photo by Surely Sweet Photography

Changing Diapers: the Hip Mom's Guide to Modern Cloth Diapering

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sexy Heels (and an update)!

These shoes are my goal.  I could not resist these sexy heels yesterday, so I bought them as an inspiration to walk again very soon (not that I really need more of an incentive than my kids).  The price was just too good to pass up!

Once I'm up and walking again, I'm going to make Ryan take me out on a nice date so I can wear them!

Speaking of walking....  I had my very first physical therapy session this morning.  For the first time in 10.5 weeks, I put weight on my left foot and "walked" on it.  Range of motion in my ankle will be the biggest concern, as well as being able to put weight on it.

I have had continuing knee problems since the accident.  It's no surprise, since it was crushed between a car and our motorcycle.  But the orthopedic surgeon told me the x-rays were clear (but he would refer me to a sports medicine doctor if it continued to bother me).  The physician's assistant that I saw 2 weeks ago just brushed it off (I was not impressed with her and will not see her again).  I haven't really pushed it, since I knew the ankle was the bigger concern.  But it is still fairly swollen and bruised.  It also hurts if it is in one position too long (especially bent).  The therapist looked at it, and told me that I definitely sprained the MCL, and deeply bruised something I can't pronounce (much less spell!) that is connected to the MCL.  He said I do not need to seek treatment from a doctor now, only if the therapy does not help.  They will work on my knee, but the ankle is still top priority.  Once I'm up and walking more, the knee therapy will start.

I was told to do excersizes twice a day on non-therapy days.  I will go 3 times a week for about 6 weeks, depending on how things go. 

It was not painful, but extremely uncomfortable.  Well, I lied.  Putting weight on it was painful, as was "walking" on it.  I will still use the crutches, for balance and support.  The boot stays for now.  It is designed to keep pressure off of my heel.  I still have an open wound on the back of my heel where the skin graft didn't "take", so it has to stay bandaged up.  Once my heel has healed a little more, I will be able to start wearing regular shoes again.  The therapist told me about a neoprene "sleeve" that I can wear to cover the back of my heel/ankle, so that my shoes won't rub against it. 

Hopefully that neoprene sleeve will work with my new heels!  I am determined to wear them within 3 months. 

We also took Riley back to the doctor today for his 4 year well check.  He was happy that he didn't have to get shots (the vaccines are all back-ordered until late July).  We talked more about his PTSD.  His behavior has been better, but I'm still concerned about some other things (as is our doctor).  She gave me the name of a child psychistrist, but he doesn't do play therapy for children his age.  I was given some other names of child therapists and psychologists, and we are working on geting him into play therapy to help him work through his emotions.  It's been hard, and things are getting slightly better, but he still needs just a little help to figure things out.  

Riley has also been talking (mostly to my mom) about how he doesn't like motorcycles anymore.  He told Ryan and I last night that we couldn't ride a motorcycle again because it was too dangerous (his words, not mine).  This coming from a little boy who used to love his daddy's motorcycles. 

Overall, things are going very well.  Life is still very busy, and it never stops.  We will get past this chapter in our life, and we will move on.

For now, though, I just can't wait to wear those heels!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

I can't believe it's over.

The Breastfeeding logo.
I never thought I'd be writing this post.  Mostly because I never thought I'd be sad about not breastfeeding anymore.  I have heard of mom's who slip into a depression after their nursling weans (for whatever reason, at any age, whether it be 5 months or 5 years).  I never understood it.  I don't want you to think I'm being insensitive, I just haven't experience that before.  While I am not depressed, I do feel sad that E is no longer nursing.

I know the biggest reason I feel this way is because it was not our choice, mine or E's.  He was 17 months.  Five months longer than I nursed Riley, and much longer than I ever expected or planned.  I am very proud we made it so long.

