Chronic Pain

A 51 year old female living and dealing with lumbar back pain and fibromyalgia. Sharing things I do for relief, reduce stress and control weight gain.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Come on Spring

We've had a tease of spring weather this past week.  The high in the 70's several days in a row.   Last week end D pressure washed the deck to prepare for sealing.  Between watching him work outside around the pool and the weather it really gave me pool fever.  I can't wait until we can open so I can get back to doing some walking.  We'll see about the lap swimming.  I have every intention to go back to it, but I'm slightly concerned that it may have caused the bursitis.  Last year when we opened the pool I had to wait 3 more weeks because my incision was still healing from my battery change and reposition.  Not this time.  I'm in as soon as it's open!

D and I are both hopeful that we will open 3-4 weeks earlier than last year with the help of the thermal cover we purchased last fall.  We were able to close a month later than usual.
We do need some sunshine for that to work and we haven't seen much of it lately.   I'm hopeful!  

On to how all my ailments are.  

My aching back: Same old story.  I mentioned last post I was actually looking forward to my visit with my PM doctor.  I'm never looking forward to any appointment but I know I needed some advise on my medications.  I have to say for as long as I've been on the same narcotic it's worked relatively well for me.  We talked last year on my pre surgery visit about changing because it had got to the point it was only taking the edge off and hardly reducing the pain scale number.  I was, and currently getting about an hour to hour and a half max relief from it.  He prescribes TID (three times a day) but I rarely take that way.  As you know, if you've taken narcotics for chronic pain for any period, the longer you take them the more you need to get relief.  You body becomes accustom to the schedule of taking it.  

This past winter has been the worst ever.  My PM doctor stated he couldn't tell me how many complaints over the last few weeks he'd heard the same thing.  I told him all my bones hurt and he smiled only because he said he was waiting for that next.  Something else he has heard a lot.  So we did make the change at this visit.  We have a good relationship and he knows what my pain tolerance is.  He trusts if I tell him I've had to take as prescribed lately to get any relief that I'm at my worst.  He knows I understand the longer I hold off the more relief I get down the road.  Not to say it's always easy.  Trust me, if it's a day that will be hard I take every alley I can.  My stimulator runs 24/7, pain medicine and patch or cream.  

The lateral epicondylitis: After 4 months of OT I was very impatient with it and sought advice from an orthopedic in January.   He confirmed what we already knew.  No arthritis, just a bone spur on the elbow.  Good old tennis elbow.  Takes time, he says.  Yep, I've heard.  Funny thing is about two weeks after I saw him I started getting some relief with it.  I was so glad to get a break from the brace.  I left it off and when ever it started bothering me I'd put it back on.  I saw my OT on Friday and we did a review and release consult after my treatment.  She was great. Always encouraging me that it would get better.  It's not completely gone.  I'm still doing the stretches and careful not to over do it.  I'd say it's 80% better.  

The mean Fibromyalgia: This goes hand in hand with my weight control.  Shortly after I started the medication my rheumatologist started me on I reached a plateau.  I've been up and down by 2 pounds since December.  I can't seem to reach my goal weight for nothing.  It's ok though.  I'm happy I'm controlling the side effects of the medications.  If I wasn't still following a plan I promise you I'd have gained at least 10 pounds by now.  I really think I need to increase dose or take additional dose in the morning but I'm so scared of the side effects.  I see my rheumatologist next month so I can wait until then to get his advice on that decision. It can be brutal some days.  What already hurts intensifies, and areas that have never bothered you and have no reasons to hurt can be extremely painful.  

Dr. Oz had a segment on Fibromyalgia this past week.  I wish he would have committed more than 10-15 minutes to it.  He had an audience member who had symptoms come up and a specialist went over the "trigger points" that are very tender to someone dealing with FM as opposed to someone who isn't.  Why are they important?  Because so many women and men are written of as having some other diagnosis because it is very hard determine if you have FM or not.  For instance, most patients experience fatigue.  Fatigue for long periods of time for some patients.  That is a symptom of a lot of ailments.  It could be from any number of things.  Headaches are another example.  I could name more.  He made a point that made me feel better about something.  He said, some women are actually relieved to get the diagnosis because then they know that people don't think they are crazy.  There actually is something wrong.  I felt a little that way.  So many of my doctors said it was just a stem of my back pain.  I knew better.  I'd done to much research on my own about the illness.  I actually agreed when my rheumatologist started mentioning it.  When he officially put it down as my diagnosis it was disturbing none the less and a relief to know at the same time.

It's Sunday morning, raining and I don't have a place that is not hurting.  Every area is tender to touch.   I can remember seeing the commercial years ago for FM thinking how can that be?  Surely they can figure out what is causing it. 

When I was still working we had several patients diagnosed with FM and I was particularly close with one.  The last two years I was there I couldn't believe the change I saw in her.  Before I knew it she changed before my eyes.  Looking much older and frail, I had so much empathy for her in my heart knowing the "ideas" people have when you tell them what's wrong.  Including my own employer.  I believe she was fighting it years, before knowing what was going on for sure.   That was different for me.  I started out with the attitude that no one but my family needs to know about what they "think" I have.  I will however do everything I am supposed to do to keep yourself going.  Exercise, watching my weight, keeping my bi annual appointments with my rheumatologist.  A lot of people who aren't getting the answers they need stop seeking treatment.  I stuck with him even though for 4-5 years he had no for sure answers for me but he always had plenty information.  Ideas and suggestions for supplements.  He is my favorite of all my doctors, and I have plenty! 

