Andrea’s Blog

My Weight (and size) Matters

As a “body positive” advocate and role model for thousands of women, (10+ Reasons I Love My Ugly Body) sometimes I get flack for saying that my weight (and size) matters.

It’s like people think that I can’t love my body if I say I want, or am trying, to lose weight. But nothing could be farther from the truth.

My weight matters to me because I love my body.

In this new world of “body love” and “body acceptance” the scale (and our size) has (have) become something to discredit, which creates a bit of a slippery slope.

Although neither body-weight, nor size, should be the deciding factor when it comes to our health and happiness, they are undeniably a factor when it comes to our quality of life.

My highest weight was 328 pounds, in 2011. My lowest weight was 163 pounds in 2013.

My current weight is 201 pounds, post baby.

My comfy, sustainable, feel-great weight is 172 pounds.

(FYI, picture above is a gross misrepresentation of my actual jumping abilities, even at 172 pounds 🙂 )

I am 5 feet and 1 inch tall.

At 172 pounds I am plus sized according to the tag in my jeans and obese according to the BMI chart.

I still have cellulite, saddlebags, love handles and rolls but at 172 pounds, my body feels better and is able to do more than where I am now– which is why I’m working to lose the baby weight. 

My weight (and size) matters because it directly affects how I feel: physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Physically, my weight (and size) matters to me because…

  • I want to live the life I desire without limitations due to my weight…or corresponding size.
  • I want my joints to be pain-free and capable of doing their jobs.
  • I want to have as much energy and stamina as possible because there’s a lot that I want to do.
  • I never want a seat belt extender on a plane; or to be uncomfortable in a chair with arms; or to be too big to fit on a roller coaster, again!
  • I never want to struggle to tie my shoes or to get up and down off the floor again– at least not until I’m really old!
  • My weight (and size) matters  because I love feeling my best, physically!

Mentally, my weight (and size) matters to me because…

  • I like knowing that I am doing my best to live the life I want to live.
  • I know that I only have one body and I’m the only one who can take care of it.
  • I like knowing that I am doing my best to prevent cancer, heart disease and osteoporosis, among other weight-related health concerns.
  • I want my son to see a mom who cares about herself, for herself and for him.
  • I value my life and my future is very important to me.
  • My weight (and size) matter because I love feeling my best, mentally!

Emotionally, my weight (and size) matters to me because…

  • I feel a great sense of pride when I care for my body
  • I don’t want to feel stressed or anxious about any of the things I mentioned above, like I used to.
  • I never want to regret the choices I’ve made when it comes to my health.
  • I enjoy feeling strong and capable.
  • I am proud of myself when I make my weight a priority because I feel good physically and mentally.
  • My weight (and size) matter because I love feeling good, emotionally!

It matters because I love my body.
It matters because I find joy in my body.
It matters because I am proud of my body.
It matters because I value my body.

It matters because I love life and I want to live my best happy, healthy, I’mperfect Life every day in my best happy, healthy (plus sized, obese, “ugly“) body for as long as I can!


I AM Making Progress!

Yesterday I posted a video on Facebook of myself  jumping onto four, 45lbs plates– the equivalent of about 12″. (WATCH HERE)

It took every ounce of courage I had to attempt it. I am vertically challenged in more ways than just my height. (5’1″)

jump2In 2014 I managed to jump onto 6 plates (about 18″) and I filmed it for all to see, it was pretty comical. (Check it out HERE)

It’s now 2017 and after two pregnancies in one year (one brief and one almost full-term with a healthy baby!) and very minimal training (if you can even call it that!) my body is a mess. (You may have read about it in my last blog post- New Mom Struggling)

My body is still holding onto 30lbs of the 50lbs I gained, and my body composition is worse.

HOWEVER, I have not given up on getting faster, better, stronger than before…

I am still focused on making progress! 

And this is why I host the I’mperfect Life #MakingProgress Challenge every year!

What progress will YOU make this year?!


JOIN THE ANNUAL I’mperfect Life 

#MakingProgress Challenge!

 

Faster (1)CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS!


Although I’m behind where I was almost three years ago, and although I will likely be behind for a while, I’m not starting over!

Yesterday’s 12″ jump proves it.

When I first started Crossfit in 2012, about 20lbs heavier than I am now, it took me 14 months to lose 70lbs (that’s WITH weight loss surgery!) and more than TWO years to be able to jump 12″.

Today, I am 212lbs and I can jump 12″.

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That proves right there that:

Despite the weight gain…

Despite the added fat…

Despite my lack of training…

My body is still much stronger than it was four years ago.

I may not like the way my body looks (it’s downright hard to look at the video from yesterday) but I am VERY PROUD of what it can still do.

And I love that I am still making progress!

This almost 40 year old body that used to weight 328lbs is faster, stronger, better than before.

It has made great amounts of progress…and will continue to do so as long as I continue to try. 

I hope you’re working to make progress too! 

<3 Andrea

PS: I hope to see your accomplishments this year and that I’ll be able to send YOU a medal in December!


The Truth Is I'm Experiencing the New Mom Struggle

The truth is, I’m experiencing the new mom struggle.

The truth is, I haven’t lost any baby weight despite exclusive breastfeeding.

The truth is, I’m exhausted because it’s been over 8 months since I’ve slept more than 4 hours at a time– and that has only happened twice.

The truth is, I feel frustrated…a lot, likely fueled by lack of sleep, feeling like there aren’t enough hours in the day, and having a super high maintenance baby.

The truth is, I miss blogging, teaching, coaching, and training, because that’s a huge part of my identity and something that makes my heart happy.

The truth is, I miss my “ugly body” because it felt limitless.

The truth is, I really didn’t know I could love something as much as I love my sweet baby boy.

The truth is, I miss my old self– the one who was far less vulnerable and much more rational.

The truth is, this mama stuff is way harder than I thought it would be. Go ahead, say, “I told ya so!”