I can't remember a single detail about the last time I nursed him (and now the tears are forming...).  If I had known it would be the last time, I would have cuddled with him while he found both comfort and nourishment.  I would have savored every moment of it.  I would have memorized his face, the sounds he made, the way he looked at me and grinned, while still latched on.  I would have asked my hubby to take a photo to capture that moment of peace.  I would have remembered exactly where we sat (most likely the couch, where I usually nursed him, but it could have been my bed, I really can't remember).  I would have captured every second of it in my mind, to cherish forever.

It became something I took for granted, that special time for me and Eli, that happened whenever, and wherever, he wanted it.  There were times I wished he were ready to stop, so I could have my body back all to myself.  But I knew he was not ready, so we continued.  When he turned 1 year, I thought we would see how he was doing at 15 months.  Then 15 months hit, and he still wasn't ready, so we carried on.

I couldn't resist taking this photo last winter!
I absolutely love the look on his face, and will always cherish moments like this one!

Then Ryan and I were in the accident, and I was pumped full of drugs.  I also had emergency surgery on my foot 8 hours after the accident.  More drugs in my system.  I remember laying in the ER, in the worst pain of my life, and telling the nurses that I would no longer be able to nurse my baby (and here are more tears).  They said they were sorry, and asked how old my baby was.  I told them 17 months, and they were impressed (not repulsed) that we made it that long! 

Once I was in my room, a couple of my nurses offered me a pump so I could keep up my supply.  But at that point, I knew it was over.  Pumping is not my friend.  I have not been able to pump since E was about 5-6 months old.  Only a few tiny drops would come out any time I tried.  I knew I had a long hospital stay ahead of me, more medications (most of which are not safe for BFing), and more surgeries.  I also didn't know how E would take to nursing again after my long stay away from him.

I realized our breastfeeding days were over.  It took about 8 days for my milk to dry up.  I used cabbage leaves to help ease the discomfort.  By the time I went to rehab, it was gone.

When the kids were brought up to visit me, E wanted nothing to do with me for the first 5-6 days.  The last day he saw me in the hospital, he finally warmed up enough to sit by me for a few minutes.  At rehab, he was much better and ran right up to me.  Once I returned home, he still didn't want much to do with me, and clung to my mom for the first few days. 
A few days after returning home from rehab, E woke up early, still very sleepy.  He cuddled with my mom on the couch, but after a few minutes, decided he would cuddle with me. 

He laid in my lap, and immediately got into the "position".  He always preferred my left side, so that's how he laid in my lap.  He sweetly looked up at me and pointed at my breast, and said "ehh, ehh" (his way of telling me he wanted milk).  I gently told him "No more milk, it's all gone."  He put his head down, as if to say "okay".  Then a few minutes later, he asked again.  3-4 times he did this, but stayed calm every time I told him "no more".  I was surprised at how calm he was.  Then the 4-5th time, he had a meltdown.  He screamed, and threw himself down.  He didn't want me to put him down, yet he didn't want me to hold him.  My heart was aching.  I wanted so badly to just pop out my boob and let him try, but I knew the milk was long gone.  He got over it a few minutes later, and was content cuddling.  But inside I felt horrible I could no longer give him what he wanted/needed.

What breastfeeding a
toddler is really like!

Only one other time has he asked for it.  He had fallen and hurt himself (mostly his ego), and came to me for comfort.  I was unable to give him the comfort he wanted, though.  Again, my heart ached.

A few days ago I was getting dressed.  When I took off my night shirt, he got all excited and pointed at my chest, as if to say "Look!  My old friends!"  Then he sat by me, still happy.  I continued to get dressed, half expecting him to ask for milk.  But he didn't. 

It's really over.  And I'm sad.  I now understand why people say they were saddened when their child weaned themselves.  When I weaned Riley at 12 months (yes, I weaned him), he was more than fine!  He honestly couldn't care less where his milk came from (bottle, cup, or boob; me or a cow).  He was fine, and so was I.  This time, it was not my decision, nor was it Eli's.  He has done much better than I expected.  I think partly because I was gone for 2 weeks, so he had time to adjust to not nursing before I came home.

