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So - I'm a Mom now! And other stuff that's happend over the last 6 years...

Friday, February 16, 2018

Hello -

I haven't been blogging for a long time, but wanted to just quickly update on where I've been and what's been going on.

One of the reasons I started my weight loss journey back in late 2010 was that I was hoping to become a mother - and because I needed IVF, my weight significantly impacted my overall odds of success.

So, after losing more than 100 pounds - 268 down to about 150 and maintaining that successfully for a year (within a range of 147-153) - I decided to go forward with IVF. (We also looked into adoption and donor embryos as alternatives, but in part my personal motivation to become a mom was wanting part of Dad to live on, so I chose to pursue IVF.)

I was pretty freaked out about potential weight gain – but I also wanted to be a mother – so I told myself I’d just do everything I could NOT to end up morbidly obese again, and hopefully stay pretty close to goal.

Not sure I'd call what happened after that a "maintenance" story exactly, because I sure did manage to put on significant weight at a few points - but I did do pretty well with managing my weight, with just one significant fail late in my 2nd successful pregnancy, and am now finally back (nearly) at goal again. So maybe a "weight management" story? That seems more accurate.

It’s kind of a long tale, but I promise that it does have a happy ending! I am putting it out there in hopes it is helpful/inspiring to someone else who is facing similar challenges.

My first IVF cycle in late 2012 started promisingly, but unfortunately ended in a Christmas miscarriage. I gained about 10 pounds through the IVF and the early pregnancy, which I managed to lose before we were ready to try again.

But that was the last time my weight got back to goal again (I’m still in the high 150s now… getting close, but not there yet!).

I’ll spare you most of the details of the 3 IVF cycles we went through in 2013 – each of which also resulted in a pregnancy, and each of which ended in a miscarriage. I gained about 10 pounds each time, but was only able to lose some before it was time to try again – so my weight kept creeping up.

The last miscarriage in October 2013 was the hardest on me. We decided to have the fetal tissue tested, and although because of my age I had expected to be told that there was a genetic problem that caused the miscarriage, it turned out that it had been a genetically perfect baby girl - so something was wrong with ME and causing me to miscarry. This was beyond devastating - and to top it off I got the news that I had lost a healthy baby girl literally the day before my sister had her first baby - my niece - who was also my Mom's first grandchild. I tried to stay happy for her (and truly, I WAS happy for her), but it was hard to handle my own private grief and fear that my last chance to be a mom had slipped away.

I was 40, and my odds at that point weren't great. We decided to go to a new clinic and do "everything" available to try to carry a pregnancy to term. I went through two cycles of IVF back to back in early 2014 (5 pound gain with each), and had the resulting embryos tested and frozen. At that age, with 7 embryos, the straight odds said we could expect one or if we were lucky two viable embryos, hopefully of reasonable quality.

We were beyond lucky and got three genetically perfect, high grade embryos from those two last cycles. We were not sure that we had figured out what was causing the miscarriages, but we THOUGHT it might be related to a genetic blood clotting issue I have – and we decided to try shots of anticoagulants pre-pregnancy and daily throughout the pregnancy.

We transferred one embryo (i.e., put the embryo in my uterus and hoped for the best!) – with the thought that we would reserve the others in case my miscarriage issue was not fixed and we needed to consider having a surrogate carry them to term. But we were lucky and this time the pregnancy “stuck” and was healthy throughout (although you can bet I was afraid every minute!). My first son arrived in early 2015.

I gained more weight than I had wanted – but my OB was happy with where I ended up, and I really did do as well as I could given that I had STRONG aversions to many of my “go to” maintenance foods, and only wanted starchy carbs. (Could not stand lean protein or salad, for example!) And whole milk – LOTS of whole milk! I’d drink it by the gallon! No ice cream cravings – but frankly that much whole milk isn’t great either!

I was 218 the day I gave birth, and managed to get back down to about 170 within 6 months, but didn't really press much further. It was a reasonable weight for me (size 8-10), but I was still a bit unhappy about it.

We went forward with baby #2 – from another of my 2014 frozen embryos in 2016, with healthy boy #2 arriving in May 2017. I did OK with weight management in the first trimester and early second, but unfortunately, had a large, high-stakes trial (I’m a lawyer) out of town at 6-7 months pregnant. WAAAAY too much snacking in the trial "war room" to keep nausea at bay and to calm anxiety (plus 18-20 hour days every day for 5 weeks) meant I gained a ton of weight and ended up around 230 by the end, and couldn’t fit into much but my maternity clothes.

Was NOT happy about that, but had trouble losing weight immediately since breast feeding made me ravenously hungry – but unfortunately my milk supply was pretty weak and I wasn’t putting out nearly the sort of calories I needed to keep up with what I was eating. Weight slowly trended down – but not fast enough for me, since I felt miserably out of shape!

I seriously re-committed to my health in mid-July 2018, doing pretty much the same program as before, and luckily had relatively quick success with that. I wasn’t sure I could get myself back on track – but actually, after losing so much weight and maintaining it, it actually felt to me like I was finally getting back to NORMAL again. I expected it to be very hard to re-lose, but while there were of course some snags, I think it helped to know that I really do know what I’m doing, and that if I kept going, it WOULD work.

I am now VERY close to goal weight again, though not quite there yet. I can easily wear a size 6, but my size 4 wardrobe is still tight. I know to many of you still struggling, that sounds like a dream – but I really do want to be able to get all the way back there, not just for the clothes but to prove to myself that I CAN do it.

Right now, I’m just trying to get the motivation to get the last few pounds off – both for vanity, and because I can stand to be fitter now that I have two very active little boys to keep up with! As many of you may know, the last few pounds can be stubborn – and I need to re-commit to get them off.

I find every last one of you putting in the work to improve your health inspiring – which is why I keep coming back to SparkPeople. I hope my story helps some of you as well. I’ll try to blog a bit more about it in the future, with some more specific tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way!

Cheers to all of you! :)
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