The truth is, despite so much media (mass and social) depicting women as super moms, I know that these feelings are totally normal and that I will be okay.

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I am a new mom, struggling.

This past year has brought a lot of change to my life– mostly in the form of a baby. A baby who has turned my world completely upside-down in ways I never imagined.

I knew being a mom would change me from the inside out. I knew that what used to be normal would be different forever.

I knew that my body would change, my routines would change, my interests would change, my relationships would change, and that my responsibilities would most definitely change.

I knew all of this– partially because people were constantly telling me while I was pregnant but also because I’ve seen so many of my friends experience these changes in their own lives as they added the title of “Mom” to their identities.

I thought knowing this would be enough to prepare me for what was to come, but I was wrong.

Although I wholeheartedly believe that knowing all of this has allowed me to accept these physical, mental, and emotional changes much better than if I had come into this blindly, there was nothing anyone could have said, nor anything I could have witnessed that would have adequately prepared me for the challenges and struggles I am working through.

New mom struggle #1…

Joshua was born in April– December 3oth marks the first time I have made it to the gym three days in one week…in over a year.

December 30th, was also the first time I was away from him for more than three hours, which has only happened one other time– see below…

31270471273_050fec9299_zBrett and I had our first “date night” on December 12th. It was the first time I was away from Josh for almost three hours.  It was the first time that I wore a REAL bra since he was born.

It was the first time I had both of my arms ALL TO MYSELF for more than 2 hours (while awake) since April 19th. I forgot what that felt like! It was blissful and freeing, along with a side of, “Good gawd I miss that kid! Can we go home now?”

 

I feel the mom guilt– something I had heard about but thought I’d be able to rationalize because…I AM A LOGICAL PERSON! (Or at least I used to be)

Turns out, I’m not who I used to be nor who I thought I’d be post baby.

New mom struggle #2…

My body is an absolute disaster— and if another person says to me, “you just had a baby, go easy on yourself,” I might punch them. Please don’t be that person!

Yes, yes, I know I just had a baby. Even though “just” is a relative term– and relatively speaking, he was not exactly, “just” born.” But yes, I do know that I had a baby and I am by no means beating myself up over this mess, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a wreck or that I don’t miss how it used to be.

I miss my pre-baby body, a lot– especially my pre-miscarriage body! (Two pregnancies in one year can really wreak havoc!)

I miss being strong. I miss being able to climb a rope, lift heavy things, hold my chin over a bar, and jump onto a 20″ box.

I miss being able to see the muscles in my forearms. I miss my shoulders having some undeniable definition, and I miss my traps! Oh how I miss my trapezius muscles!

I miss my legs looking strong, even if it required me to lie on my back with my toes in the air to see my quadriceps.

Although it was hard to see my strength on the outside, I knew I could do amazing things.

And yes, I know…I made a human, and yes, that is totally and completely amazing too!

I still love my body and appreciate it every day, but I miss it too.

New mom struggle #3…

I miss being able to sit down and write. I have attempted to write a thoughtful blog post so many times over the last 8 months, to no avail. Between exhaustion, distractions, and unmedicated ADD, my brain is seriously lacking in its ability to function— especially when it comes to completing thoughts, much less completing sentences that others can comprehend.

imperfectlife-com-1I miss being able to dedicate 10+ hours per day to my blog and my business. I miss having the time, organization, and energy to teach, coach and train others. I miss it so much, because that’s what fills MY cup.

Ah, the proverbial cup. I miss that too.

I mean it’s still there, kinda, and it is constantly being filled by so many things– my husband, my son, occasional workouts, chats with friends, and you! But it has a lot of holes in it right now, so it’s hard to keep it full, much less running over.

These days it’s less like a cup and more like a colander– one that’s draining pasta.

The substance (pasta) that I really need is there, but the stuff I want (the water), keeps rushing through.

I get some water here and there: moments of clarity; some deep, albeit short sleep; time to do something for myself to recharge a bit; a good workout; a meaningful conversation with a friend; or a connection with someone from the I’mperfect Life (IPL) community.

In those moments my cup most definitely runneth over– it just drains really, really fast!

New mom struggle solution???

Being a mom is hard.

It requires a complete reevaluation of priorities, some serious time-management abilities, and some creative organizational skills. None of which are strengths for me, but things I’m slowly working to improve. Slowly.

The truth is, I am evolving. My life is evolving, just as it has for the past 39 years and hopefully it will continue to evolve for at least another 39, more.

I am a new mom struggling, but I’m also adapting.32080993685_f8efdf4b3a_z

I will continue adapting to the best of my ability for as long as I’m alive— single, married, skinny (did that ever happen?), fat, employed, unemployed, self-employed, no kids, one kid, more kids (?), a colander full of pasta, rice, or quinoa, and hopefully someday (mostly dependent on consecutive nights of quality sleep) a real cup that holds as much water as I can handle!

I know that day will come, but until then, I will continue to learn and grow and adapt and be grateful for the life I get to live right now, struggles and all.

Every day I work to follow the Rules for Living an I’mperfect Life…and although I am a new mom struggling, I can say that following those 12 rules are enabling me to live my best, happy, healthy, (and tired) lifestyle.

I love my I’mperfect Life- even when it’s hard…and it’s really hard right now!

Also, I just wrote an entire blog post. It took me five full days to complete but it happened! Go me! Hooray for progress!


I Lost the Diet Bet!

I hosted a Diet Bet game recently and I did not “win.”

I thought I was ready. I thought my body would be willing to start parting with the excess fat it stored during my pregnancy. I thought if I counted my calories and got back to exercising and focused on protein and veggies with limited starches and some fat that I would be able to drop these extra 30lbs I’ve been carrying since I got pregnant. I mean, that’s what I did before and it worked so it would makes sense that I could just snap my fingers and do it again, right?

WRONG!

