Postpartum (Iceece)

Age when I gave birth 21
This was my only pregnancy & I had to have a csection.
My son is 11 months old now

I went into labor on my own at 330am and was going in for a no epidural natural birth. Things quickly changed and I got the epidural only for the guy to mess it up and have to take it out to restart. The epidural didn’t even work and I was having back labor like no other. I was also bleeding but the nurses just thought it was from checking me. I made it all the way to a 9 before my cervix swelled shut. Later they found out the bleeding was from me bleeding internally, I had to be taken to have an emergency c section. Everything went good, and I got to meet my beautiful baby boy.

Two months later I had to be cut open again to have my gallbladder removed. I didn’t get to fully heal from my c section before the surgery so I had to heal from two surgery’s while caring for my newborn and my 3 year old step son who lives with us full time. (My husband traveled work at the time, so for most part I didn’t have help) My little boy refused a bottle and was breastfed so you could imagine the pain I was in trying to feed him. But he is definitely worth it all.

Images: purple bra black pants 3 weeks postpartum
C section scar with baby I was 1 month postpartum
White bra grey pants scars I was 2 months post baby and 4 days post gallbladder surgery
Nude breastfeeding baby I was 5 months postpartum
Character pajama bottoms with stomach tattoo is today 11 months postpartum

The First Cut is the Deepest (Sharlene)

Age: 43
Number of pregnancies/births: 3/3
Ages of children: 19 years, 30 months and one year

I always wanted more children than the one perfect daughter God had given me – but thought I was done, because my life hadn’t “gone that way”. So I had my tubes tied when she was 10. I woke up from surgery and sobbed for hours; I think my subconscious knew I had made a mistake. Fast forward 3 years, and all of a sudden my perfect mate came back into my life, someone I had known since elementary school and had dated briefly. We moved in together, bought a house and got engaged. He had never had children, and I knew he needed to experience it. We talked and talked, then at age 39 I had a tubal reversal, which was performed like a c-section. My surgeon was very skilled, but left me with a ridiculous scar, part of which was a bad burn caused by a mistake with a cauterizing tool. Now four years later, I have THREE perfect daughters and wear my scar with pride! Ironic though, that all three births were vaginal with not even a visible stretch mark to show for them.

Smokin’ Hot (Katie)

Smokin’ Hot! (Katie)

Age: 36
Pregnancies/births: 11/3 (8 miscarriages)
Ages of children: 4.5, 2, 2 weeks

My son is two weeks old today, and as I was about to get in the shower (yay, shower!), I saw myself in the mirror and thought, I am smokin’ hot! I should submit pics to SOAM! So I got my eyepod and took a couple of pics. Don’t think I don’t have stretch marks; I just don’t have any from pregnancy, which given my losses, makes me sad. All 3 of my children were born by spontaneous, unmedicated vaginal birth. The scar on my belly is from the burst appendix I had at 20.

Photos are my henna belly at 37w4d and front and side views 2 weeks postpartum.

How Quickly it Can Change (Anonymous)

After my second pregnancy I was told to wait at least 5 years before I have another because while on the table in a emergency csection I had a partial uterine rupture. I ended up getting pregnant 3 years later. So you can imagine the fear when the ept said pregnant. We got in for a emergency ultrasound and our little butter bean seemed to be doing well!

I called the Ob who delivered my first two and was in exactly two weeks later. I was starting to get excited about the miracle we had on the way (I was told I would never have kids and this would be my 3rd!). My excitement was shot down fast when the Ob walked in introduced himself and immediately went into my risk with going through with the pregnancy. “after reviewing your history I’m letting you know right away you are high risk, you have a 20% chance of repeat uterine rupture and that will make you lose the baby. It could also possibly kill you. With that said you also need to understand as you get farther along your risk will increase. You should probably think about if you want to continue this pregnancy. You have 2 other children and a husband to think about.” He said. I was in tears. Why? Why me? Why can’t I have a normal pregnancy? I cried through the rest of the appointment.

