Even if no one else knew we're gonna have a baby, Amazon sure would!! Prime free 2 day shipping ftw!
Speaking of food, this post will have a slightly more serious bent to it. If you read my original "I'm pregnant!" post, then you know that we didn't expect to even start trying to get pregnant until at earliest March of 2011; be it as the Lord wills, March 2011 is when the baby is due. The original plan was for me to get down to between 150-180 pounds by March 2011, maintain or slooooowly go down from that weight for 3-5 months, and then start trying to get pregnant sometime between June-August 2011.
As it stands, I was holding steady at 248, likely on the verge of another drop of 4-6 pounds (that's how my body tends to be- drop 4-6, then slowly 2-3 over a couple of weeks, hold steady for a few weeks, then another big drop), when suddenly the scale was saying 253 and slowly dropping a few ounces a day. I now know that was because I was pregnant and my body was adjusting. I have not eaten enough calories to gain any real weight (even on a "bad" day, my calorie deficit is 400; the average day is usually 1200-1500, which has had me on pace to lose about 10 pounds a month).
So, here's the thing- my life for 10 months has revolved around counting calories, grams of protein, carefully measuring my foods and watching the clock to wait 45 minutes to drink after I eat anything, counting calories burned at the gym, taking pictures and measuring my body once a month to ensure that I am indeed shrinking. Upon finding out that I was pregnant, I immediately began to do the math.
It's normal for obese women, particularly those in my weight range, to lose 30-40 pounds during pregnancy without even really trying. In part it's the hormones, which cause the body to access fat stores in places that usually aren't touched, like the belly and hips and thighs. Additionally, morning sickness can play a big role in massive weight loss for a month or two. So, say I lost 40 pounds, then, after having the baby, within a month or so lost another 25 pounds-- that would put me close to 180 by April of 2011. Not at my dream weight of 160, but not terribly far from it. I felt good about this- I could have a baby, lose weight and hopefully be a cute-bellied pregnant lady (not a "is she chubby or pregnant?" lady), be fairly small once the baby is born, and pretty much get everything I want!
Then I saw my surgeon and heard back from my nutritionist. The basic message was this: stop trying to lose weight. For now, maintain where you are. Your Ob may want you to gain 15 pounds. But, no matter what, do not intentionally lose weight.
Why? Well, weight loss, particularly when consuming a lot of protein (and I need to get at least 100 grams, preferably 120-130, per day) produces something called ketones. Ketones can be very harmful to a developing fetus, affecting brain and other neurological development, among other things. I have to test my urine every morning, and if there is even a small amount of ketones present then I need to eat more calories that day.
I love my baby. I don't resent him/her in the least. In fact, I felt ashamed for what I'm about to write: it was very difficult for me to accept this idea of no longer trying to lose weight. I know that, considering where I was one year ago, I look and feel and am in amazingly better shape in every possible measurable way. I know deep in my heart that this body, this 250-ish pound body, is well-equipped for pregnancy. I have had great vitamin levels in my bloodwork, and I not only enjoy exercise, but my body thrives on it and I'm rarely in pain that prohibits exercise. All of the above mean that I can sustain, with God's grace and a lot of hard work, a healthy pregnancy for both the baby and myself.
But... my visions of pregnancy did not include me being a size 20 with a large gut that would make it difficult to discern a growing baby bump. Nor did those visions include plans to have to shop at plus-sized maternity shops. I saw a lady recently, glowing and overjoyed about being pregnant, and it sounded like she was in her second trimester, but she was around 280-300 pounds (I would guess), and you would never know she was pregnant. Seeing and hearing her made me a little sad; nothing against her- I'm glad for her! But, while she was bigger than I am, I realized that, with this pregnancy at least, I likely won't have the cute baby bump that I dream of. I'll look like an obese pregnant woman. And, please don't get me wrong- I'm not judging or hating on obese pregnant women. That just wasn't what I had hoped for for me.
In the midst of this, I have to keep turning back to Jesus. For one, I continually am reminded that this is his timing and it's good. I would so much rather be pregnant and not cute, but comfortable that I'm healthy enough for pregnancy, than not pregnant right now. I'm overjoyed to become a mama and can hardly handle how excited I am. I praise God that he knew "the prayer oft mixed with tears before" that I would have a baby when he willed it.
Additionally, I have to pray that Christ will help me worship him, and that the Holy Spirit will reveal any idolatry of weight loss, because I do find myself still scheming in my heart about how much weight I can safely lose without hurting the baby. Every word thus far from the team of professionals I have entrusted myself to has emphatically told me not to do that. So I must turn to Jesus and pray that I'll worship him and not merely try to get what I want.
Finally, I have to turn to Jesus in my fear. I am so used to eating carefully that the idea that I should try to eat a thousand more calories a day scares the crap out of me. I remember who I used to be, and am afraid that I might "let myself go". I remember how I used to say that I hear of women letting themselves go, but I had never been hanging on. Well, I've been hanging on for over a year now, and there are whispers that I will go back to old ways, balloon back up to 300, 350, 400 pounds, and die of a heart attack at 35 and devastate my husband and, now, children. I know that's not true, and that Jesus has changed my heart and that even if I do eat something I normally wouldn't I'm not then relegated to utter failure. Still, to believe him is something I must fight for because sometimes it's easy to give into the hopelessness and the lies.
God's promises to me are that children are a blessing (Psalm 127; ESV says reward, but it's the same idea) and his will is for us to have a godly legacy (from Nehemiah; I'll share a cool story in some other post!). His will toward me is good, not harm, and he doesn't intend to punish me by not allowing me to lose weight. He knows what it takes for this baby to be born healthy and for me to be healthy as well, and at some point my desires for weight loss do become vanity. It's ok to grieve the loss of my dreams of being thin with a super cute baby bump, but, really, what with likely loose skin, that may have never been a realistic hope, anyway.
Jesus is my hope. He wants to be my joy, and for my joy about this sweet little orange seed inside of me to not be robbed from me with lies about who I am (fat and ugly) or who I'll be (fat and dead young). In the meantime, he wants me to enjoy this journey of pregnancy even if it's not the way I would have chosen it.
I already can testify that his way, his timing, was better than what I had planned, and that's a very wonderful thing.