Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I Wanna Dance.

I started physical therapy for my knee finally. Monday when I went in I was able to bend it 16 degrees. Today when I left I was at 29 degrees. I really hope that this is a quick recovery. I'm so tired of having a stiff, unbendable leg. The therapist said he can feel scar tissue in there and worries that I may not be able to break it all down but I'm determined. Our goal for next week is 60 degrees.

Baby J is sleeping in my left arm and Husband is watching Star Trek so I'll just go into the story of my injury and how it effected my labor and delivery, my stay at the hospital and life as a mom afterwards.

I may sound a bit over dramatic but this has seriously effected my physical and mental health.

June 14, I was 36 weeks pregnant. I had my weekly appointment with my OB and was told that everything looked great. My cervix was closed, I was negative for the group B strep, everything great. We went home and I cooked dinner. Afterwards I began loading the dishwasher but was having trouble with my back and being so hugely pregnant. My husband came in and volunteered to finish the dishes. I grabbed a dish towel and went upstairs to throw it in the washing machine I had just started earlier. As I came down stairs I decided to clean up the grease from the stove that had splattered when I was cooking instead of sit down like my husband suggested. Right as I entered the kitchen, I slipped on a puddle of water (from our crappy dishwasher) and fell. I twisted my body so I would not land on my belly and felt my knee cap pop out of position. Laying there I reached down and noticed it didn't pop back into place on it's own like it had the last two times I had dislocated it seven years earlier. Unlike the last two times, the pain was excruciating. I began screaming for my husband. He immediately called 911 because he didn't know if I had also landed on my stomach and I was screaming hysterically. (I usually have a pretty high pain tolerance.)
Paramedics arrived shortly and started an I.V. They gave me a very small amount of pain medication and carefully put me on the backboard and carried me to the waiting ambulance. The ride to the hospital was terrible. Every tiny bump sent shooting pain throughout my knee and left leg. Once we arrived, they placed me in a room with a waiting labor and delivery nurse. She immediately hooked me up to a monitor to check on my baby and drew blood to check and see if fetal blood had mixed with mine. My husband arrived and sat with me. Nurses and doctors came in and examined my knee. They told me that they usually put patients under to pop the knee cap back in but since I was pregnant, that was impossible. Suddenly a new doctor walked in. Nurses tried engaging me in conversation, asking me about the baby. I wasn't fooled. I knew what was about to happen. The doctor yanked my foot and pushed the side of my knee and it snapped back in place. After the initial wave of nausea passed, I felt much better. The pain almost vanished. I was wheeled up to the labor and delivery floor for 3 more hours of monitoring. While I was there, the blood test came back. No fetal blood. My baby was fine. At 1:00 am I was wheeled out in a wheelchair to the car. I had no strength in my leg and my husband had to hold it up for me while the nurse helped me into the back seat. I sat lengthwise in the back on the way home. My husband told me he had called my mom to tell her what had happened and she would be on her way to our home the next morning.

The next afternoon, my mom arrived. We also had an appointment with my doctor so we could get a referral to an orthopedic surgeon. My husband helped me into a rolling office chair and held my leg up as my mom rolled me to the stairs. Like the night before, I sat down and lowered myself down each step using my arm strength as my husband held my leg out. Once down, they helped me back in the rolling chair and we slowly made it to the car. They helped me into the back seat.
At the doctors office, I was given an immobilizing brace to wear instead of the ace bandage I had from the hospital. I had worn them before with the previous injuries so I knew what they were all about. I was not to bend my knee so the ligaments would have time to heal and tighten. We were given the referral and back we went to the car. The process started again. I was helped into the car, we came home and I used my upper body strength to scoot upstairs as my husband held my leg. I began contracting as I went up each stair from tightening my abdominals as I climbed so I had to take many stops. It took about 20 minutes to go up 13 steps.

Look how swollen my foot is!

Since going up and down stairs was so hard, I was banished to the top. Each time I had to go to the bathroom, I was helped into the rolling chair and my mom rolled me as my husband held out my leg. I was helped down on the toilet, they propped my foot up on a box and left alone. Afterwards, they helped me stand, get back into the chair and to bed. My husband went out and bought me a shower stool so I could sit down and take showers My foot was propped up on the box outside of the shower.
A few days later I was due for my weekly OB exam. Again each step brought on contractions. My arms were already sore from all the work and I was shocked and concerned about my lack of strength in my leg. I was never unable to lift it before. I broke down on the stairs and began crying. My husband cancelled my appointment and took me back to the hospital instead. After spending all day in labor and delivery, I was moved down to orthopedics for the night. My husband explained that he was unable to care for me at home. The next morning, the hospital social worker assessed me and ordered for me to be given a wheelchair and a walker. It made living at home so much easier.

I wore compression socks in the hospital to help with blood clots.

