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]

Mom to 10 month old twins (Ariel)

I have been engaged to my fiance for 2 years when we moved out of the dorms and into our first apartment together, less than a month later I was pregnant, about a month later I found out ‘it’ was ‘them.’ I found out I was pregnant with twins at an abortion clinic. I wanted a baby but not at that point in my life, not when I was at the end of my teaching program, not before I was married….NOT NOW…is all I kept saying. When I was laying on the table in the clinic and the lady looked at me and said ‘I detect multiples.’ I cried, for the first time I cried because I knew they were here for a reason. There was no history of twins in my family, I wasn’t doing IVF, and I was only 20! Nothing says that I should have had twins. I felt like it was a miracle.

Anyway, I was happy about my pregnancy and told my parents and family when I was 9 weeks pregnant. We found out at 21 weeks that we were having a boy and a girl! We were super excited. It took forever to figure out their names but we finally chose them: Delilah AnnMarie and Leon Jason Paul and we were thrilled! I was going to school full time while my fiance was working full time.. At 31 weeks along I went to my OB for my appointment and he said ‘you are too complicated for the local hospital, so here are all your records, go find another doctor.’ I didn’t get names to other doctors but it didn’t matter because the next night at midnight while I was getting in the shower my water broke. My fiance drove me to the ER and they sent me by ambulance to a wonderful hospital over an hour away. I stayed there for 5 days while they tested me and tested me. I was borderline gestational diabetic and severe pre-eclampsia. At 9am the doctor said ‘there is no way she is leaving. We’re keeping her here until 34 weeks and then we’re taking the babies.’ At 5pm, the same doctor walked in and said ‘we’re having the babies in the morning.’ I was FREAKING out…to say the least.

My sweet baby girl was born at 8:04am and her little, yet bigger, brother was born 2 minutes later. Delilah weighed 3lb and Leon was 3lb 3oz. I saw them for 2 seconds and then they were ran down the hall to the NICU and they lived there for 48 days. They came home a week before their due date. During that time I was recovering from my c-section. It was brutal!

Concerning my weight and body image: I have never thought I looked good. I hated my body. A week before my twins were born I weighted 299lb…that is my highest weight. I don’t know how much, if anything, that I have lost, but since the beginning of the year I have set the goal for myself to love my body and to get to a healthy weight. I know I have a lot of work to do but I feel so much better since I’ve been eating better. I have been eating little to no junk food, no carbonated drinks, eating whole grains, and low fat, low sugar foods.

I’ve included pictures of me in the hospital, pictures of my belly when I was pregnant (all those pictures I keep off facebook) and a picture of me breastfeeding my son (to show how huge my boobs were) and a picture of me last week trying to get a picture of the 3 of us. That one is the hardest for me to look at, because I look so wide. Anyway, I think this site is amazing and will help me love my body.

Your Age: 21
Number of pregnancies and births: 1 pregnancy and 2 births
The age of your children, or how far postpartum you are: 10 month old twins

16 Weeks PP, 2nd Baby, 38 Years Old (Anonymous)

This site has made me feel so much better about my post-baby body. I haven’t struggled as much with body issues after baby #2 although I still have 15 pounds to go and haven’t lost any weight since my 1 week checkup despite breastfeeding-baby is now 4 months old. I don’t personally experience much in the way of weight loss with breastfeeding-if anything it seems the opposite. I weighed 148 at my checkup and have been 151 since a month pp-I gained 28 lbs.. I tried working out for a while but I just was absolutely exhausted. I know I’ll get there eventually and I know that the weight will come off eventually-even if it takes longer at 38 than it did at 33. 9 months on, 9 months off has been true for me. The thing I’m having a hard time with is that we’ll be visiting my husband’s family abroad in about 10 weeks, and I know nothing much will change in that time and they’re very critical. I’m trying to just let it go and focus on my joy in my baby because I struggled so much to get her here: 4 miscarriages, a blood disorder I had to take daily injections for, gestational diabetes and a c-section due to concern over irregular (and life-threatening) attachment of the cord to the placenta. We are lucky. She is healthy. I wish I was not so hung up on losing this 15 pounds already. Everytime I eat anything my inlaws will cluck at me, I know it. I want to be a good role model to my daughters and not buy into the body facism we live under. First pic is my belly 2 weeks prior to delivery. the rest of my photos: 1 week pre-delivery 5 months preggo 3.5 months postpartum 4 months postpartum.

