Refinery29: 12 Women Discuss Whether They Regret Their Decisions Around Motherhood pt 2

Refinery29: 12 Women Discuss Whether They Regret Their Decisions Around Motherhood. http://google.com/newsstand/s/CBIwle2Szzk

This is such a fascinating article. I never had doubts about motherhood. Well, let me explain.  Throughout my 20s, I had assumed I would remain childless. Partly because of my five operations for endometriosis, partly because my husband was not suitable for raising children with, and partly because my mother told me I’d make a terrible mother, as I’d hate it.

giphy15It turns out I’m having a blast. I don’t like kids, much. We don’t relate well, but mine are awesome. Other people have said just that. It is quite a struggle with managing my pain, but I have an extremely supportive partner, who works with us as a team, not a sperm donor. He attends all our appointments, as the kids are both autistic. Our 15-year-old girl has Aspergers, our boy is 13 in June, is part way through testing. They are certain he is on the spectrum, but resources are so limited, they have to test further up the line before finishing him up. My husband has Aspergers as well. He cloned himself when he made my girl! 😂

I work hard to find other things to talk about besides my children. I have many child free friends. In fact, I was on those boards in the 90s! I even campaigned for a hysterectomy for a while, as it was the only thing on offer to really ‘cure’ my endo.

My life would have been very much different without children. I may even be in less pain. I certainly wouldn’t know the love, wisdom, and depth of spirit I do now. We had discussed the very real likelihood I might not be able to conceive. When my now-husband and I met, I was 28, he was 30. (It was Halloween, 1998, my birthday is November 3, I was 27) Wednesday moved in together officially in July of 1999 (unofficially, much earlier, but we got a place together in July) and on November 13, 2000 I got pregnant for the first time. This was my ectopic pregnancy, which had given us so much hope! I could at least get pregnant.

I started bleeding on Christmas Eve, 2000 in Barrie, an hour’s drive north of the city we live in (Toronto). It started getting bad, beyond spotting, so I had husband take me to the hospital. At the hospital they told me their ultrasound technician was off for the holiday (1:00 p.m.) but my cervix was closed, don’t worry. Meanwhile, not fine. We have holiday dinner at my brother and sister in laws house with parents in law, while I am bleeding, and cramping and trying to hold it together while I know I’m in hostile territory.  We had planned the surprise for tomorrow, but I’m scared as hell and turning ghostly white. Husband finally makes announcement he’s taking me back to a better hospital. Oh, and that I’m pregnant.  Mother in law holds her head in her hands. Drama queen. We traipse off to the hospital, where I don’t remember what happened, but we have to keep my parents’ car overnight. I have to tell everybody over the phone the good news. I at least get to sleep in my own bed. The next morning I went back to the hospital and they ran tests on me. They discovered I had an ectopic pregnancy. The embryo had stopped growing in the fallopian tube. If it had decided to rupture, I could have died. What kind of hospital doesn’t have an ultrasound technician? Doesn’t think of this possibility and suggests I try another hospital? I was lucky enough that they caught it in time and two doses of methotrexate took care of and dissolved that blockage. Because, after getting the all clear, it only took us two months to conceive our daughter. The original plan was, we would try the 6 months leading up to the wedding, and then immediately after, start IVF. Usually they make you wait a year, but they were so convinced, and worried about my advanced age and surgeries. I’m so glad to prove them wrong. Husband takes all the credit!

We were planning to get married the following October. October 16 is the ‘family’ wedding day. Rebels that we are we married on the 20th of October, 2001. I was 5 months pregnant with Dorkus.

I remember those nights of pulling my daughter into bed because she wouldn’t stop nursing. She eventually stayed there. I’ve had days of stumbling around and not being able to see, so tired.

But she grew, she became more independent. It wasn’t long before I wanted a bigger family.

I must say, being adopted by my dad, with a half-sister, having genetic relations around is neat!

Honestly, my menstrual cycle returned in July, 2003. September, 2003 I had an ER room visit where I was clutching my abdomen in pain. I could barely speak, I was moaning. They were certain it was my appendix, although they couldn’t find it on ultrasound. They decided to go in after it. They removed a perfectly good appendix and I started my period the next morning. The nausea from the anaesthetic lifted after two weeks, but then I started getting sick again. Our boy was born in June of 2004.

I’ve never regretted them. They are my family.

Just today, I had such pain, I needed comfort. I asked my son to come snuggle me. Just sit with me and watch the Simpsons while I fell asleep.

Best nap ever.

