5 Things I Know About Life After Lap Band Surgery

A Guest Blog By: Heather Kemp

Lap Band surgery is something most have heard of.  It is a great weight loss surgery option.  It is an outpatient procedure that is done laparoscopically.  It can be taken out if you change your mind or something better comes along and can even be adjusted if you decide to have more kids after the procedure.  However, it is a weight loss tool, and it comes with many lifetime adjustments.  Here are 5 of the things I know about life after lap band.

Time To Adjust
For the first year, you will be going back every 4-6 weeks.  You get weighed to see if there is a difference (and yes, sometimes there is not.)  You will be filling out a questionnaire about any possible complications you have had over the last few weeks.  It will ask how much food you eat on average and more.  If it is determined you need to have more or less fluid added to your lap band, that is done through a port.  You are usually asked to stand and sip water while the adjustment is being done.  This is to make sure you are still able to swallow.  The port is on your abdomen under the skin and is not visible.  The needle is poked right in and fluid is adjusted.

Plateau
This surgery is not a miracle.  You need to be ready for weight plateaus.  At the beginning the weight feels like it is just falling off, but then it slows down.  Some weeks it will be mere ounces you lose, others you may have no difference, or even an occasional gain.  You need to mentally prepare for these times or you may just go a little crazy.  While you may not need a doula necessarily, you will need support for during these times.

Liquid Calories
One of the things you need to be careful about is what you drink.  While you will definitely be changing what you eat, it may be harder to change what you drink.  You don’t need to completely give up your lattes, cutting back would be a good idea and maybe not getting a grande.  You are able to drink without too much problem usually and because of this you could tend to intake too many calories.  If you really want to make this surgery an effective weight loss tool for yourself, consider tracking calories and not having a whole day’s worth of calories in one drink!

Rejection
Food rejection is a real thing.  This will be a complete lifestyle change and it takes time to find out what your body will and won’t have problems with.  Your surgical team will likely give you a list of typical “problem foods”, but it is different for every person.  Most people have problems with breads, some pastas, rice, and tough meats.  Personally, I cannot eat most of those foods.  However, while I have had to give up pizza (mourn with me), my body has been kind enough to allow me to still have steak as long as it isn’t too dry (medium rare is usually ok).  I am almost a year post-op and I am still learning what my body will reject.  Also, by reject, I mean just that.  I will literally have to excuse myself because of “productive burps”, which means I will burp and vomit.  Quite fun when out to eat (note the sarcasm).

Night Coughs
Night coughs have to be my favorite, NOT!  These usually happen if you eat too close to the time you go to bed.  Laying horizontal, if the food hasn’t digested yet, will travel back up.  Typically, you will wake up coughing and not realize what caused it at first.  It is once again a form of vomit coming up.  I tend to notice it happens about the time I would fall in the deep sleep and relax enough for it to travel up.  On occasion, it will happen even if you haven’t eaten too late or even come back up closer to the morning.  Unfortunately, once this happens the best thing you can do it try to sleep upright (in a recliner is most comfortable).
Now while there are side effects, this surgery can be a very useful tool.  Make sure you follow the instructions given to you by your surgical team to have the best success.  Join a support group if possible and make sure you have supportive people you can turn to at home.  GET A GYM BUDDY to help you stay motivated!!

If you would like to follow Heather’s journery or get more information on the doula services and more she if offering in the Kankakee and Iroquois county Illinois areas, check out www.GeminiBirthServices.com

My Designer Birth

My husband and I recently welcomed our twin baby boys to the world.

It’s amazing, holding two babies, feeding two babies, loving on two babies.
But that’s not what I’m writing about today.

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Photo Credit Virginia Lee Photography

After countless hours of working on birth plans, researching birth options for mono/di twins, I opted for a cesarean.  When we decided to choose a cesarean birth, I immediately had thoughts run through my head; the disappointment of friends who had an emergency c-section, the doula who told me that planning a cesarean is planning a “designer birth” (is that a bad thing?), and those who have said a cesarean is for those “too posh to push”.  Where did these people get off?  As a doula, I felt an obligation towards a natural vaginal birth, maybe even at home.  But, if I listened to my true self, I was completely happy with my decision to have a surgical birth this time.  I felt torn between my heart and a group of birth judges.  Well, guess what?

It’s my choice.

I met with my doctor who discussed all of my options, she applauded the educated decision upon which I had landed and she supported me, unconditionally.

And so it began, Cesarean Birth Planning!

Music, Aromatherapy, Positive-thinking.  These were all a part of the birth plan.  My doula was incredibly supportive and helped me to work through my fears and recognize that all of my doubts were really from others, and not from myself.  I was confident.  My partner was confident.
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No one can judge your birth choices.  No one has the right to plant self-doubt in your mind or your body.  I believe that my cesarean birth was more empowering than my natural vaginal birth, and it’s because I was in charge.  I bonded beautifully with my babies and I am so thankful that I made the choices I did. 

 

Feel free to design your birth.  It is yours, afterall!

The Bullying Reality

molly school photoLook at this awesome kid;  smart, beautiful, kind to everyone she meets.

This is me.  I was bullied.

I don’t mean that some kids were mean to me.  I mean that one girl, among other boys and girls, singled me out and made many of my days miserable; relentless harassment, body shaming, terrible, nasty bullying.

For the sake of her anonymity, I’ll call her Sue.  I’m not sure why I would grant her that kindness, but I will.  Occasionally she comes up on my Facebook as a suggested friend.  I typically giggle.  Friend….

This girl made me hate everything about myself.  She called me fat.  She called me stupid and she made fun of my family not having the kind of money her family enjoyed.  She evoked laughter from everyone…at my expense.

I hated going to school. I hated getting dressed. I hated myself.

She taught me that I was nothing.  I was ugly.  Her words struck me so deep, that some of them still seem almost raw.

If only I had had a doula.

Don’t get me wrong, my mother was amazing.  Every day she would tell me how wonderful I was, how beautiful I was, and how Sue didn’t matter.

“Look in the mirror.  Look inside and out.”

But see, that was her job.  Inherently we all know that our inner-circle-people are obligated-and enjoy-building us up.  It means so much, but it falls short of FIXING the problem, despite their best efforts.

See, a doula would have empowered me in a way that is not possible through people who surround you ever day.  A doula would have shown me my own strength.  A doula would have encouraged confidence to speak up and allow Sue to hear my voice, too.  A doula would have helped me to forgive myself in my moments of weakness, when I felt overwhelmed by the day, by the inaction of my teachers and the school.  In an environment where “kids are cruel” a doula would have helped me to maintain mySELF.

A doula cannot fix a problem, save the day, or make something better.  A doula empowers YOU to make it better for yourself.

So, Sue, if you’re reading this, I hope you found the help you needed to not be so ugly on the inside.  I found what I needed to bring out what is beautiful, inside and out.

Also, Sue, Fuck you.

For more information on bullying, please visit http://www.stopbullying.gov/