a new kind of physical therapy...

It's been a while my friends! After almost 5 months of basking in the glow of motherhood, my writing itch has finally returned. However, it has taken some detective work to remember which email and password I used to log in to my blog. During the last few months, I have really wanted to update everyone on how well my post-op back has adjusted to being a mom, but every time I actually had a spare moment, I'd hit the roadblock of not being able to remember what email I used for this account, and that was enough to deter my tired mind from going any further (please view video below for a semi-accurate portrayal of my experience this morning trying to log back into this account

...until today. I received a wonderful, sweet encouraging email about how helpful my blog has been, and I remembered that was huge part of why I started this thing to begin with...and it gave me the push I needed to solve the mystery that was my password and login email, and VOILA...I am able to type again to my heart's content...or as long as my baby takes a good nap.

I can't say enough how happy I am I had the surgery before becoming a mother. I definitely needed that reinforcement, especially considering the fact that my 6 month old baby is a happy and healthy 18 pounds already. I have had a few days when my back has been sore, or the residual nerve pain in my leg has been irritated from carrying him too long in the car seat, or from lifting him with my back instead of my legs. But overall, I have less pain in my back and legs now than I ever did pre-op, and that is with lifting and carrying an 18 pound baby day in and day out. 

A quick overview of the things I have learned/experienced over the last few months pertaining to my back.
Enjoying the Short-lived Baby Carrier
First of all, I wasn't able to use the baby carrier with Jude for more than a month, which was disappointing. He loved that thing, and I loved to have my hands free and take him on walks. He is a very snugly, attached baby (some might say clingy, but I prefer "bonded"). But he got so heavy, so fast, I started to have bad pain in my leg after I used it, so I realized that option just wasn't going to work for me, as much as we both enjoyed it.

I also found carrying Jude in his car seat was basically like shooting myself in the leg. His weight plus the weight of the car seat was just too much for me, even in the beginning. I found it was better for me to always push him in the stroller into whatever house or building we were going to, rather than carry the car seat.

Crib with hinge option (in down position)
Another challenge I came across has been dealing with my crib and pack n play. Although I had purchased (and absolutely love) my crib specifically because it has a hinge that allows me to reach the baby without having to bend as much as a regular crib does, as Jude gained weight, I was having a harder and harder time laying him down. My husband solved this dilemma for me though, by simply thinking of adding an extra mattress to the crib. Now I can reach him very easily, with minimal bending. As soon as he is able to stand, or pull himself up, this will no longer be necessary.

Graco Pack N Play with Bassinet, Go Green - 1 ea
Pack N Play with mattress in upper position
I realized the pack n play was going to be in issue right before we left to go on a week long beach trip about a month ago. I had borrowed one from a friend and hadn't thought too much about it until I realized I wouldn't be able to put him in it, or pick him out of it! Thankfully, since we hadn't bought one, no money was wasted. I did a quick google search and found that newer pack n play versions existed, with the option to have the mattress attach at a higher level, much like a bassinet. I asked around until one of my other friends kindly offered her newer one for us to borrow, and like that, the problem was solved!

Beyond these minimal issues, I haven't really run into large problems caused by having a fused spine. Yes, I do things differently on a daily basis than probably most Moms. But I knew that I would face those challenges before we began the adoption process, and was prepared to be creative. I am sure I will have to figure out other ways to work around my fusion as Jude continues to grow and become more active. I was a bit worried that carrying a baby around, and picking him up or laying him down would be a lot more painful and difficult than it has turned out to be. Thankfully, my back and muscles have only gotten stronger and healthier as he does the same! 

I promise to keep in touch more frequently, as I have many other things to share about the exciting last few months. But to all of you pre-op women who are wondering if you can take care of a baby after having a fusion done as long as mine, I can tell you with a huge smile...YES. It is not only possible, but enjoyable...and the best form of physical therapy in the world.