8 months

It is crazy to think that this baby has almost been outside the womb as long as he was in it.  He is looking like such a little man these days. We find it's easier to change diapers in shorts and pants now that he moves around like crazy and tries to escape the changing table at all costs. Because he is wearing more adult-looking clothes he looks older. He loves to walk holding on to my hands and is obsessed with a music making toy that I bought for $3 at a garage sale. Best purchase ever.

He is also into crawling on all threes with a foot instead of using two knees. It is pretty funny to watch. We attempted to measure his height this week and it was pretty close to 29 inches. We weighed him about a week ago and he was right under 23 lbs. Four more weeks until I can see the doctor and get permission to lift again. It is killing me that I cannot go anywhere with him alone. I can't even get him out of the stroller after our walks.


Two weeks post op

Today I went back to work. After being home for two weeks I felt ready. I am not ready to lift any boxes or run around the hospital doing a photo shoot all day, but I can certainly write and coordinate from my seat on the 12th floor.

I still have some ankle pain that is bothering me in the morning and occasionally throughout the day, and my right foot is still numb on the top of my foot running up to the bottom of my knee.

The good news is I have no sciatic pain, which was the purpose of the surgery. By the way, I have zero stitches. They use this superglue-type stuff and about half of that has peeled off.

I have some pain when I try to bend over too quickly but other than that, I feel really good and cannot I wait for Nov. 1 when the surgeon gives me the all-clear to pick up my baby boy again. That is seriously the hardest part of all of this.


Why AT&T is terrible

About the time I went back to work in April, AT&T was canvassing our neighborhood to try to get us to switch to u-verse. The hubs and I were I interested, but we wanted to compare our current package (with directv) before making a commitment on the front porch with a teenager.

So maybe a week after the kid visited us I called to make the switch. After several phone calls and details that don't matter to this story we finally had some guy out here to install the new system. Not only did this guy do a crappy job drilling a new hole in my wall to the outdoors, he also ran the wire around the house so poorly that it is gaping down in several places, visible under the siding. After being here several hours and attempting to complete the setup, he says he is going outside to check some things. He comes back hours later to tell the hubs he couldn't figure it out and that he would be back the next day. That was mid-May on a Thursday. I called on Friday afternoon. No one knew about our situation and could not answer the question of when he might be back.

Good thing I left our charter Internet and directv turned on.

I called again on Monday and Tuesday. Same answers. Our installation was still pending and they would call us when it was complete. No, they could not tell me an approximate timeline.

Fast-forward to August 30 or so. AT&T starts calling both of our phones. They are ready to complete the install and we need to call to reschedule.


Three months later with zero communication? You think we were just sitting here waiting? Nope. I've already re-signed contracts with my current providers and you lost me as a customer, most likely for life.


The human body

The human body is such a strange operation. I am noticing some of the amazing things it can do lately. Have you heard tha theory that the body will only let you feel the amount of pain you can bear? (I have only heard of this, and do not have scientific proof.) I truly believe this now.

I have had plantar fasciitis in my left foot since about last November. It started when I had gained 35 lbs, so thats why I said about november. So it has continued to hurt, I am guessing it will go away when I lose the last 20 lbs I am carrying around. However, I have had a nice break from the foot pain since the intense pain in my leg started three weeks ago. I know that pain must be subsiding because yesterday afternoon, the pain in my foot started to sneak back in to my life...


Sleep issues

The day I went back to work from maternity leave was the day the baby started sleeping throughg the night. It was like magic. From that day forward we have stayed with the same basic routine. I come home from work and play while dad cooks dinner. We eat and then go for an hour walk. By that time it's usually around 8pm and we start getting a bath ready. We do bath time, good night moon and a bottle. He always fell asleep eating the bottle, but it was never an issue because he slept through the night. This was our routine for months.

And then we started teething.

And got a virus.

In the same week.

He was waking up so often throughout the night for about a week straight that I started letting him sleep in our bed if he woke up after 4am. I figured it was just for two hours until my alarm went off and mommy needed to sleep because regardless of what happened overnight, I still had to  work the next day.

He did go back to his normal sleep-through-the-night-self. However, for the last week, he has been waking up in the middle of the night screaming his head off. He does not calm down until we either put him in our bed or feed him. I really don't thing he can be that hungry, but I do think he has no idea how to soothe himself since we have trained him to only fall asleep with a bottle.

But in our defense, this routine has worked so well for us for the past four months that we didn't really have a reason to do anything differently. So now we are trying to train a 7-month-old how to fall asleep on his own...


Loving life

You know how people always say you don't know what you are missing until it's gone?  Right before the surgery, I realized how many little things I was missing in my life due to the constant pain. I couldn't walk. Your life changes dramatically when you live in a wheelchair. It was an ordeal just to go to the bathroom. I had to rely on my coworkers to wheel me to a meeting, to get coffee, to get to the toilet. It was absolutely terrible and if I tried to walk, more than one person called me "mee-maw." 

I couldn't pick up my child. I couldn't do the dishes, vacuum the house, do laundry or pull weeds in the yard. Because the hubs was tending to the child full time, the house fell apart. Luckily, my mom is retired and was able to move in for a few days after surgery and put the house back together for the most part. 

Even though I'm only four days post-op, I can already tell things are improving. Last night I was flat on my back reading for about 15 minutes before it became uncomfortable. I haven't done that since maybe October 2011. I was pregnant and then the sciatic pain started the day I have birth to my son in January.

Having gone through that, I am so appreciative of the use of my legs. Even if I do have some pain still, I am glad to be able to roll around on the floor with my son and stand up to kiss him goodnight.


