On a Monday July 22nd, the day after what would have been my father's 56th birthday, my sister gave birth (after several years of attempts to get pregnant and one miscarriage) to my adorable nephew. She is very distrustful of the technology in general (she doesn't even have a debit card) and the internet in particular, so I'll just call him The Monkey. It's what I call him anyway (family private joke).
That Friday I woke up with some back stiffness and soreness. It lasted most of a week, bad enough so that I couldn't really bend over. Then on my nephew's two week birthday I woke up in intense pain, unable to move. I laid in bed wondering how I would get up to go pee, much less make it to work. Doug (my husband, in case anyone forgot) had to pull me to a sitting position and it was the worst pain I have ever felt.
We went to the urgent care and got some pain pills, but because there had been no accident or trauma, they gave me muscle relaxers and told me to see my family doctor if it didn't go away.
The back pain did go away, in about ten days, just like they said. But by the middle of August I had a new problem, pain shooting down my left leg. Doug and I took a beautiful train ride through the Nantahala Gorge on a Saturday, and I spent the whole trip on the edge of my seat with my leg out, because that was how the pain was the least intense.
I went back to urgent care and told them about the new pain. They told me it was called sciatica, and probably had something to do with that back pain from July. They gave me some Tramadol. It didn't do much. Once I made the mistake of taking 2 (because the label told me I could) and I spent an entire day at work alternating between throwing up and passing out. Not falling asleep, but actually passing out.
For money reasons, it would be January before I could see my family doctor, but February before the call center where Doug and I work could let me off. In the meantime, I was cooking from a rolling chair Doug had moved into the kitchen, and I could only stand or walk for a few minutes at a time. Each time we went shopping, anywhere, I had to find one of the electric carts or wait in the car. The pain only got worse and worse as time went on. On my breaks at work, I would have to choose between getting a snack or using the bathroom because the building was too big to do both, each day I would leave in agony even though I spent the day sitting at a computer.
On days where I worked at the Nature Center, walking around, bending and picking up toys and books, or carrying things up and down stairs were horrible. If there was no one around, once I finished my chores, I would sit in the rocking chair and read all day. In November I was laid off. Mostly due to a new city council trying to lower taxes by cutting programs. I told my boss Jeremy that if it had to happen, this was as good a time as any. The plan was to re-hire me in March, but the money for that never materialized, and in fact more cuts have been made, and previously free services are now... not.
In December, I got sick, and for three days in a row I threw up at work. A friend called our First Responder over (a former nurse,) and she asked if I could be pregnant.
"No, I've been on birth control for nearly 10 years."
"Well, my mom was on the pill when she got pregnant with me."
Oh. Well. Hrm. I spent most of the day texting with my sister getting advice, and she basically re-taught me about fertile days and when the test is most accurate. I expected Doug would be at least a little upset, but surprisingly he, he was ok with it. "If you are, then it's a miracle from God, and it's supposed to happen."
I wasn't. But at the end of December, we decided we would be more than ok with it. After all, I knew that I was having back/leg trouble. I didn't know why or how bad it would become. What if this was permanent? We should probably get on with having kids if we're going to. I might not be able to lift or hold my children in a few years. I went off the birth control.
On February 5, I saw my gynecologist and told him we were planning for kids, and he basically gave me the same talk Anna did, except he stressed adding Folic acid to my diet. I told him I'd missed January, but he said it was normal because of going off the pills. Also, I wasn't regular before going on the pills, I probably wouldn't be regular afterward. On Friday, February 6, I started like I was supposed to, also, I saw my family doctor. He gave me an MRI.
On Monday morning his office called me. They were going to refer me to a surgeon, did I have a preference? I hung up the phone and cried. I'd seen the aftermath of my grandfather's back surgery, and my uncle Ikie's, and knew recovery could be long and hard. After talking with both of them, they still both recommended the same doctor they had though. My uncle even said that other doctors had seen his back and called the job "perfect."
I saw the surgeon that Friday. He tole me I had a herniated disc. Basically, think of your discs as jelly doughnuts between your vertebrae. This one had ruptured, and the pressure had shot jelly all over my sciatic nerve, and that was why I was in pain. He scheduled me for surgery Wednesday, to scrape the jelly out. I left the office with Doug and we were in awe of how quick this was happening. We barely had time to get the paperwork filed with work for our leave (because Doug would have to take care of me for the first week until I could bend and lift again.)
The doctor asked again about trauma or accidents, and I couldn't remember anything, not even a stretch that hurt. He said in that case, it was a genetic weakness of the discs. Looking back at the Hale side of the family, it made sense. Everyone has had back surgery, it seems.
The surgery was February 19th. I went in with extreme pain, and woke up in none. None. It was a miracle. I cried on the nurse who was walking me around. "Oh, honey, you're overly emotional, it's a side effect of the anesthesia." But it wasn't. I'm tearing up now because the change was so profound. I was back at work in 2 weeks. A few weeks later, we were visiting our friend in North Carolina again, and even he remarked on it. "Last time I could tell that every step was painful for you, and now you're running and jogging down these aisles."
Anyway, I missed my period the month of March, and didn't think anything of it. I was a little annoyed that I would have to wait another month to calculate my fertile days, but I was pain free! I'm only 32! We had all the time in the world! (Unless I had another faulty disc, which is still possible. Since it's genetic, I was, and am, a ticking time bomb.)
But by the end of March I noticed a few things about myself. Primarily that my boobs really hurt. For like a week. I googled it, and found that it was a sign of pregnancy. Surely not, Doug and I said. Just in case, the morning of April 2nd I took a pregnancy test, and it was positive.
Doug said "It's a good thing we didn't do this yesterday, no one would believe us." (We've been child free for so long, people still asked if it was an April Fool's joke.) We got it confirmed on April 9th. Initially I thought I must have gotten pregnant in March, but the gynecologist said no. My last period was Feb 6, so my ovulation day was... wait for it... February 19th.
The egg was fertilized on or about the time I was getting cut open.
Luckily, there's a month before implantation, so the baby wasn't exposed to all the percocets and muscle relaxers I took in those couple of weeks.
That puts my due date at November 13. Also, I am LITERALLY the only woman I know who decided to have a baby and got pregnant, just like that (as opposed to going "Oops, didn't mean for that to happen"). I felt guilty for a while, especially after watching so many women I know try for months, or even years. We expected it to take months or years. 30 days??? Seriously??? It's a good thing I was so religious about taking those pills!
I don't really look it yet, at only 14 weeks, but I am very pregnant. I had morning sickness for several weeks, pregnancy acne, sore boobs (still!), cravings and food aversions, I nearly throw up every time one of the cats does, and once or twice I've nearly burst into tears for silly reasons. We have an ultrasound on Thursday, and if the baby cooperates, we may be able to find out for sure if it's a girl or a boy. Most of our family has guess girl, except my mom wants another boy. Doug and I already call the baby "she."
We're arguing over the name. I want Lillian Katherine and to call her Lily, Doug was Katherine Lillian and to call her Kitty. He will probably win, honestly. But I'm holding out for a few more months. If it's a boy, he will be William Timothy after both his grandfathers, unless my brother in law decides he isn't ever going to find a woman and have kids and lets us have his name, in which case our son will be William Phillip Yezek V.
And that catches you up to most everything that's going on in my life.