BulgingButtons

Not bad for a fat girl


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But What Is My Body Saying?

This eat the right thing and get enough sleep and make sure to move my body thing just hasn’t been working out recently. I could give you all the reasons, but honestly, it will just sound like a list of excuses, so I’ll spare you the details and just skip it.

This, of course, has been an ongoing battle for me. Sometimes things click and I do well, and other times I slip into my old bad habits and any progress toward improving my health habits quickly disappears. It’s frustrating, especially since it’s purely my choices that derail me.

I had a conversation the other night with a yoga instructor about some of these struggles (as we were enjoying our cocktails and hors d’oevres). She has worked with all sorts of people over the years, with all sorts of body types and issues. She is also human, as has had her own struggles over the years. She has changed her diet more than once, and her advice to me was, “listen to your body.”

It sounded like good advice. Our bodies, after all, are incredible. They do so much for us, and they constantly make tiny adjustments without us even thinking about it. The whole keeping the heart beating and keeping the lungs breathing routine is awe-inspiring. The body is no dummy, so it makes sense to try to listen to it. I’m okay with this idea. In fact, I kind of like the thought.

The problem, however, is that my body and I don’t seem to speak the same language. I have no idea what it’s saying much of the time. I confuse fatigue with hunger, and I often allow myself to get to the point where I’m completely parched, or the opposite, my bladder feels as though it might explode. How come I don’t take care of these things earlier? I just don’t really seem to notice or understand the signals that my body gives. Either that, or my body gives me the wrong signals.

That was certainly the case during my pregnancy. I didn’t even know I was pregnant for five months. Yes, you read that correctly. And no, I’m not a hillbilly, I took Human Growth and Development in school. It’s just that my body didn’t react the way that most bodies do. As in, I didn’t know I was pregnant because I was bleeding every month. TMI? Sorry, but it’s true. By the time I knew I was pregnant at all it was late December, and by the time I found out my real due date (at my first appointment with an actual MD), it was the last day of February! My boy was born, full term, on April 1. Fitting, don’t you think?

So that’s a brief history of the lack of communication between my body and me. Yes, I will try to listen a little bit closer, but jeez, it doesn’t always work!


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C’mon Mother Nature, Enough Already

When I was a little girl, my mother explained to me about the menstrual cycle. I was both horrified and fascinated by the whole thing, and I was glad I knew about it before that awkward meeting in school where they squeezed all the sixth-grade girls into the teacher’s lounge (which smelled like smoke) to share that information with us.

The following summer at sleep away camp it happened. I got my first period. Except that it wasn’t quite what I expected. It wasn’t like my mom’s explanation or the teachers. It wasn’t even like anything from Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret. Instead of the shock of red that my terrified mother saw her first time (my grandmother never told her, shame on her) I found a rusty colored streak of goo in my panties. I wasn’t quite sure what to do or who to tell. Eventually I told my counselor, which was SO embarrassing, and she got me fixed up with the proper supplies.

beltAh yes, supplies. My mother was old school. She wore Kotex sanitary napkins with a belt.
Many of you have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about, and that’s a good thing. When I was an adolescent, pads that stuck in your panties were new on the market. Before that, pads had long ends that hooked into fasteners that dangled from an elastic belt you wore around your waist. Sort of like garters, only not sexy. Not sexy at all.

Then there were tampons. My mother didn’t like the idea of them. She didn’t trust them. This was shortly before Toxic Shock Syndrome was discovered, but her instincts were good. Still, in my estimation tampons are infinitely preferable to pads. Especially those old-fashioned pads, that closely resembled diapers. Who wants to sit around in their own bodily fluids? Nobody, that’s who. I begged my mom to buy me tampons. I certainly wasn’t going to buy them myself. Eventually I wore her down, but she maintained some reservations, not the least of which was for her aged plumbing.

Struggling through my period each month was agony. First of all, I never quite knew when it was coming. I envied those “every 28 days” girls who could plan ahead. Not me. All of a sudden it would just be there, and with a vengeance. I lived in constant fear of bleeding through my clothing and dying of the embarrassment that would follow. I was never without “supplies” and I worried about it often. I ruined pair after pair of panties during those years. I kept a spare pair in my backpack.

The mysterious timing of it wasn’t even the worst part. The worst part was the cramping. I was miserable every month. I would writhe on the couch, curling into a ball trying to get comfortable. I just couldn’t find a position that would ease the discomfort. I couldn’t eat, I was sure I would puke up anything that passed my lips. This happened month after month. It was agony.

The only thing that eventually helped were birth-control pills. They regulated my cycle and eased my symptoms. They also provided that nice little benefit of birth-control, but really, that was secondary to improving my quality of life.

I stayed on the pill until I was in my thirties, married, and ready to start a family. For my thirty-second birthday my (now ex-) husband told me that his gift to me was that we could at last try to conceive. I know. That’s a whole separate post. Anyway, I stopped taking the pill and let nature take its course. Bleeding in July. Damn. Bleeding in August. Damn. Bleeding in September. Damn. Bleeding in October. Damn. Bleeding in November. Damn.

On December 23 I had an ob/gyn appointment at a new clinic through my insurance. I told them I’d been trying to conceive. They gave me a pregnancy test and put me on the table in stirrups. Hmmm, first try didn’t manage to get a sample for the PAP. Try again. Try another speculum. Try another doctor. “Are you sure you haven’t had your cervix removed?”

