A Zebra Mommy

It’s been quite some time since I last posted, and our baby boy is here! After nearly 54 hours of labor, he made his appearance on 12/12/12 at 10:54pm weighing 6lbs 8oz and measuring 20 inches long. He is six weeks old now and simply growing like a weed! Life is bliss with him in it and I am constantly amazed by him. I have all of the sleep deprivation and aches and pains of a new mommy, but living the life of a zebra mommy is definitely difficult, and, I imagine, different from most. 

If you have read my previous blog posts, you are aware of the problems that I have with EDS. For those of you who may not have read my previous posts, I will recap quickly. I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome type III, which is known as the hyper-mobile type. This means that I have hyper-mobile joints, which will dislocate and sublux (slip out of place) on their own. EDS is accompanied by chronic pain in the bones, joints, ligaments, muscles… you name it. Basically… it hurts.

During my pregnancy, I had serious problems with my hips and needed to use a belt to hold my hips in place, because they got to a point of slipping out every time I took a step. My wonderful, angelic OB recognized my need for help and quickly got me into physical therapy, which made a tremendous difference. My physical therapist is a saint, and approached me – having never heard of EDS – with several gentle exercises and an arsenal of prenatal yoga. I can honestly say that I would not have made it through my pregnancy walker-free, if it hadn’t been for these exercises. The pain was unbearable and there were several times that I found myself “stuck”… sometimes standing, sometimes sitting, and sometimes, I was crouched on the floor. All of this happened even with my physical therapy, so I can’t imagine what it would have been like without it. 

Now, since having C, I can honestly say that I have seriously “earned my stripes”. My shoulders have been in an uproar, my hips are trying to find their place but seem to be lost, and my every joint hurts, right down to the knuckles in my toes. This is when I have to remind myself that I’m simply not like most moms. My 6 week post partum appointment was a glaring reminder. 

After discussing my recovery so far and all of the positive things that have occurred over these past 6 weeks, I wanted to talk to the doc about my pain. Thankfully, she has always been open to talking about it and has never told me that she didn’t believe me. She asked me what I did for pain before pregnancy. I said that I employed the “grin and bear it method”, explaining that the last doctor I discussed it with simply brushed me off and told me that I needed antidepressants. Now, I do know that they CAN be helpful with chronic pain conditions, such as fibromyalgia and others, but I’ve been on antidepressants; they don’t help. Doc came right out and asked me if I am depressed. No. She stated that I have never seemed even kind of depressed to her, despite all of my pain and frustrations throughout pregnancy. She did admit that antidepressants can be helpful with chronic pain conditions as well, but acknowledged that this is so much more! I can’t tell you the relief I felt in hearing validation for my complaint! This is something I had received only once before and several years ago. We discussed my need for pain management, and she gave me solutions. We talked about the need to strengthen, yet protect my joints (especially my shoulders), and she got me referred back for more physical therapy. She also sent me away with great advice (and warnings) on how to avoid more damage. At this point, the main concern is my shoulders. I have been told to avoid carrying C around in his carseat, and have been advised to “wear” him as much as possible. The result of ignoring this advice and not moving forward with physical therapy could mean needing new shoulders as early as my 30’s. That’s just over five years away! It’s highly likely that I will need new shoulders later on in life anyway, but there’s simply no reason to run into this problem as early as my 30’s, if it can be avoided. So… that’s the goal for now. 

There is so much more to talk about, but these Zebra wrists and fingers are worn for now. Expect to hear from me again soon, but for now… I give you all my Zebra hugs and love! Talk to you soon! 🙂

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