I have been putting off sitting down to write this post.  I knew it would be hard.  I knew that once I put it in writing it would solidify that it's really over, that I will never nurse Eli again.  And it would also confirm that I really am sad about it.  Out of everything that has happened in the last 9 weeks, this is one thing that I wish I could take back and fix.  My physical injuries are healing and I know I will walk again.  But I cannot take back the end of our breastfeeding relationship.  I will never nurse him again.  I hate that I don't remember the last time I nursed him.  It's all gone, it's all over.  And there's nothing I can do to change it.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My son has PTSD.

And he's not even 4. 

Since the accident 8.5 weeks ago, Riley has been acting out, having potty accidents, and just flat out not listening.  He also has days where he's just sad, or mad, and he doesn't know why.  He's also had several occassions where he woke up in the middle of the night crying.  He doesn't want to go to bed, although the last week he has been better about bedtime.

I know what you're thinking:  He's 4 (almost -- in less than 2 weeks).  It's just a phase, he'll get past this.  No, it's more than that.  I know typical 4 year old behavior, I taught preschool classes for many years.  This is typical 4 y/o behavior, magnified.  Plus a whole lot more.

Last week I called our family doctor, since things have been getting progressively worse, not better like I had hoped it would.  She told me that he has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  Those words never even crossed my mind.  I knew a lot of this was normal behavior, but more of it was because of the changes that have occurred since our accident

It all makes sense.  It's been hard, on all of us.  Consistancy has been hard with 3 adults, who have 3 different parenting styles.  My mom has been living here since the accident, since I'm unable to care for the kids while Ryan is at work.  With his increasing temper tantrums and acting out, it's very frustrating.  It's hard to find the perfect balance between the comfort he craves and the discipline he needs. 

After talking with his doctor, we are all changing the way we talk to him, and trying our best to be on the same page.  We need to stay firm, while letting him know we understand why he is so frustrated sometimes.  He doesn't know how to process his feelings.  He gets mad, then he gets sad...and he doesn't know why

We also will continue to reassure him I am going to be fine, and that I'm not going anywhere.  One day for me to be away from him feels like forever.  Ryan and I drove off for a date, and I didn't return home for 2 weeks.  He was scared and unsure of what was happening.  After coming home, I had 2 more brief hospital stays (surgeries).  The last one (2 weeks ago) really upset him.  He did not want me to leave again.  I am the one who is always here, day and night.  He's used to Ryan going to work all day, then coming home.  But he's not used to me being gone for more than a few hours. 

And I'm hurt, and can't care for him the way I usually do.  I can't get down and play with him.  I get tired easily.  The pain meds make me nauseous, so he's seen me at my worst.  I hurt, and he has to be gentle.  My mom has been here to help with those things, but it's been very different for him.  He's used to Mimi being Mimi who spoils him, not the primary caregiver who has to discipline him.  It's very confusing for him.

If in the next week things do not improve, we will go back to the doctor and talk about either play therapy, or a play group, to help him learn how to process his emotions.  She said it would probably only take a few weeks, but it would be well worth it for him.

It is hard to think about the fact that we can't "deal with" our son's behavior.  We're his parents, I'm his Mommy.  We should know exactly what to do.  I know he's having a hard time with things, but I also know we can't baby him and let him get away with eveything because of that.  That will only make things worse.  It also doesn't help that when I am in pain or very uncomfortable and tired, because my patience runs very thin at those times.  It's hard to stay calm when all I want to do is yell because I'm in pain.  So when he is refusing to listen or do what I've asked him to do, it is extremely frustrating.  There are times that I feel like the worst mom in the world because I just yelled at my kid for something as little as not picking up his toys.  This is where we need to find that balance of comfort and discipline, but it's hard.

Hearing the doctor say that he has PTSD was hard to process.  He's so young to be going through that.  I almost feel guilty, but then I feel guilty for feeling guilty.  It is so hard to know that this is something I can't just kiss and make better.  I wish I could.

I know things will get better, and that I am not a failure as a mom.  But right now it is hard, on top of everything else we are dealing with now.  So I ask for your prayers, especially for Riley.  Please pray that he is able to process his emotions in a positive way.  Please pray that we have the wisdom to parent him in the way that he needs. 