One one side, I do have incredible pain and very little to no support from extended family. On the other hand, I have an extremely supportive, willing and able-appearing partner, who pushes through the pain of his own arthritis to keep us on track. We are in a first-world country with adequate health care that I have extended benefits for and the income to access, not to mention the skin tone.  This all contributes to making things slightly easier for me on that side of the equation.

Although, we left our kids with a sitter to actually go out, once. We went to my high school reunion. 25 years. Back in Winnipeg. We had adjoining rooms and the kids bounded in the next morning and wanted to know who was in bed with me. They didn’t recognize their father. 😄

I think we’ve left them with my parents a couple of times? Few? My Mom has taken our daughter to the library, we’ve spent time with them. Husband and I went for dinner for an hour and a half. No more than six times for sure. We just didn’t see them that much. Never with his parents. I was in labour with our son and we had asked them to come stay with our girl. They wanted to take her to their house and hour away! No! I want her to meet her brother! First! They didn’t get it. My Mom to the rescue! Or I would he rave been alone.

I don’t know if I told this story. I tell about my daughter’s birth, but when my son was in labour, the nurse checked my progress with two fingers and he grabbed them! She said he must have had his hand up by his head!

Parenthood: I feel like I’ve been given the greatest puzzle to solve. The more I put into it, the more love I get out of it.

Goodnight, Zebras! 😘

It’s the middle of the night, I hope this makes sense! 😘😘😘

My weight and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

bkechelm1ivly

I started life at a fairly normal weight. 7lbs. 6 oz. I believe. If we are going to talk about my weight, we may as well start at the beginning. My childhood was fairly normal. Normal weight. I loved broccoli, maybe that was strange. I was tiny. My mom says she used to put me in one of the grocery bags and put the groceries in the stroller to go home, I was so little. But she had to keep me away from the broccoli, or I would eat it all.

wp-1486408066341.jpg

Baby Squidge

Approaching 10, I started to develop. Both breasts and a small eating disorder. I started to eat a lot of yogurt, as it soothed my stomach. I started my period at 12.5. From my first, it was excruciating. My second period (they were regular from the second one) had me in bed for three days. This became the new normal for my period. It was at this point I stopped eating. I used to eat an apple, a chocolate bar a yogurt and 5 soda crackers over three or four days. Usually I would skip the chocolate bar. I was hiding dinner with after school jobs and at friends’ houses. I was about 5’7″ and 106 lbs when I graduated high school at 17. Looking back, I wonder if my food aversion, because I wasn’t doing it to get skinny, necessarily, but because I felt better when I didn’t eat, was an EDS thing. I am certainly having stomach issues now.

I started modelling locally around this time. Nothing major, started to generate some interest, got really insecure, met my first husband, started to eat normal, gained a bit of weight age 18 to 19, weight 140, insecurity meant eating disorder blows up and I quite modelling to save my sanity. I had also grown another inch and a half or so with some decent nutrition, and was standing at 5’8 1/2″. At 19, I was diagnosed with Endometriosis.

e9sjgywjfocg8

Daria Says!

So, throughout my twenties, I was very poor. We struggled.  It was the recession of the nineties. I went through college. Worked two jobs, picked up another when I graduated. When I didn’t work I slept. We lived in Edmonton, Winnipeg, and moved to Toronto in May of 1995. At this point I was 160 lbs. Quite healthy. I had taken up some side modelling again, but nothing serious, not with an agency or anything. I was definitely plus, and plus was not what it is today. I was also old. I was 24 now! Very Old. Great hair, though.

In 1998, my now ex-husband and I broke up, but he was kind enough to introduce me to my new husband. Before my now husband  (here on in referred to as “husband”) and I got serious I warned him that if he could get through my period we could get through anything. Little did I know…

In 2000, June, I had become quite the gym bunny. I was enjoying regular workouts, and had been for about three months. I was living with my husband, just fiancé then, for nearly a year, when I gained 30 lbs. In one month and continued to gain at the rate of two pounds per week all summer. I went from around 180 to 240. I was horrified. I hadn’t changed eating habits, my gym routine was all cardio. I saw doctor after doctor. Finally, I was put on thyroid medication and metformin. I couldn’t tolerate the metformin, but at least I stopped gaining weight.  The doctor wanted me to stop eating so much, and thought the nausea from the metformin would help. I was hardly eating anyway, so still, nobody believed me.

x8coem60qa8em

I Love American Dad!

June 8, 2001 at 240 lbs, I conceived our daughter. I was so very sick during this pregnancy, I lost 30 lbs. in the first trimester. I gained back 10, she was born, February of 2002, I weighed 220 lbs.