As it turns out, neither my body nor my brain are ready to do any such thing and so my weight stayed exactly the same for four weeks: 212lbs.

Being a new mom and breastfeeding exclusively means lots of changes in my life and body right now. I am neither ashamed nor disappointed in that. Sure I miss my super fit, super strong, super cute-in-a pair-of-jeans, “Ugly Body,” but that’s not where I am in my life right now, and that’s okay.

I love myself as much as ever and am grateful for my body. 

It has given me a beautiful baby and provides me with the strength and endurance to live a full and active life, despite number on the scale…or the increased size of my jeans!

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Sure, I’d like to lose this baby weight sooner rather than later, but for now, I’m working with what I’ve got.

I’m not eating the way I would if I was in “weight loss” mode because that seems impossible right now, unless I want to be completely miserable and potentially compromise my milk supply.

My body needs quick acting fuel right now (carbohydrates) in order to sustain my life and my baby’s life. It lets me know this by tempting me with gnawing off my wrists if I don’t get food (typically starch and fat) in my stomach within 15 minutes of nursing…I eat a lot of peanut butter sandwiches these days!

In the meantime, I’m back in the box (CrossFit) attempting to get in 3 workouts per week because despite my current diet I still love the feeling of good workout! (Rule #3 for Living an I’mperfect Life) Of course this varies based on my ability to time things just right in order for us (baby and me) to get out of the house on time but I’m doing my (current) best (Following Rule #10 for living a happy, healthy, I’mperfect Life) because time management is not one of my strengths!

Really, I’m following ALL 12 of the rules…because THEY ARE THE RULES! But without rule number 10 I’d be left feeling like I was failing. Which, when living an I’mperfect Life, “failure” is never even in question.

Are you following the rules? wink, wink, nudge, nudge!

It feels great to be back in the box; feeling strong is the best feeling in the world! And although I hardly feel as strong as I did this time last year, I know that the only way to get faster, stronger, better is to keep doing it. Not to mention, working out is helping me reconnect with my postpartum body by moving, pushing, sweating, breathing and getting my blood pumping. If feels amazing– even when it’s hard. Let’s be honest, sometimes it just totally sucks…in a good way!?

Anyway, the Diet Bet was a great experience despite not winning, myself. Seeing others who were proud of themselves whether or not they met their goal made me happy and it gave me an opportunity to introduce new people the the I’mperfect Life Philosophy and Rules for Living a Happy, Healthy I’mperfect Life!

Find joy where you are and get excited about where you’re going! 

I know I am!

 


One Crazy-A Birth Story!

Throughout my pregnancy, especially near the end, people would often ask if I had a birth plan and my response was always a resounding, “No!”

If there’s one thing I learned from my pregnancy it was that my life-long expectations were wrong. For some reason I was not the floating-through-a-field-of-daisies pregnant woman that I thought I would be. What the crap? Instead I hated almost every minute of the whole experience so the thought of having a birth plan seemed pointless to me. I figured I knew enough about birthing babies to know that my ideal would be a natural, drug-free, vaginal birth but I also knew that my only true goal was to have a happy, healthy, full-term, chubby baby. I got neither. Well, not exactly anyway.

Oh! Real quick, if you want to receive notifications of updates to andreamatthes.com, please be sure to subscribe on the right (desk top) or at the bottom (mobile). These posts are separate from those on imperfectlife.com. 

Turns out I was right, I didn’t know what to expect, and my body surprised me, yet again! What ended up happening was never even a consideration…

After 34 weeks and six days of a textbook pregnancy– like PERFECT…perfect growth, perfect blood pressure, perfect glucose, perfect EVERYTHING…my water broke, I went into labor and had a c-section for a breech baby that wasn’t quite ready to be born, here’s how it went down…

Sunday, April 10th— I started losing my mucus plug.

Googled it: labor could start in 1-2 weeks…or it could grow back. “Ummm…what the crap?”

The 2016 I’mperfect Life Women’s Retreat that I host each year was scheduled for the following week! I had 13 women from all over the US, Canada and England coming to spend a week together, learning to embrace their I’mperfect Life. I could NOT miss it.

“Please grow back little mucus plug. PLEASE!”

At least we finished the nursery that day!

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Friday April 15th— I go to my 34 week check up and mention the loss of my mucus plug to the doc. He says, “Eh, don’t worry about it. This is your first pregnancy, the chances of anything happening are slim.”

“But I have a retreat that I’m hosting next week and I CANNOT have this baby before then. Is there anything I should avoid?”

Him, “Just don’t lift anything over 20lbs.”

“I will be walking a lot, is that okay?”

“Yep, just be sure to drink plenty of water.”

“What about sex?”

“You’d need to have a lot of sex in order to make anything happen.”

Me,”Okay, so no sex. Thank you and goodbye.”

This picture was taken that afternoon…

Matthes-1 - Copy

Sunday April 16th— 7am- go to the bathroom.

Same day, one hour later– Either I got kicked in the bladder or I lost a little fluid. Not sure which since bladder control wasn’t one of my strengths at that point in my pregnancy, and although this was a little different than usual it wasn’t different enough to feel alarmed.

Monday April 17th— I tell my mom what’s been going on, she says, “you know…you should really go get checked out before you leave for the retreat, if for no other reason than peace of mind.”

“Yeah, yeah, okay, I will.”

I play phone tag with my doctor’s office all afternoon.

At 4pm the nurse tells me that the doctor thinks I’m fine but if it would make me feel better I could go to the hospital and they could run a test to make sure I’m not leaking any fluid and have me in and out in about an hour since the lab is onsite.

Okay, cool. I had a shit-ton of stuff to do that night, including pack my clothes for the retreat the next day… but since “it will only take an hour” I could spare that for some “peace of mind.”