Riley enjoying Legoland Discovery Center, just a couple days before my last surgery.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Update 6/2/11

Sorry, it's been awhile since and actual update with what's going on.  But things are progressing well.  I just came home yesterday from another surgery and a brief hospital stay. 

I had a skin graft done on my heel, where all of the skin/tissue had died off.  This is great news, that it was only a skin graft.  It was 2 weeks after the last surgery (4th surgery total), when the plastic surgeon cleaned up all the dead tissue and put a wound vac on it.  The wound vac is a special pump that puts negative pressure on my heel and sucks away all the "gunk".  It promotes healing and prepared the tissue for the skin graft.  In the 2 weeks between surgeries, I had a home health nurse change the dressing 3 times a week. 

He had planned on doing a 4-5 hour surgery, called a "reverse flow flap" (WARNING: link is for a medical study and contains photos of actual procedures).  He would have taken a small area from the back of my calf (including a little muscle) and created a new pad for the back of my heel, while moving the vein so blood can flow through my heel (which it hasn't been able to do).  But, because the wound vac did such a good job, he didn't need to do this!  If he had to do the flap, it would have meant a longer hospital stay, bedrest for over a week, and a longer recovery.  But with just a skin graft I was home within 24 hours after surgery, and can resume "normal" (at least my new normal, still no weight on the left foot) activities, as tolerated.

I have a follow up appointment on Monday to see how the graft is doing.  At that time he will remove the wound vac, hopefully for good.  He may or may not continue the wound vac therapy, depending on how well it's healing.  He will also show me how to change the dressing for my graft sight (the outer side of my upper left thigh).  If all is doing well, he said I should be able to start physical therapy in 2-3 weeks to start moving my left ankle, and eventually start putting weight on it. 

As far as the orthopedic part (my left fibula, left ankle, and right pelvic bone), I am doing well.  The orthopedic surgeon is waiting for the plastic surgeon to clear me to start PT.  I am unsure of if/when the 2 screws in my left ankle will come out, but he said the torn ligament is healing well, as is the fibula.  I will get new xrays of my pevlic bone on the 14th, but he also said I am doing well as far as that goes.  It takes about 12 full weeks for a minor pelvic fracture to heal.  As of today, it's been 6 weeks and 5 days.

My mom is still staying with us, helping out with the boys and around the house.  She had a break over the holiday weekend, when Ryan was off of work, so she could go home and pack.  They are moving in just a few weeks to Jacksboro. 

The boys are doing fine, though there are still some behavioral problems we are dealing with, especially with Riley.  3 is a hard age anyway, but I know this accident has greatly effected him.  It has been a life changing event, and those are always hard to deal with.  Lately, it's been bedtime.  Bedtime has been a fight every night recently, with both boys.  Eli just wants to cuddle with me until he falls asleep (which he hasn't done in a very long time).  Riley just doesn't want to go to bed, no matter how tired he is.  Last night was slightly better.  We are having to find new ways of dealing with them, to see what will work best.  It is hard to balance the comofort they crave with the discipline they need.  Please continue to pray that we do the best we can to find that balance.  Also pray for the boys, especially Riley.

Ryan is still doing well.  Tired, but good.  He goes on call tomorrow, which means 2 weeks of working non-stop (unless he doesn't get called out Sat. and Sun., which is rare). 

I will not include pictures of my foot, at least not until I see how it looks Monday when the wound vac comes off.  It has not been nice to look at.  There is still a possibility of more surgery (if the graft doesn't heal well, or the physical therapy is too much pressure for it) down the road, but hopefully this was it.  The heel is a difficult place for a graft.  It is still unknown how much sensation I have lost for good in my heel. 

I still don't know if I now have 4 tattoos, or if I'm down to 3.  My very first tattoo was a tiny butterfly on my left ankle, hard to see unless you're looking.  I forgot to ask if he was able to work around it or not.  Guess I'll find out on Monday....  I've been itching to get a new one anyway.