Its Been Awhile

So I know its been awhile since I have posted. I am becoming more and more active in my child’s life, so naturally, I have been more occupied with that.

I don’t like how that sounds… I am becoming more active in my child’s life. It sounds like I am a parent that has been away that is trying to work their way back in.

I guess in a way I was away. I was physically there, but I wasn’t. I was there from an outsiders point of view it felt like. All of this was only a few months ago but it feels like yesterday.

I have really been stepping up and really trying to adapt my actions to be able to care for my baby. She is almost 9 months old now and 18 lbs.

I am keeping her about half the time while my husband is at work now. Its still hard. Everyday is hard, every night is hard. I still have pain when I have to pick her up and bend over and put her back down. This is something she wants to do all day. Up and down, up and down.

I still have pain at night when I lay in bed. When I try to turn over, it still hurts. It hurts in the morning when it is time for me to get out of bed. Add a crying, hungry baby to this and it makes it a little more difficult.

I am still trying to figure it all out.

I have dropped down going to physical therapy to twice a week. This fits me better financially and my schedule with now having to take care of the baby more. I will say I felt better when I was going 3 times a week, but at least I am still going.

Don’t get me wrong, I do see progress. I am thankful for my progress. It is still just such a lifestyle change.

Where I am from, I used to go out in the boat fishing and ride 4-wheelers. I am terrified to attempt to do these things. I love to hike, I am not sure if I will be doing that anytime soon either.

I watched someone’s workout video on Facebook today. She made simple thinks like twisting and bending look easy and effortless. For most people, these things are easy and effortless.

I think I am still at that point where I am scared to fracture again. Without having obvious signs of my bone health, it is hard to know if I am having any improvement. I have another round of blood work coming up in November and another DEXA scan in April 2018. These are the only ways to really know what is going on, but even here there are margins for error.

I am 26. This should be one of the best times of my life. I should be thriving and living. But, I am not. If I am having these types of problems at 26, what will 30 look like, or 40, or 50?

I am thankful it is what it is at this point. I acknowledge it could be things much worse. It is just difficult some days.

On another note: I thought I was ready to go back to work. I submitted a cover letter and my resume for a part-time position. I set up an interview and everything. Then, I realized I am not ready to leave my baby. I am just now becoming the stay home mom I wanted to be. So, I canceled the interview. I know this doesn’t sound professional, but I can’t help but to look back a smile at it. I can’t leave my baby when I am just now being able to mother her….

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I Need Her Just As Much As She Needs Me

I know, this post has a long name. However, it is something I have been thinking about lately so it only makes sense for it to be such.

This week I have started keeping Aubs overnight by myself while my husband is at work.

I haven’t done this since she was 2 months old and now she is going on 8 months.

It has been difficult, but I have been managing.

As tiring as it is, this is what I need. This is what I have been craving for the last 6 months.

It is truly an accomplishment to get my baby girl to sleep. She is the hardest to put down.

But, going through this is satisfying that need I have been having to fully be a mother.

The first night I had her, I put her in her crib briefly while I got a bottle ready. You could have swore that I took her favorite toy away. She screamed and cried. The only word she says right now is, momma.

I know it is okay to let them cry for a minute and I know how I treat her, some would call it spoiling her. To be honest though, it is spoiling me just as much as it is “spoiling” her.

The joy and happiness I get from being able to do these things, these simple day to day things, is something I cannot put into words.

I am her momma, she is my baby. If I had no one else and just had her, I would have everything. I know it would be difficult and that sounds super dramatic, but the last few nights I have spent with her, she has become my best friend. No matter how difficult it has been. She is a part of me. I made her. I am entitled to these feelings.

Changes

This is another quick post. I have to go to physical therapy shortly, I just wanted to note something.

For any fellas that read, I am about to talk about my period so you may want to scroll down or you can read it.

So my first period postpartum is just starting.

I am almost 8 months postpartum. I am not going to lie, I enjoyed not having to worry about it over the last year or so.

But, it is also a reminder of a few things.

For one, it is a reminder that I could not breastfeed as long as I wanted to. My goal was to breastfeed over a year with hopes of making it to 18 months or even 2 years. I ended up stopping at 6 months to try to start to regulate my hormones and to help my bone density increase. (That is one good thing about breastfeeding, it sometimes prevents your period from returning for a little while.)

