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.

My Emergency Room Visit

So we make it to the hospital. They take me out the ambulance and roll me into the lobby of the ER. The other paramedic is making small talk with me about my baby’s name. I get into my little ER room. Its about the size of my bathroom at my house.

They start asking me questions and assessing me. They made note of my blood pressure getting low when I attempted to sit up. They want to try to take my blood pressure with me laying down, sitting up and standing. I hesitate. Then I agree we can try.

They take it lying down, normal. We attempt to sit me up to try the next one. Once I start to attempt to sit up, the pain comes back. That was the end of that part of the assessment.

The ER doctor comes in. He starts pushing on parts of my stomach and asking me questions. He moves my legs around to see if the pain comes back. Nothing.

They take blood to run some blood tests and they also want to test my urine. At this point I am thinking, “Awesome, I finally get to pee”. It is probably around 11 am and this whole thing started with me getting out of bed to go pee at 7 am. Needless to say, I had all the urine they would ever need for the tests if we could find a way to get it out my body.

My options were to use the toilet, use a bedpan or get a catheter. Seeing as I couldn’t even sit up, getting out of bed to use the toilet was out of the question. My next option was the bedpan. Every time I would move my hips I would have the pain. That left me with the catheter option.

For some reason I am deathly afraid of catheters. I had one when I was delivering my baby, but I was numb for that. Getting a catheter was not a valid option for me. I asked for some pain medication and I would agreed to try the bed pan.

They gave me a shot of morphine for the pain. Now that I think about it, it didn’t really help with the pain.

I did what I had to do and they took my sample. A little while later they came back and said everything looks normal. The next step would be to get x-rays.

They wheel me out of my little bathroom sized room and bring me into a waiting room for the x-rays. I wait there for about 10 minutes or so. Then, they bring me into the x-ray room. The lift me off my hospital bed onto the x-ray table. This is when I knew the pain medication wasn’t working. That pain came back just as if I hadn’t taken anything. I yell out a few sailor words and then I apologize. They aren’t mad at my language, they could tell I was in severe pain.

We make small talk about my baby while they do my x-rays. Some with me laying on my back and then on my side. Then, they move me back onto the hospital bed. I am sure you have guessed it, the pain came back.

They wheel me back into my room and then me and my husband wait some more.

After awhile, the ER doctor comes back in and asked me when the last time I had a bowel movement was. It may have been a day or two. I thought I may have been constipated lately due to not drinking enough water, but I never thought it would result in this. He said from the x-rays, I was the most backed up he has seen in awhile. He told me to go home, do an enema and take some Metamucil and that should be that.

I must admit, I was embarrassed that all this was caused by a case of severe constipation but I was relieved that it wasn’t something more serious.

Man was I wrong…Or should I say the doctor was.

Then we wait about another 2 hours and a nurse comes in my room and asks why I was still there. Apparently, when the doctor came in, I was to be discharged, but no one told me. That is a whole nother part of what made me upset with this hospital visit.

I was confused though. I came into the hospital because of some pain that caused me to pass out. They didn’t really do anything to make it go away and now they were sending me on my way with the same pain. It didn’t make sense to me. Not that I wanted to do what I had to do at the hospital, but if I was as backed up as he said I was, I was scared that I would go so much at home that I would become dehydrated.

Nevertheless, they were sending me home.

I needed to use the toilet before I left. I don’t know how all ER rooms are but the toilet in this one had a seat that when closed was a little chair that my husband had just spent hours sitting on. I go to try to get out of the hospital bed to use said toilet and the pain comes back and I almost pass out again. One of the nurses is witnessing this so I asked for a cup of water. I drink the water and sit there for a few minutes. The nurse comes back with a wheel chair to take me out of there.

She wheels me out to the car and I go home. Still having the same pain that caused me to pass out and end up in the Emergency Room. Nothing felt any better than it did when I arrived.

Spoiler alert! It wasn’t constipation causing all this chaos. Stay tuned for what I found out later.