4:50pm— I arrive at the hospital, go to labor and delivery, tell the intake person my whole life history, tell the triage nurse what’s up– she kind of thinks I’m crazy but also understands. I take off all my clothes, put on a hospital gown, lie down on the world’s 2nd most uncomfortable bed just to have the nurse make it worse by shoving a pillow under my right hip “to help the baby monitor” and then I stay there unable to move for what felt like, forever.

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The doctor finally comes in around 7pm, I tell him my story, he also thinks I’m crazy but understands as well. He does 3 tests. Most importantly the “swab test”– basically he stuck a giant q-tip up my vagina and left it there for one minute (timed) which might as well have been 45 minutes because it was so painful. **No lube on the speculum because it would contaminate the results…perhaps the worst pain of the next 24 hours…which, spoiler alert: includes labor! Then he does a cough test, basically looked at my cervix while I coughed to see if he SAW any fluid leaking, and then he checked my cervix to see if I was dilated.

Based on his exam he was sure everything was okay. Told me to get dressed and that he wouldn’t see me again because there would be no reason for him to see me again, and that the nurse would be back in about an hour to tell me the swab test was negative (after the lab checked it) and that I could go home.

One hour later…

“So…remember how I told you you wouldn’t see me again?” Says the doc as he hesitantly opens the door to the room in which I’ve been held hostage for what has now been almost four hours.

“Shit.”

“That swab test came back positive.”

“Shit. No. That’s not possible.”

“Well the other tests were negative, so only 1 of the 3 were positive but that one is the most reliable. I’m going to call your OB and send you for an ultrasound, then we’ll follow back up after that.”

“Shit.”

Fast forward another couple hours– ultrasound looks fine. Fluid levels are normal.

Doc comes in…”Everything looks good, your OB wants you to stay overnight and she will come in the morning to run some more tests just to be sure. It’s possible that the swab was a false positive, so you’re probably fine.”

OH MY GOD I’M STARVING!

I get admitted and sent upstairs to the “high risk” unit. Brett goes to the cafeteria (which is all but closed for the night) and finds me two, likely 12 hour-old salads, which I devour while telling him that they are probably going to give me diarrhea.

He leaves for the night and I try to get some sleep in the world’s 3rd most uncomfortable bed– basically a plastic air mattress with a thin fitted sheet which caused me to sweat uncontrollably all freaking night. (the first most uncomfortable bed was the one in the family unit, post delivery– worst EVER!)

Tuesday, April 19th, 6am…I’m wide awake.

The (presumed) salad has taken over my digestive tract and I feel bloated, gassy, uncomfortable and anxious to get the frigg out of the hospital because I have shit to do…like pack my clothes, then pack the truck with all of the retreat supplies, drive them down to the retreat house, unload, set up, and then go grocery shopping for 5 days worth of groceries for 15 women. I DO NOT HAVE TIME TO JUST LAY HERE AND WAIT!

9AM- My OB comes in…we laugh at this ridiculousness. She knows about the retreat and how picture perfect my pregnancy has been and…what are the odds? Etc. She does the same swab test and a couple others– they ALL come back negative.

But we’ll do one more ultrasound just to be sure.

12PM– the ultrasound tech comes in to do my ultrasound– everything looks great! Fluids are normal, baby is fine…the doctor will be in to discharge you shortly.

12:30PM– the tech leaves, I stand up to go to the bathroom because at this point I am having excruciating gas pains (which I kept to myself for the duration of the 20 minute ultrasound) and all I want to do is poop! As I stand up I noticed that my butt feels wet. “Eh, it’s probably just sweat from lying on that friggen 100 degree balloon this hospital calls a mattress!”

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12:31PM– *Pee

12:32PM- I go to pull up my underwear and think, “Ew…these are gross. I need a new pair of underwear.” Remove underwear.

12:33PM- I think to myself, if these are too gross to put back on, maybe I should mention it to someone.

12:35PM- I tell the nurse about my underwear. She asks for them, I hand them over.

12:36PM– the doctor comes in to discharge me and tell me that she wants to follow up in two weeks because the baby is measuring small.

12:37PM– the nurse pinches a piece of litmus paper between the crotch of my underwear.

12:37:05PM- “Honey, your water broke.”

“SHIT. SHIT. SHIT! No. No! This cannot be happening!”

All smiles, “Yeah, you’re having a baby today.”

All I can do is swear a lot while my brain is processing what’s happening. “The retreat. THE MOTHER FRIGGEN RETREAT! What the hell am I going to do? I CANNOT have a baby today. Shit, shit fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.”

The doctor, “So change in plans, we won’t be discharging you today.”

Everyone is being a cute and cheery at this point, because who wouldn’t be excited to have a baby today?

Um..ME! I would NOT be excited today. This is the worst possible day for me to have a baby. Of all the days, this is the absolute worst!

“I need to call my husband” who by the way is at home helping my assistant, the amazing Melinda, load the truck with all of the retreat stuff so we can hit the road as soon as I get discharged– because remember, until 2 minutes ago, everything was a-okay!

12:39PM I call Brett.

Him, “Hey”

Sobbing ensues. “Maaahh ahh ahh yyyyyyy water broke.”

“What?”

“Maaahh ahh ahh yyyyyyy water broke.”

“Holy shit” (according to Melinda who was with him at the time, he turned white as a ghost) “What does that mean?”

“That means we’re having a baby today.”

“I’ll be right there.” (We live a 90 second car ride to the hospital)

In the meantime, my doctor informs me that since the baby is breech, I’d be having a c-section.

Organized chaos ensues.

“When was the last time you ate?”

“Um…I had a graham cracker and 1 TBS of peanut butter about 2 hours ago.”

It is determined that I will be scheduled for a c-section at 7pm.

Some time between 1 and 3 Melinda came to the hospital so I could hand over the retreat binder, where everything is outlined and organized, and I talk her through everything she needs to know…as best as I can through some really fun contractions.

