9 months later + Baby & Body

My 9 month update:

  • My extreme postpartum hair loss has stopped. And thank goodness my hair is growing back but all the new baby hair is sticking straight up! It looks so bad. I’ve resorted to gelling it back with super strength gel. 😦 At least it’s growing back, right?
  • I’m almost back to my pre-pregnancy weight. I only have less than a handful of pounds left so that’s good. I thought I was going to lose everything by the 6 month mark but it didn’t help that I barely went to the gym and didn’t stick to any diet scheme. I’ve been reading stories of how some women & of course celebrities were able to lose all their pregnancy weight and more by the 1-3 month mark. I know it depends on genetics and how much you ate during your pregnancy but can I say, LUCKY! I was still bloated and not feeling like my old self until I hit the 6 month mark. But I also know there are many women who are not able to lose the baby weight as easily. I found it and still find it hard to reclaim my body afterwards.
  • With the above said, I’m finally seeing how pregnancy has changed my body. It’s nothing too drastic like some women but changes nonetheless. For some reason, I lost a lot of fat from breasts. Since high school, I was known as that Korean girl with the huge tatas. It’s weird to see them so deflated now. I can see my breast bones sticking out behind them. I still have some extra fat on my face and stomach but I can’t complain too much about anything else.
  • 2 lasting comments I heard about my post-pregnancy body: I overheard a stranger from a coffee shop tell her friend that she couldn’t believe a thin woman like me had a baby. That was really uplifting and wonderful to hear. My ears definitely perked up. A bad one? I headed to my cousin’s rehearsal dinner for her wedding and saw my aunt that hadn’t seen me since my wedding. The first thing she said to me in Korean? “Lisa, you gained a lot of weight! Especially your face!” I laughed it off but c’mon – I had a baby and it hasn’t even been a year since his birth! I haven’t felt that judged and self-conscious in awhile. 😦  I’ve learned to roll with the punches and you know something? People are going to say shit. It can be with purpose or without thought. I would like to believe it’s the latter. I probably say things at times that are devastatingly inappropriate too – no one’s perfect. So with that said, just roll with the punches. Duck, roll, do a split, or let it just smack you in the face and GET OVER IT. Don’t take things too personally. Don’t take horrible things to heart – it will do you no good. People are going to be people. Just say c’est la vie and smile.

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2.5 months postpartum

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3.5 months postpartum

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5.5 months postpartum

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9 months postpartum

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Kyle’s 9 month check-up:

  • 19 pounds / 29 inches long / 6-9 month clothing
  • I’m a believer of vaccinations so he received everything he needed. Curacao doesn’t give as many vaccinations as the U.S. so he was missing a few. He usually has a fever after his shots but not this time around! He just had little bouts of crying with each shot and he was back to his happy self within minutes. What a trooper, right? 🙂
  • He is a fast crawler. He gets into everything. He loves cords and phone chargers. He’s ruined 2 phone chargers already. Those are expensive, yo!
  • He can climb stairs but hasn’t figured out how to climb back down. He just whimpers a bit until I notice his plight. I keep showing him how to navigate the stairs by climbing backwards but it’s a no go at this point.
  • He’s been standing since before his 7 month update. He tries to stand on everything and is a pro with his walker. I’m so amazed every time I see him zooming on by — on his walker! 😀
  • He has 7 teeth in total with another one on its’ way. It’s so strange to see him with teeth! Haha. He loves biting his daddy’s toes.
  • He can clap his hands, give us high-fives, and point his index finger at us so we can do E.T’s go home. 😉
  • He likes the game of chase. He giggles all crazy and crawls super fast to the kitchen. When he sees that I’m not following him, he crawls back out to let me know he’s there and to follow him. Such a smart little man!
  • One other thing that I am amazed by is his understanding of cause and effect. For instance, there’s a little old style telephone ringer on his walker that he loves to twirl with his fingers. But he realizes that I’m much better and faster at it so a couple of days ago, he surprised me by taking my hand and placing it on the telephone ringer. I didn’t understand so I brought my hand back but he did it again!
  • Strangers usually think he’s a girl. Does he?
  • His personality is incredible. He is such a happy little thing. He coos, giggles, laughs, and smiles all the time. I love love love his happy demeanor.
  • Oh and he’s such a troublemaker. I guess all babies are this way? But wow. He has such a mischievous grin and does things JUST to see how I react. Little rascal!

 

Did I mentioned he loves mirrors and his reflection? Kyle does mean handsome by the way. 😉

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Yup. The cords. Freaks me out every time he does this. What if he somehow knocks over the lamp? What if he’s hiding a metal rod somewhere and electrocutes himself?!

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He doesn’t like his zucchini.

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My all-time favorite picture of Kyle. I’m so happy I got this shot!

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His trademark chubby thighs. Isn’t he such a G? That one foot ALWAYS goes up when we’re strolling around the neighborhood.

I usually have him in pants but last week was too darn hot for pants.

