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.

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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.

A Realization

The night before my grandmother-in-law’s funeral, it occurred to me that Aubs wouldn’t grow up knowing her great grandmother. I guess it is all a part of life and death.

I grew up with most of my grandparents and some of my great grand parents. I guess I just take it for granted they would always be around. This is one of those parts of parenthood you don’t think about until something happens.

My dad’s dad died a few months before I was born. Most of my life I would think, “My paw paw would be so proud of me”. I don’t know if other people think things like that about their passed family that they have never met.

My grandmother-in-law had probably seen my baby just a hand full of times. Between her declining health and my health problems, it was hard to get together like we used to.

I just hope my daughter knows her great grandmother loved and loves her. She would have spoiled her so much.

One of my own grandmothers passed when I was a teenager. I know she would have loved her, too. She was one of the most loving people on the planet. I knew her love for me and I know for a fact she would have adored my baby.

I guess this is the point in life where you really have to make things count. Not take others for granted and make memories that will last a lifetime.

My First Fall

This is where the fun begins (sarcasm). This is also where my distrust and disgust in our healthcare system begins.

The date is March 16, 2017. It is my husband’s 31st birthday and the day before we were due to sign our papers to purchase a new house. It is about 7am and I am waking up to use the bathroom. My back is still hurting; it is hard for me to get out of bed. I ask my husband to stand behind me just in case.

You may be thinking, “Just in case? Why would today be any different? You just have weak muscles and a back ache from just having a baby. You are normal and just have to tough it out and deal with it”.

This is when I started to realize this is not normal. Nothing that has been going on with my back for the last 3 months was normal.

I start to get out of bed. I make it to the edge, I grab the headboard to help pull myself up (like I have been doing for the last few weeks). I stand up.

Next thing I know I can’t see anything. I can hear my husband calling my name but I cannot open my eyes. Let me explain something about my husband, he is not an emotional man. I’ve only seen him cry less than twice in our 5 years together, but I can hear pain and fear in his voice.

Once I am able to open my eyes I realize I am on the floor. I just passed out. I have never passed out in my life. I try to get up but I feel a TERRIBLE pain. Pain I have never felt in my life. Mind you I just went through child birth a few months prior. This “normal” back pain, just caused little healthy me that has never had any major medical condition or situation, to pass out.

I cannot get up. I can hear my baby crying in bed, my husband is concerned about me and I cannot get up off the floor.

I tell him to deal with the baby and I call my mom to come over and help. I also call an ambulance because every time I move my body, I feel like my organs are being ripped out through my back. The pain was in my mid back area right under my ribcage mostly on the right side. Again, not knowing much about my body I was thinking maybe it was my kidneys. Maybe I was having a kidney stone.

I felt dumb calling the ambulance service to come get me off the floor. I felt like I was on one of those commercials. The only thing I could say is, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up”.  I may have even laughed a few times while saying it. I was in pain, but it was only when I moved. More on this later.

In the meantime, my mother shows up to help with the baby. She gets the baby from my husband and they stand there and look at me, her and the baby. I don’t know which was worst for me, hearing the baby cry on the bed while I was on the floor and could not get up and do anything or having my baby see me on the floor unable to get up. I told my mom to take the baby in another room; I did not want her to see me in that condition. I was supposed to be one of the strongest people in her life and here I was, helpless. Even though I know she could not comprehend what was going on, it still made me feel like less of a mother.

“It’s ok”, my mom said, “she just wants to see her momma”. I let them stay there. Maybe seeing me would comfort her since I could not physically comfort her in that moment.

The ambulance arrives and paramedics come in. I am in a 3 foot space between my bed and the wall. For them to assess me they lift me on the bed. Remember that terrible pain I described earlier? It was back and I begin to get light headed. The paramedic keeps telling me not to use my muscles. Let them do the work. That was easier said than done.

