Monday, October 29, 2012

One Hot Mama!

Now that I'm a Mom, I'm feeling hotter than ever. Temperature-wise, that is.

Before becoming pregnant, I was always cold. I hated the winter. I loved the heat of the summer. Everywhere I went I always seemed to feel a chill. During the fall and winter, I would bundle up and still feel the cold. In the summer when I'd go somewhere air-conditioned, I'd freeze. At work they had it so cold I had to have a space heater going under my desk so I didn't turn blue. When I visited my Mom I had to wear an extra layer or two of clothes. (She keeps her house FREEZING!)

Late in my pregnancy, I started feeling the heat but that was no surprise since I was carrying an extra 70 lbs and it was the middle of summer. Now that I've had the baby however, my thermostat seems to have gone up even higher. We're into Fall now and yet I'm sweating. At least it's saving me on heating. I didn't turn my furnace on until we were well into October and even with it on I keep it low anyway. It barely turns on. The fleece pjs that I used to love I now can't even wear because I sweat in them after a couple of minutes. I used to love turtlenecks. Now I can't stand them. They suffocate me. I try to wear mostly low-cut crisscross tops that are easy to pull down for breastfeeding anyway.

When I'm carrying Michelle around I figure that it makes sense for me to feel warm. After all, walking and dancing around carrying 12 lbs constantly is a bit of a workout but even when I'm not carrying her, my temperature still seems to be out of whack. I'll go out for a walk with Michelle and think "Wow, I can't believe how warm it is today!" It's bright and sunny. It seems like a spring day. Never mind that the leaves are orange and falling and we're halfway through October. It might be an Indian Summer. Then I look around at other people. They're in WINTER COATS! One woman even had gloves on and I'm perspiring in a light sweater with the sleeves rolled up! What the?! I wanted to take off my sweater and just wear the tank top. It's like I'm on another planet. Mars maybe. I hear it's warm on Mars.

Of course my Mom is in her glory because she always found it too warm and keeps her house so cold that you could hang meat. In the winter, she just doesn't turn the furnace on. In the summer, she has the air conditioning blasting. Whenever I complained about the cold she'd say "One day you'll go into menopause and have hot flashes and you'll understand!" So now she's saying "I told you so!" Seeing me sweating at my sister's house, taking my sweater off and saying "It's an oven in here!" makes her smile. Of course my sister keeps her house at a normal, cozy temperature. I used to love it. But these days it's too hot to handle. The light streams in the patio doors of her kitchen and it's like being on the surface of the sun! I guess that's why they say if you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen. I look around at my Mom, May and Shannon. They're all in long sleeved tops and acting normal. I'm in a sleeveless top, panting and wiping my brow.

My mother tried to tell me that I was going through menopause. I rolled my eyes. "I'm pretty sure that's impossible right now!" Now, I'm no doctor, but I'm fairly certain that you can't go through MENOPAUSE  while you're BREASTFEEDING! I think that one would have to cancel the other out. I had my doctor confirm it, just so I could tell my mother she was being ridiculous. I think the doctor even rolled her eyes too when I asked. The doctor suggested my recent heat wave could be because of the hormones associated with breastfeeding and also from breastfeeding itself. It's like my body has it's own little furnace working overtime. The body exerts itself to produce milk so it's like I'm getting a workout all the time (if only I could lose this tummy flab in the process!) You burn 500-700 calories a day while breastfeeding. That's a pretty intense workout. I think that's what you lose doing the 30 day shred too. Heaven knows when I'll get around to that.

I Googled it and sure enough, other breastfeeding women have gone through the same thing. Hot flashes are common because of the hormones. So I'm not from Mars after all. It's just such a strange experience for me when I'm used to always being colder than everyone else to now constantly feel hotter. It's not that big of a deal. I just dress lighter. At least it's not summer. It can be embarassing sometimes when I'm out though and everyone else just looks comfortable and I'm burning up, my pits drenched, my forehead shining. I remember one woman I worked with was having hot flashes. Her face was red and her blouse was sticking to her. I felt bad for her but I couldn't relate to it. I was shivering and pulling my sleeves down over my hands. They finally gave us fans and heaters for our cubicles so we could create our own little microclimates in the office because some of us were too hot and others too cold. There was no happy medium.

When Michelle was a newborn people were telling me I had to keep her bundled up because babies are used to heat after being in the womb. Aside from when you very first bring them home however, babies shouldn't be any more bundled up than we are. I have to be careful with Michelle not to dress her too lightly though. She probably doesn't feel the heat like me. I've noticed she can get pretty hot when she cries though. After a good bout of screaming her face is red and feels warm to the touch. We had a nightmarish car ride home the other night where she screamed almost the entire way. Her poor little face was red as a beet. I tried to explain that there wasn't anything I could do while driving on the 401 but it didn't help. I couldn't pacify her with singing or crinkling sounds. I finally just put pieces of Kleenex in my ears. Overall though she has been behaving better.