Side note: she is amazing and obviously someone I would trust with my life (IPL is my life!) so I had complete confidence in her, but I felt awful handing over this responsibility to her. Not to mention how sad I was that I was going to miss the whole retreat experience! I work for an entire year planning this thing. It’s my (now other) baby that I work on creating for 9+ months in an effort to birth a life-changing event for those who attend. I couldn’t believe I was going to miss it!

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By 1:30  I was in full-on labor, having regular contractions which made going through all of the retreat stuff with Melinda…interesting.

Despite the stress, I was remarkably calm. Lots of deep breathing and reaching up to hold on to the bed rails during the peak of my contractions. Because Joshua was breech they wouldn’t let me get out of bed because they were worried a foot might make it’s way to my vagina. Isn’t that a pleasant thought?  This made me afraid to cough, sneeze, or laugh, too.

Once Melinda was all set I was totally cool. Everything changed. I knew that things I could control were taken care of and it was time to just let go and be present. I was relaxed and ready to meet my baby.

Other than the fear of delivering a random foot, I wasn’t nervous or anxious at all about labor or surgery. My only real concern was that Joshua was going to be okay. According to the ultrasound that morning he was measuring at 33 weeks, and his head circumference was at 31 weeks (he was actually 1 day shy of 35 weeks)…which seemed very concerning to me since he had measured at or ahead of schedule at all of my previous appointments and ultrasounds. Ugh. In fact when the doctor was coming in to discharge me she was planning to schedule a follow up ultrasound in a few weeks to check on him because she was concerned, too. Ugh.

Throughout the afternoon the scheduled time changed from 7, to 6, to 5 to, “alright, as soon as Dr. Croche is done with her current c-section you’re next!” Presumably because Baby J was not going to wait to be born.

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Having a c-section is a really weird thing. It all happened very fast, yet in very slow motion. I remember everything– I was completely present.

I remember being wheeled to the OR. I remember the needle going in my back for the anesthesia. I remember moving from the hospital bed to the operating table– the very narrow table that resembled a crucifix.

I remember them draping me, asking me if I minded having an oxygen cannula, which I thought was weird. I remember hearing them count all of the instruments– 27. I remember Brett coming in.

I remember them telling me that they couldn’t believe how relaxed I was and I remember thinking, what’s the alternative? What else can I do besides lay here and wait?

I, of course, couldn’t feel them cutting me, but I could most definitely feel the movements of everything else. If you’ve never had a c-section before, let me tell you…it’s CRAZY. I could feel my body rocking from side to side as they did whatever it was that they were doing…you know, birthing a baby through about 7 layers of skin, some fat, a few abdominal muscles and a uterus. Apparently he was WAY down in there because at one point I heard the doctor say, “I really need to work on my upper body strength!” Based on what I could feel, I’d agree, because I could tell she was struggling.

Like I said, it wasn’t painful, but good gawd it was violent.

When she pulled him out and I heard him cry, it finally felt real. Up until that moment I was caught up in the physicality of it. Totally calm and just taking in the goings-on around me. But when I heard him cry, it all changed.

In an instant, I was a mom.

They invited Brett to go over and meet baby J, until that moment Brett had been behind the curtain at my head. He says he went over and just stood there, staring until someone finally said, “do you want to take a picture?” He already had his phone in his hand but none if it was registering.

He took a picture and brought it over for me to see.

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My first words were, “whose baby is that?”

He did not look ANYTHING like I expected. He was not cute AT ALL.  And had we not been there in the room the whole time, I would have suspected they switched babies on us. Of course, babies always look weird when they first come out, but he was exceptionally weird.

The nurse brought him over for me to see him. I looked at him…maybe cried a little and then asked if I could kiss him. Which based on their response, they thought was strange, like, “duh, of course you can kiss him, he’s yours.”

How was I supposed to know?!

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All I knew was that I was having a baby that was 5 weeks early, who last I saw, was measuring two weeks behind– I wasn’t sure what to expect, or what was okay, or safe or what.

Unbeknownst to me he was perfectly healthy and totally ready to be alive, able to breathe on his own without oxygen

His APGAR scores were 8 and 9 and he was strong and wiggly but oh SO TINY!  Born at 18″ 4lbs 15oz.

I will stop here and write a separate post on the NICU stay that followed and then another one on my first month as a new mom, because, WHOA!

But all this to say that I’m really glad that I didn’t have a birth plan because none of this would have been on that list. And despite the surprise ending to a picture perfect pregnancy, we did end up with a picture perfect baby boy…eventually.

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The Struggle is Real!

I’m happy to report that as of my last OB visit I had only gained ONE pound in 3 weeks. That is a first for me throughout this pregnancy as I have averaged at least a pound per week up until this point. Oy!

As of today I am at 27 weeks and 1 day, right at the cusp of the 3rd trimester…you know, when the majority of the weight gain is SUPPOSED to start. (oh please, oh please, oh please, let me be the exception!) So far this week I’ve actually LOST 2 pounds– not because I’m trying to lose weight but probably because I’m…I don’t know, finally getting this pregnancy thing figured out? Maybe?

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I am not a fan of being pregnant, and trust me, nothing has changed. People assume that it’s because of the weight gain, which I understand, but let me assure you, the scale is a very small factor in my misery.

Yes, it is hard to see the scale sky rocket– I’m up a total of 35lbs from the day I got pregnant  (45 from my lowest weight) and knowing that it’s not over is a bit tough to swallow, but the number on the scale is not the source of my strong feelings of dislike about being pregnant.

Here’s an interesting fact about me: I HATE taking showers.

I hate them so much. I realize that they are necessary, and that I must make them happen in order to, you know, not be dirty and disgusting, which has benefits of things like: not stinking, being able to make and keep friends who aren’t afraid to hug me, sexy time with my husband and hair that doesn’t look like I styled it with french fries– which let’s be honest, that’s the best reason to shower. But the thing about showers is that you’re trapped in a little box, unable to escape the water that is spraying in your face, while you do a task that must be done– even if it’s just to wash the grease ball on top of your head, never mind shaving and all that other stuff that sometimes occurs. Sure you can turn on the radio, sing along, or listen to NPR and get some education, but you’re still in a box for however long it takes to get the job done.

