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Hi Jennifer,

I am 32. I had a 10-month old the day of my accident. She is 5 now. I got hurt by 2 kids while teaching school.

I have 2 horrible lumbar discs that will be removed.

I decided I shouldn't let those 2 kids and their actions dictate whether or not I ever get to have another kid. I decided to go for it! We did not use birth control (as you know, the spine is the primary birth control!!!). Well, it happened.

I was excited and scared to death. My pain md who had told me pregnancy would be fine - there would be 'many things' he could do to help me - abandoned me the second I said 'pregnant.' I felt so alone, medically speaking.

Thank God my obgyn took over. She allowed me to continue w/ Lidoderm patches, Hydrocodone, and Tylenol PM. Gabapentin gel and Ultracet were tossed out. The pain machine stayed.

My neuro had told me to stay w/ the hydrocodone as well. He told me: Your pain will be worse, the same, or better. Who knows!

I knew I would be bedridden even more for 9 months. It didn't happen! Overall, I was the same or a little better. Yes, better! During the beginning, I would say it was worse. Months 5, 6, 7, and 8 - some improvement! I remember telling the ortho I wanted to stay 7 months pregnant for the rest of my life!

Now, by better, I don't mean good - I mean less horrible, which I know you would take any day! The bigger I grew, the more my spine stretched out, and the looser it was. I walked significant distances at times and went from working 2 hours to about 9 a week! 3 days a week - driving somewhere to do work! AND walking around the neighborhood some!

Month 9 - no change. Worse near the end.

What I was really worried about was the arch in the back that pregnancy forms. You see, I any degree of flexion puts me straight on the floor. However, it wasn't an issue!

I had to have a c-section. There was no way I could physically push. My first kid - I pushed for 5hrs 5min! As you know, we couldn't push once! Just elect to go ahead and have the c-sec if you want - I wouldn't even try it the other way if I were you.

The pain during delivery was horribly worse. They said they could numb it - it didn't work. I had the full spinal block - everything went numb except for the back pain. So, there I was, lying on my back and getting cut, and all I could think about was the back!

But, w/ the rest came improvement. In fact, I would say that my back improved a bit for the weeks following the surgery, b/c I was couchbound!

All I can say is, DO IT! Once you see that face, it's all you will care about.

And I can tell you this: Nature finds a way for a mother to care for her baby. I can't hold a gallon of milk, which weighs less, but I can hold her. A baby's body will mold itself to you in a way nature plans. I can't figure it out. I can't do much, but I can care for her. Nature has her ways!

I would do it again.
Thank you so much for your reply...as I'm wiping the tears from my eyes reading your last paragraph...congratulations on your two little miracles and having the courage to have your daughter! I'm sure looking into her sweet eyes makes her alot easier to hold than that gallon of milk!

What a struggle huh?

I intend on discussing all of this with my OB this September at my annual and most likely will end up making an appointment with my Pain Management doctor in the next week to discuss it with him.

I actually slipped walking into work January 2005, about a month after I met my husband...didn't report it to work as I thought "oh just an achy back...I'll go to the chiropractor and it will get better...plus I have this brand new spanking physical therapist boyfriend who is bound to fix me" Well about a week later I fell snowblowing my driveway...guess what...a year and a half later here we are! I'm so fortunate that I have someone so positive and understanding of my condition...it would have been a long haul without him keeping me going.

It's funny, my husband (still getting used to saying that) said most likely I'd end up feeling better pregnant...we laughed about it because who would ever think that would happen! Well here it happened to you...

I have thought about the 'pushing' as I was a lamaze coach for one of my bestfriends during her son's birth years ago...I thought...good God how would my back handle that? I'm a pretty tough cookie and I seriously don't think I could handle labor and the back pain...plus alot of women get back labor...UUGH...I would definately not be opposed to a C-Section especially if it would cause less complications and result in healthy child. What's a few more scars eh?