Later on at home my husband and I looked up abortion places. The doctor was right I can’t keep going when my risk will only get worse. I can’t leave my other two precious babies without their mother. We Looked up info and discussed it for a couple of weeks. The tears I cried were endless. I wasn’t happy with what I was told. I can’t end my little baby’s life. She/he has a heart beat.

I called my parents to tell them my I made my mind up. after all they needed to know, i was going to need all the support I could get. They weren’t happy with what I had decided no one was. But I was and my husband was thats all that counts. Eventually every one else will come around and accept it. Even though they constantly tried to change my mind, I stood my ground.

At my next Ob appointment I told them what I had chosen and it was done. No one could change our mind.

MY BABY wasn’t going to be aborted. I couldn’t do it.

I ended up switching obs. But not after having two more ultrasounds. One was a emergency ultrasound to check on “baby butter bean” after having contractions at 16 weeks. While in the ultrasound we were told baby bean was a Girl! We were happy! Announced to our friends and family as soon as I was discharged from the hospital! Three weeks later we were told our little girl wasn’t a little girl but a very PROUD little boy! The first ultrasound was wrong! I guess better to know now then wait until he was born and have all the wrong color stuff!

My high risk Ob was wonderful! He has been in practice for longer then I have been alive and even as taught a few years of school. I had ultrasounds every week to show early signs of rupture. If my uterine scar started looking thin he was going to take me to the OR.

After 2 rounds of steroid injections and making it past 32 weeks we scheduled the csection. It was coming close. My doctor didn’t want me to carry last 37 weeks and I was put on meds to stop contractions for the rest of the pregnancy. We were almost there!

On a Thursday morning we arrived at the hospital. This was it! I made it all the way soon my little boy will be in my arms and I can stop the worry!

I was prepped for my csection and off to the or we went! My blood pressure was a little elevated but other then that everything was great! We were there. The day that almost never happened! Then I got into the or….

We went through the normal stuff and then came time for the spinal. They had me straddle the table one leg on each side with a pillow to my stomach. “this isn’t how I did it with my other two I need a nurse in front of me and both my legs need to be on one side of the table” I said. The assured me it was fine. They are trained in this do they should know. The first injection went in perfect very little pain. Then came the second. That one hurt! I jerked a little but then they laid me down and finished getting ready. My Ob walked in and asked “how are you doing?” “I’m fine” I responded. He then went to his spot talked to his nurses and then started getting his things ready. He asked if I felt him touching my legs which I didn’t. Then a huge amount of pain overwhelmed me. I looked at the nurse next to me and said “as he started?” after looking over the drape she replies “yes” I looked to my side my husband wasn’t there. “where is my husband!? I can feel this where is my husband! He needs to be in here NOW! I can feel the doctor cutting me”. The nurse yells out “where is the dad?” a nurse runs out and get him. While she was gone I kept telling the one had my head I could feel the pain. She said I felt pressure I couldn’t feel pain. I’ve had 2 csections before this isn’t normal I thought. About that time my husband came in. He asked how I was doing and I told him I could feel it and started telling him what side I felt the doctor on. About that time I looked at my husband and said “something isn’t right”. He told the nurse I could feel it to do something but she blew him off also.

A few seconds later I look at my husband and say “here he comes” I felt my son slid out of my stomach. Immediately he started crying. Instantly I was relieved. He is fine. I told my husband to go don’t worry about me and he went to take pictures. I knew complaining anymore of the pain wouldn’t help. I focused in my little mans cry and dealt with the pain. Then I saw him. Love at first sight all over again. After about 3 minutes they took him to the nursery and my husband went to.

My focus was gone. The pain still there. I again told the nurse I could feel it and started calling sides to her. She still didn’t believe me. I gave up I fond a new focal point. The monitor, I watched as my blood pressure stayed above what it was when I went in. The anthesia makes blood pressure lower, it also will rise when your in pain. And the blood pressure was up it hadn’t gone down. Why didn’t they believe me? Your supposed To trust them.

