Can you believe that it has been 2 years?! My boy has grown so big and is learning so much. He loves singing, counting objects, identifying colors and is learning multiple words everyday. We need to go to the library weekly to keep up with his interest in reading. He is also a wonderful help around the house, he is eager every morning after breakfast to help mom sweep and mop the living room and kitchen-- if he had his way I'm sure we would do it ten times a day.
Specific to CP
Before I go into my physical condition I should let you know that my husband and I recently welcomed a new angel in to our family, this time a beautiful princess! She is so precious I can hardly express myself, I love her so completely.
This pregnancy went very smoothly even though I did not do physical therapy, also I opted out of an epidural and my spasticity did not interfere with my delivery-- infact she came so fast that 20 minutes after they told me I was 5 centimeters I was holding her in my arms.
I have to admit though, that since the cold weather has arrived my chronic pain has increased to an unusual level, especially on days I have to take both children out on my own. I don't know if it will be perminate, season specific or if with time and better physical condition the increase in pain will fade. Really though it is a small sacrifice, I know that many other women sacrifice much more for their families.
I wish there was an easy way for me to express my feelings. I wanted to say though that I am overjoyed by my choice to be a mother and I am glad that my story has helped others.
I plan on this being my last blog post, however I know that there are many other women with CP who have experienced pregnancy. Since we are all different in type and severity when it comes to Cerebral Palsy I would like to invite those who are interested to share their stories. You can submit your story to firstname.lastname@example.org In your first paragraph please include your type of CP, how it effects you and your age(s) while pregnant. Please keep your submissions under 2 pages in length and please keep them free of cruel and/or vulgar language. Even though I have not blogged for 18 months this site receives very regular traffic and I am sure that if you share your story there will be someone you help.
Thank you to all my readers! I wish you success in all your goals.
Friday, June 29, 2012
For those of you that are interested Junior is doing wonderfully, he is such a happy healthy baby! He has found that he can roll anywhere he wants to go and has recently started making regular (aka constant) attempts at crawling but can’t quite get his torso in the air. Part of me is glad he isn’t overly mobile yet but I know that will change soon.
Specific to CP
In the last couple of months my body has made great improvement. None of my joints have given out recently and can carry my large son around the house with confidence. That being said though, I do experience intense pain by the end of the day throughout my legs—I consider this a significant improvement, though.
I don’t think that there is much more to update you on, I’m very pleased with my physical progress. I have started going on walks again a couple times a week with my husband and the baby, I am not able to go as far as I did while I was in early pregnancy but I think that is simply because I was less spastic then. (A very nice perk to pregnancy)
The first few months after giving birth things were so hard that I felt some doubt that I would every fully recover physically but now I have great hope that given some more time things will become easier again. I am really looking forward to the future.
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
It sure has been a busy 3 months! It’s been difficult to find time to write, I had intended on writing earlier but life can move by so quickly. I’m doing really well and so is Junior, he is such a big strong boy I am amazed everyday at his development. A week ago today he rolled over for the first time tummy- to-back to the right and two days later he did it to the left. I’m so proud of him. I could go on and on about milestones but I’ll stop.
Specific to CP
Since so much has changed in the last 3 months I’ll try to break it down:
1-2 weeks postpartum
This was the most challenging period for me, getting up and down on my own was very difficult for me and carrying the baby more than a few steps scared me because I was so unstable. Luckily, Junior was born while my husband was having winter holiday from work (he is a teacher) so he was there to support me for the first few days and then the next week my mother took time off of work to support me.
3-7 weeks postpartum
Suddenly in week 3 my hips started popping in and out of socket all the time. When I laid down, when I rolled over in bed, when I stood up and with every step I took; at the same time my ankles started to give out. This was/ is very frustrating and painful. On a bright note though I started coming up with some great adaptations for taking care of Junior independently (I may share some in an upcoming blog) and my stiches from delivery finally healed up making me at least a little more comfortable.