My husband was on a night schedule and left my mom to care for me when he was gone. It was much easier getting up to use the bathroom by dragging my left foot while holding myself up with the walker and slowly lower myself down in the wheelchair. I was able to keep my leg out straight using the foot rest.
My rescheduled OB appointment came up a few days later and again I scooted down the stairs contracting. At the OB office I was unable to give a urine sample because the toilets were too high, unable to step up on the scale and unable to get up on the table for a cervical exam. My OB mentioned inducing me at 39 weeks because my large stomach was hindering me from getting any better and was potentially dangerous due to the contractions from my excessive over-use of my upper body strength. I was prescribed Lovenox injections I had to take daily to thin my blood and keep me from getting blood clots.
Back at home, my mom and I would stay up most of the night talking and watching old sitcoms until my husband came home. We are best friends and night owls so we were having fun.

I spent some time confined to my bed practicing my prefold skills!

On June 24th we stayed up all night watching tv. I was feeling down and didn't want to go to bed yet so I kept insisting on one more show. Once my husband arrived home, my mom went to bed. I sat in the dark and started crying. I was thinking about what horrible timing this was. I was so afraid that I would not be well in time to have the baby. I would not be able to walk with him. I wouldn't be able to ride home with him because the car seat would be in the way. I felt like a horrible mom before I even was one. July 10th was my due date and it was coming fast. I finally managed to fall asleep right as the sun was coming up. 45 minutes later I woke up. The instant I opened my eyes, my water broke. I woke my husband and told him. He scrambled out of bed and woke my mom. She came in to see my as my husband started calling my OB and my doula. My mom helped me to the bathroom and helped me put on a heavy pad to help with the gushing fluid. They helped me scoot down the stairs and into the car. My husband loaded up my wheel chair and walker and off we went. My mom followed in her car. Once we got to the hospital they checked dilation, fluid and joked about my bum leg. My doula arrived and we waited. A few hours passed and my doula ordered pizza and snuck me some food. A nurse came in and said that my OB wanted to start pitocin to induce. I refused. I so wanted to labor naturally as long as possible. After 13 hours they checked my cervix again. I was only at 1 1/2 cm. My doctor gave me the choice of starting the pitocin or giving me some ambien and letting me rest for the night since I had only had 45 minutes of sleep the night before. I decided to get some rest and start induction in the morning. A few minutes later my doctor came in and suggested the Foley balloon catheter to open my cervix more. I agreed to it and instead of sleeping, I started active labor.
Still he did not come until 1:55 the next afternoon. I did not rest during that time. I was too anxious. Once I was at 10 cm, my doctor and nurse devised a plan for me to deliver. My husband held my bad leg up and out. My mom held my other leg in a bent position and we got started. After 1 hour and 5 minutes, Baby J was born.

After the birth I was unable to get on the toilet even with help so I had to use a bedside toilet, with the help of a team of nurses, watching. I had trouble being able to see and spend time with Baby J due to reasons I wrote about here. During my time in the hospital I experienced total muscle loss throughout my body. I had worked my upper body so much my muscles finally gave out. For most of the day I had to use a bed pan since I wasn't able to get up. It was the most embarrassing time of my life.
Eventually we were able to go home. I had to be separated from my baby and ride home with my mom while Baby J went home in our car. Once there, my husband converted the downstairs room to a bedroom and we stayed down there for weeks. I was no longer able to scoot upstairs. The hospital had given me a bedside toilet for home since all the bathrooms are upstairs.

Getting ready to leave the hospital.

We stayed down stairs for 3 weeks. I took sponge baths and we used the same technique with the walker to get me to the bedside toilet. My mom had to sit on the floor and hold my leg out while I did my business. Due to the Lovenox, my postpartum bleeding became severe so I was able to quit them. A physical therapist came to my house twice a week and helped me strengthen my leg. Finally, I was able to walk with the help of the walker, but was still unable to climb stairs. After a period of time, I was finally able to climb them. We moved back upstairs where I was able to to take my first real shower in over a month. I was able to use a real toilet. My therapist helped me get use to crutches. I was severely depressed because my baby was a month old and I had never carried him. I held him all the time in bed, never letting him go until I had to get up. I felt defeated. I felt humiliated and stupid. I felt like the worst mom in the world. I couldn't just get over it and carry him.
After lots of therapy and with the help of baby carriers I was able to get rid of the crutches and carry him. It took 6 weeks.

Using my walker, still living downstairs. My dad meets Baby J.

I feel better now. I'm able to walk fairly normally, although still legged. I can carry him. I'm just so frustrated that it has taken so long to get to where I am now. I hope so much that I will be back to normal soon. I want to shower without the stool. I want to take a step without killing my back. I want to give Baby J a bath by myself. I'm still so unable to do so many things...

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