The Pregnant Waddle

Pre-Pregnancy Weight Just Around the Corner (It's Trying to Run and Hide)

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Another really long post

So, with a sweet baby girl in a pink striped onesie sleeping peacefully next to me, here I am to begin catching y’all up on a few major points. I know you’ve been holding your collective breath.

First off: The Rash. Remember when I mentioned an itchy tummy? Oh, that was only the beginning. Within days, the rash had not so much spread as sprouted all over my body, from neck to feet (not face, thank goodness). I was diagnosed with Pruritic (or Polymorphic) Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy (PUPPPs), which basically meant I had a rash. Non-contagious, not likely to recur, just scary-looking.

Then the rash got worse. My already swollen feet were covered with fluid-filled blisters. My arms looked like I had the mother of all hives outbreaks; I had tiny blisters on the palms of my hands. When I say the rash was all over me, I am speaking completely literally. It was awful.

When I arrived at the hospital for the induction, the doctor examined my rash and re-diagnosed it as pemphigoid gestationis (a.k.a. herpes gestationis, but it’s not viral; it just looks like herpes sores), a far rarer and more unpleasant condition than PUPPPs. This condition is an allergic reaction to amniotic material, of all things. Since it only hits one woman in 50,000, there’s not a whole lot of definite information about it. Sometimes it recurs in subsequent pregnancies, sometimes it doesn’t. Some doctors think it may lead to premature delivery, others don’t. Some babies of affected mothers develop the rash right after birth, most are just fine. It can show up at any point in pregnancy or even a couple weeks after delivery, and it sometimes recurs at the first period postpartum. I was lucky because I only got the rash a couple weeks before Ngaire was born, so I didn’t have to endure it too long. It started getting better as soon as I delivered, and with the help of a steroid, disappeared fairly quickly, though my skin is still red and blotchy wherever I had the rash. There’s a chance the blotches may never completely fade. Most importantly, though, Ngaire wasn’t affected at all.

So this just gives us something to pray for (or against), because we do want more children, but I’d rather not have this rash again, and I certainly wouldn’t want any future babies to be affected by it. We’re also praying that Ngaire won’t have this condition herself when she becomes pregnant.

One final thought, and I’d love to hear the thoughts of other moms on this subject: It’s interesting coming to terms with a post-pregnancy body. I was looking at my wedding pictures the other day, and remembering all the flaws I saw in my appearance around that time. Now I can’t believe I was ever less than satisfied with the way I looked then. I know that, even when I lose my leftover pregnancy poundage, my body will still have changed irrevocably … I have stretch marks, rash blotches, wider hips, larger breasts. I’m not horribly dissatisfied with the way I look now, but these are major changes, and they take some getting used to … the jury is still out on whether I will ever want to wear a bathing suit again. (Not that I was ever that enthused about wearing a bathing suit.)

It helps to have a husband who still thinks I’m beautiful, and a baby for whom any amount of change is totally worth it. In a way, the marks of pregnancy on my body are a symbol of love: of the child I gave my husband for love of them both, and of my husband’s continuing love for me in spite of any physical imperfection. I was going to say that, given the choice, I’d still be 125 pounds, de-blotchified, and un-stretched, but I’m not entirely certain that’s true.

Next up: The Conference.


At 9:46 PM, Blogger Neb said...

It goes without saying, but: you are still beautiful, as always. :-)


At 6:24 PM, Anonymous That other Jordana said...

It is hard to get used to the body changes, but many of them are temporary. Most or all of the weight will drop off eventually. Your belly may never be flat again, but it will tighten up some and can probably be flat if you work at it.

You will have established a new normal eventually. You are still only a short time post-partum really and you have a long time to get back to a body you are used to.

I can't say I love what pregnancy did to my body, but it does get better over time. Even the stretch marks fade a lot, though they don't go away, and you'll never catch me in a bikini.

And yes, it is hard to believe, looking at old pictures that I was ever less than satisfied, because now that I'm both older and have been through three full-term pregnancies and a miscarriage, I look different. I look older. I look like a mom. But, I don't think I look too bad. I still clean up ok. The changes are part of life.

And I'm sure you look beautiful. In the one photo I've seen of you (in the post below) I'd say you look like motherhood becomes you well.

At 9:41 AM, Anonymous How do you solve a problem like . . . said...

Your thoughts on the post-pregnancy body sound remarkably well balanced! I am most impressed. My thoughts are similar to your own, if less elegantly thought out! But I also want to second what "That Other Jordana" says. With the passage of time you will see more "improvement." Some just because the human body is amazingly resilient and more if you work at it even a little. I was too lazy (stressed?) to do anything for my scar and yet it has almost completely evaporated. The stretch marks too have faded. The flat belly is the biggest struggle though I can recommend some great (short!) toning videos for down the road. Keep your current attitude, though and you'll be much more sane and content. The sacrifice is definitely worth it. And a caring husband makes a lot of difference too.

At 2:53 PM, Anonymous Husbandlet said...

The thing about stretch marks is that I can't see them as unattractive at all. They are like scars in that they tell a story, and usually one involving bravery (though with scars occationally stupidity, but those are usually just as amusing, if not more so, as the bravery ones). Anyway, I tend to think of them as a badge of courage, not something that one should be ashamed of. They add to one's beauty. And, I don't think you've ever heard me complain about your breast size ;-).


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