Thursday, January 1, 2015

Overcoming Fear

I let the cat out of the bag...
For those of you that missed it on Facebook,  the picture should give a clue...
Did you guess yet? 
Yes, it is true...After only 6 months of NOT being pregnant,  my body decided that was enough of that.
A lesson for those of you that think you can't get pregnant if yout can...
So...we are rolling with it. Nielson #4 is on his or her way and they will be 13 months younger than our sweet Vivi.
The doctor joked about not thinking he would see me again so soon...My husband said that we just liked him so much we couldn't stay away.
News of this pregnancy came right around a time when I was thinking a lot about my dad...
Most of you have read posts where I talked about his death at the age of 37 when I was the tender age of 12.
I am not going to hold back on this post so I am going to lay it out there...
I literally watched him die.
A sight I wouldn't wish on anyone.
You see, my dad struggled with his weight most of his life.  He was very active but NOTHING he did would help him lose weight.
He had high blood pressure, high cholesterol and was about 100 pounds overweight.
He did EVERYTHING he could to lose weight. He was super active (an avid golfer in the summer and played basketball EVERY weeknight during the winter).
Finally,  a doctor told him he would be dead in 6 months if he didn't lose the weight and he recommended an experimental procedure...gastric bypass.
By today's standards,  my dad would havr NEVER been considered for gastric bypass.  They may have suggested the lap band... but, given my conversations with my own doctors about his medical history and how it pertains to mine, my doctors believe he was insulin resistant (which hadn't yet been discovered) and the addition of a glucophage medication, coupled with his active lifestyle would have made a difference.
However,  my dad had gastric bypass...and it worked...too fast. In just 2 months he lost that 100 pounds, but he didn't lose the high blood pressure or high cholesterol.  (My doctors believe that the insulin resistance could have contributed to kidney damage from the kidneys processing too much sugar and this caused the two symptoms he needed yo disappear to remain.)
My dad felt great, but, his heart was still pumping blood for a man 100 lbs heavier because he had lost the weight so fast...
Almost 6 months to the DAY after his gastric bypass, at 11:30 at night, my dad sat straight up in bed, gasped, and fell down again...he gurgled and was unresponsive as he struggled for breath. Of course, my mother's scream woke the entire house and we all stood helpless, watching and wondering what to do.
The next morning, after we knew he was gone,  a doctor revealed the ugly truth. His heart had been working too hard since the surgery.  It caused the wall of his aorta to weaken and rupture. There would have been no way to save him. He was dead the minute the attack started.
This experience contributes to my biggest fear.
Genetics is a beast...and I inherited my dad's struggle with weight. I have been blessed to meet good doctors that have prescribed meds for insulin resistance to help keep the weight from creeping up, and fortunately,  so far, I have had no issues with high blood pressure or cholesterol.
But the fear lingers.
And I am 5.5 years from the age my dad was when he passed.
I want to be there to watch my babies grow up. I want my husband to have a wife. I got the news that I was expecting again, I got concerned.  I still (obviously) haven't lost the baby weight from my first three pregnancies...I got close after Phillie to being my pre pregnancy weight (about 10 lbs off) but no cigar.
I know health isn't all about weight...and I know that I haven't been active enough (outside of chasing my toddlers around) and it bothered me.
So I contacted a friend of mine who is a Beach Body coach.  I asked her if there were any low impact workouts available that I could invest in and do while pregnant...
Why a program?  Because I NEED structure.  With three littles to care for, plus a job, I don't have time to have to think about it.
She suggested the 21 Day Fix.
I did my research and decided it would be perfect.  The diet involved isn't really a diet,  it is changing the way you view food and portion size and there are two discs of workouts that range from 10 minutes to 30 minutes.  Perfect for a mom of so many littles that struggles to find time to shower, let alone work out.
At $70 with shipping,  I knew I couldn't afford it in October when I had the conversation with my friend,  but I resolved I was going to be SURE that a portion of my last paycheck of the semester would pay for it.
On Christmas Eve, when my paycheck went through, I ordered. It came yesterday (New Years Eve. perfect), and I started this morning.
So, why am I sharing this?
I am sharing this because I am hoping that someone out there reads this and decides not to take the "easy" way out with bariatric surgery.
I am hoping they see a doctor,  determine why they can't lose weight, and they decide to follow me...because if I can work out while overweight and pregnant,  ANYONE should be able to at least try.
I will be candid, this morning kicked my butt, and I was SUPER embarrassed to have my husband watching me struggle (he was up early this morning)  but I made it through, the embarassment didn't kill me, and I am looking forward to experiencing the sensation of the workouts getting easier as my body becomes healthier.
My doctor is on board! Yes, I have a Beach Body coach, but the coach is no substitute for a doctor's guidance.
Yes, its intimidating to go into a doctor's office and admit you need help but they have a wealth of knowledge.  They can test you for various problems that can cause weight gain or be caused by weight gain, and they can review the programs you are interested in with you and help you determine what is right for you.
Don't be afraid.
There are ways to lose weight that don't involve going under the knife. Yes, it takes changing habits, but you can do it!
One thing I love about 21 day fix is the motto: "One day at a time, One pound at a time".
There is NO quick fix for weight gain, anyone who tells you there is, is selling snake oil.
Ultimately,  I have decided that my father's story will NOT be my story.  I will use my father's story as fuel to change my life and be healthy for me, my kids, my husband and this baby that I am carrying.
I don't have a weight loss goal right now (that isn't realistic while pregnant and my doc said I am not overweight enough to need to lose weight while pregnant) my goals are as follows:

Being healthier will hopefully:
1) lower the incidence of migraines during my pregnancy
2) help me in my struggle with Gestational Diabetes,  keeping my sugars more level
3) help me avoid pre term labor and bed rest that I have had my last two pregnancies
4) get my body to do what its supposed to do with contractions alone causing dilation and thereby avoiding induction out of concern for the baby remaining in utero with the gestational diabetes.
I will worry about weight loss in August. For now, I just want to "feel" better.
Though,  I must admit,  it would be nice for people to actually be able to tell I am pregnant before I hit 35 weeks this time around so I don't feel like a whale who looks fat instead of pregnant...but for now we focus on jk

*Post Script*****

Okay...I have received some not so nice comments on here that I have chosen not to publish and some private messages on Facebook (as well as some not so mean comments that have made it clear I need to clarify something written above.) 

When referring to bariatric surgery as "easy," notice that I put the "easy" in quotes, because its not easy. I watched the HELL my dad went through.  He sat in the hospital for nearly a week with a tube in his nose feeding him because he couldn't ingest anything solid while the stitches in his stomach, that sectioned it off to the size of a GRAPE, healed. Once that was out, he had to be on a liquid diet for another two to three weeks.  He could only eat 3 oz of food in a sitting,  if he went over, he was instantly in the bathroom vomiting...when I say HELL, I mean it. 

However, I have heard stories among my circle, of people who actually choose to GAIN weight to qualify for one of the bariatric surgery options available (there are minimum and maximum weights for each) because they believe it will be easier than changing the bad habits that got them to where they are in the first place. I also have several friends who underwent the lap band procedure and found that, as the saline went down, their weight crept back up because they never changed the bad habits that had led to weight gain in the first place, and then had to scrimp and save to save up to have more saline injected into the band. 

These surgeries, just like making healthy changes to how you eat and working out,  are a LIFELONG commitment, and often lead to more hardship.  My dad LOST HIS LIFE because he believed there was no other way. My point was that there are other options before you resort to something as drastic as gastric surgery and it is worth it to examine them.  For some, the benefits outweigh the risks and they decide they would rather just do the surgery as opposed to trying another program,  and that is fine. But the reality of bariatric surgery isn't as easy as commercials and billboards would have you believe. 

I am well aware that it has been successful for some people,  and that is great! I wasn't meaning to demean your journey to being healthy or make it less than mine.  We all have our own paths to walk. Mine just happens to include a cautionary tale about gastric bypass surgery that has made me fully determined that my future will not include it. If your path did include it, and it worked for you with no complications, then I am glad for you. 

I simply wanted to give hope to those that believe they are stuck with no way out, that maybe think bariatric surgery may be easier than going to a doctor for testing and reviewing all options. I truly apologize to those whom I have offended.  That was not my intent.

Hugs and loves until next time, Darlings

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