My belly, the first home of my biggest blessings… far from flawless, but I love it anyway. (Julie)

-24 years old
-6 pregnancies, 5 children. (1 loss at 9 weeks gestation.)
-J, 7 years old. P, 6 years old. K, 5 years old. G, 3.5 years old. L, 2 years old.

– Hello ladies! Thank you for allowing me the oppeortunity to share my own story. :)

My husband and I found out we were expecting 6 months before we planned to marry. Our relationship is a little unique. He is 5 years older than I, we have been together since I was 14 and lived in our own home since I was 15 & he was 20. I was 16 when we found out I was pregnant, April 20th 2004. We had been planning to wed, with the blessings of my parents, October 16th 2004. 2 months after my 17th birthday. When we found out we were expecting.. I was 5’1, very lean and toned, and weighed 112 pounds. We did indeed wed on October 17th, with our daughter present in utero. :) My pregnancy with her was for the most part uneventful once I got past the first trimester. The first 13 weeks I suffered from Hypermesis Gravidarum and before I was finally prescribed Zofran for it, I vomited all day, every day, and felt awful. I frequently landed myself in the ER because of dehydration. I got down to 108lbs, and that is when they decided to prescribe the Zofran. Later in pregnancy, I developed what they call “polyhydramnious.” This meant I had a lot of extra fluid, for unexplained reasons. Because of this, my stomach grew rapidly and I experienced very sudden weight gain the last few weeks. My last weight before giving birth was 162lbs. Going off 108, I gained 54 pounds. J was born at 38 weeks on December 21st, beautiful and healthy, weighing 7lbs 1oz.

My husband and I knew from the get-go, even being young parents and newly weds, that we wanted a large family. We are both from large families and we wanted the same. So we decided to let go with “not trying, not preventing” as far as our sexual relationship went. Coincedently, I found out I was pregnant for the 2nd time, AGAIN on April 20th, 2005. The EDD was the same as J’s, as well! We were shocked given the circumstances & the fact their dates were exact, but we were ELATED! J was 1 day shy of 4mos old, and I still had a lot of work that needed to be done to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight. Obviously, that was going to have to be put on hold. The next month consisted of a lot of blood work, a lot of doctor visits, and a lot of ultrasounds. Unfortunately on May 26th, 2005.. after a month of no growth or change in the embryo, including no heartbeat… we realized the pregnancy was not viable. My midwife scheduled a D&C with the OBGYN at the clinic I went to. On May 27th, 2005, we said goodbye to our Angel that wasn’t mean for this world. We were obviously heartbroken, disappointed, sad, etc. But we had J to keep us busy and we focused on what we had been blessed with, each other and our beautiful daughter.

And then just a few weeks later, mid July, we found out for the third time we were expecting AGAIN! Obviously we were very nervous because of the miscarriage, but thankfully the pregnancy progressed and everything went well. Our 2nd child, a beautiful baby boy, was born also at 38 weeks on April 10th 2006 after an uneventful pregnancy. He weighed 8lbs 1oz and like his sister, was healthy as can be. J was 15 months old when she became a big sister.

Now if I continue to give the run down on all my pregnancies, my story will get ridiculously long… LOL! So I’ll just share the bare minimum from here on out.

#3, our 2nd son, was born on June 24th of 2007. I had polyhydramnios with him as well and gained a massive amount of weight. Because of the severe PH, my water broke at 36 weeks. Even so, K weighed 7lbs 2ozs and other than some jaundice from his premature liver, he was healthy as can be. At the time of his birth, J was 2.5 years old and P was 14mos old.

#4, our 3rd son, was born at 38 weeks gestation on December 18th 2008. G was another uneventful pregnancy, born healthy weighing 8lbs 10ozs. At the time of G’s birth, J was just shy of her 4th birthday, P was 2.5 years old, and K was a week shy of 18 months old.

#5, our 2nd girl, was born at 38 weeks gestation on April 19th 2010. With L, I had what my midwife called “borderline gestational diabetes.” I failed my 1hr Glucose test with her, just as I did with G, but with him I went on the pass the 3hr. With L, I failed by just a few points. I was RIGHT under the “normal” range. Because of this, I had to monitor my blood sugar during my pregnancy and eat a semi-diabetic diet. At 2 weeks early, L was born weighed 8lbs 15ozs.. 1 oz shy of 9lbs.. and that is AFTER she took a nice pee on me just seconds after she was born. I think it’s safe to say she would have weighed at least 9lbs even if she had been weighed before peeing. They tested her blood sugar shortly after her birth since she was such a good sized baby even 2 weeks early, which is a sign of macrosomia… large baby caused by gestational diabetes. Her blood sugar was absolutely fine… she was just a healthy girl. At the time of her birth J was 5yrs old, P was 4, K was 2 mos shy of his 3rd birthday, and G was 16mos old.

