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64 Weeks Later aka 14.5 Months Later aka The Grand Finale

25 Mar

So this is what I looked like yesterday, on March 24th, 2012, 14.5 months after I gave birth to my second child. To put that into a bit of perspective, I was 5.5 months pregnant with Bode 14.5 months after I gave birth to Dagny. And I STILL weigh more than I did 9 months postpartum from giving birth to Dagny. So in my experience, it was definitely harder to lose the baby weight the second time around. I still cannot fit into certain pairs of jeans that I was wearing when I got pregnant with B. But I CAN fit into my favorite shorts, so I’m a happy camper.

So anyway, I got a makeover at the local Giant Eagle and figured it was therefore a good day to take pictures. It was also the worst day of my period and I “felt fat.” I have to say, I haven’t “felt fat” since I looked over the pictures. In fact, “mental image of me” was way worse that “IRL (in real life, for those of you non-internet types) me.” I think I look pretty good, but strangely I can’t stop thinking about liposuctioning my saddlebags. Which then leads me to thinking about a boob job and a tummy tuck. Sigh. I want smooth, round, melon-y boobs, what can I say? I would love a less shriveled, less wrinkley midsection, but then again a Frankenstein scar that extends hipbone to hipbone is a bit creepy. But let’s not talk about that. Or as Dagny would say, “Let’s not do that.”

What have I done since June 7th, 2011 when the last pictures were taken to assist in losing pregnancy weight gain? Well, I quit yoga about 6 months ago. About 3 months after that James and I joined the YMCA and started going to a 45 minute spin class twice a week. I bought 2 yoga blocks and 1 yoga blanket that have languished in the basement since I excitedly unwrapped them. I moved some hand weights up to the TV console and placed them next to my Bar Method dvds. And every night I hoped and hoped and hoped really hard that I would wake up refreshed and ready to exercise at 6am. I don’t really do much in the weigh (hello, Freudian slip) of “watching what I eat.” But I had several weeks where I was eating a lot of bakery treats. And then several subsequent weeks of planning our family meals to include a lot more fresh fruits, veggies and a lot less…cake and donuts. And this is what I have to show for all of that…

TA-DAAAAAAAAAA!

So what do you think? If you looked like this, would you wear a bikini this summer?

I'm not sucking in as much here and hopefully you can see that the shrivelly look is much less pronounced

Not a lot has changed here. Any purple or reddish color has faded from my stretch marks and I expect will continue to fade until it's pretty much white.

In this picture I am sucking in as hard as I can and trying to flex all my muscles in an attempt to look thinner, as well as resting my hands on my legs to hide my saddlebags. As you can see, it pretty much made ZERO difference, except that my lack of skin tone on my belly is more apparent.

I think this candid really shows how big my bathing suit (especially the bottom) has gotten, although it also makes me look thinner than I think I do IRL. The suit is pretty much falling off, and I even had to hold it up in some of the close-ups. I am very pleased, to say the least.

So yeah, did you notice the COMPLETE LACK of boobs. What is very ironic is that pre-pregnancy I was wearing a 34A/B and now I am wearing a 34 C. But they look and feel a lot smaller to me. The skin tone is totally shot beneath both breasts and looks a lot like my tummy. I did not get any new stretch marks on my breasts with the second pregnancy, but they did fall a bit more. All of the real damage was done during the first pregnancy. And I think the best way to describe that damage is with one word, and that word is…deflated.

Anyway, so that’s it. That’s the Grande Finale! As far as I’m concerned, Project Shrinky Dink has come full circle and by that I mean it has come to an end. I hope this has been enlightening for everyone who’s followed this series. It was crazy fun for me, mostly the high I’ve gotten from site views. And a bit creepy considering some of the search terms people used to land on these posts. And if there is an extremely skilled board-certified plastic surgeon out there who wants to sponsor a sequel series, which I like to think of as Free Mommy Makeover, you know, uh, email me?

Almost 23 Weeks Later

24 Mar

The last postpartum pictures I posted were taken at 9 weeks postpartum. I took the ones I’m posting today last summer when I was feeling particularly sexy one day. And indeed, I am jealous of my 9 months ago hair. The background is new because we moved and there is nowhere for me to hang my black curtains as a backdrop. The main reason I did that was so you couldn’t see the shadows behind me when the flash was used. Now you are just going to have to deal with it.