I’ve taken great strides to becoming more independent during this last period. I took Junior to his 2 month pediatrician appointment, my first outing with him alone. It was a bit tricky because there was a massive snow storm the night before and there was lots of ice everywhere. To initially get to my car with Junior, my brother-in-law walked me out to my car and thank goodness he did or I would have fallen on the ice. To get him into the Doctor’s I was able to snap his car seat into a stroller. The support of the sturdy stroller kept me from slipping through the parking lot and I was able get junior ever where he needed to go without fear of dropping him.
In the last two weeks Junior has been sleeping for longer period of time at night and I’ve started to establish a schedule for him. It is in no way perfect but I am getting more rest now at night and have more freedom during the day due to regular naptimes. With some of this new found freedom I am exercising and that is reducing my hip and ankle problems.
Being a mother is wonderful, I love it! It is however very troublesome to me to have these mobility issues. Today I tripped for the first time while holding my son. I was able to keep him safe and fairly unjostled by holding him up, securing his neck and digging my elbows into a counter-top on my way down. Although he wasn't badly hurt and was laughing and playing with me less than 5 minutes later it still terrified me. I know my babies will get hurt (yes I plan on getting pregnant again) but I would hope and pray that no major injury occurs until their bodies are better able to tolerate it. I'm so grateful that I was able to protect my son today despite my physical weaknesses.
Sunday, January 8, 2012
Our little angle came into the world Dec 29, exactly 9 months after receiving full medical approval for pregnancy. He was 6 pounds 10 ounces, perfectly healthy, and incredibly handsome!
Specific to CP
There were no cerebral palsy related complications or “other disability” related complications with labor and delivery, at all.
Adherence to Birth Plan/ Labor Story
If you remember from my earlier posts I was fairly open ended with my birth plan and had only come to two major determinations, that I would not take Pitocin and that I would have an epidural to reduce spasticity in my lower body. I felt that both of these choices would serve to reduce distress on my baby. What actually happened was fairly interesting.
If you read my last post, you learned that my OB suggested an induction to help resolve my severe pain and mobility issues. That really got the cogs turning in our heads and “induced” several serious conversations between us. Ultimately we decided that we would try it.
Surprisingly and to my great relief the Pitocin had no apparent negative effect on my labor, however interestingly enough, the epidural did. My blood pressure dropped, my contractions became weak and the baby’s vital signs dropped soon after its insertion. After a few hours of stalled progress with my labor and the nurse constantly repositioning my body to see if it would improve the baby’s heart rate, I had them turn off my epidural. In very little time the baby’s and my vital signs improved and my contractions returned with intensity.
The nurse was fairly surprised at how little time it took to progress from the “3” I had continuously been since entering the hospital to a “10” and she left to call the doctor. Also, at this point I requested my epidural back on to reduce both my potential spasticity and pain at delivery. When the nurse returned she had me get into position and to try a few “practice pushes” a few pushes later the baby’s head crowned, she told me not to push and ran to call the doctor again. I didn’t time it but after the doctor arrived I’m sure he was out in less than 20 minutes. My beautiful son was in my arms and I was a mother.
The One Complication
Because my little man came out so quickly, some of my internal vaginal blood vessels were torn and I lost a lot of blood. I was completely oblivious to this though (thanks to my epidural) until I noticed that my doctor was stitching me up. I was so elated about becoming a mother her explanation about what had happened didn’t phase me at all, and other pleasant conversation topics followed.
At this time, it is hard to pinpoint any long term effects of pregnancy on my CP, only time will tell. I can tell you though that I feel fairly back to normal as far as my CP is concerned. Within 2 or 3 days of delivery my mobility was back to normal and the weight related leg and joint pain were gone.