Home on drugs

I typed up a nice post on my recent use of narcotics but I was using an iPad and the post got lost in the internet somewhere, never to be seen again. Hopefully it works this time.

I am at home, recovering from surgery. The neurosurgeon told us several times in the hospital how pleased he was with the surgery and that the fragment of disc he removed from my sciatic nerve was HUGE! He said I should make a full recovery and after just three days I'm starting to believe him. My sciatic pain is already gone and the numbness is only on the top of my foot and in my toes. The numbness used to go all the way up to my knee.

My incision is certainly still painful but I know that will heal with time. The nerve root and muscles that we're moved during surgery are probably the most painful part right now. They had to peel back the muscles and nerves to get to the inner disc and remove the hunk that was just floating around in there.

Even though I am in pain and I won't be able to lift the baby for six weeks, I am glad I went through with the surgery.

Surgery set for Monday

Today, I met with my neurosurgeon who will be performing a discectomy on Monday. First of all, he came in  to talk within 10 minutes - I love it when a physician office is run efficiently. I HATE waiting.

Anyway, he looked at my MRI from yesterday and that there's definitely a LARGE herniated disc sitting on my sciatic nerve (L4, we knew that) and that there's a smaller herniation on the disc below it (L5). He said that the discs looks to be in the same spot as the MRI I had in June - which seems weird to me because that doesn't explain why I'm in so much pain/numbness the last few weeks, whereas in June, I could tolerate it and still go about my daily life.

He said we could try a steroid injection, but that he wouldn't recommend it (that's what my rehab doctor said also) because the canal is so tight with the huge disc sticking out, and since it has not gone in since January and it's been almost 9 months, that it was unlikely to do so.

He also pointed out that it's possible I could develop cauda equina syndrome and would then need emergency surgery if I lose control of my bowel/bladder. The bulge is dangerously close to hitting those nerves in its current condition, so that alone makes me on the plus side of surgery. I do NOT want to walk around with a bag.

So, we talked it over with him and with his nurse. We decided that for me, surgery is probably the best option to get me back to a normal life. I could wait it out and see what happens, but it is very likely that pain/numbness episodes of this nature will continue. If this were a two-day thing, I'd probably be more likely to hold off on surgery, but two weeks in a wheelchair and not being able to pick up my child, not to mention living on narcotics with unbearable pain, is not something I'd like to repeat. Ever.

I will have to stay home for two weeks (I do plan to work from home some) and no lifting anything more than a milk jug for six weeks. That puts a lot of pressure on the hubs. Even though he's primary caretaker as it is, the never-ending attention an infant requires is definitely taxing on even the most patient person. But we both know that this is for the best and will be worth it when I'm 100 percent again.


7 months

We are still dealing with the pain in my lower back/hip/leg and numbness. I had an MRI this morning and go to see a neurosurgeon tomorrow to see what he says.

While we wait, a few updates on the child:

  • doesn't say any words like baba, dada, mama, but looooves to yell, screech and ggggguh
  • can sit up and play with things in both hands
  • is starting the chew, but still gags on the tiniest stuff - like avocado
  • has two teeth all the way through, and is working on more we think
  • favorite food: carrots and peaches
  • wears mostly size 12-months clothes, but sleeps in 18-month pjs because I can't get the 12-month to zip up past his thigh
  • loves bath time and splashes mom like crazy
  • sleeps from about 9pm-7am pretty consistently
  • had his first virus this month with a fever of 101.7
  • weighs 22 lbs and is 28 in tall


The most pain since birth

One week ago, I was fine. Completely pain-free, doing whatever I wanted, walking every morning before work, running a bit, and starting to work out more. Last Sunday night, I did about 50 walking lunges while walking the dog. I'm not sure if that's what triggered my sciatic pain to come back, but something was not right.

Monday, the pain got a little worse, but I still walked in the morning without too much trouble. Went to work as normal.

Tuesday, I got up to walk, but the pain was not going away with movement like it normally did, so we only walked 1 mile.

Wednesday, I got up to walk but couldn't do it. I went to physical therapy instead. During the session, the PT thought my back was a little tight, so at the end, he did a little fascia loosening massage. I'm not sure if this made the pain worse, or just combined with the already deteriorating back.

Thursday, went to work in severe pain and toughed through a day-long meeting until 2pm. Went home and took more naproxen, but it was not even touching the pain anymore.

Thursday night is where things went bad. I took several naproxen pills, tried ice, tried every position possible, but could not ever get comfortable or sleep for more than maybe 2 hours total. By this point, I cannot walk, stand up straight, lay down in any position and can barely sit hunched over. This pain had me writhing and moaning on the floor most of the night. At 5am I gave up and went to the ER at work.

They told me to have a percocet (pain killer) and some prednisone (steroids) and sent me on my way. The ruptured disc in my back has stuck it's little turtle head out of its hole again, and is pushing on my sciatic nerve - but this time it's so much worse than before.

Friday night I took all kinds of percocet and advil, and maybe slept for an hour at a time, totaling 5-6 hours. The pain was still VERY real. I still can't walk without being hunched over, and more than 10 or so steps has me in tears. That made it very difficult to even pick up the 21-pound baby, much less carry him or comfort him to sleep.

Saturday and Sunday were pretty much repeats of Friday. Predisone, Percocet, Advil, repeat. Throw in a heating pad and a little bit more sleep.

Today (Monday) I'm finally feeling a little bit of relief (only if I consistently take my pills) and actually slept for 4.5 hours, then 3 hours straight, so that was much better. I am going to get an MRI tomorrow and hopefully get a surgical consult soon after that. While I do NOT want to have surgery (probably microdiscectomy), I feel like that is the only logical next step. This disc could come back out at any time and I do not want to be in a wheelchair every few months.