I felt everything. I knew hen he was finishing, I felt every staple go into my skin. I was sent to recovery where I was welcomed by another nurse, my husband, son and mom. I took my son and just held into him. This day may not have been possible. What if I needed the pregnancy the look on that amazing face was worth every ounce of worry. Every tear was all worth it in the end.

Doing recovery I was asked how I felt. I had awful pain on my right side. Never have I experienced pain like that after a csection. I told the nurse about the pain and her response was “you just had a csection your going to hurt”. I looked her dead in the eyes “I know I will feel some pain. I’m not stupid I’ve done this 2 times before. But this pain isn’t normal SOMETHING IS WRONG”. But again I was blown off. Okay fine maybe I was over reacting. Every pregnancy is different so every recovery is different right?

I was sent to my room for the next few days a hour later. We spent time with family enjoying our new miracle. Our blessing. He was perfect. When my older two came to see him they were ecstatic! Everyone was over the moon! I DID IT! I beat the risk I made it through he was fine. My children still had their mother and my husband still had his wife.

On the third day which was discharge day my husband started getting things ready. We were getting to bring our son home.

The nursery was ready to discharge. Just waiting on final word from my Ob. When he arrived I told him how excited I was to get home. He checked me then gave me that look I only saw one time before from him. I knew something was wrong. Last time he gave me that look was when at first it looked like he would be delivering at 33 weeks until he rechecked my scar tissue measurements. My hopes were dashed. He said I wouldn’t be going home today.

My stomach was swollen, red and tender to the touch on the same side I had complained about and been blown off. I was told not to breast feed for 24 hrs given a pump to dump all milk for the next 24 hrs.

The pain was bad but I had given up on complaining. Maybe now they will listen? I was sent for a CAT scan which showed I had a bowel obstruction. I had to get a n-g tube and lots of other interventions to “unstop” me. I couldn’t hold my baby. The pain was enough to make the strongest person break down.

After 3 days they said I was better and sent me home. I was extremely happy. My family was going to be together again! We got home and settled. I was still weak walking up the porch steps made me out of breathe. I felt like I couldn’t move. But I had to keep going. I’m getting better.

After I few days my condition had not improved. It had worsened. I didn’t do anything. I could barley breathe without hurting. My husband had to do it all. I only did night feedings. It was so painful breastfeeding wasn’t possible.

Then it started, I was extremely hot but freezing. Okay great just the after baby sickness. It was about time my son was 2 weeks old. I took my temp and was shocked when it said 104.6 I don’t think I ever had a temp that high! I took some tylenol and my husband made me take a cold bath. To me it felt like I was jumping in water that was frozen! The next day my temp was still high nothing was bringing it down and my pain was so bad I was taking the pain pills to sleep. I called my Ob and was seen as soon as I got there.

He checked me “Ob side” I looked to be healing great from birth! I had lost a lot of weight but some people lose it fast. But I wasn’t eating. In fact I had a little bit of broth every day cause I had to get something. By a little bit I mean 2-8 spoons of it.

My Ob was concerned because of the barley eating and drinking, also the red swollen spot that had developed over my belly button. It was tender to the touch. He sent me to the general surgeon that saw me after I had the baby. He. Checked me out and said I had cellulites (skin infection) put me in antibiotics and secheuled and appt with the gastrointestinal doctor that saw me in the hospital. The appointment wasn’t until Monday of the next week. It was only Tuesday. So we went home and started treating my skin infection.

My husband seemed to be getting frustrated because I wasn’t eating or drinking like I should I only wanted to lay on the couch. I didn’t want to hold my baby. I didn’t want my other two to bother me. I honestly wanted to die. I was giving up my fight I’m not strong. I can’t do this anymore.

The time came for my appointment with the gi doctor. I still had high fevers even though I was taken my antibiotics as I was told. He took one look at my spot and said it wasn’t cellulites. I needed a ct to make sure it wasn’t a hernia but he knew it wasn’t cellulites.