PREGNANCY IS LONGEST SHOWER I HAVE EVER TAKEN!

Seriously guys. Forget the scale– that’s just a byproduct of being pregnant, a result of the SHOWER that has taken over my life. The thing I dislike about being pregnant the most is the feeling of being trapped in a box, unable to escape the water that is beating down on me. I mentioned before that I have totally lost control of EV-ER-Y-THING…including my thoughts, emotions, sometimes my words, my brain power, my bladder, my sleep pattern and my appetite. On top of this, all I want to do is all of the things that I can’t (shouldn’t) do.

I miss my high intensity workouts (turns out I’m a heart rate junkie)

I miss raw vegetables (I have sworn off all raw veg INCLUDING SALAD since the most recent listeria outbreak in bagged lettuce)

I want to go skiing and ride my bike and run.

I miss feeling strong.

I miss training– for something.

I want to not worry ALL THE FREAKING TIME.

I want to feel pure joy, rather than cautious optimism– turns out, previous miscarriage is a real joy-thief.

I want people to STOP CONSTANTLY SAYING THINGS LIKE, “Oh just wait…” or “You have no idea, wait till baby gets here.”

I want to stop being angry about people who are just trying to help, share, relate, advise, etc. But I can’t.

I want to be excited about things rather than fearing disappointment.

I want to feel like me again.

I know that being a mom is going to change my everything, I’m prepared for that.

I know that I will not sleep well for the first ??? however long, maybe ever again– I remember sleeping with one eye open when we had foster kids. I know that I will constantly worry about his health, safety and development for the rest of my life.

I know that I’m not going to pop this kid out and go back to being who I was and living the life I lived.

I know that it will all be different, but at least I’ll be out of the shower!

If nothing else I’ll be able to eat a damned deli sandwich and salad again! I want Jimmy John’s SO BAD!

I don’t expect to go from pregnant to giving birth to training for a triathlon overnight, but just being able to ride my bike knowing that if I fall I will only injure myself will feel like freedom.

The thing is, I really have nothing to complain about– other than the weight gain which isn’t fun, but is also completely normal. I am having a text book pregnancy. I feel great! Though I expect that to change in the near future as I get closer to my due date. My blood pressure has been perfect. My 1 hour glucose test was perfect. Baby is measuring right on schedule. All is good. I’m just an angry pregnant lady who feels trapped in the longest shower of her life. (I’m laughing at myself as I type this, because come on…it’s really so ridiculous!)

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As for the weight gain, like I said, I think I’m getting the hang of it. I’m working on finding ways to eat veggies in a way that doesn’t include potential listeriosis. And I’m using this down time to work on making I’mperfect Life better than ever. A LONG, SLOW, WORTHWHILE, process…kind of like a shower…and being pregnant.

<3 Andrea


Baby M Update- 21 Weeks

As of today I am officially 21 weeks pregnant which means I’m over halfway there!  Wahoo! It also means that I STILL don’t have any control over my: thoughts, emotions, energy level, eating habits, sleep pattern, bladder, or immune system. HA!

The second trimester is definitely going much better than the first, energy-wise. Minus the holidays, gym renovations, and a 10 day stint of strep throat, bronchitis and a sinus infection, I have been working out (fairly) regularly– about 3 times per week doing a combo of boot camp and CrossFit at my home box, CrossFit Unite. I am modifying pretty much everything, but it feels SO good to be moving again!

24071123815_14426a64ed_zThe diet stuff however is…eh…so-so. I’m still struggling to eat my “norm” of limited starches/sugars and have definitely been eating more bread-y type-foods than I, and my body, prefer to eat in order to FEEL best. But I just take it one day at a time. Some days that’s salads and veggies and fruit and eggs and chicken…other days it’s pizza and Taco Bell. 

This picture was taken in the McDonald’s drive-thru. I DO NOT LIKE MC DONALD’S and yet, the day this picture was taken, it was like I had been possessed. As I was waiting to order, I realized that I was making this face so I took a picture to show Brett. Seriously, there was not one ounce of me that wanted to be there, to order a burger from there, or to eat anything from there. I LOVE a good fast food burger, but not from McDonald’s, yet this is what this pregnancy has brought me to. This a three hour quest for yellow cake with chocolate frosting– in detail, below…

 

 

I can’t help but worry about the weight gain– for several reasons…

1) My goal is to have the healthiest pregnancy possible. For me that means avoiding gestational diabetes, storing too much extra fat, maintaining as much strength and stamina possible and most importantly, delivering a healthy baby. 

2) No matter how much I KNOW that I am pregnant (and growing a freaking human) it’s still very hard to watch my body change so much while feeling like I have little to no control over it. This isn’t guilt or shame, it’s literally a lack of control over the physical changes– mostly due to weight gain– which, unfortunately, is NOT ALL baby, I promise!

3) Eating a REASONABLE amount of food seems nearly impossible– and if there’s one thing I know best, it’s food!

For example, I ate 1800 calories yesterday (the number that I’m aiming for each day based on my pregnant BMR and activity level on non-workout days) but after going to bed, I woke up at midnight STARVING and could not sleep because of it. Even when I’m not pregnant I don’t believe in going to bed hungry, or avoiding food when true hunger hits, so it’s not that I would normally ignore it, but this is a whole new level of hunger that I can’t even describe.

