Gratitude for the sleeve

This week I’m celebrating not one but two things that have drastically changed my life for the better. I couldn’t have more gratitude right now.

I’ve reached 21 weeks of my pregnancy with my first child, a son. Only 5 days ago I found out I was having a boy, and my heart is overfilling with love. I was diagnosed with Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome and my weight contributed to this so 2 years ago, after the death of my twin I decided to bite the bullet and make quiet a dramatic permanent decision to lose weight and keep it off!

This week I’m embracing the one year anniversary of having a pretty significant operation that is called a ‘Vertical Gastric Sleeve’ that removed up to 80% of my stomach and that assisted me in getting down to a healthy 69kg in July this year. This is a permanent procedure that is very different to a lap band, and a lifelong commitment to eating quality over quantity while living with a “tiny tummy” as I call it.

One funny thing that has happened since I’ve ha this procedure is I start hiccupping if I’ve eaten to much, so I don’t tend to over eat, but a couple of times I’ve had a moment of weakness and had one too many mouthfuls of something extra yummy!

Many women around the world have fallen pregnant within a year of having the gastric sleeve operation, however there are not many blogs on this subject so even though I kept my sleeve journal quiet a personal one, I thought I’d face another fear and publically write about it here on my new blog.

It was suggested that I wait from 6 months to 18 months before falling pregnant, to ensure I could consume enough food and vitamins for a healthy bub. I fell pregnant 7.5 months after my procedure. It was an accident, and a very big surprise.

When you have a gastric sleeve, in most cases your actual hunger is taken away. Due to the removal of the stomach it also reduces the production of the hormone “Ghrelin” which in turn reduces the hunger sensation.

Your hunger, is dramatically minimised and you may need to force yourself to eat. However, when I became pregnant one of the first things that happened was my hunger came back- it was hard to get used too!

For over 6 months I had got in a habit of aiming to eat 6 small meals a day and try to consume enough water as well. For the first 6 months my water intake was terrible!

It’s difficult when you don’t have any hunger and also it’s recommended to not drink at the same time as eating, for various reasons and half hour either side of that! So juggling to “graze” all day and then when you not eating your drinking water, but not too much as you get “full” from too much water..  Constantly reminding yourself to consume the right food and water in your body can feel like a full time job!

It’s a on going issue to get the happy medium and consume enough calories to have enough energy in your day and not fall back into old or new bad habits. Now my hunger is back and my stomach can consume most foods now- this is the danger period- a time when too many people start to eat crap again and start putting on the weight.

One thing that I’ve started is eating toasted fruit bread for breakfast and attempting to include rice in my diet. After the operation the priority is alway protein, but once you have your chicken, eggs, seafood (oh I miss my oysters since I’ve been pregnant) , cheese, or protein drinks most of the time you are full so other food groups may miss out! So I’ve had to go out of my way to include as many food groups as possible!

Luckily for me, the first sign of pregnancy was my hunger coming back in full force and now I’m trying to eat enough ( remember I still have a tiny tummy, so I get full very quickly) and it’s hard not give into my intense sugar cravings and at the same time not freak out about the scales going back up! I’ve gained less than 4 kgs and my Dr proposes I will gain at least 10kg, 8kg of that being baby.

You won’t believe how many females who have lost lots of weight dramatically through a sleeve procedure and really struggle with a growing belly, even though you know it’s the baby! My face and arms show how much weight I’ve lost, even my thighs are half the size- but let’s not go there!

My top tips for expecting mothers after a gastric sleeve operation:

Take your multi vitamins. Every single day.
Bring a water bottle with you everywhere and don’t forget to sip, sip,sip!
Eat lots of veggies and fruit. I really missed eating fruit after the operation. Everything had to be puréed for months. I really looked forward to biting into a apple and eating a banana with yogurt. Adore my fruit!  Green grapes are my new craze.

Don’t jump on the scales anymore than when you go to the Dr for your monthly check ups, acknowledge any concerns and visit a counsellor if you need about how to deal with gaining at least 10kg again. It is very bittersweet.. But so much sweeter when you have a bubba in your arms!
Have a blood test, just like pre and post operation- just to ensure you are getting all the right levels of vitamins. That’s the first thing I asked for when I realised I fell pregnant and again around 20 weeks.
Iron deficiency is a common issue for many expected mothers, Milo is a good source of Iron, make the most of that. Milo is really yummy! A Milo a day keeps your Iron levels ok! ( well contributes!)
There are studies that show that you may not reach full term, my need a C section or may have issues breast feeding: Be aware but not alarmed.

Don’t believe everything you read, especially by people like me that have no formal medical or nutritional qualifications. What I write in these blogs are purely my own experiences.

I’m also only half way through my pregnancy, so watch this space for more blogging on the roller coaster experience of pregnancy after a vertical gastric sleeve.

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Just do it already!

Why have I started studying a Certificate in Professional Writing, because I wanted to feel more confident and have improved skills in all aspects of my life. Because, I left school quiet early and it’s not that I can’t write it’s that within myself I think I can improve myself and I’m always improving myself while working full time as well. Education and professional development is important for me.

I have a really interesting story to share and I’m looking at my future options of careers and being confident in writing at a higher and professions standard is critical with moving forward.

So what happened, within week of me starting this Certificate in Professional writing: I fall pregnant with my first child. My rose coloured glasses appeared for a month and I thought, oh wow, imagine all that spare time I’ll have while I’m on maternity leave to complete my studies. I quickly reverted back into reality and  now putting many more hours into my study per week now that the chronic tiredness and requirement to be in bed by 7.30pm has passed… Just!