A grand total of 5 pregnancies, 1 loss, and 5 healthy blessings in 5 years and 4 months time. The grand total of the baby weight my uterus held comes to 39lbs, 15ozs! That’s just the weight of the babies.. not to mention the fluid, blood, placenta, etc. Obviously with only 4-8 months between each pregnancy… I didn’t have a lot of time to lose the baby weight, and instead it just kept piling on. I breastfed, but unfortunately I was not one of the lucky mamas who shed the pounds with the help of nursing.

I grew more and more uncomfortable in my own skin as the years went on… and for some reason, I lacked the will power and confidence to get back in shape. Around the time of my daughters 2nd birthday.. I finally became fed up. She hadn’t nursed for quite some time, and I knew it was time to take control of my life and get back to a point whre I could be comfortable with myself. So I got serious, and I decided to make a lifestyle change. At that time, my starting weight was 195lbs. At 5’2. I was morbidly obese. The girl who was always “naturally slender,” was morbidly obese. I know you ladies can imagine how I felt. I visited my family physician, we set up a weight loss plan complete with my goals, and he prescribed me a weight loss aid to help me along. My goal is not to become skinny. My goal is to become HEALTHY and be COMFORTABLE with my body. The body that has done AMAZING things for me and kept the 5 most important people in my life HEALTHY until it was time for them to be born. 12 weeks later I have managed to lose 45 pounds, 13 combined inches (waist, hips, thighs) and 2, ALMOST 3 pant sizes. I am 15lbs from my goal weight, and granted my weight loss has slowed down significantly from what it was in the beginning.. I am still working hard to get there so I can be healthy and feel good about myself… and I can honestly say I grow more and more comfortable with my body each week! The stretch marks do not bother me. The loose skin does not bother me. As I said, my body did the most amazing thing for me… FIVE times. The weight gain, the struggle to lose it… it has all been MORE than worth it. I will never have that tight, perfectly toned, flawless body I had before kids and that is perfectly fine with me. That’s not my goal. I am so proud of myself and my confidence, the way I feel about myself, is better than it has ever been. I am proud of my body regardless of the fact I still have 15lbs to go to my goal (which by the way is on the heigher end of “normal” given me height. But like I said, I’m not trying to get skinny.) and a LOT of toning to do. Fitness and exercise have become an every day part of my life, and it will be even after I hit my goal. It’s something my family and I can do together, and it makes us feel good. The weight loss has been a blessing.. but the biggest blessing of all is my children and I will forever be greatful for the body that carried them and kept them safe during their gestational period…. MY body. <3 Oh, and for the inquiring minds.... no, neither my husband or I got any permanent sterilization. We are using precautions and plan to for a while longer.. but we do intend to welcome at least one more child into our family sometime in the future, assuming it is meant to be and we are blessed again. Just taking a break for now. :) Thanks again for allowing me the opportunity to share my story. :) If you made it through the novel, kudos to you and thanks for reading! (My progress pictures are ready to be updated with the 12th week photos. This is start, 3 weeks, 6 weeks, and 9 weeks. I have lost 5 more pounds since the 9th week photo.) [gallery]

5 thoughts on “My belly, the first home of my biggest blessings… far from flawless, but I love it anyway. (Julie)

  • Thursday, July 19, 2012 at 9:46 am

    5 kids, wow you look amazing, keepit up

  • Thursday, July 19, 2012 at 11:58 am

    I loved your story. And it amazes me how you married so young and still keep on with your marriage. Separates you from the other silly teens who marry very young and divorce, you’re more mature. Your belly looks amazing for five kiddos! Thank you for sharing.

  • Thursday, July 19, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    We look like belly twins almost. :)
    You are one amazing mama and woman! It is amazing how you found the power to reclaim your body for healthy and great reasons. Be proud because you so deserve it. You’re a beautiful woman with I’m sure beautiful babies. What you hvae done is admirable!
    Keep going strong and good luck on future babies!!! :)

  • Thursday, July 19, 2012 at 11:44 pm

    WOW! What a difference! Aren’t you glad you took pictures? Sometimes people don’t even notice the change until they look at old pictures. You look amazing. Much thinner in your face and waist. Keep it up. :D Congratulations! And it’s so nice to hear of and see big families. :)

  • Friday, July 20, 2012 at 10:34 am

    amazing! you look great!

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