Wednesday, February 15, 2012

My weird body

Now that our boys are here and I'm no longer pregnant, I don't think too much about my infertility any more.  It's not that I've forgotten what I went through to get to this point; it's more that it's no longer my focus.  I think about it only occasionally.  But I have been thinking some since my delivery about how weird my body is.

Prior to being pregnant and after 3+ years of unsuccessful TTC, I knew my body was weird.  Everything about my history and test results would have indicated someone who could get pregnant and have a baby, either naturally or with minimal intervention, but I couldn't.  I always had regular cycles, and according to my local RE, I had the lab results and follicle counts of someone ten years younger.  Yet in 40 cycles of TTC with my eggs, I only saw one BFP ever, which resulted in a chemical pregnancy.

Now that I've gone through pregnancy and delivery, I feel even more weird.  I am a mother of two children now, but because I had a c-section at 34 weeks, I have never felt the pain of a uterine contraction (I've only ever had painless, Braxton Hicks contractions).  While I was in the hospital prior to the boys' birth, I never had an internal exam to check my cervix, and my cervix never dilated.  (We knew I would be having a c-section from the time I was admitted because AJ was breech.)

I know neither contractions or internal exams are anything enjoyable that I should miss, but I do feel kind odd having never experienced either as part of my birth experience.  (I did have two internal exams earlier in my pregnancy, so I didn't miss out on that experience entirely.)

Ever since puberty, I've had a "womanly" figure, i.e., lots of curves.  I certainly looked fertile.  I have always been bustier than average.  I wore a C cup as a freshman in high school and have worn something between a C and a DD ever since, depending on what I weighed.

Yet despite *looking* fertile and having larger-than-average breasts, I found myself unable to produce enough milk for even one of our babies.  Yes, I started at a bit of a disadvantage--I gave birth unexpectedly at 34 weeks, was on IV magnesium sulfate for three days, and suffered a significant post-c-section blood loss (all known to adversely affect milk supply)--but you'd think that five days of 'round the clock pumping would've produced enough milk for at least ONE baby.

In my case you'd think wrong.  For me, at least, there was no correlation between breast size and milk production.

So many women develop a weight problem for the first time after a pregnancy, when they have trouble shedding their "baby weight."  Not me.  I have battled my weight my whole life, but I gained only 22 lbs while pregnant with the twins.  On the day of my first OB follow-up appointment, exactly a week after my c-section, I weighed precisely the same amount I weighed at my first OB appointment. . . within a half pound of what I weighed the morning of our embryo transfer.

By my second OB follow-up appointment, less than three weeks after delivery, I weighed 15 lbs LESS than I did the day I got pregnant.  (Yes, I lost over 15 lbs--all retained fluid--between my first and second post-partum OB appointments.)  Today I weigh 16 lbs less than I did the morning of our embryo transfer.

[I'm certainly not complaining about the weight thing--it's nice to weigh 10 lbs less today than at any time since I've known my husband--but I do think it's decidedly odd.]

So yeah, my body is weird.

But I do feel fortunate that my body was at least capable of supporting and growing our two little guys for 34 weeks.  And having them here and safe and healthy makes me think less about my weird, dysfunctional body.


  1. I was on the mag drip after my c-section and had severe blood loss as well....I too never produced any milk. Weird. There must be a connection.

  2. Great to hear you are doing well S...and great to hear that the baby weight is gone! Sorry if you feel a little bit of grief or anger at your body because you missed out on childbirth pain or breastfeeding...but elated that you have crossed over and no longer feel the angst of IF pain! Take care...oh and consider posting a pic of those darlings, would ya?!

  3. Long comment - sorry.
    I'm glad you wrote this post. These are important issues. The way we feel about our pregnancy and our bodies, I mean. I had a scheduled C-section with Scout because he was breach (and ultimately wrapped up in his cord, we discovered). They scheduled the C-section for a week before his due date because they didn't want me to go into labor. So, like you, I never felt a moment of labor. Not a single contraction. Not even a Braxton-Hicks. Zero. So I know what you mean about missing that experience.

    I also had huge breastfeeding problems. (Although not huge breasts!) Even though much of the problem had to do with Scout developing a cow's milk intolerance, I was never able to provide Scout with a single day's worth of exclusive breastfeeding. I pumped, I nursed when I could, but my breasts never produced enough. So I hear you on this one too.

    The weight loss you are experiencing is awesome and I hope I have that kind of luck this time around. But in dealing with my birth experience and breastfeeding shortcomings, I finally came to terms with it by realizing that nothing in life really goes as we'd planned. It's good to have hopes and dreams and to imagine the perfect experience we want to have, but in the end, I decided that what was most important to me was that Scout was alive and healthy and I was finally a mom.

    Finally, I think that in time, you will find a warm and happy place for the memories you have of your birth experience - and even your breastfeeding issues. Because they are your unique story and your unique experience, they are special - even if they weren't what you'd hoped for.

  4. As of their two-week birthday, I'd lost 43 pounds. (But I'm sure none of it was fat...just fluid and baby stuff.) Pretty crazy!

    I keep looking at my body in the mirror--it's very weird to not have my babies inside anymore, and kind of amazing at how non-pregnant I already look (although there is still some belly, but it's not an obvious pregnancy thing).

    I'm glad to hear you're doing well, though!

  5. S. glad to hear you are doing well. I can totally relate to what you wrote. I had a scheduled c-section at 38 weeks exactly so I never experienced labour in the traditional sense.

    I gained 3lbs during my pregnancy and lost 30lbs within two to 3 weeks of giving birth. It was a singleton pregnancy for the most part. I was seriously sick my entire pregnancy.

    I also had issues with BFing, but those were mainly due to physical issues than milk production.

    Where we differ is that I think a lot about still being infertile. I still think my body betrayed me somehow. I love my daughter and I loved being pregnant despite the constant morning sickness. And, I am thankful that my body did what it was supposed to do to carry a pregnancy. The issue is I feel like there is still a "but" at the end of that last sentence.

  6. blogger/google just ate my comment and it was a long one.

    Suffice it to say, that I hear you and know where you are coming from.

  7. As you know - csection here, too (due to complete previa). And only a few contractions (PTL unfortunately), but no "labor." No "OMG, my water broke!" and no "Honey, its time!" stories. No real stories at all - which is a good thing in so many ways!

    I feel like my infertile body just wasn't all that good at being pregnant (God knows I had enough issues - thankfully none of the issues were with the BABY!).

    My biggest issue is knowing that I will never get to do it again (maybe that is for the better?)...

    I'm a little torn as you can see!



  9. OH, forget it...I'll email you or fb you I guess...


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