3rd pregnancy of a plus-sized 20-something (Anonymous)

I’ve never been very skinny. The only point I can remember being so was when I was 13 and 5’6″ and maybe 90-100lbs. After that I plumed big time. At the age of 15 almost 16 I started having really bad pains that made it hard to walk, it was found that I had ovarian cysts, a month later I stopped having a menstrual cycle. When I turned 16 I was put on birth control pills to regulate my cycles and help with the cysts. In that time frame, age 15-16, I packed on around 30-40lbs and was around 170 at 5’7″. Not horribly overweight but still higher.

I was on birth control pills from 16 to just after 18 when my last pack ran out(June 2005). My OB/Gyn said that I may not be able to get pregnant, so part of me though why do I need pills then. In July 2005 I had a cyst burst, while at work, I crawled under my desk and cried till my boyfriend and boss found me and my boyfriend took me to my mom’s house, and she took me to the doctors. A month after that I found out I was pregnant. Just by chance too. I had a friend that we knew was pregnant, she had to be she was more then 2weeks late, but she refused to take a test unless some one did with her. Her older sister had never been with anyone and I was the only one around, so I bought her a 2 pack, I went first, looked and threw it out all with in seconds, she peed and handed it to me not wanting to look. Hers instantly was positive. I went back somewhere between 5-10minutes later and got mine out of the trash, to my shock it was positive.

Over the next few days I took 2 more tests each positive. Then August 12th, 2005 I started bleeding. I went to the ER but there was nothing that could be done, we’d lost the baby all within a week of finding out. It was hard, I was only 18, living in the not best conditions with my Fiance(no house), but in away I think it was a slight blessing even though I still cry about it to this day. My cycle never came back after that. My OB gave me a shot of progesterone in October and it started a small cycle, light bleeding for 2 days, nothing then spotting the day after, I’d never had light periods in my life so it was odd. My Fiance and I had an appointment set in November to get the depo shot, but I had to have a cycle first. Instead of going to get the depo shot, it turned into my first prenatal visit of sorts. I found out in early November 2005 that I was pregnant again. Sadly we were planning a move to Texas where my then fiance’s family lives so I didnt’ get a real prenatal appointment.

The move to Texas didn’t last, we were there from Mid December to early February. I was horridly sick, severe HG morning sickness, I couldn’t even keep water down and was in the ER a few times in Texas. I also missed my mom too much. So we moved back to Idaho in February. And I got my first real parental appointment at around 18 weeks. It was such a relief to be able to go to the doctors if needed. We found out just 10days before my 19th birthday that we were having a boy(March 2006) to the joy of both of us. I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes in late April 2006, which is partly why I had been so sick before. My blood pressure started going up too in late May early June, and became Pregnancy Induced Hypertension, and was being watched for pre-e.

My son, Seamus was born on July 18th, 2006. I was induced at 39weeks 5days because of the GD and PIH and he was born just barley at 39weeks 6days (10:12pm). He had a little stay in the incubator for jaundice and we got to come home on July 21st.

In September 2006 I had Mirena IUD placed. It was ok except for it caused me to gain 25lbs in a month. The weight gain made me mad sense I was already way past my prepregnancy weight and thought I’d actually get under 200lbs. I struggled with my weight over the next 2yrs. From November 2007 to May 2008 I lost 20lbs of that weight (I went from 200lbs pre IUD to 225 after, then to 250 a few months later) but it wasn’t much. In May 2008 I had my IUD removed in hopes it would help me to loose more weight. I had bleeding (not really a cycle) from May 17th to the 20th and slight spotting on the 21st. That was the last time I had real bleeding. I had some spotting in early July but it wasn’t any more then what could lightly be seen on toilet paper. I was getting frustrated in late July early August sense it had been almost 90days sense I had any type of bleeding. I went to the clinic they ran tests for thyroid problems which came back normal, and the doc just said it was PCOS a term I’ve herd many times in regards to me. They did a pregnancy test on August 1st just to be sure. Then told me it was negative and that I’d need medical help to get pregnant again, much like the progesterone with my son. They gave me a script for it and my husband and I decided we’d fill it but not use it till December.