She was such a good girl at her doctor's appointment which was a huge relief. I told the doctor that she's good half the time which is an improvement over the beginning when it seemed she had more bad days than good. It's 50/50 now. There were times before when she would cry inconsolably. Now she is usually consolable. You just have to find out what it is she wants after a process of deduction. (Incidentally she was screaming in the car because she needed to be changed but I didn't know that at the time and couldn't have changed her while driving on the highway anyway!) The doctor said she looked very healthy. She's gained another pound and even grew 2 inches in the past month! I thought she'd gotten taller/longer because now when she's on the change table she can reach the container of baby wipes at the foot of the table and kick it. Now when I see the doctor it's for Michelle. I'm just an afterthought. Sometimes I will ask her about health problems I'm having but she never seems concerned. Michelle is the priority. I didn't know there would be so many appointments. I'm nervous about her going for her needles again too. I didn't realize how often they have to get them.

I have been avoiding starting my Jillian Michaels workout. Partly because I'm terrified of it and partly because it's very hard to find the time or the space now with Michelle in the picture. I remember I used to sweat buckets doing the exercises so it may actually kill me now!

Sometimes my Mom drives me crazy. I don't think a day goes by that she doesn't say something to worry and/or offend me. But I love her anyway. When she calls I put her on speaker phone because it's easier than trying to hold the phone. Michelle always reacts to her voice. The other day I gave Michelle the phone and she was smiling and laughing at Grandma. Sometimes you have to laugh at the things she comes off with. I could be hurt by her suggesting I'm menopausal or trying to make me feel old or I could just smile and shake my head. I don't feel old. 40 is the new 30 anyway and Michelle is keeping me young.

Despite the hot flashes there are advantages to breastfeeding (aside from the obvious -- a bonding experience with the baby as well as nutritious, free milk that saves me from buying formula). I haven't had a period and I hear that they may not return until I start to wean the baby. That's something to look forward to with menopause as well, despite the uncomfortable symptoms. No more messy, painful, annoying periods. (Though I'm curious whether they'd be painful anymore. After giving birth to a 9 lb 4 ounce baby I'm pretty sure things would have loosened up in there so I shouldn't feel so much pressure at that time of month!)

So I used to be too cold and now I'm too hot. It's OK. Maybe one day things will be "just right." I have a stack of turtlenecks I may never wear again but I'm reluctant to get rid of them just in case. I'm holding on to my skinny jeans too, just in case. They may fit me again one day. Who knows?

I used to dream of living on a tropical island. These days with my hot flashes, living under the blazing sun might kill me. Though I imagine if I could afford to live in paradise I could afford to have an air-conditioned home anyway. And there would always be the ocean to cool off in. The problem with living by the ocean is that there are so many tropical storms. Hurricanes. Tsunamis. We're pretty safe where we are here in Canada. Right now with my new elevated temperature, a colder climate doesn't seem so bad. I drive with my windows rolled down and it's refreshing (though everyone else has theirs rolled up.) I always make sure Michelle is bundled up in her stroller blanket. I go out without a jacket most of the time. I don't even need a jacket at my Mom's house (aka the meat locker) anymore. I never thought I'd see the day. Sometimes the car is an oven after sitting in the sun. The last couple of days have been cold and rainy. My Mom was going on about Hurricane Sandy. I don't think it's supposed to affect us much up here. I don't watch the news so I just hear about the latest catastrophes from Mom (which is possibly even worse!)

It's strange. My life bears almost no resemblance to what it once was. Everything is different. Me especially. You just never know what life has in store for you or how you might change. Emotionally, physically, mentally. You think you know who you are and what you want but life is dynamic not static. You learn. You adapt. You surprise yourself. Life is a journey of discovery and you're never done. You never have all the answers. Embrace each stage of life that you go through. Celebrate the highs and endure the lows. I have transformed more in the past year than ever in my life. I'm happier now than I was at any other time. Even on my most difficult days, the love that I feel and the sense of purpose that I feel as a mother makes it all worth it. They say not to sweat the small stuff. Even sweating is small stuff! I'll just dress lightly and turn the heat down. This too shall pass. At least I'm not too cold. Maybe I'll even learn to love winter.


  1. I've experienced the same "heat wave"...I was always cold then while pregnant & since, I'm warm, even since weaning Elena! I like it tho 'cause I hated being cold all the time!

  2. Thanks! At least I know it's normal. Yes I hated being cold all the time but being hot isn't always a picnic either! Oh well. I find dressing in layers helps so I can peel off or put back on as need be. It was actually quite cold out today so even I was a bit chilly (mind you I was in a thin jacket and I saw several people in winter coats...)