The earliest I could get a ct appointment was a Wednseday. So we went home and waited. I was getting worse. To make matters worse the pain meds I was using just to be able to lay down and sleep at night were stolen! My husbands aunt took over 20 pills right out from under me! While I was laying on the couch telling her how bad my pain was. She did that while my husband was gone getting my other two from school.
The day of my ct we dropped the kids off with my grandmother and told them we would be back in a couple of hours. Gave kisses and hugs. My grandfather looked at me with Hirt in his eyes. I could tell he knew how much pain I was in. No matter how hard I tried to hide it. He kissed me on my head and said he would see me in a little bit.

When my husband and I arrived they made me drink more barium. That stuff is awful! I was actually thirsty for real drink after it. For the first time in days I wanted a juice! They gave me a blanket because I was freezing and had me wait cause they needed to call the doctor and have him look at it. They wouldn’t give me a juice though. I was highly upset about that.

After about 30 minutes they called is to a corner of the waiting room that no one was in and said I had to get to the hosptial. No going home and getting things get there ASAP! No answers as to way.

We got to the hosptial and I was admitted. Still no answers. I watched my nurse pour a huge cup of water down the drain because the doctor said I couldn’t eat or drink. I may be having laproscopic surgery but they are seeing if they could do it then. But why? We didn’t know. It wasn’t until 930 at night FIVE hours after we were admitted I was told over the phone I would be having surgery in the morning I had a little bit of infection in my pelvic area.

We didn’t know what to think still. We had no answers and I still had nothing to eat or drink! I wanted to go home and come back in the morning but they wouldn’t let me. I wanted my babies.

The next day at 200pm I was taken to pre-op gave hugs and kisses to my mom and husband and I love yous were exchanged. After that I was out like a light. I don’t remember much. My next memory was waking up and seeing my husband, my step daughter, my husbands exwife and her husband in front of my bed talking. I looked down to see I had the dreaded N-g tube again. Great! And passed back out.

My next memory was sometime the next day. I woke up to extreme pain. My nurse came in to change my dressings. I got enough strength to look. “what happened? Why am I like this” I was cut from under my breast all the way to where they did the csection. I was in tears. MY BODY WAS RUINED!

My surgeon came in a few minutes later and asked how I was feeling. “jerk how do you think I feel!” was what went through my head. I replied “I was fine till I saw what you did to me!” he then offered to do plastic surgery for me later on I’m the future. Yeah he just confirmed he is a jerk. I had cuts, bandages, staples and tubes all over my stomach. But why?! What is going on.

He later explained that the spot on my stomach was actually my colon. It had died and my body was trying to reject it. I was leaking infection into my pelvic area which my body was trying to protect myself against by forming a barrier around it the size of a softball. My stomach was full of infection and I had mrsa.

Wait mrsa? I didn’t have that 3 weeks ago going into the csection. I was healthy! How did this happen?

Turns out the bowel obstruction never really healed. I have my theroy of how the mrsa happened. Remember the nurse left to get my husband. She left the or to get him. When she came back she went back to her spot next to the Ob. She wasnt gone long enough to scrub back in and she touched the door. She never changed her surgical gear. I’m pretty sure that caused me to get it.

I spent 2 weeks in the hosptial recovering. I was told another 24 hrs I would of been dead. What saved me was my age and the fact that they took the my son before he was ready. My body fought like lt was still pregnant.

We celebrated Easter and my daughters birthday in my hosptial room. Not the best but I wasn’t dead so that counts.

I was on antiotics the whole stay. I ha to have 48 hours of Iv nutrients before I was allowed to eat real food since I hadn’t eaten in awhile. I was also given 2 bags of blood.

Now its been a little over a year. I’m still here. I’m not as healthy as I used to be but my kids have me. I fight self esteem issues sometimes but it’s gotten better. I will wear a two piece to the beach, pool, or lake. The stares don’t bother me as much anymore.

My scar is proof I am strong. My stretch marks are proof of love/life/hope/ and miracles. I am a fighter. Even when I wanted to give up I kept going. No matter what was thrown at me. But it goes to show How quickly things can change

14 Months Postpartum After Second Birth (R)

Previous post here.