So a little background as to what I had been doing to achieve this body. I had been attending 3 consecutive hours of yoga classes, twice a week. That is all. I felt pretty good about how I looked, and I still agree. Mentally I was feeling fantabulous, it’s what yoga does for me. Fast forward to today, I haven’t been to a single yoga class in about 6 months. My studio is a 30 minute commute from the house and James and I decided it resulted in me being gone for too much time during the week. We joined the YMCA and now take a 45 minute spin class twice a week, while the lovely staff cares for our children. I am still very, very sad that the time is just not there for me to commute to yoga classes. 6 months ago I had high hopes of starting my home practice and today I am still fantasizing about it and not actually doing it. I have been struggling with some intense bouts of depression and in general with the monthly cycle of my hormones. I feel like a loose cannon most days and I never know how I’ll feel from week to week, ranging from mildly manic to some pretty dark troughs. I have noticed a pattern though, and I am going to see my gyn about all this. And I am trying to get a private yoga session scheduled specifically to work out a sequence to start with at home. But you didn’t come here to hear me yammer on about my mental health, you came here for pictures of my 23 weeks postpartum body, amirite?

One important thing to note…and you’ll see why when I post the pictures I took TODAY…is that I was still breastfeeding at 23 weeks postpartum when these were taken. I breastfed for about 2 more months after these were taken. So the next pictures you see will feature MUCH smaller, 7 months post-breastfeeding fun bags. Or fun flaps. Or something.

Warning Flare

24 Mar

The next 1-3 posts are going to be shocking. I just want to throw that warning out there for y’all. Today we took a bunch of Project Shrinky Dink pictures as well as some close-ups of my hairy legs and pits. So that’s at least 2 posts. I also have some older Project Shrinky Dink pictures that I never posted…might throw those into the final update, might make a separate post.

Brain Dump While I Pump

5 Apr

It’s been a while, eh? I have so much knocking around in my head that I need to vent. Let me just do a little list so I can refer back to it when I ramble off on some tangent.

  • Milk Supply
  • Yoga
  • Baby Blues
  • Stomach & Boob Woes

OK, let’s start with milk supply. I’ve been wondering if my supply has been faltering a little because Bode has been waking up more during the night. By more I mean, it seems like more because once he slept through the night…actually twice. And for a while he was kind of waking up once in the middle of the night and then again right around the time we get up for the day. Last night I fed him at 1am (when I went to bed,) he woke up at 2am, then again around 4:45am and again around 8am. He fell back asleep without much fuss on his own at 8am because I just stayed in bed. Then I got him up for the day around 9am. I also think some of the depression funk I’ve been feeling might be related to the milk supply changing since I had the weaning blues big time with Dagny. I also think going to yoga is affecting supply because sometimes I miss a feeding from being gone for several hours at a clip, but I don’t always make it up by pumping. Have I mentioned how much I hate pumping? I HATE IT.

So yeah, I’ve been in a bit of a funk for a few days and I’ve been totally clueless as to why. I’m a pretty self-aware little cookie and usually I know exactly what’s bothering me. I was thinking maybe I was finally getting my period again but there are no other signs and I really hope I’m not getting it because it’s one of the few rewards of breastfeeding dammit. Anyway, the last time felt like this was when I weaned Dagny and finally went cold turkey on everything. Hopefully my supply isn’t totally shot. I don’t think it is, but this is probably a wake up call to be more diligent about pumping if I’m going to be regularly missing feedings, which I will. Or I guess I could just try to get past the guilt of switching to formula earlier than planned. WAY earlier than planned. I wanted to make it to at least 6 months, we’re currently at 3 months.

Oh and yoga. Now that we’re living way out in New Ken, my drive to yoga is now a commute. It’s actually not really that much more driving time but I don’t like to cut things too close. I hate coming in late and I was late tonight by about 10 minutes because I stopped at mumblemcdonaldsmumble on the way. So yeah, it’s about to get real. My current plan is twice a week, attending 2 sessions back to back on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I’d really like to get 3 days a week in so I might go to one of the weekend sessions but that’s a big might. There’s also a session on Monday mornings that I really want to attend but the 7am start time would be a huge challenge. So tonight there was a beautiful young woman in there with the kind of body I could only dream of having. During some demos of different poses and adjustments her tummy and the tummy of our instructor was exposed ever so slightly. But it was enough to see that neither of them have any indication of having carried a baby to term. Now that doesn’t mean they haven’t, because I know some women’s tummies survive pregnancy unscathed. But it made me really sad and self conscious. When I gaze upon a beautiful tummy, and then see mine shortly thereafter it seems so much uglier than when I haven’t seen a smooth skinned tummy in a while. And for a moment I let myself mourn the passing of my formerly beautiful tummy and then I kick myself for having taken it for granted for so long. Then I tell myself to shut up and suck it up.