Ever since I quit breastfeeding in June, I have started a new birth control pill. I was taking the mini pill while I was breastfeeding which is a Progesterone based pill. I have read that Estrogen really helps in the bone building process so I knew I had to switch as soon as possible.

Now all I can do is more hoping my bone density is improving and waiting until my next scan in April to find out.

I am still taking my calcium and vitamin D daily. I go to physical therapy 3 times a week for about and hour and a half and I try to get in another day of exercise. I have cleaned up my diet a bit. I am down to 161 lbs from the 206 lbs I was when I delivered.

I am still weird about my body, but I did have a baby growing in me for 9 months and then 6 months where I couldn’t do any physical activity.

At physical therapy, they have switched up my exercises again. They are getting harder and harder but I am glad that I am able to do them.

This week I plan on keeping the baby by myself overnight for the first time since she was around 2 months old. A lot has changed since then. She is now 19 lbs and we have a bigger house to navigate around. I am excited because this shows improvement, but I must admit I am a little anxious.

I used to get a lot of anxiety with keeping her alone when she was just born and now I will be doing it again. I guess its just the stress and worry that a lot of first time moms have. In a way its like I am just starting all over again.

I had gotten used to the lack of sleep in the beginning. I knew how to push myself to get things done. I have to learn all these things again. I also still have that “is she still breathing” paranoia feeling at night. Even if she sleeps for a span of time I still wake up to check on her and then it takes me forever to get back to sleep. Is this normal at almost 8 months? I am not sure, but then again, I am just about starting all over.

Even though these changes are scary, I welcome them. They are a sign of progress and that I am getting stronger.  Before long, I will be the 100% full time mom that I hoped to be.

Update

I know I haven’t been posting much lately. I am still going to physical therapy 3 times a week and now I am trying to learn how to take care of the baby on my own again. Not that I need to learn how, it is more of learning my limits and how I have to navigate it all. I have to put extra thought in every move I make. If not, I get pain and I also don’t want to risk hurting myself again.

I do feel stronger though. My exercises changed a little last week. The things I had extreme difficulty with, I am now doing and doing them properly (I had to modify them before).

I try to be alone with the baby for at least 2 hours a day. This doesn’t seem like much and I know most mothers have their babies 24/7, but I am still limited in what I can do.

I will still consider this progress.

As of now, I mostly just have her in the middle of the day. It is mostly during her playtime in between naps.

The next step for me is getting her to go to sleep. She is one of those babies that fight her sleep until she passes out.

Since she goes between my in-laws, my grandmother and my husband, everyone has their own way of putting her to sleep and she knows what to do with each person. I need to work on developing my own routine to get her to sleep.

Sometimes she wants to be walked around the house until she passes out and that isn’t something I am capable of doing just yet. I can hold her while walking for about 5 minutes, but after that I am done.

Also, sometimes when she is fighting her sleep she wants she climb all over you. I can only handle this for so long also until my back starts hurting.

I feel like these are just a bunch of excuses now what I see them written down, but they aren’t. This is my reality and what I am fighting through to gain control of my life back.

 

Baby Wants Daddy

This will be a quick post.

I know its not a competition between Mommy and Daddy, but within the last few weeks I have noticed Aubs would prefer Daddy.

My heart breaks once again.

There was a time where I was the one that fed her, from my body. I was the one that could get her to sleep. I was the one she would cry for when I left the room.

Now, its Daddy.

This is one of the things I feared most when all this started.

As a mother, I think I/we have a want/need to feel wanted/needed. We maintain this by being/providing the nutrition/comfort/etc. for them. When you strip us of the ability to do these things, we are no longer needed. Others fill this position and that’s who becomes the baby’s #1.

Since my injuries, I quit breastfeeding in hopes to heal quicker. I can’t lay with her to get her to sleep like Daddy and others can. I can’t bathe her or carry her around for the basic purpose to get around the house or for comfort (sometimes she likes she be walked around when she is fussy). When she is restless, I can only handle her for so long before it starts to hurt my back.

I am really trying. I am trying my best and I know I cannot do anything more. I am pushing myself more than I used to. I do see and feel progress.