Name: R.
Age: 29
Number of births and pregnancies: 2 pregnancies, 2 births (both natural, vaginal)
Postpartum: 14 months since the youngest’s birth

I had my first child 2 1/2 years ago. I had laproscopic gall bladder removal surgery at 6 weeks postpartum.
At 11 months postpartum, I got pregnant with my second child. I am currently 14 months postpartum since the second child’s birth.

Stretch Marks and All (limiwa)

Age: 27
Pregnancies: 3 (miscarried 2nd pregnancy at 10 weeks)
Births: 2
Children: boy 8 years, girl 3 years

I just found this site a few weeks ago, and have found such comfort in the stories and pictures I have read and seen so far. Every woman has a story to tell, each as important and resonant as the last.
This is mine.

My body image issues started around the time I turned 15. It was then that a long buried secret had come to the surface of my life. For a time during my adolescent years, my uncle (by marriage) had molested and sexually assaulted me. Although the abuse had finally stopped, the shameful memory of it remained. During a time when my body was changing rapidly, the truth of the past at last came out. When I looked in the mirror I saw only an object that a man would lust after, it terrified and disgusted me. There was nothing wrong with my body at that time. I was at an ideal weight and had a nice figure, but still I hated it. My butt was too big, my boobs too small…etc, etc. I think in reality what I hated more than the actual appearance of my body was what my body had been through, what it now represented to me. It was like his fingerprints were all over me. I wavered constantly between feeling good about myself and feeling very, very low.

Not long after my “confession” my parents separated and later divorced. With an absentee father and a depressed mother, I found solace in a close male friend who later became my boyfriend. Little wonder that I became pregnant at age 18 by the same boy. I married that boy two weeks after I found out I was pregnant. Despite the ups and downs of those first few years together, it has certainly been a blessing in disguise. We just celebrated out 9th wedding anniversary and our relationship has never been better. He is a wonderful husband and father who is still my very best friend.

During my first pregnancy I was so clueless as to what it took to grow a healthy baby. I ate pretty much whatever I wanted, both good food and not so good food. I did exercise during the 2nd and part of the 3rd trimester, which helped to control my weight gain a little. I slathered on the cocoa butter religiously – to no avail. Before getting pregnant I weighed 125lbs (I’m 5’5”). Just hours before giving birth I weighed in at 168. My pregnancy went smoothly, as did my 16 hour labor and vaginal delivery. (With no drugs! Yikes! Now THAT was painful.) I never looked in the mirror or weighed myself the entire time I was preggo, however, I still felt enormous and I didn’t entirely enjoy being pregnant. It was quite a shock to see this red, floppy tummy at the hospital after giving birth.

When I came home I knew there was no way I would fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes, but I wanted to try it, just to see…I couldn’t even get my jeans past my knees! A week postpartum I weighed 150lbs and felt so terribly fat. After that I made myself stop thinking about it (I’m quite good at putting things out of my mind when I want to), and tried my best to focus on this new precious baby boy in my life. It was always there though, this nagging thought in the back of my mind telling me, “You’re ugly now. You’re all used up. And you hated yourself before! What are you going to do now?” It was (and still is sometimes) this scary, unsettling feeling. The only perk was the boobs! Lol. I finally had the chest I’d always wanted, but unfortunately nothing else remained of the body I used to have. Stretch marks covered my belly, my hips, and the tops of my thighs, angry and red. My butt and thighs had ballooned and I had no waist to speak of.