Now that this journey is over and I can look back on all our experience, I’m so glad that my husband and I made the choices that we did. That we moved forward cautiously and carefully but always continued to move forward. It has been a year of miracles for us, and we are so happy.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Yesterday’s appointment went really well. My mom was able to come with me, this is will be her first grandchild—it’s pretty exciting :) I’m 50% effaced now so things are moving forward. I haven’t had a single contraction yet, not even a Braxton Hicks, I wish they would start. I’m very motivated to have our baby.
Specific to CP
There was an interesting suggestion at my appointment yesterday, to become induced for the sake of my legs and joints. As you know, if you’ve read my last few posts, I’ve been experiencing increased pain and mobility issues. My OB has been very respectful of my delivery choices so I know that she isn’t trying to pressure me into doing something that I would feel uncomfortable with. It was just a suggestion to get me on the road to recovery sooner. Matt and I have been very cautious not to seek unnecessary interventions, but I decided to talk to him about it and we decided it was something to consider. My next appointment will be in a week and a half due to the holidays, I’ll be 39.5 weeks. I’m really hoping our little Angel will come on his own before then, so we don't have to face the chioce.
I’m so excited to become a mother! I don’t want anything more than this. After 10 years of fearing it would be denied me, 2 years of preparing and proving medically that I could do it, and 9 months of pregnancy, it’s about to happen. Finally.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Yesterday was a very gratifying appointment. My physical therapist called my OB with my adductor measurements and now she is very comfortable with me having a vaginal delivery :) Also the baby is finally in position to be delivered, He has been transverse or sideways every other time he's been checked, I am relieved things are coming together!
As far as my legs go, pain continues to escalate and I am less able to do things independently. I did stand up for the first time today, about 50 minutes ago, after hours of attempts, and was able to make it to the toilet. My legs were incredibly tight though and moving was very painful. I’ve decided to stay down until my husband is home from work, he will be able to loosen my muscles through massage and help me to bathe. It is very difficult for me to lose my independence like this, but it should only be temporary and bringing new life into the world often requires sacrifice.
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Monday was my 36 week appointment, I’ll be going in weekly now. If things are interesting I will blog after each appointment. For this post there is good news, bad news and good news again. The first bit of good news is that as of my appointment I was dilated to a “one” ooowe :)
Specific to CP
The bad news is though that my adductors (thigh muscles) apparently were tight and my OB was concerned that they would be to tight to allow the baby though. It is true though my legs were tighter that day than usual due to needing to go up and down stairs. She then asked me if I thought an epidural would loosen my muscles—I had no idea. Then we started to discuss having a C-section, not my favorite idea because I would like to be pregnant again before the recommended recovery time of 18-23 months. She wanted my adductors evaluated, so the next day I went into the physical therapy clinic to get everything measured. I avoided stairs prior to the appointment but avoided any other special preparation so the measurement would be accurate. The final good news is that the physical therapist’s report stated that he didn’t think I would have a problem opening my legs. He didn’t have an answer about the epidural but that’s okay, no one seems too.
Those of you that read the post concerning my birth plan know that an epidural isn’t my favorite idea because I am fairly prideful about my pain tolerance. I think I’m tougher than most and could cite dozens of reasons why—it’s a bit of a problem. I think though that I will take the epidural on the off chance that it will loosen my muscles and make birthing easier. Even if it doesn’t loosen muscles it may well help avoid additional constriction of my muscles that might be brought on by the inevitable pain. Since I really want to avoid a C-section I don’t want to have any regrets about what I could have done to (potentially) prevent it.
I should mention before I close this post that I am experiencing considerable pain in my hip, knee, and ankle joints. I feel like I’m ripping them apart every time I need to stand or walk up stairs, and I feel that I am crushing them in unnatural directions when I put weight on them. I hope that these things do not cause permanent damage, but what will be, will be. I’m not scared at this point of another pregnancy, I definitely want to have at least two children. Like I said before siblinghood is very important to me. I however feel that it is necessary to be as honest as possible in expressing my experience. These last few weeks have been very hard on my body.