Some questions on your medication? I'm currently on a Fentanyl Patch which is a class B pharmaceutical - I take Vicodin sparingly as I really don't feel it does much to even take the edge off and would rather try and manage without it...the limited help the Celebrex offers I don't have to take it...I've only done research on the Fentanyl so far and what I've found is with the low dose I'm on (probably would get more relief if I went higher but don't want to) that it is quasi-safe during pregnancy...like most things it's not recommended but if the benefits outweigh the risks...As with most drugs the main concern is of course in the first trimester during the CNS development and etc., with less concern during the last two...in the studies I've read there have been no teratogenic effects attributed to the medication but some incidences of respitory problems at delivery...oh...and also, if your having alot of nerve pain you may want to ask your Pain MD about Cymbalta...it's a combination SSRI/Noripenephrine anti-depressent but has been used in Europe for years to treat nerve pain and diabetic neuropathy...therapeutic dose is 60mg which I'm on now as I'm trying to wean off of it for the planning but I actually noticed alot of relief at 120mg...worked alot better than Neurontin for me....

What are the Lidoderm patches you are using? Similar to Lidocaine? Also, tell me more about your pain machine...prior to any of my surgeries we tried a Tens Unit that my husband brought home from work with no avail...I guess I'm looking for options in that department as well and anything I can bring to my pain managment doctor the better...isn't it funny people are breaking into pharmacies for the medication we wish we DIDN'T have to take to make it through a day!

It's so wonderful to hear that your back to work and it's going well for you...that's a whole other story...This is my 2nd day back to 4 hours and I'm not really noticing a big difference...I hope to notice something tomorrow as usually by Wednesday I was taking vacation to rest my body...

I'm so happy to hear your story and thank you so much for sharing it with me...it gives me hope that maybe trying to start planning this fall isn't such a distant dream. It's hard being so young and having to deal with such a life changing situation...congratulations on not letting it hold you back!

Jennifer
Have I told you all how cathartic this experience has been for me!

ONE THING I WANT TO WARN EVERYONE WHO IS TAKING THE FOLLOWING DRUGS ABOUT...ULTRAM/ULTRACET/TRAMADOL, IF TAKEN WITH AN SSRI (Antidepressant, ie: Prozac, Lexapro, Celexa, etc) CAN CAUSE 'SEROTONIN SYNDROME' even if it's been taking before with the SSRI. It's a very serious drug reaction that can cause symptoms of mania because too much serotonin is being released in your system...I had this drug interaction and it scares me so much that I wanted you all to know! It was prescribed and my doctor knew I was on an SSRI! Point being...be very careful if you take this combination as I know alot of us could probably use an antidepressant with the situations we are in. If you get all your Rx's at the same pharmacy hopefully they will catch it...but just in case!

Zinnias, you raise such good points! My husband actually worked with a patient today that had a Lidoderm patch and thinks it's helping her a bit...granted she's older but it's definately something to look forward too! I'm certain that alot of the pain that I have is referred pain...most times my left hip/upper buttock area/left thigh just burn and ache...maybe it would help in that area. Definately something I'm going to look in to. I'm pretty sure the TENS unit he brought home for me was one of the better ones...had quite a high level of stimulation...what it would be if connected to the stim machine...perhaps if I tried it now it would make a difference because the underlying problem has been corrected...problem is he no longer works at that clinic to be able to bring it home. I'm sure I could try one out or get an Rx for it from my Pain MD.

I've noticed too that even pushing a shopping cart is helpful because it does support you...even pushing my Mom's wheelchair (she has severe Rheumatoid Arthritis, had a double knee replacement and then a CVA that has really only affected her speech), yet the woman worked up until the day of her stroke! It's funny when I was little I would think I hope my life doesn't end up like that...I used to watch her change into her pj's as soon as she got home and lay down on the couch and cry because she hurt so bad...sometimes I feel like I'm looking back through a mirror in my life. At least I know how to deal with it and what not to do...take it out on your family which is so much easier than just shutting up and dealing with the pain!

Oh, also nice walking jogger/stroller would probably be helpful and alot less stressful on my back than carrying a little one constantly. You know how this all started...a business collegue that I asked back in January if she ever wanted to get rid of her Leather Eddie Bauer car seat I'd take her up on it...well $25 later and it's sitting in my sitting room...uugh...I want to be able to use it. Plus, my sister-in-law who is married to my husbands twin has been talking about TTC...so jealous I am...but instead of brooding over it I'm going to be proactive and see what we can do to be in the same place soon! Twins run in my family as well (Grandma miscarried, Grandfather had twin siblings) so I'm praying like hell that I can get it all taken care of in one shot...how fabulous would that be?

