn’t reach full-term size until I was 33 weeks. I delivered at 36 weeks, thank god, because my belly felt like it just couldn’t stretch any more. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t get my twin “badge,” or I like to say “badges,” because if these suckers were like girl scout badges, I’d have a whole sash filled in. Yes I have stretch marks. Yes I have twin skin. Yes I have a herniated belly button (the outie that just won’t go back in). Yes I have diastasis (my very own abdominal crevasse). Yes I want my old stomach back!

I think some women are blessed with a combination of great skin genes, a long torso, height in general, and can manage to have a twin pregnancy without all the postpartum ugliness. But I think most moms of multiples have a constant reminder of their pregnancy written across their tummies. I’m not trying to scare any preggos out there who are reading this, I just want to be realistic. Because I deluded myself while I was pregnant, rubbing tubs of 100 percent organic cocoa butter and vitamin e thinking I would be spared. I would be one of the lucky ones.

I know everyone is different, but it wasn’t until six months postpartum that I could even look at my stomach in the mirror without totally cringing. The good news is that after a year, I’m starting to get used to how my stomach looks. It’s actually not THAT bad. The stretch marks have definitely faded, and if it weren’t for the hernia, I’d feel pretty comfortable with it all. My husband tells me that when the time comes (i.e. when we are officially “done”) and if I’m so inclined, I should just get it fixed. And I’m so NOT the plastic surgery type, but I have to say the idea of walking into Dr. Reys’ office on Dr. 90210 and asking for a “BJJ” – belly button job – is hysterically intriguing to me. Because really I should get a hernia fixed, shouldn’t I?!?! And while I’m there, I might as well get my abs pulled in and skin smoothed, too, right?

And just like that those badges would be gone, forever erased from my twin mom sash. But I don’t think I’d mind a bit, because these two beaming faces smiling up at me are all the reminders I need.

oz and abieP.S. Just like my obsession with researching pregnant bellies, I did the same for the ultimate stretch mark solution. I now rub my belly with some stuff called Bio-Oil and I’m convinced it helps. You can get it at Walgreens.

Share this...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponShare on TumblrShare on RedditDigg thisShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone