Why All of My Pants Are Too Tight

April 12, 2011 at 1:10 am Leave a comment

You’ve probably all wondered where Dr Brooke has disappeared to these past couple months. After all the writing, blogging, etc – especially at the end of 2010 – I’ll admit I needed a little break from writing – but I’m back!

I’m back…and I’m several pounds heavier.  If you’re curious what’s been going on with me, read on.  If not, stay tuned for more health and fat loss advice and jump to the end of this post for a great salad recipe.

So back to my growing waistline –  on December 27th, we got this late Christmas gift:

To answer the all too popular question, “Were you trying?”  Sorta.

Based on my “period math” I figured I was at least 6 weeks along. However at the doc’s office, the ultrasound showed no trace of a baby in my uterus. Well that’s unnerving….

“If your last period was 8 weeks ago, it’s either already miscarried or it’s elsewhere”, she said. “Or it could also just be really early – perhaps you had your period last month and didn’t notice.”  Um, I’ve never had a period and just “not noticed” , so I’m pretty sure it’s not that…..

Of my options, neither were great news. If it’s not viable, I could have the not so fun signs of a miscarriage starting any time. If it’s “elsewhere”, it means its ectopic – in a fallopian tube for example – and not only not viable, but could be potentially dangerous. So now we wait.

We were still home for the holidays, so despite popular advice, we told our families and focused on how excited we were (or at least Joe did, I freaked out a little…OK, a lot). Two weeks later, there it was – a little dot on the ultrasound.  I was only 5 weeks along. Don’t ask me where my cycle was in December, perhaps on holiday….

Yikes!! I was pregnant! Given my history of PCOS, I was thrilled that all the work I’d done to get my cycle normal had been successful, I was ovulating normally and getting pregnant was a snap.

So January got underway and I was very excited about my big contribution to the Martha Stewart Whole Living 2011 Action Plan. I designed the detox for the plan and had two interviews on Whole Living Radio. During my second one I felt my first waves of queasiness. Huh, I thought, well that wasn’t so bad. Wow, was I in for a surprise.

That weekend Joe and I decided to go for it – to have a wedding that was just ours, before baby makes three. We’d only been waiting to take the plunge because “we didn’t have time for a wedding!”  From what I understand, these little creatures do not give you any more time, so we started planning….and I started to enter First Trimester Hell.

I was nauseous – really nauseous – all day. I’d wake in the night too sick to move and knowing I needed to eat, but far to sick to get anything down.  I was so tired that I’d be awake for an hour and need a 2 hour nap. I couldn’t fathom a workout, as a walk to Whole Foods two blocks away exhausted me so much I left without shopping – in a cab. That’s right, I took a cab back home…the whole two blocks.  I was miserable.

I felt horribly guilty as well. I was not happy, not excited, not basking in the glow of  being pregnant.  I work with so many women struggling with fertility, and here I was pregnant while only “sorta” trying – and I didn’t feel excited. I felt like I wanted to throw up but I was too tired to even do that.

I was supposed to be a bride in a few weeks and I couldn’t even get out of bed. My skin had broken out so badly and I was exhausted. Airline tickets were bought, friends and family were on their way and I told Joe, “If I still feel like this, you’ll have to go on without me.” I mean, it was really that bad – I just tried to get through little chunks of time and savor this magic hour between 7-8pm that I seemed to feel like a normal person…then it started all over again.

And my diet….whoa! I was the carb queen. Dr Brooke who eats veggies 4-5 times a day without fail couldn’t look at a green leafy without turning green herself. Protein made me squeamish and noodles, crackers and rice became my new best friends.

Typical for a preggers lady huh? Yes, of course – but when your job is setting the example of a healthy diet and a fit lifestyle, I was struggling with it. And every time I’d choose a simple carb out of sheer survival, I’d image what my insulin levels were doing……thus began my lessons in just letting go.

I couldn’t exercise, so I watched my muscles turn to squish. I couldn’t eat quite right so I watched my face get puffy. I couldn’t power through the fatigue with caffeine, so I cancelled all of my work for 3 weeks.

This is a good lesson for me to be learning: powering through life is not always the best option. Powering through is how I got through school, how I survived my first few years in New York and how I get through a really tough workout. It’s a useful skill, but sometimes it’s not the right card to play. Certainly not now! All of my resources were going right where they were supposed to – to my pregnancy. There wasn’t enough left over to work, workout and that had to be OK (but mentally I wrestled with this…seems like a no brainer huh? But honestly, it was hard for me.)

What I’ve realized is that pregnancy is giving me the gift of a baby sure, but it’s also giving me a huge gift of perspective. I’m learning to listen to my body more, to rest when I need to, to workout only as hard as my body says is OK,to eat more carbs when I need to, and to watch my pants getting tighter and tighter with a little amazement and a little joy – and less concern for looking or feeling “fat”.

That may sound funny, shallow or ridiculous as weight gain is a normal, healthy part of pregnancy – but if you’ve ever struggled to lose weight or had a negative body image, gaining weight can be hard to accept – no matter how wonderful the reason.

And this is a great time for me to stop trying to control it all. I can exercise as my body allows and eat healthfully – and try not to stress if I’m not feeling the baby wiggle when it says I should by week 16 and I’m at week 18. As my sister in law (perhaps the best mama on the planet) reminds me every time I worry that I’m a tad behind schedule with this whole thing, “It’s worth the wait…and worth the weight”.

* * * *
So here I am in my second trimester: married, relocated to Brooklyn, back in the gym and back on veggies. A little tired, but for the most part I feel really good and all is progressing as expected with the pregnancy….so it’s back to business with Dr Brooke and Better!

Towards that end, here’s a great Chopped Chicken Salad that’s been a favorite these past few weeks…now that I’m eating vegetables again!

1 head Romaine lettuce, chopped

1/4 cup diced carrots

1/4 cup diced cucumber

1/4 cup diced red bell pepper

1 chicken breast, chopped

1/4 cup chopped purple onion (optional)

1-2 tbsp feta cheese (optional)

Dress with olive oil and red wine vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.

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