Which leads me to my next point. Plastic surgery. I’m not going to lie. I’m vain. Vain enough to seriously consider and most likely someday endure a procedure. I watched a lot of video diaries on YouTube of women who went through tummy tucks. It became very clear to me that I could have a completely tight, stretch-mark free tummy with a full tuck. However, then I would have a huge scar around the front of my waist. I saw several scars on YouTube and honestly I find them very creepy. I seriously think of Frankenstein. On top of that, when I asked myself if I really wanted to take away the evidence of my pregnancies, I felt a bit sad. Even though I think my tummy is kind of ugly now, I don’t really want to get rid of it like that. I feel like it’s a part of my children. Something that connects me to them. I don’t know how to explain it, but I’m not sure whether I will ever be able to go through with a tummy tuck for that reason. And there’s the whole Frankenstein thing too. My boobs on the other hand, do not hold the same sense of sentimentality for some reason. I personally find it odd that I am sentimental about my tummy but not my boobs what with the breastfeeding and supposed closeness that it creates between mom and baby. Breastfeeding is more than anything else, stressful for me. I don’t feel any closer while nursing than I do when my sleeping babies let out a little sigh of contentment all nestled up in my neck. I felt sad when I weaned Dagny but I think a lot of it was hormones and just the general sadness all of us parents feel about our kiddos growing up. So when I look at my busted up boobs, it’s really easy to imagine myself getting them “freshened up.” They have massive deep stretch marks underneath and they resemble pancakes more than citrus fruits these days. I am talking about stretch marks that actually give me the willies. Like the thin skin could break open at any moment. There’s also the fact that they hang even lower now that a second child is using them for their God-given purpose. I believe a breast lift would remove a lot of the stretch marks and give me back some of my long lost perk. I have no designs on getting them enlarged. In fact, I can’t wait until they shrink back down after I wean Bodacious. They get in the way, they giggle around when move too fast, they cause cleavage no matter how conservative the neckline. And I feel like I look thinner when my boobs are their normal size. I have no problem with their diminutive nature, I just want the perk back. It remains to be seen whether I can overcome my fear of general anesthesia to get it. Not to mention convince my James that it’s worth the money, when he (God bless him) is totally content with my body the way it is. I honestly wish I was as happy with my body as he is.

Also, this is totally unrelated but I wanted to document that tonight was witness to the sweetest mom moment I’ve had in a long time. I came home from being gone for a good 4 hours between the commuting and yoga. Before I even left, Dagny was being pretty clingy. I told her when she gets bigger I will take her with me to yoga if she can be good. Then I got ready and came to give her a last hug goodbye and she kept saying “with me” because she wanted to go with me. It just tugged at my heartstrings like you wouldn’t believe. I really do hope someday she will want to go with me and that she will love it as much as I do. Then when I came home she ran over to me and said “mama hold joo” and just kept saying it whenever I tried to put her down. She almost had a meltdown when I had to trade off with James so I could feed Bode. She just clung to me and didn’t want to be without me. I loved every second of it! It’s so rare that Dagny wants to snuggle with me. Even when we do goodnights, she will randomly kiss me on whatever part of my face is closest to her mouth without even looking but she will put her hands on the sides of James’s head and pepper his lips with several baby kisses. It’s terribly sweet but her affections are more often bestowed upon Dada. We also do a “Dagny sandwich” before bed now where we hug and she gets squeezed between us. After that she likes to put one hand behind each of our heads and push them together so James and me kiss on the mouth. It’s hilarious and we always crack up. I’m determined to catch in on video soon! Finally we give her a kiss sandwich where we each kiss one side of her face at the same time and gently smoosh her head between the kisses. And then it’s goodnight, which I bid you now.

9 Weeks Later

13 Mar

I think this is going to be the last Shrinky Dink post for a little while. There isn’t much that’s changing from week to week so I’m going to try letting a month go by before I post more pictures. I’ll still be taking them because I hope to someday string them together in a video, but I don’t plan to make weekly posts any more. So, next you hear from me about this project will be in about 4 weeks. Since there really isn’t anything new except my hair, I’m just posting 1 picture this week.

