Hannah's Postpartum Adventures - Self Care
Updated: Apr 30, 2019
Time for a March check in!
Let’s start with my progress this month…
Pictures on the left are from February 25, 2019. Pictures on the right are from March 23, 2019.
I’m down 6.25 inches overall. I also gained half an inch in each bicep and lost three and a half pounds since February 25th. My goals were to get stronger, feel better in my clothes, and have more energy. I intentionally didn’t set a weight goal or an inches goal this month because I truly wanted to focus on taking better care of myself and getting back into the swing of things. For the last month I have still been eating about 3,000 calories a day, breastfeeding, getting in my 10,000 steps a day chasing kids, and strength training for 4-5 days a week for no more than thirty minutes. I don’t workout for hours on end, or restrict my food to scary low calories. I eat lots of whole food with some not so whole food, drink about a gallon of water a day, and try to get good rest when I can (but small children, so...). It’s not magic! I promise. Giving myself a bit of kindness and grace, I have aimed to have patience with my progress, knowing it will take consistent effort over a period of time.
Why self care is important: The first week of January, I started feeling like junk. I was 100% sure I had caught the plague that was going around my son’s kindergarten classroom. I was also struggling with my eczema and other skin issues, and felt like my body was unhappy. The holidays had been a feast of junk food, so I decided to clean up my diet by getting rid of most processed foods, increasing my veggie consumption, and adding in more lean meats. For a few days, I felt really good, followed by what I thought was sugar withdrawal. Anytime I cut down on processed food, my body does this, so I wasn’t concerned. Until the “withdrawal” feeling continued. After three days of a headache, feeling nauseous, shaky, and body aches, I drove myself to urgent care with my nine month old in tow. I told the doctor I suspected I was dehydrated and run-down from all the holiday craziness. My labs showed a blood co2 of 9, normal range is 23-27, and blood sugar of 63. My blood pressure measured 83/52 and my heart rate was 137bpm sitting still. The doctor promptly advised me to call someone to get my son and then loaded me into an ambulance. Rolling into the emergency department, the doctors and nurses had prepared for an unconscious patient, and were quite shocked to see I was not only awake but alert. After additional testing, it was determined that I was in complete metabolic acidosis. My body was entirely too acidic and I was in way worse shape than I had thought.
Metabolic acidosis is when there is too much acid in the fluids in your body. This can be caused by lots of things, but primarily it occurs when the kidneys don’t remove enough acid from your body due to things like, diabetes, poisoning, alcohol abuse, seizures, liver failure, or other conditions. If left untreated, acidosis can cause a whole host of problems ranging from tiredness and confusion to death (1). Me not having any of the risk factors for acidosis: alcoholism, kidney disease, diabetes, or an eating disorder, left us all confused. After speaking with several doctors, and a night in the hospital, we determined the acidosis was caused by insufficient caloric intake. In short, despite eating 2200 calories per day, I wasn’t eating enough calories to feed myself and my giant, breastfeeding child. After days of IV fluid, electrolytes, and nutrition, I was discharged with orders to eat at minimum 3,000 calories per day. Balancing electrolytes was another point of focus which meant drinking as much Gatorade as I could. Almost three months later, I’m still eating like a maniac and making sure I get enough fluid. I wasn’t dieting or restricting or trying to lose weight before, just being diligent about what I put in my body. However, even the “professionals” need help sometimes.
Carter, that little nine-month old boy, will be one in a few weeks. And while I’m sad to start weaning him, I know it’s going to be the best thing for us both. The moral of the story is listen to your body. Don’t ignore symptoms. Take care of yourself. REST. Eat enough good food. Drink water. And tell someone if you’re not feeling well. I was a few hours from some even more major issues. Don’t be a tough guy.
MAJOR DISCLAIMER, I’m not a doctor, or a nutritionist, and this story is what happened to ME, and is not at all representative of anyone else’s situation.
Metabolic acidosis: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000335.htm