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My postpartum body after baby

When I was pregnant, I didn’t really think too much about life after baby. Silly or plain stupid? No worries. I think I was both too. C’mon. Women were made for this, right? The labor pains and the strength that comes from within. I can do this. And honestly, I was too in the moment what with my constant and might I add almost painful Braxton Hicks contractions. I was enthralled by all the baby forums and their questions of ‘What do contractions feel like?, Do I have signs of early labor?, What’s lightning crotch?’ I was also kept busy by perusing the internet and reading about women breaking their water while shopping, having their membranes stretched/ripped at their 38 week doctor’s appointment or how they’re already dilated 1.5 cm and effaced whatever percent at their last check up. Like, what?! I felt like I was always behind and no matter how much I read, there was always something else to figure out.

However, here are a few things that I wish I had known when I was pregnant about my body right after baby. In no particular order:

  • Your milk coming in. Your milk doesn’t come in right away like a pump at the gas station. It takes about 2 to 3 days. And for that to happen, you have to keep the baby sucking on your once sexy lady bits. You might think nothing is coming out but don’t worry, it is. Babies are born with reserves in their body for 24 hours or was it 48? Anyways, they will not perish of hunger. If you’re going to breastfeed, keep that sucker on your.. sucker and wait for your breasts to swell 3 times the original size. I have a picture of my boobs almost the size of my large head. They were hard and painful, hot to the touch and giving me a fever and chills. Once the milk came out, my sigh of relief was instantaneous. Wow oh wow.
  • And while we’re on the boobs, nursing pads are a MUST. I initially bought those organic re-usable cotton ones at Babies ‘R Us and personally, I stopped using them after the first week. You will leak constantly and it will drench through your shirt while you’re taking your 1.5 sleep (if even that long!) until your next pumping session/crying baby/waking up because of your soaked shirt. I used the ones you use once and throw away and they were more practical. Although, I’ve heard of women putting in long pads or newborn diapers in there to save some money.  😀
  • Breastfeeding doesn’t ultimately ruin your boobs – pregnancy does. That’s what I think anyway.
  • You will bleed for at least a month. Postpartum bleeding is no joke. I was done by my 6-week check up but I know some women can bleed for longer. It’s just annoying at most. And those hospital sized pads you’ll need? No need to buy them in bulk before. The hospital usually provides that for you and you’ll probably only need them for the first 3-5 days.
  • And as for sexy time after baby? 😉  Doctors usually say to wait until you get the green light at your 6-week check up and… we did. It was doable (haha) but not very fun for me. I didn’t get an episiotomy but had a 2 degree tear so there were stitches that probably still didn’t dissolve. We waited another week until I felt mentally prepared and it was much better when I wasn’t so worried about the possible pain.
  • You’ll be one of the lucky ones if you don’t deal with postpartum hair loss. I’m thankfully not shedding as much anymore but it was really bad starting 3.5 months postpartum. I would be pulling out countless stands as I showered, hair clogged my drains and my strands littered the floors for all to see. I’m now dealing with new funky baby hairs that stick up all over my forehead but I’ll take it over thinning hair any day.
  • I still have a light linea nigra on my belly. I’m not too worried about it but I wonder when it’s going to finally let up.
  • My skin has surprisingly cleared up and my annoying digestive systems issues have disappeared. I hear that a lot though. I’m assuming that having a baby is like a reset button?
  • My body is practically back to pre-pregnancy, give or take 5 pounds, and am able to fit into my size 26 jeans – but it’s still not quite the same. Muscle tone is weak and even though I don’t have loose skin, I feel like I do.
  • But all in all, I’m 95% happy with where my body is now. I didn’t think the swollen, bloated look would ever disappear but it eventually did within 5 months or so. As a first time mom, you’re always going to be overly worried about everything but it will get better – I promise. And try not to fret too much about the weight loss. I started losing the extra weight when I stopped worrying about weight loss! Some women are blessed to snap back into shape within a month whereas, some people like might take a bit of time. Take your time because time is so fleeting and worrying about the state of your body will only mount to more stress, hair loss (!) and take away your time from baby and living life. 🙂

Here is a recap of my body changes with pregnancy and postpartum.

3 weeks pregnant. I’ve always had a pooch. 😉

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39~40 weeks. A week before I went into labor.

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5 months postpartum

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Changing as we go.

Quite the maelstrom of change has been a-brewin’ for the past couple of weeks.

As of this week, I am a stay-at-home-mom. My husband and I work for the same company so we both turned in our resignation together 3 weeks ago. My husband will continue to work until the last possible day while I run around the island tying up loose odds and ends. Why, you ask?

Our family of 3 is finally leaving Curacao and heading back home to the states. 🙂

This has been  a long time coming. I’ve been here for almost 2.5 years while my husband has been here for almost 5. We both initially thought that we would have been home this past February but life has a way of throwing you curve balls, right? You gotta duck, roll and sometimes, just let it hit you. Repeatedly. Whether you like it or not. We would have preferred not but sometimes you have no say in the matter.

