The Hatch-Palucks, Week 30: A Bitter Pill

Filed under: Healthy Families Challenge

amy hatch children picture

Emmie and Henry make our lives complete. Credit: Amy Hatch

My two children are the light of my life.

Both of them were wanted, although one was a surprise and one was planned (and no, I won't tell you which, I plead the fifth). When Henry was born in 2008, it felt very much like our little family was complete with the four of us.

No kidding: We're definitely done having kids.

Famous last words, I know, but as far as planned pregnancies go, there aren't any new babies on the horizon for us. I knew this for sure when a friend recently handed me her newborn daughter to hold when I visited her in the hospital, and I was more than happy to hand the baby back when she started to fuss.

I've never been a fan of the newborn stage -- I like sleeping too much -- and it's really nice to have two children I can communicate with. Not to mention that my pregnancy with Henry was rather perilous for us both. I had anemia so severe that my doctor administered an intravenous iron treatment. I went into allergic shock, requiring two shots of epinephrine at 36 weeks gestation, which caused both Channing and I to worry about him tremendously until he was born and we could see with our own eyes that he was OK.

Additionally, I had terrible gestational diabetes and had to inject myself with insulin twice a day and watch my carbohydrate intake like a hawk. When a pal saw me about six weeks after Henry was born, she remarked, "Wow! You look so good! Now I can tell how terrible you looked when you were pregnant!"

So, there you have it.

The last two years have been a bit of a struggle, though, when it comes to birth control. The pill is rendered ineffective by the medicine I've had to take on occasion for my psoriatic arthritis, and so I explored a number of other options -- including an IUD, which was a disaster due to a number of uterine fibroids I developed during pregnancy. See? Pregnancy is bad for my body.


Now, however, my arthritis is under control and the failure of the IUD has led me full circle back to the pill, because surgical options are too expensive and the pill is easy. I think it's a great invention, indeed, and I've been taking it on and off since the age of 18, to help keep ovarian cysts at bay. But the thing about the pill is that it makes me put on weight.

I'm not the only woman to ever voice this complaint. All my female friends who take the pill have shared that they gain between 5 and 10 pounds when they are taking it. My doctor admitted as much to me, without really telling me what makes the pounds pack on. My guess is that it's the hormones, which trick your body into thinking it's pregnant so it won't ovulate.

I'm concerned. It's been a long road to get where I am today, down to 138 pounds (I've gained back two pounds I lost when we had the flu), and I don't want to balloon up to 143. That doesn't sound like a lot, but it is the difference, for me, between a size 8 and 10. Of course, given the choice between birth control and baby weight, I'm totally OK with that five pounds!

Still, they make a big difference in how I feel. I am so much more energetic when I'm lighter, and I have more self-esteem. I don't avoid the mirror as often as I would at a higher weight.

There isn't much of an alternative for me, though, beyond a surgical one. So, the pill it is.

The plus side is that it helps keep my periods under control, including cramps and PMS (and heaven knows that's healthier for the entire family). That means I'll more likely keep working out even when my lady time comes to visit. I'm also more resistant to my Little Debbie cravings.

My plan? To attack the treadmill with all the ferocity that bathing-suit season inspires in me. After coming this far in creating a healthy lifestyle for myself and our family, I'm determined not to let contraception derail me. Besides which, I just bought a whole closetful of skinny clothes and donated everything that didn't fit me to charity. I don't plan on scouring Goodwill for my fat pants.

The other good news is that now, I'm hooked on endorphins. I've made it to the gym three times a week for the last two weeks, and I know that's keeping my weight in check. I guess I'm just going to have to work that much harder on the treadmill to maintain or lose.

Like Charlie Sheen, I will be winning.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.