My weight was fairly stable between 230 to 240 the ensuing years. My next pregnancy, our son was born in June of 2004, I lost weight again, only 20 lbs this time. To 2008, my high school reunion, through to 2010, my weight stayed between 240 and 250 lbs.

20170206_135714.jpg

Me at the Manitoba Museum in 2008,      240 lbs.

In 2010, January, I had severe gallbladder problems. I was in so much pain. I couldn’t leave my bed. I couldn’t have emergency surgery, because they wanted this particular surgeon to operate. She was busy with cancer patients. Stupid cancer. I had to wait until June. They stopped counting at 27 stones. However, me sitting home and eating three meals a day had put my weight up to 262 lbs. I was very unhappy.

wp-1486407712974.jpg

My Sister’s Wedding 09/09/09 245 lbs.

My weight remained stable now, as my mobility began decreasing here. I had still not been diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, and we thought I had fibromyalgia and endometriosis.

From 2010 to 2013 I was okay with moderate activity, then things got bad. My mobility went way downhill. I became essentially bedridden. 2013 and 2014 were tough. I was in so much pain all I could do was sleep. We were adjusting my medication, I started with marijuana, but one supplier I was with kept running out, it was too strong, it wasn’t calibrated, my weight kept climbing. I wasn’t happy and it showed. Here is where I really started to climb towards 300 lbs.

20170203_131724.jpg

With Author Lindsay Kelk, 2015, 300 lbs.

In 2014 things started to turn around. In January, I was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. I got on track with a good weed producer, which helps a lot. It really helps my pain. I got my dosage sorted out, my medication. I was still fairly bedridden, but could make the occasional trip out. 

2015 is when my weight finally hit the 305 mark. I was at the top. This is also when I turned things around. Early in the year, I was chatting with my sister, and out of curiosity, I downloaded MyFitnessPal. I wanted to see how much I was eating each day. I was shocked to find I was taking in about 900 kcals most days, with one or two days spiking to 2100 kcals every two or three weeks. I was suffering terrible heartburn, I was on the strongest dose of Prevacid allowed and had been since the birth of my daughter.

flohntiv1mj2u

Bridget Jones

By early summer 2015, I had started to increase my food intake to between 1300 and 1500 kcals on a consistent basis. My weight began to drop off slowly, about two lbs. per week. By October I was down to 260, and dropping. At Christmas I was 250.

At the start of 2016, I was holding steady at about 250 lbs. I was having trouble swallowing, so I was sent to an ENT, and did a barium swallow. The tests came back negative. My weight stayed steady around this time. I had completely plateaued.  Things stayed this way until about April, when I got really sick. I had massive gastrointestinal upset for three weeks and lost thirty pounds. End of April I was 220 lbs.

gkirw0duzz6ow

Not the Best Strategy Devil Wears Prada

The rest of 2016 was difficult. I was not able to eat normally. My intake was about 800 kcals per day because I was so nauseated and had so much stomach pain I could not take in more food. I continued to log, I continued to record, and I continued to lose. I was still mostly bedridden. In August 2016, I had a stomach biopsy that determined a hernia, and my stomach had an unusual consistency. In October, under advice of my doctor, I started the FODMAP eating plan, which helps bloating and decreases inflammation.  My acid reflux is less, and my body is not as sore. I have tried to add foods back with little success.

December of 2016 I had a terrible stomach flu ending right before Christmas. I weighed myself and came in at 208 lbs. I got sick again right after Christmas, and into the new year. Remarkably, the second week of 2017, I felt amazing, and I started eating again. My diet was toast. I was up to 1200 kcals every day. This felt like a lot to me, and by the end of January,  I was pretty sure I had gained weight. I was hoping for ten or fifteen pounds, but when I was on the scale, I had lost another four lbs, and I was down to 204 lbs.

20170203_125518.jpg

February 3, 2017 at 204 lbs.

My next goal is to get under 200. I would eventually like to see 170 lbs again, but I’m not desperate, just in case I get sick like I did last April again.

It can be very difficult to lose weight, and especially to keep it off, especially when not mobile. I always have doctors telling me to lose weight or go for a walk, or physiotherapists telling me to go to the gym. It’s just not that simple. Honestly, I don’t feel one bit different, one whit better now that I am lighter. There’s not ‘less pressure on my knees’ or any other joint, or if there is, it isn’t helping me any. I like getting clothes easier. Well, pants, because my boobs still need the gargantuan clothes. Sigh.

Stay flexible! 😘