Now I have an entire new world to study, becoming a mother to a little boy. My new project on my life is to raise a boy who is respectful to women, who values education and understands how quick life happens so you need to create many beautiful memories.

Because at the end of the day, we all end up buried in the soil, or in ashes in a rum or scattered over the sea and we end up memories for others to day dream and reflect over.  It doesn’t matter how much so called “success” you obtain, how many houses, company shares and flash cars you end up acquiring at the end of the day it comes down to how many people and animals you have genuinely helped, without expecting anything in return.

I’m studying a Certificate in Professional Writing because I’ve prioritised my professional development as fearful as it is and the odds are I may not come out a perfectionist and a highly published writer, yet  I do expect a dramatic improvement in my mind and on paper- you got to be happy with that!

 

 

 

 

 

Half way, yet the beginning.

This is something I’ve been meaning to do for years, if not decades.

Now, half way through my pregnancy with my first child and studying professional writing there is no way to get out of putting ‘pen to paper’ as its a requirement of my study to start a blog and a great excuse to start documenting this special journey!

I’ve considered the theme of this blog, what on earth could I contribute to the World Wide Web?  As a “30 something” female living in a small city in Northern Australia, on a journey of facing my fears… This could get interesting!

In Feburary 2013, my world changed forever with the death of my twin sister, Tara Lynn.

This has changed my life, in many aspects.

Both of my grandparents are alive, together with my parents and I had never loss anyone so close. A death this close and so unexpected  rattled me to the core.

This opened up my life to the world of being a twinless twin, a journey that no one should endure. But they do, thousands of people all around the world of various ages are faced with this pain. There is a huge part of the population in so much daily pain, living without their “other half”.

There wasn’t many times that I regretted not having children, I had always planned to have children, yet now after the passing of my twin it was a painful regret.

Instead of increasing my drinking, going a little crazy and doing silly things like quiting my job and basically loosing my mind, I carefully and intentionally used the strong power of grieving to tackle my biggest fears, including basic fears of writing. Leaving school     early, very frustrated with the system that didn’t support my unique learning style and I never really facing my lack of confidence of writing, even though really enjoying the process.

Not long ago I was quiet overweight, with ongoing health problems like disk degeneration in my lower back, infertility and generally having a on going battle of the bulge.  I had already started a typical New Years workout program in 2013, after Tara’s death I quickly needed to shake off off the stress and I started doing “dedication work outs” that was similar to setting time aside, thinking about Tara, talking to her, recalling memories, while listening to her favourite songs, going to the gym and going hard. Thanks to pre gym work out!

Yes, doing frantic workouts while listening to her funeral music. Bizarre when you write it out like that. I did this for about 18 months. The same songs over and over again. From Pink, Missy Higgins, Kate Miller-Heidke, and one of the last bands she danced to for the last time, The Lumineers.

I also started cycling and kept using my sisters determination as a “no excuses” motivation.

I said yes to many things I wouldn’t dare do and I’ve never looked back with the new way at looking at the world. I was now closer to my mid 30’s, had to be quiet mature about this situation- there was no way I was going to have a melt down and let depression overcome me like it had in the past.  I was aiming high for the complete opposite.

After my beloved twin died, the reality that no one in our families next generation would experience my sisters pure joy for life, they would not hear her laugh, feel one of her unforgiving strong bear hugs, hear her say “I love you” and “thank you” or genuinely be totally inspired about her daily pure motivation to overcome her disabilities.

The night before Tara passed away, I was spending time in a town called Katherine and I was incredibly emotional, I was trying to loose weight to improve my fertility as I had been having ongoing fertility issues. The night my sister unexpectedly died, I said to myself, it’s all too hard. Just give up on the idea of having a family. I recall going for a walk, I was wearing a yellow work out outfit and it must had been a full moon or something and I started crying so hard, after that thought.

The type of crying that I’d never really felt, however shortly after became a very regular action in my life. That feeling that you have so much internal pain in your life at that exact moment, that it literally takes away your breath, as you start to hyperventilate and ask something, anything to take that emotional pain to be taken away. There were many moments I could easily turned to drugs to dim the pain.

I felt that feeling twice in a very short time, within hours. The moment I said, fine I give up on trying to start a family, the on going pain of being frustrated every single month, then about 12 hours later when my brother called and told me that my twin sister had passed away, I felt it again. The shock, the intense feeling of so many feelings. Love, guilt, regret, unbearable sadness. It’s hard to explain.

Tomorrow I’m going to have my 20 week scan, and find out the sex of my first child. I’m so excited. I first thought bub was a girl, then most people have said its a boy, now I’m unsure, so keen to know so I can figure out what name is best for this little miracle.

I believe in guardian angels, I believe in recarnation and I know Tara would be so proud, so happy and would had enjoyed being a Aunty so much. This is when I wish I didn’t wait 15 or so extra years so have my first child, but it is what it is.

This pregnancy, my first child that would be born around the time of my twins 3rd year anniversary of her death and has impacted  on my on-going grief journey, perhaps in a positive way. With many day dreams of what it will be like to be a mother,  breast feeding this much wanted child in the nursery themed as Elmo, my twins faverite character and hoping to feel her presence in the most special times.

As im writing this, the Bub has started doing handstands, well it feels like it, out of the 6 or so hours a day he or she is awake, I’m liking the timing of these kicks and moving around!

This blogs theme will be a mixture of the joys of a new born, the struggle of being a new mum,  the mixed feelings of after loosing 33kg in the past year, intentionally to improve my fertility and now slowly putting back on at least a quarter of that loss and within a election year here in the NT, I’m sure I’ll add in there some points of view of a socialist mum! Please join me in my journey!

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