They get me on my bed and then start checking my blood pressure, doing an EKG? and testing my blood sugar. My blood pressure would get low every time they would move me. They had to put me in a chair to get me down my stairs. As soon as they put me in a sitting position, the pain came back. “Trust us, stop using your muscles,” he kept saying. I am not 100% sure, but I am sure your core muscles that support you while sitting, probably activate themselves while you are sitting whether you are trying to use them or not.

I got really weak and my blood pressure went down again, almost causing me to pass out again.

They get me outside and put me on a stretcher. It feels nice outside. It is a cool morning by Louisiana standards. None of my neighbors were outside gawking at the spectacle I was making (thank God). They load me into the ambulance.

This is the first time I am in/ride in an ambulance in my life. The paramedic is putting me an IV while the other one was driving. That takes confidence if you ask me, to stick a needle in someone’s vein while in a vehicle that is in motion. I noticed how good the shocks are on the ambulance (traveling down a road that I am familiar with and know where the potholes are and I do not feel most of them). Occasionally we hit a bump and I do feel it and the pain comes back.

I accidently grab the paramedic’s leg and yell out in pain. I apologize to him. He understands. Considering I just had a baby, I was a breastfeeding mother and it was early in the morning, he figured maybe I was just dehydrated and having muscle spasms. He gets them. He understands the pain.

Then, we get to the hospital.

A Side Effect Of My Conditions

My husband’s grandmother passed away last night.

This has made me realize, due to my fractures and back pain, my husband went from visiting his grandmother 3+ times a week to only once every few weeks or so.

She was like a second mother to him. They were close. He was the only grandchild that would see her on a regular basis and help her around the house whenever she needed. His grandfather passed a few years ago so my husband sort of became the man of the house for her.

I do feel guilt for keeping him from being around there so much. I do realize I have no control over it also. I needed him.

I am in a Facebook support group for women who have gotten Osteoporosis from pregnancy/breastfeeding. They have helped me realize I should not feel guilt for this. His grandmother would have wanted him to be the man he is, and stay home and support me and take care of his baby girl.

This also reminds me I need to get Aubs baptized. Our family is Catholic so having her baptized is a big deal. I am saddened that there will be one less person there physically now. I know she would have loved to see her first great-grand baby baptized.

Its not that I have just been dragging ass on this. There has just been so much going on with me that I haven’t been able to get to that. I know when we do get to baptizing the baby, great grandma will be there in spirit.

Nevertheless, I will miss the time we spent with her. I am lucky to have gotten to know such a loving, strong willed woman over the last 5 years. I am glad my baby got to meet her.

Leading Up To My First Fall Part 2

So the weekend went by and I still was not feeling any better since my chiropractor appointment. I was supposed to go back in on the following Monday, but since I wasn’t feeling any relief, I canceled it. I know you may be thinking, “Sometimes it takes more than one time to get everything right”. Especially considering that I have never been before. I know this. But, for the amount of money I had to spend (insurance wouldn’t cover anything until I met my deductible); I figured I would try something more cost effective. Being the stubborn person that I am, I still refused to go to my regular doctor over this matter. Therefore, I decided to get a massage.

I have gotten massages before and I would say this one went like any other. I went in, told her where I was hurting. She said she could probably work it out for me. On this day, my upper and lower back was hurting.

She worked on me. She got my upper back feeling back to normal. My lower back, I noticed she spent a lot of time on one area. Being that I don’t know everything about my muscular and skeletal system, I assumed it was just a tight muscle. Afterwards, she did mention that I did have some tension in some parts of my back. Upon leaving, my upper back felt great. I felt back to normal in that area. My lower back however, still hurt.

I know sometimes getting a massage can cause more pain for a little while and then it usually goes away. I wasn’t in extreme pain upon leaving this time like I was leaving the chiropractor. I thought this was it. I thought I just had some tight muscles and I got them worked out and everything would be on the up and up and I would be normal in a few days.

If only it were that easy.

Leading Up To My First Fall Part 1

Let me preface this post with saying that other than having a fractured wrist from a snowboarding accident when I was 18 and having a baby in December, I have never had any medical problems that required me to go to the hospital. I hardly ever got sick even. I hadn’t gone to the doctor since I was 18 with that wrist fracture (other than my yearly lady visits).