Yes, this all really happened. FORTY-FIVE MINUTES LATER I quit. Trust me, if this happened today I would have walked out after five minutes, but I was young and stressed and scared. I sat in the waiting room for the pregnancy test results and received the most joyful news of my life from a sour-faced lab attendant who said, “You’re pregnant. Congratulations, if that’s what you wanted.” Wow. Thanks.C

I got my due date from the receptionist. She was the only one to talk to at that point. She fished around in her desk drawer and pulled out a little cardboard wheel give-away from some drug company. She fiddled with it and proclaimed that my baby was due August 17.  I got NO prenatal counseling, literature, or vitamins. I was told all that would come at the next appointment, four weeks away. Couldn’t I do a lot of harm in those four weeks if I didn’t know better? Shouldn’t someone have at least talked to me about alcohol and tobacco? Nothing? Really?

I made my appointment, but for a different office. I would never set foot in that place again. Four weeks later a nurse practitioner thought I looked fine. At my next appointment I would finally see a doctor.

Fast forward to February 28. Finally I was set to see a real, live ob/gyn. He walked in, introduced himself, and asked me how many weeks along I was. I told him what I believed to be the correct answer, and he did a double take. “I don’t think so,” were his exact words. He measured me, and sent me to the other side of the office to get an ultrasound immediately. I was alone. It was late Friday afternoon, and there was no time for my husband or my mother to get there for this ultrasound. I was worried.

The technician was silent as he examined my baby. There was such a mix of emotions as this was happening. I knew the tech was too quiet, but I was awed at the images I saw. Eventually he left me to get the doctor, who confirmed that there were some concerns. He declared that I was MUCH further along than I thought, and that my baby was due April 17, not August 17. He told me that I had fibroids and they would likely grow along with my developing baby. He was concerned that space might become an issue.

April 17, huh? So I conceived in July, the month we started trying. So what was the deal with the bleeding each month? Spotting? On a schedule? And how could I have been FIVE months pregnant before I even knew it? Granted I’m a big girl, and I can hide a lot, but FIVE months? True story, I swear.

Well, the race was on, and a follow up ultrasound convinced my doctor that waiting until April 17 would be risky. I’ll spare you the whole birth story for now (it’s a doozy) but long story short, my boy’s birthday is April 1, April Fool’s Day. How perfect for him.

Now how did I get here? Oh yes, the good old menstrual cycle. I’m nearly fifty years old. I’ve been dealing with this nonsense since I was twelve. I’m over it. I’m over bearing children. That one experience was enough for me. I’m over not knowing when it will strike (yes, we’re back to that, and yes, I keep spare panties around just in case). I’m over the copious amounts of body fluids that I have to contend with (much more at this stage of the game, go figure). I’m just plain done with it. I’m ready to move on. C’mon, Mother Nature, cut me some slack. I feel as though I’ve earned it.

 


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Leftover Words: Why Can’t I Hear My Body?

The following is my attempt at today’s daily prompt: Today, publish a post based on unused material from a previous piece –a paragraph you nixed, a link you didn’t include, a photo you decided not to use.

hand-to-ear-listening

Why Can’t I Hear My Body?

This eat the right thing and get enough sleep and make sure to move my body thing just hasn’t been working out recently. I could give you all the reasons, but honestly, it will just sound like a list of excuses, so I’ll spare you the details and just skip it.

This, of course, has been an ongoing battle for me. Sometimes things click and I do well, and other times I slip into my old bad habits and any progress toward improving my health habits quickly disappears. It’s frustrating, especially since it’s purely my choices that derail me.

I had a conversation several months ago with a yoga instructor about some of these struggles (as we were enjoying our cocktails and hors d’oevres). She has worked with all sorts of people over the years, with all sorts of body types and issues. She is also human, and has had her own struggles over the years. She has changed her diet more than once, and her advice to me was, “listen to your body.”

It sounded like good advice. Our bodies, after all, are incredible. They do so much for us, and they constantly make tiny adjustments without us even thinking about it. The whole keeping the heart beating and keeping the lungs breathing routine is awe-inspiring. The body is no dummy, so it makes sense to try to listen to it. I’m okay with this idea. In fact, I kind of like the thought.

The problem, however, is that my body and I don’t seem to speak the same language. I have no idea what it’s saying much of the time. I confuse fatigue with hunger, and I often allow myself to get to the point where I’m completely parched, or the opposite, my bladder feels as though it might explode. How come I don’t take care of these things earlier? I just don’t really seem to notice or understand the signals that my body gives. Either that, or my body gives me the wrong signals.

That was certainly the case during my pregnancy. I had no idea I was pregnant for several months. Why? Because to me it appeared that my cycle was functioning as normal. I saw no change in the monthly rhythm, even though I was pregnant. Pregnant-Belly-with-HeartHow am I supposed to listen to a body that doesn’t even give me a clue that it’s pregnant? Oh sure, I began to look a little thicker around the middle, but I’m a big girl, and putting on a few pounds with the arrival of cooler weather didn’t raise an eyebrow. In retrospect I should have noticed some movement, but I had never been pregnant before and put it down to some kind of digestive upset.

I used to mock those people who didn’t know they were pregnant. How could they be so stupid? Well, I’m not stupid, but it wasn’t until late December that I suspected I might be expecting, and got the confirmation. I was given a due date in August, but in a subsequent appointment the doctor shook his head and told me I was much further along than that. An ultrasound was ordered on the spot, and my due date was moved up to April. Junior arrived on April Fool’s Day weighing in at a healthy eight pounds. Perfect timing. I was six months pregnant before I even knew I was having a baby. And this is the body I’m supposed to listen to?

So yes, I try to pay attention, but it’s difficult when we don’t seem to speak the same language. I know there are certain things that will benefit my body regardless of the signs or signals I might miss. Good food and exercise will always be helpful, so I’ll keep on trying, even if I have no idea what my body is actually saying to me.