I was tired, I didn’t want to drag myself out of bed and walk downstairs. I wanted to stay warm and cozy and just SLEEP, but that wasn’t an option. I ended up standing in front of the fridge eating 2 left over meatballs dipped in ranch dressing– feeling like, physically, I needed to eat more, but I  had no interest (mentally or emotionally) in actually eating food. And physically, I KNEW that I didn’t NEED the additional calories, so I also KNEW that those extra calories would be going straight to the fat stores for later use. Apparently this baby can only survive on fuel that’s in my blood stream and is incapable of thriving of the stored energy ALL OVER MY BODY!! GAH! (Don’t worry, I’m smiling as I write this) 🙂

Yes, I know that I will be able to lose the extra stored fat after the baby comes, but that doesn’t change the RIGHT NOW. That doesn’t help the health of my pregnancy, and it doesn’t make me feel like I’m IN control– because clearly I am not. Baby M has ALL of the power right now and he is very demanding! 

4) Eating the foods that I want to eat versus eating the foods that sir M wants to eat. This goes back to feeling in control– which I’m a huge believer in, when it comes to making choices that allow us to feel our best- physically, mentally, and emotionally. 

Another example, the other night I made a beautiful dinner of roasted lemon and garlic chicken, sweet potatoes and broccoli, which I had planned to eat with a side salad as way to enjoy a delicious, nutritious meal. BUT, as soon as I took the food out of the oven I was instantly repulsed. WHAT THE HELL LITTLE DUDE??? Out of no where all I wanted was a big hamburger– like a thick patty, grilled. No bun, or cheese or ketchup or whatever, just a thick, grilled hamburger patty. I don’t think I’ve ever craved JUST that. (this is probably why the midnight meatballs were what did the trick– a red meat craving for protein and iron perhaps?) Anyway, I had an appointment that I needed to attend and didn’t have time to thaw ground beef and turn on the grill and blah, blah, blah, so I ended up eating two baby bell cheese rounds and pickles. A fine snack, but not exactly nutrient dense. Grrrr!

5) Cravings– I have had very few cravings, so far. The burger is one of 3 that I can think of– the other two included a burger as well and yellow cake with chocolate frosting. 

 

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YELLOW CAKE WITH CHOCOLATE FROSTING ALMOST MADE ME LOSE MY MIND

Yes, yellow cake with chocolate frosting– and NOTHING else would do. The craving started on a Friday a couple week ago and I managed to ignore it for 4 days. It would surface here and there, but because I’m lazy, the thought of going out and finding yellow cake with chocolate frosting required much more effort than avoiding it all together. But by the fifth day it was consuming me– like LITERALLY consuming me. It was the craziest thing. I could not think of anything else. I couldn’t concentrate at all. I couldn’t even have a conversation with Brett without thinking about cake. I finally decided it was time. It was time to indulge the craving so I could move on.

We went to THREE different stores– drove 15 miles to find the RIGHT yellow cake with chocolate frosting. Chocolate cake, my usual favorite, wouldn’t do. White cake with chocolate frosting– oh hell no! YELLOW CAKE WITH CHOCOLATE FROSTING was the ONLY cake that would do. Period. 

I was literally laughing at myself because of the ridiculousness of the situation. I have never in my life felt so obsessed (that word doesn’t even seem strong enough) to eat ANYTHING, EVER. It was all I could do to wait the five minutes it took to get home from what ended up being the closest store to our house (should have gone there first) to take a bite of the freaking cake. 1/4 of the cake later, I was finally satiated and I slept like a rock that night. 

I think what’s most frustrating about the food thing is that I feel like I’m hungry A LOT, but it’s rare that anything really sounds appealing, and often times, things I normally love just sound repulsive. The times when my normal foods, like fresh veg, fruit, and cheese don’t sound repulsive, I make sure to get them in so I know I’m eating something nutritious SOME of the time, and the other times are filled with random shit, like pickles. 

One thing I am doing, that I feel good about, is drinking LOTS of water— because from what I learned on Thanksgiving, constipation ain’t NO JOKE. I’m fairly certain I now I have good idea of what labor will feel like, seriously. 

According to our most recent ultrasound (3 weeks ago) all is good with Baby M. He’s right on schedule size-wise, so YAY!

The best thing about being pregnant right now...and this is most definitely the coolest thing ever, is that I get to feel him move in my belly. That is pretty dang magical and something I promise not to complain about until he is keeping me up at night and kicking me in the ribs and bladder, then I will complain all I want! 🙂

 Here’s the latest picture of that little booger…

 

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"I" was Featured in the NY Post

In case you missed it, and you probably did because I haven’t mentioned it until now– “I” (quotation marks intentional) was featured in the NY Post yesterday. 

You can read it here. But only after you read the rest of this post below. I’m demanding, aren’t I? 🙂 

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The food editor of the NY Post contacted me last week about being featured in an article about holiday weight gain. She had found my blog post from last year where I talked about gaining 20lbs during the holiday season due to many factors that were out of my control. Those factors included a brief pregnancy that resulted in miscarriage, and two major family emergencies that created environmental changes that were far from my norm.

I agreed to the article based on the understanding that it would be a health/wellness piece meant to help others manage holiday weight gain.

The article itself is okay, minus the dates being wrong and numbers being off– oh and the almost comical statements like, “She indulged her penchant for fast-food restaurant Bojangles’ cheddar biscuits. And there were also regular blowouts on Mexican food and family Italian meals.”  I’m not saying that those things didn’t happen, but I’d hardly call them penchants or blowouts, but whatevs. 

What really got me, and the reason I didn’t just share the post via Facebook, Twitter, etc., was the title: TAKING CARE OF MY FAMILY MADE ME FAT 

I cannot in good conscience share that headline with my picture attached without some sort of explanation. 

My first reaction when I saw it was, “I just became mother effin’ click bait!” (that was my selfish, self-centered, narcissistic response) then I thought, “what the sh!t? I got fat taking care of my family?” Um…no, that is hardly true, and completely devalues my relationship with my family and what I would do for them, even if it meant gaining 20lbs– which had nothing to do with them and everything to do with my personal choices– oh and water retention and doubled blood volume from the pregnancy. 