Anyways, remember how I keep saying that all this pain I was feeling was supposed to be normal? Well, I took it as that. I am super stubborn when it comes to going to the doctor and every doctor I did talk to, told me the same thing. What was I supposed to do? I let it get to a point where I couldn’t take it anymore. My husband was telling me to go to another doctor but I figured he would tell me the same thing (wait for more on this in upcoming posts). So I decided I needed a massage or to go to the chiropractor. Maybe I had just been through a lot (like child birth and taking care of a newborn) and needed some relaxation or an adjustment.

The way my back felt, felt like I had a cinder block pushing down on my spine.  I felt a lot of pressure in my lower back. It started when I was just holding the baby, but then it started feeling that way when I wasn’t holding the baby. For my upper back, I can honestly say I really think that was just poor breast feeding posture. It would go and come depending on the day.

So, I went to the chiropractor. I have never been to a chiropractor. I did not know what to expect or what was normal. Half of the people I spoke with said they are awesome, while half of them told me you couldn’t pay them to go to one. But I was getting desperate. I needed relief and I thought this would help.

I go in, they ask me a few questions and then put a little machine on my back to tense up and relax my muscles along with a heating pad. After that goes on for a little while the chiropractor comes in and proceeds to “adjust” my back. No x-rays, nothing more in-depth than a few questions.  My grandmother was with me and said I yelled and “saw stars”. She said she has never seen someone react like that to what I was having done. The chiropractor said all the sounds my body was making were normal. He said it was like breaking 26 years of rust off.

After the adjustment they showed me some stretches that should help the situation and set me up an appointment to come back the following week. When they were showing me the stretches, I could not even lift my arms high enough to do what they were showing me because my back was hurting so much. Nevertheless, I didn’t know any better and thought I was on the road to recovery.

There are many times in the last few months that I thought I was on the road to recovery, but then something else would happen. I am getting to the point where I don’t want to think I am recovering because I am scared something else will happen and set me back again. This makes for a not so joyous life when I should be in the most joyous state with just having a baby and being a new mommy.

However, I remember sitting in my car after my appointment and thinking, “Man my back still hurts really, really bad. I don’t think that helped. If anything it may hurt more”.

My Current Feelings

I won’t lie, dealing with all of this is hard. Very hard. Considering everything I put into place so that I could be the best mom I could be when my baby got here and I cannot even hold her.  I try to convey to my family the pain I feel in my back but I do not think they understand. I hear things like, “You should try to start lifting on her”, or “You should try to start moving around more”. I am doing what I can. Do they think I want to be like this? I move around as much as my body will allow me. I tried to lift her once in the last week and then my back hurt for 4 days. I am trying to walk, to do more. I don’t know what to do with myself. However, hearing others say “do more” is not as helpful as they may think it is.

I feel like they think I am making it all up. I wish I were. That would be easier than dealing with all this. If only I could secretly pick up my baby and carry her around the house when no one is watching. If I could be the one to give her a bath in her little baby bath tub. If I could go a week without having someone else be in my house, taking care of my baby for me. Don’t get me wrong, I am blessed and beyond grateful that I have the family and the support that I do in this time of great need. But this isn’t what I pictured the first few months of my baby’s life to be like. I honestly feel more like my child’s Aunt than her mother. That is something that rips my heart to pieces. I am trying my best though. I just want her and everyone else to know that. I am trying my best.

It takes approximately 3 months for compression fractures to heal. I am almost 2 months into the healing process. I haven’t slept a night in my bed in a month and a half (since my last fall). This is my plan: heal, physical therapy then hopefully move on with my life and be as “normal” as I can be. Hopefully I can rebuild my lost bone and become stronger than before. Since these things usually happen to women around their menopause years, I have a lot of time to go. Hopefully the lifestyle changes I implement now will prevent me from getting full blown Osteoporosis later.  I can hope, right?