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Second Birth, Second Chance (Colleen)

November 29, 2012

Previous post here.

My Age: 28
I have two children, aged 3 years 3 months, and 7 weeks.

Seven weeks ago I gave birth to my second daughter. She was my triumphant VBAC, and her birth healed the wound that my cesarean had left in my heart. My body is amazing; we knew what we wanted and by golly, we got it.

And yet…it didn’t exactly go as planned. Nowhere near it, actually. Six days past my due date I developed even worse oligohydramnios than I had with my first. I was sent for an induction; a long, drawn-out process in which pitocin was a last resort because of my previous cesarean. I wanted an all-natural birth. I’ve spent years of my life planning for one, convincing myself that the pain of labor was manageable. The pitocin proved me wrong, and my daughter was born with an epidural after 30 hours of induction and 14 hours of active labor. I pushed her out under my own power, and that’s what’s most important, but the irritation over how medicated her birth was dampened some of the ecstasy I expected to feel.

When I last posted I was fretting over my inability to gain weight, and boy did that change fast. Between my 20 and 24 week appointments, I put on 9 pounds. It continued to shoot up and by the end I had gained 42 pounds (39 of that in the second half of my pregnancy). I don’t know if it was because I had developed habits of eating calorie-dense foods since I wasn’t eating much, or because I essentially starved for 4 months, but even through the lingering nausea it added up. It distressed me to get so close to 200 pounds for the first time in my life (196), but I figured my body knew what it needed.

I’ve lost about 20 pounds or so…maybe a little more. At any rate I seem to have hit that wall where nothing more is going to come off until I make an effort. I WILL make the effort this time, but I’m not ready yet. These two little girls are more important to me than exercise and worrying about calories right now. I once again came out without stretch marks on my tummy. The ones on my thighs and hips spread a little bit (I gain all of my weight in my thighs), and new ones appeared on my love handles. Actually, just one love handle—the left one is covered and the right side only has one lonely stretchie. My biggest problem with them is that they’re not symmetrical! Seriously, how do you grow symmetrically and only one side stretches? It doesn’t make any sense.

Am I at peace with my new body? No, not really. I only have one pair of pants that “fits” (even my maternity pants were too small by the end). My thighs rub together a LOT when I walk. My breasts are larger than ever (32K) and uneven because I’m nursing. I have a little new mommy pooch and—most distressing to me—my face got fatter. But these “flaws” do not consume my every waking moment. I see them, they register, but then I think, “man, I’m sexy”. I carried two babies, I rocked out a VBAC, I breastfed/feed both (the little one nurses like a champ). My husband thinks I’m irresistible. The women in my life tell me I look great (in clothes, of course). I haven’t learned to say “thank you” yet without pointing out a perceived flaw, but I’m getting there. I want my daughters to see confidence. I see the extra weight as something temporary and therefore not something to obsess about.

When I last posted, I decided to include my face in this one (finally!). Then I received a message on Facebook from a man I had never met asking if I was the poster and, frankly, that creeps me out. I understand how it’s possible, but tracking me down took a not-insignificant amount of effort when I obviously chose to remain semi-anonymous for a reason. The fact that it was a man and not another woman just added to the creeptastic factor. Maybe I’ll get brave eventually, but this time isn’t it. I’ll include a lovely silhouette of myself that my husband (accidentally) took at 24 weeks, but that’s as close as I can get this time.

The pictures are 24 weeks pregnant, 40 weeks pregnant, and 6 weeks postpartum.

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7 Responses to “Second Birth, Second Chance (Colleen)”

  1. Cvetelina Says:
    November 29th, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    Hey. You look great for a woman gave birth to two children. Four months ago I gave birth by cesarean section. I do not like her body even though my husband likes it. My friends say I look fine, but I do not feel well. But I try not to think about it. I look at my daughter and I love her more than anything in the world no matter I do not like my body.

  2. Mina Says:
    November 29th, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    How on earth did your husband accidentally take that beautiful silhouette of you?! It looks like the kind of picture that would’ve taken special lighting and staging and a long time to get perfect! Lovely entry, lovely photos, lovely lady.

  3. Megan Says:
    November 30th, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    Your body is so fabulous, you don’t even know. So. Fabulous!!!!! Your stomach looks absolutely amazing and I think you look so womanly. Beautiful.

  4. Natalie Says:
    December 1st, 2012 at 8:43 am

    Wow just WOW. I wish I had your attitude about my body. Your attitude is simply amazing. No wonder your husband finds your irresistible. That curvy body and such wonderful attitude, I learned my lesson after reading this post. Thank you Colleen.

  5. shannon Says:
    December 2nd, 2012 at 9:24 am

    You look amazing. Congratulations on your new baby!

  6. Dyanne Says:
    December 5th, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    Your skin is so beautiful. Really creamy :) And I say that in a non-creepy way, I promise! You look great, and congratulations on your VBAC. Medicated or not, it’s an achievement and a half!

  7. Billie Says:
    December 6th, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    Your body looks absolutely amazing from the trauma of having 2 children! Your skin looks flawless…I’m only 22 and pregnant with my second and I wish my skin didn’t have so many stretch marks and sagginess. I gained 100 with my first and then dropped back down to 110 a year after having her so I know what ugly is!

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