So why am I sharing it now?

Well, because want you to read it. I want you to read it and understand that just because you read something on the internet, even in the the news, especially a story about weight loss– that what you’re reading is meant to create traffic to the website in order to earn advertising dollars. (I’mperfect Life is not exempt from this practice– you can read my disclosure here) This means creating ridiculous headlines meant to intrigue someone enough to click on the article, having a dramatic picture attached to it makes it that much more tempting. 

Write yourown story. The one where your life is what you wantit to be (1)

Newspapers, online journals and other “news” oriented publications (print or web) have limited space in which to present the story they want to convey– this means A LOT of details are left out, leaving you to believe something is black and white, without any gray area, or info “between the lines,” as they say. 

If you were to read the article about me without knowing me personally, or any history/background you might miss the following:

  • that the picture on the left is from almost five years ago
  • that it took me three months to gain those 20lbs (not just a few biscuits and some Mexican food)
  • that there was a pregnancy involved
  • that I didn’t actually get back down to my original weight.

Weight gain and weight loss are scientifically very simple, calories in vs. calories out; but personally, for all of us, it’s very complicated. It’s okay to be inspired by other people’s stories, to feel encouraged, and to allow them to change your perspective from that of feeling helpless to hopeful, but please, PLEASE do not compare yourself to others.

Don’t take articles that talk about weight gain or weight loss at face value. Know that there is a LOT of gray area that has been left out. Remember that no matter how alone you may feel in your struggles, you are far from alone. 

Every one of those success stories you’ve ever read has far more to it that what you’re able to learn from a brief article. Don’t allow them to make you feel less-than, or leave you feeling like it’s not fair, or wondering why if they can do, why can’t you? You’ll never know a person’s truth from one quick article or news segment.

Don’t get caught in click bait, sensationalism, or someone else’s story wanting to make it your own. 

Your story is your’s and only yours, make it what you want it to be.

Love yourself for who you are, where you are; get excited about who you are becoming and where you are going. 

Focus on living your best, happy, healthy I’mperfect Life.

<3 

As an important side note: 

I knew going into my agreement to be interviewed that the Post is a tabloid, but I did my due diligence– I asked the editor lots of questions about her angle and read her articles online before committing. At the last minute, someone else did the interview and when it was over, I knew it wasn’t what I was told it was going to be.  In the whole scheme of things, the article is really no big deal. It didn’t make me look bad, it was just…kind of pointless and not the type of story that’s usually written about my awesomeness. #noshame 🙂

As my post (the one you just read above) states, my issue is that the article doesn’t do the topic any sort of justice. Weight gain and weight loss are very serious subjects for me, not something I like to exploit or sensationalize. 


I Might Survive This Pregnancy- 16 Weeks!

Just a quick update on how I’m feeling a little more confident about surviving this pregnancy…

1) I am officially 4 months pregnant. Those first few months sucked the life out of me and I can’t tell you how excited I am to be past the first trimester.

2)My diet has greatly improved– eating my favorite fresh veggies and fruits again (meat is still a bit iffy sometimes) on a regular basis and I finally have the energy to do more than just lie around on the couch all day. 

3) I have now seen all five seasons of Pretty Little Liars and have watched most of season 6…just since the beginning of this pregnancy.

4) Number 3 coupled with my non-stop appetite; my aversion to veg, fruit, and any lean protein, coupled with my actions mentioned above in number 3, I have already gained 20+ pounds…depending on the day. 

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Wednesday night’s dinner! Hoping this keeps up for a while!

5) I’m happy to report that I worked out Monday and today and THAT coupled with my new interest in things other than cheese and pepperoni with crackers, gives me hope that I won’t gain another 20lbs too quickly. 

6) The second trimester is supposedly when the weight really kicks in, so we’ll see how that goes!

7) I’m not afraid of the weight gain for reasons you might think, but that’s a whole other blog post, coming soon!

And there you have it. An Andrealand update in 7-ish sentences. 

<3

Love yourself where you are now, for who and what you are, and get excited about who you are becoming. 


Boy or Girl? I Have News! 15 weeks

I learned two new terms a couple of weeks ago: “Turtle” and “Hamburger”

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I know, that’s actually a cheeseburger but we’ll just pretend it’s  a lot of mustard.

 

Apparently, these are code names for penis and vagina…or boy/girl in ultrasound tech world. Two of my friends from opposite end of the country both had US techs tell them the sex of their babies using these terms. It is about the weirdest thing I have ever heard.  Since we didn’t learn the sex of our baby during an ultra sound, I didn’t get to hear either of these terms and I’m okay with that! SO. WEIRD!

Instead we got a call from the genetic counselor with the results from blood work that was done at my most recent old lady appointment. You can read about that HERE. And during that call she asked us if we wanted to know if it was a boy or a girl. 

Yes, yes, we do. And then she told us, using words that did not involve reptiles or food. 

It took us a few days to share the news with our families, but we finally got around to telling them the sex of baby M last Monday…in typical Brett and Andrea fashion.

If you’re wondering what I mean by “Brett and Andrea fashion,” this is how we told them I was pregnant…

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Aren’t we the worst?  

Seriously, we know we’re a bunch of weirdos but, eh. I guess that’s just who we are! HA!  We knew they would be thrilled no matter how we told them and didn’t want to wait until we saw them or try to convince them to video chat without suspicion. Besides, how do you decide who to tell first?  My mom, his mom, my grandma, my dad?  There was so right answer, so we took advantage of modern technology and told them all at the same time. 

Since that worked so well, this is how we told them what we were having…

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And now you know too. It’s a boy and we are super excited. I see a lot of overalls, bow ties, converse, and capellas in my future. 

Now to pick a name. 

PS: It took us two weeks to name Cooper.

Speaking of…

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This dog kills me.