One thing had been on my mind though the whole time. How sore my breasts were. I had a digital test lying around from when my IUD was taken out and I decided sense we were going to be trying any time soon that I’d use the test to get it out of the house. I peed and put the lid on it and set it down. I picked it up a couple seconds later expecting to see “Not Pregnant”…..thats not what it said…it said “Pregnant” I freaked, my 2yr old son was in there with me and was confused why mommy was being weird. My husband was still asleep and I took the test to him and shoved it in his face and woke him up, he laughed! I didn’t believe it so I made him buy me another test, took it and it was also positive right away(line test this time) it was a shocker (all this August 17th, 2008). I went to the doctors 2 weeks later sense we didnt’ know how far along I was and found out I was 6weeks 2days, and due April 19th, 2009.

So far things are going ok this time around, I haven’t been puking near as bad as with my son, and actually its getting better at this point, 12weeks 4days. I’m having to have my Gestational Diabetes testing done between 17-18weeks this time sense I was on insulin with my son, and they are watching me closely for pre-e this time. So far so good.

I really wanted to show some pictures of me, the not skinny plus sized, 21yr old mommy thats pregnant, and really you can’t tell because of my gut. I want ladies to see that not everyone is small :)

Hurricane Tummy (Anonymous)

I am 27 and this was my first pregnancy. My daughter was born 5 weeks early by emergency c-section after I was diagnosed with severe pre-eclampsia after I started blacking out from high blood pressure. Up until that point I had battled many odds with this pregnancy. 2nd trimester bleeding, gestational diabetes, a bells palsy, crippling carpel tunnel, acne all over my back and chest, and morning sickness up until the day she was born. She was breach at the time of the c-section but was otherwise healthy and weighed 5 lbs 11oz.
I don’t really notice or care about the stretch marks, although friends that have seen my tummy looked surprised and shocked before telling me I “look great”. My husband and I have a joke that my tummy looks like the radar map for a hurricane, we find this funny since we live in Miami. I am going to the gym now several times a week and already have my one piece swimsuit picked out to hit the beach this winter. The last pictures are my tummy 5 months post partum.

6 Months Later (Anonymous)

It is now six months, One week, and 4 days since my daughter was born. She arrived March, 13 2008. This time last year, We were about to find out what the sex of our new arrival would be. I had too many emotions to name, but I was so excited. .I wrote her letters, stared at her ultrasound pictures, and filled out every thing in the pregnancy section of the baby book. All this time taking weekly pictures of my growing belly. Every picture seem to reveal more and more stretch marks, but I secretly liked them. I liked them because I knew that was a sign she was growing and would be here soon. Around 33 weeks into my pregnancy, I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes. My Doctor ordered a very controlled diet. Gestational Diabetes would be the reason for setting up an induction at 38 weeks. The Induction day was on March 12, 2008 @ 2:00pm. The Dr. started with Cervadil then later Pitocin. Contractions started around 8pm they lasted until about 5pm on March 13, 2008. They were back to back, and I should have been dilating, but I wasn’t. The Doctor came to check on me around 5pm. I had a very high fever. They prepped me for an emergency c-section and a spinal block. I remember every tug and painful pull to get my daughter out, but once I heard her cry it was a feeling I will never forget. I spent that next week in the hospital recovering from a Uterine Infection. She was fine, and healthy from day one, and that is all I could have asked for. I’ve never been ashamed of my stretch marks, because if I didn’t have them, I wouldn’t have my daughter. Being her mother is the best thing in the world.

In the first photo I was 35 weeks pregnant
In the second I was 36 weeks
In the third photo I was 2 months postpartum
The last two photos are 6months postpartum