It’s bittersweet to say the least. I’m going to miss the beauty of this island, the amazing people I’m blessed to have befriended, and the unique feeling of being in the Bermuda Triangle. What I mean is, it feels strange when you feel like you’re on vacation but you’re not. You expect to head home the next day and there were times when I would wake up in the morning and be surprised that I wasn’t waking up in my bed in LA.

I am blessed to have had this experience. Who can say that they’ve lived in the Caribbean? My former boss and mentor, Rob helped me choose this path. Years ago, he sat me down one day and told me to live. He doesn’t regret his marriage and settling down but he always regretted not taking those risks. The road trip across the U.S. that he never had the chance to do. Travels to and fro without the responsibilities of a married man and sole breadwinner. He told me he could see that I was settling too early for a job that I hated. Just like he had. He didn’t want the same thing for me. I literally put his advice into action just a few months down the line when I first visited the Caribbean.

What life can bring. Good or bad. You gotta take that call.

Hello again, Ms. Q!

Went over to see Ms. Quan and her beloved Jasba for a few hours yesterday. She’s visiting the island and was excited to see me and Kyle. I don’t think I’ve seen her since the summer of 2012? So in a little over a year’s time, she sees me as a married woman with a child. Unbelievable she says! 🙂

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Here’s a picture of us @ our company’s Christmas party in 2011. How things have changed!

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My earliest childhood memories

I started having random flashbacks of my earliest memories while I was in the shower today. My parents and I were living with my maternal grandparents at the time so I was about 3 to 4 years old.

– I am in the kitchen and the sun is permeating a warm glow throughout the room. My grandmother has a large apple in her hand and she’s scraping it with a spoon. I feel myself longingly waiting for her to finish because as soon as she’s done, I know she’s going to spoon food me bits of the yummy apple. Perhaps that’s when my love of apples came into play? Apples are my first food memory. 🙂

– I’m shorter than the dresser in our room (My parents and I were living in a room together). I’m reaching over to the top because I know my dad left his gold shaver there. I want to be like my dad and shave too. I feel a prick of pain on my cheek and there is blood everywhere. I think I would have cried.

– We’re in our room and my dad is holding me as we watch TV together. It’s a VHS and it’s called Bio Men (바이오멘). It was a Japanese Power Rangers type of show (this preceded Power Rangers by the way – Circa 1988) that was dubbed over in Korean.

– I wake up and find out that I wet the bed. I am told that I am too old to be wetting the bed. My grandfather says as punishment I am to stay in my wet clothes, wear a traditional Korean straw hat and ask our neighbor upstairs for sugar. I say I don’t want to and I’m feeling embarrassed and upset. He is very stern and says you have to learn. I cry but I grudgingly go outside and walk up the stairs to her door and knock (It was a 2-unit house). She comes to the door, looks at me and laughs. She gives me a loving pat on the head and asks if I wet the bed. I nod and say, “설탕주세요” (Please give me sugar).

I’m guessing Koreans did this to their children back in the day in Korea. I love memories like these. 😉

– A memory that I’m not fond of: My grandmother’s friends are over and my grandmother is going into my parents walk-in closet for something. Later on that evening, my mom comes home and sees that her closet is in disarray. She thinks I made the mess. I try to explain but she hits my bottom and locks me in the closet. It’s dark and I’m too short to turn on the light. There are a lot of scary shapes and shadows in there with me.

– I’m in trouble again. My mom packs some of my stuff in a bag and tells me to leave. I cry as I leave with my stuff. I don’t know where to go. I sit on the cement steps outside our house. I watch the ants march back and forth through the cement crevices. Soon after, my grandmother comes out, hugs me and hands me a sweet Korean rice drink (식혜).

-Every night before bed, I go to the living room, bow to my grandparents and say, “할아버지 할머니, 안녕히 주무세요” (Grandfather grandmother, please sleep well). And every morning, I bow to them and say, “할아버지 할머니, 안녕히 주무셨어요?” (Grandfather grandmother, did you sleep well?)

I am grateful to my grandfather to instill these manners in me.

– My parents and I went out to a fancy dinner with my dad’s friends. My dad just parked in the street in front of our house. I am happy and skipping to and fro. All of a sudden, there is a commotion as 2 black men emerge from a car a couple of houses down. One man pulls out a gun and aims it at my dad. I don’t understand what’s going on but my mom handed them her purse. I’m just watching and unsure of what’s going on.

– We’re out at a Korean restaurant and I’m jealous of my dad. He has been drinking out of a small clear glass all night. I start fussing and say that I want what my dad’s having. He laughs and hands me his glass. I’m happy as I take a sip. Ahhhhhh it’s so nasty!!!

My dad was having a Korean alcoholic drink out of a shot glass. 😛

 

Wow. I didn’t think I would remember so many.
Memories. I’m blessed to have them but they are rimmed with grief, pain and nostalgia. My grandfather is no longer with us. My grandmother recently cut off all ties with my mom and in which turn, has jeopardized my relationship and most importantly, my son’s relationship with her. Nostalgia is a slippery slope. You never know how far down the rabbit hole you will go – or willingly go.