By the time my son was 6 months old the stretch marks had faded and most of the weight had come off. I decided that a serious exercise program was in order to tone my squishy body back up. Three months into it and I had lost the last 10lbs, bringing me to within 5lbs of my pre-baby weight. Although I was back around my “normal” body size, things didn’t look the same. The texture of my skin is forever damaged, never again to be smooth and seamless. My boobs are like empty, saggy sacks. A scar that runs the length of my stomach from a previous surgery at age 12, was also stretched. The pressure of the extra weigh gave my some spider veins and cellulite. I managed to get my body back though (for the most part), and feel a measure of confidence and acceptance, at least clothed. I could never regret the birth of my children no matter what the damage to my body :)

Nearly 5 years after having my son, I gave birth to my daughter. This time around I was smarter with what and how much I ate, and even exercised up until a few days before giving birth. Instead of the 40+ pounds I put on with my son, I gained a mere 25. Through out the pregnancy I felt glowing and lovely (Me! Imagine!). It was easier this time to appreciate my body for the wonderful thing it was doing rather than loathing it for getting bigger. Knowing my body better this time around, I decided to have the baby at home. It was an amazing experience! The atmosphere was calm, all my family was able to be there and I felt relaxed. After only 6 hours on intense labor and 10 minutes of pushing (thank goodness for all those tummy exercises!), out came my beautiful baby girl.

Surprisingly, my body bounced back even faster the second time. By the time my daughter was 4 months old I was back in my regular jeans. She is now 3 ½ years old and I’m actually 10lbs lighter than before I got pregnant with her. The only thing I can chock it up to is good nutrition, regular exercise and natural whole food supplements, which has helped my body to be in balance.

Still, I struggle at times. I’m sure many women, after looking over my photos, will roll their eyes and cluck to themselves, “Oh, please…”. And for the most part you’d be right. I realize that things could be so much worse (Can’t they always be?) and I should just be grateful for a healthy, functioning body that gave me two amazing kiddos and managed to come out of it okay. Only when I look at my super skinny friends who’ve also had kids (granted only one child each), who hardly have a single stretch mark to speak of, I feel a little robbed, cheated of a nice body at such a young age. Of course, no one else sees it this way, especially my husband who has always thought the world of me. He sees a goddess, and I only wish I could see myself through his eyes. It’s those past feelings that linger, the ones that tell me I’m shameful and worthless, a constant mental roadblock I fight to overcome. I may be able to ignore it for a time, then I’ll get a glimpse of myself in the mirror at the wrong time of the month and the negative feelings come rushing in on me.

Interestingly, I can look the pictures of all you lovely women and think to myself, “Aww, that’s not so bad, she looks great!” But it’s harder to be objective with myself. Having a daughter now, I’m so afraid of passing along these body hang ups to her. I don’t want her to ever criticize her body the way I find myself doing of mine. I want her to feel strong, beautiful and confidant. Although I don’t ever put myself down in front of her or my son, it’s still a near constant mental dialogue.

It has been, and probably will continue to be for some time, a battle to love myself 100%. I have my good days where I can wear something and feel extremely sexy, and other days I would rather be almost anyone else but me. The journey seems never ending, but I am determined to make progress, to take care of myself, to treat my body — stretch marks and all — as a vessel worthy of respect and awe whether or not I actually believe it yet.

Thank you for reading, I know it was long!

**The 1st two pictures are recent ones of me – don’t let the push-up bra fool you! ;)
The others are more close ups of my stretch marks (sorry for the low quality, these were taken with a camera phone)
It’s not really clear in the pictures, but I do have stretch marks all along my hips running down to the tops of my thighs, plus ones below my belly button. Yes, they’ve faded, but they’re fairly deep and thick so the long cracks of them remain. They look far worse in the flesh!

Appendix Removal Update (Fiona)

Original entry here.

I had my appendix removed when I was fairly far on in pregnancy, and it was a fairly traumatic experience. I have enclosed some photos of how my scar is looking now, and also a little update on me.