8 Weeks Later

7 Mar

Another week has passed and I think I’ve hit a plateau. What I mean is that I think any postpartum recovery has probably occured and that to further shrink myself I need to do something extra.

I’m done with the compression belt. I don’t know why but it is only supposed to be effective if used during the first 8 weeks postpartum. I started my first full week of yoga last week and I paid for a month of unlimited classes. I plan to take 3 classes per week but I might have to cut back this week because I am sick with some kind of virus, again. Ugh, I hate being sick. At first I thought maybe my body was flushing out toxins as a result of jumping back into yoga so intensely. That could have been the case, but however it started it has turned into a lovely combination of sinus congestion, fluid in the ears, and hacking cough. I did go in and get some antibiotics today after I woke up with a lot of pain in my upper teeth.

So, starting NEXT week, I should be back to 3 classes a week. Other than that, I’m still not really doing anything else to lose weight or change my body. I do notice that my calorie and fat intake is probably not ideal, but I’m not doing much to constrain my consumption and God-willing, I won’t have to do that to achieve a size I feel more comfortable at.

Here are my 8 week pictures. I’m putting some similar pictures back-to-back, one where I’m sucking in my stomach and one where I’m just letting it hang out completely. All in all, I feel good about where I’m at. And I feel really good about getting back to yoga. Nothing is more effective for me in terms of practicing mindfulness. The effects of practicing mindfulness are so far-reaching in my life that I can no longer imagine myself not practicing. OK, stepping off soapbox. For now.

OK, this one is me NOT sucking in.

In this one I am sucking in as hard as I can while still smiling. It makes a HUGE difference, as you can see.

What is a Shrinky Dink post without a picture of my withered midriff?

So my sister-in-law says that she used Stri-Vectin and it actually helped with the depth of her stretch marks. I plan to try some kind of cream like that and see if it works for me. I figure what the heck, right? I have a coupon for some Mederma stretch mark cream. I’ll give it a shot and you guys can draw your own conclusions from the photographic evidence.

And the front view! If I leave my hands resting on my legs, they appear slimmer. Trying not to do that anymore. In case you're wondering...I'm not resting my right hand, but my left hand got lazy in this one.

I’m getting my hair cut between now and next “photo shoot” and I can’t freakin’ wait!!! I’m also growing out my eyebrows if you couldn’t tell, and toying with the idea of getting a…wait for it…professional brow shaping. Woooooo! Very exciting. I’ve got a whole pampering plan. I might even buy myself a pedicure. I figure I deserve it, considering I’ll be breastfeeding for another 9 months or so. Ugh.

OK then, see you in about a week!

7 Weeks Later

28 Feb

Well, here are the latest pictures. They were all taken on February 26th. I have 1 week left in which I can use a compression belt and have it make a difference. About a week ago I started using the compression belt around my hips again but only overnight. It’s too much of a pain in the neck to use it during the day. I also started back to yoga yesterday and I will be trying to attend 2-3 classes a week at Yoga on Centre. I already feel better after only one freaking class. And I’m sore. And I went to one of the mildest classes they offer. Next class is tomorrow evening and I am sooooo excited!!! I’m hoping to do some standing poses! Anyway…what you really want:

Do you love my new necklace that James got me for Valentine’s Day? I do!

So there you have it! I will try extra hard to get a legitimate post up this week. It’s been super hectic for some reason and I’ve been opting to go to sleep every other week rather than post. I’ve got a lot on my mind and I’m hoping to share some of it soon! Don’t give up on me! Put me in your reader so you don’t miss out!

5 Weeks Later

12 Feb

OK! Finally! I have to post late at night like this because IT’S THE ONLY TIME I HAVE TO MYSELF. And really, I have to get up every few minutes and give Bode the boob because he gets really clingy this time of night. Maybe he misses his sister’s shrieking after she goes to bed.

But anyway. My ghetto hip shrinker belt? Lasted all of about 3 days. I started to have this really bad pain in my lower back but only on the right side. It also felt possibly nerve related. It would really zing whenever I tried to lift my leg or lean down to put my left sock on. Still having problems with the sock position but after almost 2 weeks it’s starting to feel better during my trips up and down the stairs. It could have easily been related to a couple of instances of me picking up Dagny while I was already holding Bode…but the timing was suspicious with the compression belt so I decided to be conservative and stop the belt AND the picking up of both children at the same time. I tried a 12″ wide elastic compression girdle and that lasted about a day for many reasons, but it did seem to support my back a little.

