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.

My Second Fall

So I went to physical therapy for probably about a week. I think I went a total of 3 times or so (It wasn’t an everyday thing). I was really hopeful it would help.

I still had a lot of back pain. I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to or not, but nevertheless, it was still there and I was trying to go on with my life since all of this was normal for someone who had recently had a baby.

Then, on the morning of April 4th, I want to say was the day of my 4th physical therapy appointment; I fell, once again, getting out of bed. This time my husband wasn’t home to catch  me.

My grandmother had slept over the previous night to help me with the baby. She was sleeping on the couch. I was getting out of bed and the pain started again. I screamed for help as I was starting to black out and make my way down to the floor again. This time I hit my back on my bed frame and slid down it. I think I heard and felt popping and I was thinking, “this doesn’t seem like it will end well”. I feel like this may have contributed to my fractures, but according to my doctors, in a normal person, this wouldn’t cause the damage that they found in me.

After a few seconds my grandmother comes into the room. After the fact she said she didn’t know if it was me crying or the baby. At this point I was almost completely passed out. I could hear the fear in her voice similar to what I heard in my husband’s voice. I couldn’t open my eyes but I could still speak and communicate this time.

I laid on the floor for a few minutes trying to figure out what had happened. My grandmother handed me my phone and I called my mother for help. In total I spent about an hour on the floor this time.

With my experience in the ER last time, I knew it was pointless to call for an ambulance to come help me get off the floor or to seek medical attention at the hospital.

Again this time, anytime I would move my hips or try to sit up, I would get intense pain and start to black out again. From my previous experience, I figured once I got to a certain point in the sitting up process, I should be ok and the pain would subside enough to stand up.

After a lot of negotiating (my mom threatened to call other family members to come get me off the floor and I refused to interrupt their day and my mom had to get to work soon), I agreed to let my mother and grandmother pull me up and put me in a sitting position.

As they were doing this, the pain came back and I almost blacked out again, but eventually I was sitting up. After sitting up for a few minutes I was able to get to my knees. After being on my knees for a few minutes I was able to stand. This whole ordeal took much longer than I would have cared for but it was all I could do.

Once up, I called the doctor to tell him I fell again. They told me to come in and we would try to figure it out. This is when the doctor started to realize this wasn’t normal back pain.

A Sadness In My Heart

My baby will be 6 months old at the end of this month. Since my first fall (back in March), I haven’t been able to do much with her until recently (the last 2 weeks or so). I feel like I have missed out on the last 3 months of my baby’s life. During this period, I couldn’t hold her whatsoever. I had to watch others take care of her 100%. I know I keep harping on this over and over, but this is one of the most difficult things I have gone through. I love my baby so much. I never thought it was possible to love anything or anyone as much as I do her. I may just be emotional about this topic because of my current level of hormones (still breastfeeding). I just love her so much and I want her to stay my baby forever.

I was just looking at her newborn pictures and that is what sparked these feelings and emotions for me today. Today, she looks nothing like she did when she was born almost 6 months ago.

In the beginning, it was like one long day that lasted for a month. Wake up, feed the baby, go to sleep, wake up, feed the baby, go to sleep….

During that time, I feel like I wasn’t able to enjoy my newborn. I was in a constant state of trying to figure out if she was hungry or just sleepy or what was going on with her. She was a fussy baby compared to what I knew of my friends’ babies. (I was breastfeeding and having difficulties with that and then the doctor claims she had/has reflux. Mix in having no idea what I was doing.)

Then, from there, I fell and was/am going through my back problems and that has been another 3 months I haven’t been able to be the mother I want to be.

I know I can’t take back the time that has passed. It is probably pointless to even ramble on like I am.

I guess the point of this post is, mommas or daddys, enjoy your babies. Especially if you are healthy and they are healthy. Hold them, play with them, rock them if they want to be rocked. Try not to get frustrated when they are crying.

I have learned patience through this. Before, I would get frustrated when she would cry. Now that I am about 2 months into my fracture healing, I am able to rock her. As of last week, I am able to lay down next to her in bed. For the first time in months I was able to snuggle with my baby. My back pain is still there, but this is a step towards progress that I am able to do it. I was able to hold her close while she slept and it was amazing.

What I would give to be able to have held her while she was upset for the last 3 months. I literally would have to leave the room when she was upset and crying and someone else was trying to comfort her because it hurt me that I could not be the one to comfort her. Now I realize that may be selfish, but there is literally nothing I could have done in those situations during that time to make things better.

My baby likes to be walked around the house. What I would give to be able to hold my baby and walk her around the house. I would do that for hours if my body would let and if that is what she would need to calm her. I would love to take her walk out to the mailbox to check the mail when the weather is nice.

I remember one night before all this happened that I must have walked around the house with her for over an hour to keep her happy. Some may think this is spoiling a baby. My thought is, she will only be a baby once. She is my world and I would do anything to keep her happy. If that is spoiling then I am guilty and I don’t care. I want to take in and enjoy every second that I can with her. Because one day, I wont be here anymore or she will be too old to want anything to do with me or it wouldn’t be socially acceptable to rock my 30 year-old baby to sleep.

Anyways, that is my random ramble of the day.

 

This was us snuggling for the first time in about 3 months. I loved every second of it.

Follow Up/Leading Up To My Second Fall

Of course the internet makes everyone a licensed doctor, right? Once I got home, I started google-ing if constipation can cause back pain. Come to find out, it can. If this was right, I could have been constipated for months. I would use the bathroom, but I must admit, it wasn’t like it was before I got pregnant. Its just one of those joys some women go through with the pregnancy/breastfeeding process.

I read that pain medication can contribute to it and I did take pain medication for my c-section for a little while. Also, with breastfeeding, I figured all of my water was going to my milk. I justified how I could have come to this point.

Long story short, that night I took some Metamucil. I wasn’t comfortable with doing an enema so instead I took some Milk of Magnesia. Needless to say, I went. I didn’t go as much as I think I should have considering how backed up the ER doctor said I was, but I went.

I did not think that constipation was the root of the problem so the next day I went to my family doctor. I told him what happened with the passing out while getting out of bed and the back pain I had been having and what the ER doctor concluded. We did some more x-rays so I could prove to my husband I wasn’t full of shit (sorry I couldn’t help myself there).

According to these new x-rays, I did have stuff in there but he said it wasn’t anything he would be worried about. (Again, I did “use it” the previous night but nothing extreme).

He thought my back pain was being caused by inflammation and weak muscles from being pregnant. He prescribed me some anti-inflammatory medication and muscle relaxers. We discussed physical therapy briefly but that was about it.

About a week later, the pain wasn’t subsiding. The medication I was prescribed wasn’t doing anything for me. So I decided to go back to my family doctor.

We decided to go on with physical therapy. Apparently I was supposed to have been going for that week, but someone dropped the ball and did not do my referral.

My first physical therapy appointment was March 23rd.  This was 1 week after my first fall. I really liked my therapist. He was very relate-able. He concluded that my core muscles and my back muscles were weak from not using them during pregnancy. He said essentially my bones were moving and my back muscles were tensing up trying to support them. He also figured my breastfeeding posture was poor. His wife recently had a baby and experienced all of this also, so I figured that was it. I would do some physical therapy for a few weeks and strengthen my muscles back up and the pain would go away and everything would be normal. Again, if only it were that easy.