Some negatives which have come from my experience –

1. Only one big problem, my own mental state. At the time of this appendix operation, I was offered counselling, and I refused, and now I regret it. Its a huge operation, in terms of both medical terms and also emotional terms, and as I mentioned in my original post I was awake at the time, and still to this day (almost 3 years later) I have nightmares about what happened (although I must stress that the hospital staff were absolutely fantastic). The surgical stuff scared me a lot, I didn’t understand, and I was in a country where my
native language was not spoken. I felt so helpless, and obviously the operation was very, very bloody and messy, and it freaks me out. I remember seeing my daughters hands in the sack when they had my stomach pulled open (She was almost definitely drawn to the light), and I freaked out. I have nightmares about that
too. THATS what I have nightmares about. I think it comes from the own fear I felt about my own, and my unborn childs, life. I would urge anyone who goes through this operation during pregnancy to take whatever support is offered to you, and seek more, even if you feel fine. The emotional costs will probably come out later, rather than sooner. You will almost definitely find that you feel fantastic, so happy and grateful to be alive and still have your baby after the operation, but someday, one day, its probable that these strains will come back to haunt you.

One of the things I remember from my 1 week ICU stay is the doctor (who luckily spoke English) coming to me, and showing me a chart about the risks of pre-term delivery for my child depending on the weeks. I remember my pregnancy being at the “high risk of death or brain damage” scale, and thats what sticks in my

2 – I still have minor cramping and discomfort around the scar a few years later. My doctor puts this down to the muscles re-bonding. Also due to the scar it is highly unlikely I will ever have a flat tummy. But in the grand scheme of things … who cares really?

Some positives which have come from my experience –

1 – My child is healthy. VERY healthy! No words can describe how wonderful this feels.

2 – I have such renewed faith in the medical system of the country where I live (Japan, FYI.) Its amazing to go to a hospital, during pregnancy, and be treated seriously and not like I am some over-anxious other-to-be suffering from round ligament pain or braxton hicks. I worried at the time I was being too cautious,
but now I realize that doctors are doctors because they study hard, they learn a lot, and they are GOOD at what they do. Luckily my husband was the one who dragged me to the hospital, because If I had been home alone that night, I probably would not have gone. I think its important that if you do have similar pains in your stomach which do not fit the braxton hicks or round ligament pain description (NOT necessarily in
your regular “appendix pain” area) to just seek medical help. If In doubt, just go to the hospital.
The doctor is probably not going to care if you come to the hospital and it turns out to be nothing. But if it turns out to be something … you will definitely regret not going.

3 – The experience has given me the motivation to start to seriously learn the language of the country which I live.

4 and did I mention my child is fine! I am fine too!

Its been a while since my operation now, but I encourage anyone with any questions to contact me, at this email address. It can be really lonely going through something like this by yourself. Even with a loving partner, they dont understand how hard it can be.

Many thanks, Fiona

I am now 25, my child is 2 years, 4 months.

Also – in the photos the scar is on the wrong side, but its because I use mac photo booth to take the photos. It automatically flips them and as a result It appears the wrong way round.

I enclosed 2 photos of the scar, and also one of my daughter and me now.

Progress, Not Perfection (Anonymous)

First of all, I would just like to say that I love this website, and I have visited it nearly everyday since I found it. It is truly amazing the giant gap between the body images we are fed in the media and the REALITY of what healthy women really look like. But of course, being aware of the problem and overcoming the problem are two very different things, and the latter takes an immense amount of work to accomplish. I think I am getting there, but I know I have a long way to go. Some days are better than others. So, here is my story…

I became pregnant with my first child three months shy of my 20th birthday. I was in a horrible relationship, but didn’t realize it yet. My pregnancy was complicated by preeclampsia, due to stress, and depression. The father of the baby, whom I was living with, was (is still) an alcoholic and drug addict. I didn’t know about the drugs then, but I did know that he rarely came home at night. I stayed up worrying many nights. When he did come back, he would often threaten to leave me, occasionally packing all of his stuff in the car. He screamed a lot, and called me names. I was in a constant state of anxiety, and I felt like I was going crazy. He didn’t want to touch me all through the pregnancy. One night, he brought home this girl- a mutual “friend” of ours- and had sex with her in our bed while I was home.