But it doesn’t change the fact that she cries for Daddy and pushes away from me.

The Joys of Physical Therapy

Man, it has been awhile since I have been sore. Like, I have been intensely working out kind of sore.

The weird part though, I am sore in my super low abdominal region. Don’t get me wrong, I am sore all over, but down there, man.

My last physical therapy session (yesterday) made my 4th one. I went in and the physical therapist asked me how I felt. The best way to describe my pain: it feels like I had another C-Section. Literally. The pain has been terrible, but he said its normal and will last for about a week. He reassured me that my uterus isn’t ripping back open (although it feels like it is).

I can thank the exercises known as “dead bug” and squats and wall planks for this soreness.

Although it hurts, I can handle it if it makes me stronger. Which I know it is. As long as I do not fracture again or have more back spasms.

Starting at the level I am currently at is tough. Before I got pregnant, I was fairly active. I would do various workout routines at home on my TV and I was going to the gym. I worked in an automotive service center so I would often handle car and truck tires and batteries. I would go fishing and I like to just walk around the woods (I know this isn’t exercise but its an level of activity I cannot currently do).

Fast forward to now, I can barely do half of the things they ask me to do in therapy. Things that I would have breezed through before, have to be modified for me to complete. It does hurt my pride a little bit. I never thought I would be in this position.

I must admit though, I don’t hate going there. I trust this therapist. He has been doing this for 18 years. Everyone in the facility is super nice and helpful. I actually get a few laughs listening to the things the staff and the other patients talk about (many of the patients are far beyond my years).

He says I should be able to take care of my baby in 2-6 months. I do notice slight improvements every few days.

I am able to stand while holding the baby for a few seconds now and I consider that progress.

He also says this is super common and sometimes, people need physical therapy after every baby. I can accept that. Considering the changes your body goes through during the pregnancy process, I can see needing help afterwards.

If I knew what I know now, I would have maybe sought out physical therapy from the beginning and could have prevented some of what has happened. I’ll never know what could have happened. All I know is what has happened and all I can do is accept it and grow from it.

I will admit, I am not 100% mad about all of this. Maybe like 98% mad. I have said before, it has taught me patience and to really cherish my baby more than I think I would have if I had not gone through this.

Anyways. Here is to healing and getting my life back.

P.s. I have started baking macarons. The standing hurts my back but the baking process helps my mental state.

Currently

Alright, now we are pretty much caught up on the major points of the past.

This week I started physical therapy again. I am more hopeful this time. I remember telling my friend I do not want to get my hopes up and she told me, “it may help, it may not, but regardless, being pessimistic won’t help anything”. She has a point there.

Even when my physical therapist was explaining things to me, he said I did not sound too hopeful. It is something I am working on.

In reality, I wouldn’t say I am not hopeful or not optimistic, its like I have to learn how to trust my body again.

I know to most people that doesn’t make sense. Most people don’t think about their bodies and what and how they work and move. When you can’t use your body or do certain things, your body and how it works and moves comes into the spotlight.

Do me a favor, whoever is reading this. Suck in your stomach. Did you have to think much about it? Did you have to think about what muscles you used to do it?

I told the physical therapist that I could not suck in my stomach. He told me I just have to learn how to use those muscles again. It is a weird to think that you have to think about such things.

I guess it would be similar to people who get into accidents and have to learn how to walk.

All in all, this physical therapist said that you have many little muscles in your back. During pregnancy these muscles pretty much quit working. Then you have large muscles that you use for limited movements. My muscle spasms happened because these large muscles got over worked. He said pretty much the same thing as my previous therapist ,but this one showed my pictures and better explained it. He also explained that the muscles in your pelvis relax to let the baby through. I pushed for 3 hours so I am sure they were relaxed and allowing for my pelvis to open. Also, I did end up having a C-Section. This further stretched and weakened my ab muscles. These also support your spine. I think because of this combination, my body just failed at its job to support allowing for my fractures to happen.

Don’t get my wrong, I know the relaxed pelvises, etc., happens to all pregnant people. I am just one of the unlucky ones that had all these issues as a result.

I do feel more confident in the concept of my recovery. Knowing the the muscle situation now and seeing what happened through pictures, I am more comfortable moving my body and regaining my muscle use.

