In honor of Kendall’s 9 month checkup last week, I thought I’d talk about not how big he is (23.5 lbs, 29.5 inches), not about how the “finger prick” test should be more appropriately named the “milk half the blood in your child’s body via a small apendage” test, but about how MY body is fairing after this kid has spent as much time on the outside as he did on the inside. I’ll work my way from top to bottom, and, in my own true fashion, will do my best not to sugar coat or spare details, because you can always look up what to expect from a nine month old’s body in one of hundreds of books that so gladly spell it all out, but nobody wants to tell you what your body is left with.
Let’s start with my hair. It stopped falling out in massive clumps around the time Kendall was 4 months old. It since has stabilized and I’m back to a relatively healthy mane. It’s actually not nearly as thin as I once feared it would be. That could, however, be due to these gruesome gray hairs that have decided to put down roots (strong ones – those SOBs are ridiculously hard to pluck), build cozy nests and start having offspring of their own. Yeah, this may be more due to the fact that I am now officially 28, but I’m choosing to believe that the reason why I have a healthy and growing colony of grays along my part is because at least once a day my heart stops for half a second when Kendall face plants into the tile floor or finds some random choking hazard and stuffs it into his chipmunk cheeks. Now I just need to decide what the best way to cover them is, all over dark brown, or blond highlights? Or should I just say fuck it, shave it, and get some really good wigs?
One of the beautiful things about pregnancy for me was that it actually cleared my skin up. I didn’t even feel like I had to wear that much makeup when I was pregnant, and breakouts happened next to never. I truly felt like one of those women who “glowed” while with child, even if that glow was paired with a plump face. That trend continued all the way up to the return of my period at 8.5 months post partum (more on that later). Since then, it’s back to business as usual unfortunately. I was so hoping the clear skin thing was a pregnancy prize I got to keep forever. Stupid body and hormones….such a tease. It does look like I get to keep the bags under my eyes and the ever growing lines around them, though. YipeeeEEE! I wonder how dangerous Botox is for breastfeeding?
My boobs are, well, they are what they are. They are everything I was ever worried they would become. They have stretchmarks and are still too big to fit under any of my old shirts, yet they look oddly deflated, especially after a long feeding. They still leak, but no longer enough to cause embarrassing scenes in public, thank God. The good news is they are now super tough, rivaled by only the finest quality leather. No more pieces of flesh falling off of them. That is all good news, right? And they do look close to decent in a push up bra. Just don’t look too close. You may notice an unsightly black hair I missed while plucking. Those tweezers are for more than just eyebrows these days.
Thanks to the wonders of breastfeeding (and the possibility that I was a Jersey cow in another life) I am happy to say that I am back down to my pre pregnancy weight, losing a total of 43 lbs since Kendall’s birth. However, this certainly doesn’t mean I have my old body back. My midsection is flappy and floppy and could really use a few thousand crunches. I keep meaning to do them, I swear. I wouldn’t say I’m unhappy with this new body, though. I have some hips now, which I never had before. And, despite the kidnapping of my ass (I have posters out and am offering a reward, but I think it’s gone for good), I think I can still fill out a pair of jeans nicely, as long as I remember to wear shirts long enough to disguise my muffin top, which is iced with stretch marks. They don’t stop there, either. My whole midsection is littered with them. The good news is they are no longer the color of Barney the dinosaur. They have faded to a rose color, which, paired with my milky white skin, is just the definition of sexy, really.
I’m going to take a minute to stop here and warn any of my PARENTS, IN-LAWS or relatives over the age of 40 that the following is not at all EVER, ever, EVER up for discussion. In fact, I would prefer it if you would just stop reading right here and move along. But, if you so choose to be nosy and must read about the state of my vagina and even how it may affect my S-E-X life, you do so while making a silent promise to me that you will NEVER SPEAK OF IT. So, go on… take your little mousey mouse cursor up to the right hand corner of the screen… click the red X… I’ll wait.
Annnnnd that brings me to the scene of the crime… err, carnage… my vagina. Ugh. It’s been a long road, full of pain and stitches and rashes. I can tell you that it doesn’t, nor will it ever, look the same down there. There are visible scars where I tore my labia. Although, I didn’t have the nerve to even investigate until months after delivery. In fact, I was so terrified of what was happening down there that I would not even allow myself to look in the mirror from the waist down for at least a month for fear I would see a ball of stitches or some grizzly gash, and I don’t think I groomed down there for maybe three months. The thought of bringing a razor anywhere near the general vicinity had me convinced I’d be au naturale the rest of my life. You can imagine, then, my anxiety at the thought of ever having sex again. I couldn’t believe that I was cleared for it at my six week checkup. I thought surely I had some extreme damage down there that would cause the midwife to take pity and order me not to partake for several months. Don’t worry. I was never forced into it by my more than patient husband. I made him hold out until I was 8 weeks post-partum, but decided to give it up for his birthday. Let’s just say that it was a giant FAIL that time, and for the next 6 months. Even with the help of Astroglide, things never really gelled, and I felt like (and I didn’t even think this could be humanly possible) it was somehow much…er…tighter? down there. I always thought the opposite would happen. I dunno. Maybe the midwife got a little stitch happy.
The good news is that it all got much better around the time Kendall turned 8 months old. I thought it was just a sign that things were finally starting to stretch out down there and rewarding my husband’s due diligence to the moto “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again”. However, as I learned about 2 weeks later, I think it had more to do with the return of my period. Aghhhhhh! Yes, after close to a year and a half of no tampons or PMS, I started my period again. I have to say, I was totally prepared for a reaction similar to this SNL skit for once-yearly birth control:
But, it really wasn’t that bad (although, it did take me about ten minutes to work up the courage to stick a tampon back up there). No horrible cramps, not super heavy, I didn’t even develop a leathery tail or a second vagina! I like to think of it as Mother Nature’s way of apologizing to me for a colicky baby and three rounds of Mastitis.
Not a lot happened below the vagina for me other than my extremely swollen cankles that developed around the time I was 6 months pregnant and only grew with each passing week. They were the size of tree trunks when I was pushing. I know because I was holding them. But, one of the first things I noticed when I got to my recovery room was how svelt my ankles looked. It must have been from all the blood I lost, but they’ve been back to their bony selves since. And, luckily for me and my budget, my feet fit in all my old shoes.
So there you have it, top to bottom. In all, I’m really not unhappy with my body now. Yes, it’s much different than it was before, and most of this must sound pretty terrible from the outside looking in, but I honestly just don’t care. Is there room for improvement? Hell yes. Am I perfect now? No. Was I ever? No. Things have shifted – boobs, butt, flab, priorities. I guess it’s all how you look at it. Dare I say, this motherhood thing has given me a little more confidence than I had pre-fetus invasion.
Kendall is 9 months and 3 weeks old.