Okay, so it's obvious that I'm just not going to keep up with this blog right now. I love writing, and I love letting everyone know that I'm doing well, and the status of my back post surgery. BUT...I love being a mommy so much, and I'm just enjoying it. And when I'm not fulfilling my mommy duties...I also love RESTING.

I had my 2 year follow up appointment a little early, since my actual surgery date wasn't until December 27th of 2010. But I didn't want to have to squeeze in an appointment around Christmas, so I went in a few weeks ago and saw my surgeon. I'm happy to report that everything is great! X-rays look wonderful, and they were pleased with my strength and range of motion that I've recovered.

I was told pre-op that it would take at least 2 years to see the full extent of recovery, and that is not an exaggeration. There are things I can do today that I could not do a year ago. My ability to twist (while not like someone with an unfused spine) has increased, and I am able to bend much closer to the floor. I must add though, I do NOT do those things on a frequent basis. I am doing my best to keep my lowest unfused L5-S1 vertebrae healthy and strong, and the less stress I put on them the better. BUT, I don't feel stiff, and the further out I get from surgery the more normal I feel.

No, I will never feel exactly the same as I did before I had the surgery. But, I do not feel like I am robotic or paralyzed.  Yes, I have limitations, and even some handicaps. But they are minor compared to the pain I was living with before.

Honestly, there are only 2 times I really notice my fusion. The first is when I have to back up the car. It is very hard to not be able to twist and look backwards over your shoulder. I am thankful for my handicap parking permit, that allows me to park in the larger spots with greater visibility. I also am thankful for my car that has a back-up camera so I can see what is directly behind me when backing up. I don't know if I'll ever get used to the new way I have to do it (which is basically VERY slowly inching backwards while trying to see as far behind me without twisting as possible). If I can't find a handicap spot, I try to find a spot where I can pull all the way through, so I don't have to back up at all.

The other time I notice it, is when I am carrying the baby, and he either drops or throws something on the floor. I have to admit it gets very frustrating. I can't bend with the 20 lb baby in my arms to get the paci or toy. So I have to set him down, grab the item, and then pick him back up (which again, puts more wear and tear on my back). It doesn't sound that dramatic, but anyone with a little one knows this kind of activity happens quite regularly throughout the day. So I am working on just letting the house be messy, and leaving toys and pacis scattered throughout the house until the end of the day when I do ONE clean up. Other wise I am bending down too frequently and can end up with a very sore, very tired back. I haven't noticed an increase in pain, but I do notice the heavier he gets, the more selective I have to be about picking him up. I try to play with him on the floor more, and avoid carrying him for long periods of time. I have occasionally picked him up the wrong way and felt sharp, shooting pains in my lower back, and that is scary. Those times have taught me to LIFT WITH MY LEGS. If I have even the slightest arch or unbalanced back when I pick him up I can seriously hurt myself.

So while there are definitely challenges to living life post-op, the overall trade off for me has been positive. I could not have taken care of my precious baby before. I was in so much pain. Yes, it can be hard taking care of him with the limitations I have. But I am learning and adapting as he grows. Before I know it, he'll be walking and running and this time of carrying him constantly will be over. (And then we'll be on to the NEXT challenge!)

I'm so thankful this year for being healthy, strong, and that my recovery has gone so well. I told my surgeon when I saw him that he changed my life forever. I am thankful for that. I feel free. I feel excited to see how God is going to continue to mold me, and strengthen me through the challenges of raising children with my limitations.

I'll end this "status update" with Thanksgiving is happening this week I'll tell you what I'm most thankful for this loving husband and our beautiful son! We would not be the family that we are without adoption, and I am so thankful that Jude's birthmother chose to not only give him life but to make sure he was taken care of, by placing him in the safety of a local hospital immediately after he was born. Without the Safe Haven law that allowed her to place him there, (no questions asked and without fear of prosecution,) I don't know that I would be blessed to be Jude's mother today. To learn more about the amazing Safe Haven laws, please visit The National Safe Haven Alliance. The more people who know of this law, and share it with others, the more precious lives we can save!

Did you know November is National Adoption Month? I think that's pretty fitting, since I'm so thankful for it!

Jude at 6 weeks old

If you have ever thought about bringing a child into your heart and home that was not biologically yours, there are many resources out there to help you learn more about how to make that happen. Please visit The Radiance Foundation for a great list of adoption resources.
And I would LOVE to answer any questions, so just shoot me an email if you'd like to!

If you are not called to adopt in that specific way, there are many, many children that could benefit from your love, prayers and support. Please visit Children of the Nations to learn how you can do that!

Happy Thanksgiving!