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.