25 Jul
2012
Posted in: inspiring
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A Little Thing Called Estrogen

I always liked to think of myself as a rational, balanced individual. I like to observe first, then react. I always liked to keep my emotions a little withdrawn – protected, if you will. Of course when I was pregnant with the twins (and that is my only experience being pregnant) I found myself experiencing a higher level of hormones and emotion. I read that twin mothers tend to have higher levels of hormones during pregnancy and even though that may have been the case, I still felt emotionally strong.

After the babies were home (and if you want to read about that time, look to my previous article where I wrote about it here) and things were settled, I got into a routine of caring for the children, working out, eating healthy (especially when I was still breastfeeding not one, but TWO hungry hungry boys).  But I was still wearing my maternity clothes a few months after the little guys were born. It began to feel like something was wrong with my body.  I spoke to my friend Cecelia who said that maybe my body was still storing fat to be able to make milk, and that once I stopped breastfeeding that I would lose weight then. It sounded logical.  She had been right about soooooo many other things regarding my pregnancy, so I was able to be patient and just wait until we were ready to stop breastfeeding.  When the time came to stop (I breastfed the boys for 6 months and pumped breast milk for about another month) I did, knowing it was the right decision for myself and the boys who by this time were already eating food since they were 4 months old (partially to combat their insatiable hunger, and partially to combat their terrible reflux). I still felt curvy in all the wrong places, though.

I began to lose weight. I dropped almost 2 kilos immediately and a couple of pants sizes. I started to feel optimistic.  And even though I was doing Body Pump (yeah, pretty hard core!) three times a week and Zumba and Yoga, I began to feel like I hit a plateau again. So I eliminated sugar from my diet. I made sure that I was drinking 2-3 liters of water per day and I still felt bloated and terribly large. I was stuck at 68 kilos and my stomach looked like I was 5 months pregnant. I still had 10 kilos to go before getting back to my ideal weight.

So I did lymphatic drainage. Eight sessions and NADA. At one of the last sessions, the massage therapist asked if I had seen an endocrinologist.  I also started a new form of exercises to stop the diastasis recti (where the stomach muscles tear apart vertically during pregnancy). Apparently, my situps and some of the yoga positions that I was doing was actually making making my stomach bigger by pulling my muscles apart even more).

I explained to my friend Erin what was bothering me. She’s been working in healthcare for a long time and I trust her opinion. She suggested that I see an endocrinologist, just to rule out any thyroid problems, which are also commonly start up to a year after childbirth. I made an appointment and had all the preliminary thyroid tests done. When I finally went to see the endocrinologist, it was May. 11 months after the kids were born. Since that March, I was eating salad and soup. I had suffered through a bought of pneumonia as well as a stomach virus that really, should have knocked a few kilos off the scale, but did it? NO.

My poor friends had to hear my thoughts all the time. Something’s wrong. Something’s wrong. I know my body. This is not right. I read on facebook a friend of mine complaining about how she couldn’t wait until her postpartum hormones calmed down.  She was 5 weeks postpartum and was finding herself weeping at a commercial having to do with maternity. I was 11 months postpartum and found myself weepy over episodes of “Glee” or “Bones” (yes, the forensic anthropologist who solves crimes, WEEPY over that!).  And let me clarify. I was not sad, just weepy, like, when you’re at a wedding and you’re moved by the emotion and beauty of love.

So after another trip to the endocrinologist after some hormonal tests (simple blood tests) because the thyroid tests came out fine, I found out that my estrogen (you know, that hormone that gives us women curves) was WAY out of whack. Like, pre-menopausal woman taking fertility drugs, WHACK.  Following the suggestion of my doctor, I went back on the birth control pill and little by little – I’m on my way back to normal.  It’s been two months.  The first week after starting the pill to regulate things, I lost a pants size. This week, I tightened my belt two notches.  I lost 4 kilos in a month. I haven’t felt so NORMAL since before the boys were born! And my exercise? All I’m doing are the exercises recommended for diastasis recti. The black line that went down my stomach indicating that I had torn my muscles there.

And I’m eating healthy, but normal again. And I’m still feeling good and starting to discover that a year and a half away from my wardrobe makes my old wardrobe seem new again!

Sorry, I have no before and after pictures. I really haven’t wanted my picture taken this past year. Now, welcome paparazzi!

4 Comments

  • wow what a journey! welcome back to your normal! You looked great all along to me, but what do I know!

    • awww thanks liz!

  • Wow! Thanks for posting this. I actually had a discussion with a friend today that was describing something similar so I am passing this along to her.

    • Jill, I’m so glad that you can pass this along to your friend. I found a great lack of information as well as lots of misleading information on the internet. I hope this can help her!!

So, what do you think?