Katina, well pseudo-congratulations on possible #3! Isn't it fabulous that so many times it seems to happen when other things need to happen! BTW, I had my gallbladder out laparscopically a few years back...peice of cake compared to back surgery! You'll do great. If you have to postpone it, I'm sure your doctor can offer a diet that will help you to manage the gallbladder problems and keep baby healthy. I didn't have stones, just a really poor ejection fraction...basically my gallbladder was the equivalent of a dead goldfish! I'm lucky that I do have a wonderful OB and OBNP who have helped with other issues they could have passed me off for in the past...I'm actually very excited for my appointment this fall and discussing what my possibilites are. In addition, all my doctors are with the same clinic, Aurora. Thank you for the 'you'd be a good mother' comment...I think when we are dealing with such complicated problems you wonder if your doing well...I hope to be a great mother who can have an active life with my children if I'm so blessed.

I know that staying active is part of recovery, but sometimes you hit that body fatigue wall, you know, the one that can't get you from laying flat on your back just so it can relax and lenghten...uugh! Prior to my back problems I was big into Yoga and although I'm sure I can't get in all the positions now I should start trying again. Yoga really did help me to relax, ground myself, and feel less stressed - which is directly correlated to pain for me. I walked both Monday and Tuesday nights...about 1.5 miles give or take each night...it's a start...ended up having company tonight and wanted to go but it didn't work out...plus it was extremely humid so maybe it's better I took it easy tonight. Tomorrow I have my 2nd massage with a wonderful therapist my girflriend referred me to...$30/hr...it's out of her home and a beautiful little drive up there on the bay...well worth the gas money! Last week Thursday she really got into the spots I needed her to be and worked me hard...I was sore after but I'm hoping to notice a progression of loosening up in my hip flexors and maybe this will help. Oh yeah, the PT husband is wonderful...he'll stretch me...do muscle energy things with me...we've tried cranio-sacral therapy but the dogs wouldn't let me relax...he's so wonderful for that it's just sometimes it's so hard to work time in for it...as far as back rubs, when I need him to help me out he will but I don't think it's his most favorite thing. Sometimes I honestly feel bad that he does this all day and then has to come home and deal with me...he does have a new appreciation for back pain however as his was bothering him about 3 weeks ago for the weekend...it really humbled him to know what I was going through...


Mel,

We are very much in the same place...my pseudo children are 2 Vizslas named Fischer who is 5 and Tobias (our little Humane Society Rescue - was abused and now flourishes with us) who is about a year and a half. We also have a 6 year old cat named Rummele. They are really my life...I can't imagine having more love for a little baby but hopefully I will be blessed to find out in the future! We sound very similar in our love for heating pads...I actually have mine strapped around a memory foam pillow that has indents in for the cervical area...well the little bumps fit perfectly in my lumbar area and make my barcalounger MY CHAIR! You should pick one up...the pillow...and well the barcalounger too LOL. We got the pillow from Linens N Things and it was about $30...a great investment in my eyes...it just snuggles your back where you need the support the most.

Thinking back to my last Neurosurgeon appointment, my doctor didn't have concern about me getting pregnant from a spine standpoint...I had xrays taken at my appointment last week and everything is looking ok - not sure if I'm fused fully but I'm sure I'm well on my way. My neurosurgeon doesn't manage my pain so I am going to give a call to that office tomorrow and set an appointment to discuss different options for now ad what we can do when we start trying to conceive, and yes Zinnias, getting pregnant isn't the hardest part I'm sure...getting in the position to make the baby is!

I really think that I would try laboring...who knows...I could be the lucky one that it just falls out right? Oh should anything be that easy? Like I said before if I end up having a C-Section it's no big deal...yes I would love to say I too experienced vaginal childbirth but it's not worth ruining your health because of it...either way you still come out as a mother!

Oh...so I'm not the only one who gets the 'my back is worse than yours' scenario? My coworker had a sore back from putting her child in the car seat for two days and the support given to her by my workgroup was insane...yet...by 10am I'm pulling my *** out of my chair using my partition...no one could care! Funny isn't it! Having had many experiences like this I guess I just think that only I know my pain and being that prior to the start of my back problems I walked 5 miles a day with the dog...never sat down...cleaned like a crazy woman and tried all of Real Simples 'fake it' dinners...LOL...now I'm lucky if I cook twice a month...how it changes life!

See...an hour later and I'm still up...better get my little happy *** back to bed...got up for a drink of water and to let the boys outside to squirt...talk to you all tomorrow, which is actually today!

Jen





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