My daughter was born in March. Her father was there, physically, but not mentally or emotionally. I spent the first month after my baby was born with a family member, and then we moved back to where her father was from. The abuse got worse, and turned physical. I honestly can’t remember him holding his daughter at all. Ever. I mean, I’m sure it happened a few times, but for the most part I was a single mom (with financial support). I breastfed my daughter for over a year. After a few months though, she only wanted to nurse on one side. I know it is pretty common for something like that to happen, but in my situation, it was unbearable. I was teased by her father and even his mother for my “lopsidedness”. I won’t drag you all through the next two years, but eventually I got sick of it all and got smart. Just after my daughter’s second birthday, I moved back home, got a job and moved on with my life.

Fast forward four years. I’m happily married and have a son now too. Sometimes I sit back and wonder how I got from 2007 to today. Luck? It seems so very far away, and yet it really wasn’t all that long ago. I still suffer from depression and now I have post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and get panic attacks. I birthed my son at a birth center without any pain medication. He was a robust nine pounds even. I felt fantastic (okay, maybe not fantastic)- but pretty damn good after the delivery. It was so much better than having an epidural, even though my labor was hard. My husband is a freaking angel. He is the most supportive, loving, amazing person I have ever met. He has put up with my “crazies” for the last three years like a champ.

Last year I had a breast augmentation to try to fix my uneven breasts. I am really happy with the result- although I do have days that I wish I could have been happy the way I was. I think my doctor did an amazing job, and I think they look and feel very natural. My husband was perfectly happy with me before, but he was very supportive of my decision too.

I had lost a lot of the weight I gained with my son, but I’ve recently gained some of it back. I’m not sure if it my diet, or the fact that I stopped hormonal birth control. We aren’t trying for another baby, and use condoms, but I just wanted to see what my cycle (and emotional state) would be like off of birth control. I had been on some form or another for almost ten years. I’m really unhappy about my weight right now. I was (a tiny) 120 before my daughter’s birth, gained 65 pounds during that pregnancy, and got down to 130 pounds about two years postpartum. The second time around, I think I gained about 40 pounds, got down to 135 and now I’m about 141 or so. I can’t fit into any of my old pants- even the things I was wearing 1 year postpartum, and it is really frustrating. I’m doing an ab class three times a week, but not much else. My diet is pretty sucky right now too. I am thinking about going vegetarian again- that’s what I did last year to get down to 135. I have an old scar on my belly- it’s not from a cesarean, but very similar to one like that- so I have that kind of skin/fat overhang thing there too, which I hate!

There is a lot more to my story of course… I’m just working on being able to talk about and share it all. Thank you for reading this. If there is one thing I’d wish for, it would be for everyone to be a little bit kinder to themselves and each other. Everyone has a story- some of them are like mine. Some stories are worse, and some are better. But everyone carries something around with them.

The first five photos are of me today, and the last one is when I was about 34 weeks pregnant with #2.

Age: 25
Number of pregnancies and births: 4 pregnancies, 2 births
The age of your children, or how far postpartum you are: 6 & 2, 2 years postpartum

So Many Scars (Audrey)

I’m finally healing on the inside as well as out. I am 18.5 months postpartum. My daughter Shannon was born via cesarean after 46 hours of labor and it was quite the blow for me. She also had an unknown birth defect (omphalocele) that required surgery the day after her birth. I didn’t hold my daughter until two days after she was born.

My journey to motherhood has been painful and my ability to bond with my daughter was severely crippled due to the trauma of the c/s and the following surgery and NICU stay. I finally feel I am beginning to heal from that. Part of it is forgiving my body and learning to accept the physical changes. I recently lost 20 pounds and am finally beginning to accept myself as I am. As I look at these pictures, I see so many scars that each have a story. I myself had surgery as a baby and I still have the scars from that and the feeding tube. It’s an additional link of commonality with my daughter. The stretch marks and especially the c/s scar are barely noticeable these days.

Ignore the bruise – I have taken up hoop dancing as part of my journey to accept myself.

My daughter is the sweetest little girl I could ever imagine. I am so blessed to have her and I treasure every moment. Although I would change the experience of her birth if I could, it IS still worth it. I can finally say that.

The first five pictures are me currently. The 6th is my daughter and the 7th is my belly at 35 weeks.