I think things are only slightly better than last time but these pictures happened to be taken after a night of uninterrupted sleep and I’m also wearing makeup. James did all the night feedings last night so I got to sleep from about 1am to about 8am. I’m not going to lie, it was awesome even though my right boob was as solid as a rock when I got up. Over 8oz of milk came out of that baby this morning. Crazy.

I decided to start posting pics larger because apparently no one is clicking on the thumbnails. Also I don’t think my brothers are reading the blog so I don’t have to worry about them giving me shit about it. I think you can still get an even bigger version of these to open in a new window if you click on them.

I am sucking in as hard as I can in this photo.

Not too bad, I think.

A side view without my arms in the way.

In this picture I think you can really see how the texture has changed where the skin was stretched.

I don't know if you'll agree, but I think you can really start to see the "heart" I mentioned earlier.

The previous week’s pictures were actually taken on Monday so they’re really only 4 days apart from the ones above. But I said I’d post some from last week so here you go:

4 weeks, 3 days Postpartum-Not Sucking In

4 Weeks, 3 Days Postpartum-Still Not Sucking In

Busted Belly Button-Up Close.

3 Weeks Later

29 Jan

So, I am now 3 weeks postpartum. I am feeling much better about everything this week. I’ve had some really awesome accomplishments, mainly that I survived my first week alone with the kiddos and pretty much kicked ass. We ran some errands. As in, I went places with both kids and got stuff done. It was awesome. And I’m proud of myself. I am starting to feel normal again…other than the slight euphoria of having a good week…and the companion anxiety in anticipation of the trough I’ll inevitably hit in the near future as a result. It’s gonna happen…just don’t know when. Probably when James goes back to Colorado on business for several days in mid-February. More on that as it approaches.

But anyway. I feel like my belly is almost completely deflated. Just a little more to go and I’m not sure whether it will go down on it’s own at this point or if it will stay this way until I get back to yoga. I guess in terms of the belly my urgency is pretty much gone. As you can see from the pictures, the size of my belly is way less of an issue that the current condition of the skin covering it. This is what I was really worried about. I’m worried that my skin will be all saggy and loose even if my belly gets to a point of being flat again. I think these pictures pretty much confirm my fears. I don’t think that wrinkly, saggy stuff is going to magically recover. And I think as the belly continues to deflate, more of the tummy will acquire that saggy, wrinkly look. I’m not thrilled about it, but what can I do at this point? It is what it is.

For the record, I am sucking in pretty hard in this picture.

Could be worse!

The REALLY scary shit...

About 2 days ago I started wearing a compression belt around my hips. Maybe you’ve heard about this product called Shrinkx? It’s supposed to help you get your hips back to their pre-pregnancy size. I’ll admit I am insecure enough to have almost bought one. But then I was reading the Amazon reviews and looking at the pictures and I realized I pretty much already have something incredibly similar. I have this maternity support belt I got from Motherhood when I was pregnant with Dags. From what I can tell it’s the same design as this Shrinkx belt but just a different material. So I’ve been wearing my ghetto hip shrinker belt and plan to wear it as long as I can stand up to 8 weeks, just like you’re supposed to do with the Shrinkx. I just put the maternity support belt low and tight around my hips. Voila. I saved myself $50. I think.

Other than my ghetto shrinker belt, I’ve been doing absolutely nothing to lose weight or exercise or any of that. Unless you count breastfeeding, which I do not. I have been eating bowls of Cinnamon Toast Crunch late at night in lieu of ice cream, but it’s only because I actually want the cereal more than I want ice cream. It’s weird, but I’m running with it for now because I’m pretty sure I’ll make up the difference soon anyway. Not to mention the amount of Sara Lee pie and various cookies that I eat when it’s not late at night.

Before & After Delivery

13 Jan

Between contractions...

And the front view.

Less than 24 hours later.

Very hard to share this one :(

Well, not much to say here. It is what it is. I wish the thumbnails were smaller! I’m trying to be optimistic, and truthfully a lot has changed with my body since the post-delivery pics.

Still pretty plump

Front view, ewwww

Sucking in as hard as I can...

It’s just so scary and overwhelming to think about how and IF my tummy will go back to the way it was 10 or even 6 months ago. There is definitely a lot more postpartum belly this time around, among many other things that I didn’t experience last time. More on that someday.

Update: I know you all know you can click on those thumbnails and see the pics full size….right?

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