The courageous Pauline Campos and Eliana (8). Pauline is the eldest of five girls and both her mom and younger sister faired pregnancy well. She assumed she would also but learned quickly that pregnancy does not suit her very well. In her first trimester normal morning sickness became severe and she got to explore the wonders that are hyperemesis gravidarum full term. Zofran was a necessity for most of her pregnancy after landing in the hospital for dehydration every time sit was out of her system. Eliana also used her sciatic nerve as a pillow and every time she would push on it her leg would go out, requiring physical therapy until she was put on bed rest for preeclampsia.
Just under 37 weeks they became concerned as her blood pressure had continued to creep up and her midwife consulted with the doctor. Her blood pressure was 200/100 and she needed to go to the hospital for induction. She went home to get her bag and stop for food without realizing that the hospital was waiting for her. Pauline was induced without pain medications because she reacts very poorly to anesthesia and was advised to avoid it. She labored for nearly 12 hours and was fine while she was dilating, contractions feeling no worse than the severe menstrual cramping she's accustomed to. That is, until 7-9cms she was in incredible pain but wonder womaned her way thorough made more difficult as Eliana was born with her fist by her face which caused tearing.
Pauline was kept in the hospital for 5 days postpartum to monitor her blood pressure but everything came down without further complication. Breastfeeding was an uncertainty due to a necessary breast reduction and reconstruction when was 24. She was able to breastfeed through her right side without issue but developed severe mastitis on her left side 3 times during her daughters first 6 weeks requiring a week long hospitalization and heavy antibiotics each time.
Pauline has navigated a lot of health concerns since becoming a mother and feels that all of those antibiotics may have set the stage for predisposed health complications to emerge. She has hypothyroidism and PCOS, ADHD, Anxiety during her cycles which may be PDD, a history of depression, disordered eating and body image issues, she is insulin resistant and has more recently been navigating a slew of allergies to food and preservatives, that may be histamine intolerance and have caused hair loss and hives all over her body. When Pauline has hives her dermatillomania is triggered and she picks her skin. She has had to learn new triggers as they come and all too often spells mean not eating or drinking anything beyond what she needs to because she is having flare ups.
Pauline's body changes drastically when she's inflamed which makes navigating body image and remaining positive even more difficult. Having her daughter has shifted the focus from herself and her internal dialogue to her daughter watching and taking it all in.
Six years ago, Pauline, wrote her recently released book Baby Fat and in the process realized that she can preach to others about loving themselves, knowing they are beautiful no what their size and that they can find their own version of health but can say all of these things without believing them for herself all the time. She felt that her pass for socially acceptable baby weight had passed and she needed to do something. Her focus was on the number on the scale first but eventually she started picking up on the fact that if she didn't like where she was right then, she wouldn't like where she was 10 lbs lighter or 20 lbs lighter or 40 lbs lighter, she would still find a reason to pick.
She grew up internalizing the dialogue around her and wants her daughter to not only see and hear her words but witness her actions. She wants to be a good example and knows her daughter needs to see her in a place where she is happy with herself. Pauline says she always needs to remember where she is right now not where she may end up, it is okay to be a work in progress, it's okay to love yourself now, you don't have to ask for permission and you may even have to wake up every morning and start loving yourself all over again.
"We're taught that happiness is at the finish line and you must step on a scale before you step on the podium. But even that doesn't work because the finish line is a mirage, it keeps getting pushed back further and further."