Anyways, here is to healing. After 9 months of pregnancy, 3 months of fighting back pain to take care of my baby and 3 months in a back brace healing from compression fractures, hopefully this is FINALLY the beginning of the end. I am hopeful that I will soon be able to take care of my baby like I always pictured I would.

My Baby Is 6 Months Old

This is going to be a random post.

Today my baby is 6 months old! I am excited to have been able to keep my tiny human alive for this long (I am sure other new parents stress about this…ex: when they sleep too longer than they usually do so you check to make sure they are still breathing). Here is to many, many, many more years of life and love for my babygirl!

Although the last 3.5 months have been a struggle, I am hoping for better things for the next 3.5 months. Hopefully my back can heal and I can strengthen my muscles so that I can take care of my baby by myself again.

Last night was the first time that I didn’t pump. I have been working to stopping breastfeeding. My feeling is that my nutrients are being depleted from my bones to go into milk for the baby. Its taken me the last 3 months to finally decide to commit to quitting breastfeeding. It has been an enormous struggle both mentally, emotionally and physically. I am 100% pro breastfeeding, but in my case I feel like if stopping MAY help me heal, then it is worth it. At this point I am not being much of a mother. If this helps me to heal like I hope it does and helps the pain to subside and I can return to my duties, then it is worth it to stop. Transitioning to formula was a nightmare for use but I think we have gotten it figured out. Hopefully the rest is smooth sailing.

I guess when they say you should listen to your body, you really should. Maybe if I would have done that, I could have worked on what I needed to and my back wouldn’t have gotten as bad as it did and maybe I could have prevented the falls and fractures and I could have healed faster and taken care of my baby myself.

Coulda, Should, Woulda

I guess I will never know. Maybe I was lucky to have gone through all of this so I could find out about my low bone density and work on it before it was too late. That is what I will tell myself to feel better about months of not being able to handle my baby.

Anyways, 6 months! Aubs likes to rollover, she is working on crawling (she can get up on her knees but can’t figure out the arm part yet), she likes pears and sweet potatoes, she doesn’t like apples. She says momma (not sure if she knows she does or if its just coincidence but I will take it). She has her bottom two teeth. She can almost sit up by herself. She likes The Wiggles, Calliou and Topsy and Tim.

She is my favorite person in the world and although my body isn’t what it used to be (I used to be strong, I could lift things and I used to workout), I wouldn’t trade her for anything. Hopefully this back stuff is just a small part of my life that I will overcome and eventually (soon hopefully) I could be the mother I want to be.

That’s all I’ve got for now. Until next time!

Adjusting To Life

My life just got a lot more boring. There wasn’t much I could do for awhile. There is still a good bit I cannot do at the moment (2.5 months later).

At this point I had taken up sleeping in a recliner. I had bad feelings about getting out of bed since this is where and when my falls seem to take place. Also, the recliner made it easier for me to get up and down and I could also use my arms to change position instead of having to try turning my body. Lying on my back in the bed was not an option. It hurt to lie flat, even when I rested my legs on a pillow like the physical therapist suggested-to take pressure off my back. I could not roll over to get comfortable in bed. Anytime I tried to roll over I would get really bad pain. Boy did I miss sleeping with my husband, with all my pillows and blankets. My bed was and is my safe place. My bed is the place that brings me happiness and comfort when the rest of the world is too much to bear. I slept in the recliner for about 2 months.

Next to the recliner I had a walker that I would use to help pull myself up when I was ready to get out of the recliner.

For awhile I could not make it to the floor to play with my baby. This was tough for me to deal with. My baby wasn’t getting the tummy time that is recommended. I was scared this would set her back in her development (it didn’t thank god). It is still hard for me to get up from a seated position on the floor. I cannot lie on the floor whatsoever or on my stomach.

I also invested in one of those stylish plastic shower seats. I felt classy having a seat in my shower—not.

I couldn’t blow dry my hair for a solid month. It would hurt anytime I lifted my arms for any period of time. It even hurt when I would lean forward to brush my teeth or wash dishes or even my hands for that matter.

I wasn’t able to hold my baby at all for awhile, even in my lap.

I couldn’t walk any further than across my house.

