Wednesday, October 01, 2008

A Pregnancy Diet

I don't believe in diets. It's probably why I'm a large size as opposed to a extra small, size zero, or even medium size. I don't think I'm huge, but I'm definitely in the larger sized category compared to my fellow asian ancestry.

If it weren't for my great genes (and my fabulous jeans!) I'd probably be a whole lot bigger. I like to eat, and dieting makes me feel like I'm depriving myself, and my mind just cannot wrap itself around that conundrum. What? Me no get food? Must be starving - eat more!

The only time that a diet has worked for me, and I've stayed on it, is for the sake of my child. Having children makes you take care of yourself, because you have to take care of them. Actually, my child's health was steadily declining and I was forced to find immediate solutions and take action.

My little girl was born on a crisp winter's eve. I had been in labour for a couple of days and I was already feeling the brunt of it. I lay there pushing and nothing was happening and then a c-section was required and it was an emergency and I was put under. I woke up to an 8 pound 8 oz baby girl, puffy from not being squeezed out of the 'birth canal'. She was beautiful and she was mine. My sense of love and care for her was immediate as I dropped my top and put her on the breast. It was easy.

But I learned that for the next 8 weeks, nothing would be easy.

First the pain of a c-section is horrendous. I'm sure all vaginal birthing women will want to argue with me, but seriously - your birth canal was MADE for birthing. There is nothing natural about cutting through your belly, then your uterus, ripping the baby out from there, pounding that swollen organ back into your belly, sewing it up, sewing you up, and hoping to God that you did it right and didn't leave something inside. Vaginal tears hurt, but they heal quickly. I didn't feel like myself until at least 6 months post partum. My abdominal wall had been cut through - I couldn't even pull myself up.

The trauma of my lower belly made it difficult to breastfeed without discomfort. I had a pillow that sat right on my surgical scar. But I grimaced through the pain. I curled my toes and tried desperately to relax so that the milk would let down. And for the next 6 days, nothing happened. No milk. My daughter lost over 13% of her body weight and was rushed to the special care nursery. That's where premature babies go. Babies that weight 1 pound. Mine weighed 8!

She was fed through a feeding tube in her nose. The forced so much forumla into her tiny little belly that she threw up. A lot and often. But she gained weight, and her jaundice started to fade. Everyone felt better except me. I resisted formula because I had a milk allergy, and I didn't know it yet, but because I did not give birth naturally, was in surgery, lost 1/2 my blood, exhausted from the whole process, my body concentrated on healing instead of making milk. But with a lot of support from my midwife, my family, my breast pump and SHEER will, milk appeared on the 6th day. Luckily, the pedeatrian saw how dedicated I was to doing this, and made me a deal. 55cc in her for 3 feedings in a row and we could go home. The only thing unfair was that she was so lethargic from being pumped full of formula for the last 24 hours.

We made it, of course, barely squeaking by - but that was not the end of our pitfalls.

In surgery, as it turns out, my blood started to get infected, so I was pumped full of antibiotics. The antibiotics allowed yeast to grow... in my breasts. I also had mastitis from the yeast blocking my ducts. Yeast is incredibly painful. It hurts to breastfeed and hurts MORE after you are done. And breastmilk contains a whole lotta sugar, which yeast thrives on.

Meanwhile, I had begun to notice tiny specks on my little girl's porcelain skin. Just hormones, I was told. She then developed thrush in her mouth. I researched on the web, went to see my nautropath and found a lovely doctor to diagnose me correctly. I was on an antifungal and so was she (orally), we used probiotics and I had some gel to put on my nipples. After 8 gruelling weeks where I would fear everytime she cried in hunger, things finally started getting better. Except her skin condition worsened. To a point where she would gouge chunks of skin from her face and arms because of the itchiness.

I faced the same answer with everyone. Eczema. Cortizone or nothing.

Nothing was not a plausible answer. My nautropath armed me with plenty of information. I went on a diet immediately - removing all traces of dairy, wheat and eggs from my diet. And wouldn't you know it 3 weeks later, clear beautiful skin. No strangeness in the diaper. Sleeping like a champ, and eating like a one too.

She still has dairy and egg allergies. We have to watch her diet carefully. After every illness (be it cold, flu, or stomach ailment) her eczema comes back. The nautropath said that illness makes the immune system go into high alert, making her sensitive to everything, even mundane sensitivities cause reactions. But now, I know exactly what to do, and everything returns to normal by 3 weeks. Even she knows when she needs to be creamed.

So, to try to stave off the pain from the first 8 weeks post partum, I'm going on an allergy diet in 1.5 weeks. My 3rd trimester.

But that's next week. This week I'm getting my fill of caramel macchiatos and croissants. Next week it's rice and greens! If that's not love, I don't know what is.

1 comment:

V Nguyen said...

hey sassy, this is sol. email me if you can. i could use some advice.