I couldn’t do any cook. This may not be a big deal to some people, but I am one of those people that enjoy cooking breakfast and dinner for my husband.

I didn’t drive for a month.

Then, a little bit of sun started to peak through the dark clouds. I know Facebook can be trivial and insignificant, but something in me told me to look for a support group for people with Osteoporosis or Osteopenia. I was looking for someone to relate to or that had been through what I had been going through. I wanted to know other’s experiences and find out if  I should have hope that the pain would get better. I wanted tips on how I could improve my situation. I was in a few groups for breastfeeding and some local mom groups, so I figured there had to be something out there for me to connect with others.

One thing led to another and I found it. There was a group full of people just like me. When I say full I mean 150-200 or so ladies. But, they all went through or was going through what I was. This is one of the main things that has helped get me out of my depression. The support and experiences these ladies have shared is off the charts. I felt like I was in a room with 200 of my best friends.

These ladies have educated me and given me more paths and options and suggestions and ideas of what was happening than any of my doctors have. I feel like my doctors hit a dead end and gave up. With these ladies, I have other experiences to pull from. I have further testing I could suggest to my doctors, ways I could hopefully improve my bone density, but the most important, I have hope again.

I have hope that one day I will not be in pain and I could be the mother I wanted to be. The mother I have been waiting my whole life to be. I have hope that one day I will be able to pick up my baby. I have hope that one day I will be able to carry my baby to her bed and put her down for the night. I have hope that I will be able to take my baby on walks around the neighborhood. I have hope that I will be able to enjoy family vacations and all the things I enjoy doing like hiking. I have hope that my life can and will continue. As one of my other doctors said (completely unrelated to this situation), this is only a speed bump.

This isn’t easy. It may all sound minor (to some it may sounds major), but I have been in pain for going on 3 months now and some days, it’s the hope that gets me through.

 

Trying To Figure It Out

I went to the doctor that day. My mom had to bring me so that my grandmother could stay with the baby and my husband was at work. I went in and we did some more x-rays and this time we did blood work. The x-rays came back fine. From here he requested an MRI.

The following day I got an MRI on my back. It was slightly nerve-racking since I believe I am claustrophobic. I tried really hard not to open my eyes.

The next day after the MRI, my doctor called me back and told me my blood work all came back fine but I did have compression fractures in 5 of my vertebrae: T12, L1, L2, L3, L4 (with the most height loss at L3). He said no wonder I was in pain. He asked me if I went through anything traumatic recently. I told him about hitting my bed during my last fall. He said in a normal healthy person that would not cause the damage that had occurred in my back.

This was a clue to take things a step further. Next, I had to get a bone density scan.

I went in for my bone scan. At this point it was difficult to walk so I was being wheeled around in a wheel chair all over the hospital trying to figure out where to go.

Once we found it, I went in and got my scan done. It was much less frightening than the MRI. I had to lie on a table and the lady strapped my feet to some sort of contraption. It was slightly painful to lie on my back as I was. For this and the MRI and anytime I had an x-ray I was in a little pain.

I did my bone density scan (often referred to as a DEXA) and it came back that I have Osteopenia. Don’t get me wrong, it could have been much worse. But, the question was, why? Why at 26 did I have low bone density? Most people do not worry about this until menopause. All my blood work looked fine. My calcium and vitamin levels were within range.

This is when the panic started. I used Google to help determine the cause. Since everything else was coming back good, this lead me to one conclusion. I may have cancer.

This brought me into weeks of stress thinking about if I would die. When would it happen?  What would happen to my baby? What would I miss out on? What would she do when she needed her momma and I wouldn’t be around? Would I miss her wedding day? Who would take care of her when I am gone? If I wouldn’t last long, how would I make sure she knew me and knew I loved her so much? How would I make sure certain people stayed in her life?

The questions were endless. I thought about this night and day.

To say depression started to set in would be an understatement. Accompanying the depression was its friends-anxiety and stress. I was a complete MESS for weeks.

Then, one day I started connecting the dots. If nothing cancer related was showing up in my blood work or my many x-rays or my MRI, then it should be safe to say that I probably didn’t have cancer. I don’t want to jinx it; I am still not 100% on what is causing this. But for now I will assume I do not have cancer. The only thing we can chalk this up to is pregnancy and breastfeeding.