Which brings me to....
My weight:  I just said it to my husband this am.  What is worse, to tough out the pain or gain a little weight? As much as I'm hurting this morning I'm really scared of the weight gain.  It's already put 20 pounds on me once before.   I've continued to follow my WW's program.  My husband and daughter both will tell you that I don't play around with something I pay for.  I'm not going to "estimate" or say to myself, well I've eaten good the last few days so it won't hurt to eat out and guess at it.  I'm sort of OCD about it.  If I can't figure out the points or it's not a chain in the app to know the points I'm going to pass.  With all that said my point is the medication is trying to win.  I'm on a low dose and feel like I could really use a stronger one.   He wrote for BID (two times a day) so I'd have if I needed it.  Hopeful though that a nighttime dose could keep me comfortable.  Most of the time it does.   I'd say out of a month I might do an am dose 5 times.  Today was a day I needed that.  I'm actually waiting for it to kick in right now.  

When I started the FM medication I was two pounds away from my goal weight.  There is no doubt I'd have hit it for sure.  It's been a struggle though.  It constantly fluctuates between 2-3 numbers but never have I dipped past that number I was at when starting the medication.  I've hit it again a few times but mostly stay 2 to 3 pounds above that.  There is no doubt if I wouldn't continue to follow a plan I'd quickly gain enough to not fit any of my clothes.  I've always worried about controlling my weight because of my back pain and the challenge of exercising.  

My Stimulator:  Even though I've been frustrated with my coverage and my lack of support ( I feel ) from my St. Jude rep who I've loved and bragged about many times, I seem to always have it on and thankful to have it.   I don't know if he is just so busy now he can't keep up with his number of patients requests.  My last time reaching him it was quite disturbing waiting to hear back from him.  He's told me in the past, "bug me".  Well, I did.  On the day we were supposed to meet he set me up with someone else because something came up for him.  I've seen her before but not for adjustments.  She was with him for several of my visits because she was training.  We did ok with our meet, but I ran into a problem a couple of days later.  I text and called her.  Guess when I got a return call?  Four days later.  I had figured it out on my own by then, thank goodness.  My stimulator was not making connection with the battery.  I've experienced this before.  One of the reasons I had to have the reposition surgery last year. By the time I heard back from her it was just so disappointing that she even called at that point.  Like it was ok?  Her message gave a reason why I it took so long and it was not even a good reason.  I have to get over it because her and Mr. R are my only options for adjustments.  I'm at their mercy. 

To let you know how much I'm using it reflects in how often I'm needing to charge now  I charged my batter yesterday and it had only been two weeks.  It took 2 hours and 10 minutes.  I used to go a month. sometime longer before charging and at most it was an hour.   I've had it running 24/7 the last few months in this awful damp cold we've had.  I've found if I turn down pretty low and leave running I seem to not be as uncomfortable when moving around in my sleep.  I have 13 programs right now and can only use 2.  I'm thankful for them, but even they could use tweaking.  To have at the level I need I get the zaps into my side and stomach.  I  will soon just bite the bullet and reach out to Mr. R again.  I need to do it before I loose placement with the 2 I have because it could be days before I get something set up with him.  

Dallas:  He has started a medication to help reduce swelling of the tumor in his bladder.  He has good and bad days.  Some days except for his bleeding you wouldn't think anything was wrong.  Some days he is just so lazy and laying around looking pitiful.  Our vet said at some point we will need to put him on some pain medication.  He's still up for his afternoon walk and eating all of his food every evening and she said that is a really good sign.  We are very hopeful that this medication will shrink the tumor enough to keep him comfortable and still active a little longer.  

Sweet AJ and P:  Things are going great for them.  AJ nursing well and P is such a great big brother.  Always checking and asking questions about his "baby sister".  B had two week pictures of her and they are absolutely beautiful.  Can't wait to share, but I have to wait until B sends out her announcements.  They are on their way.  She did share one of P and AJ together so I can share that one with you.  

Makes my heart melt <3

If you are on WW's and always looking for a low point snack like me I'll share a couple I've been having.  I have discovered Wasa multigrain crispbread.  They are only 1 point a piece and I pile on a wedge of laughing cow cheese, also 1 point.  It is a filling snack.  Have a piece of fruit with it and a full glass of water and I promise you it will help curve your appetite until your next meal.  

Wasa crispbread with laughing cow cheese

After my medicine kicked in and I felt a little better this morning I decided to use up my over ripe bananas.   I usually make breakfast muffins with them.  This recipe was a 3 ingredient and I followed exactly.  I already know a few changes I willtry next time.  So simple and  15 minutes from start to oven.  If you are on weight watchers they are 1 point a piece.  I'll probably eat 3 with some fruit.  A good way for me to get some oatmeal because I do not like it in bowl.   I used a measuring tablespoon to make sure I made 16 which is what recipe called for it to make.  That's not as important if your not following WW's.  If you are it is because the points will not be correct if you add anything or make quantity different serving size.  If you want to make them head on over to to get complete directions.  They are called "Healthy cookies"  1 cup of Quick oats, 2 ripe bananas and 1/4 cup of walnuts.  I really like blueberries with oatmeal but these are small so fruit really doesn't do to well.  I'm anxious to finish these and use cranberries or mini chocolate chips next.  

Healthy cookies

Another of my favorites is a pizza on flat bread or a bread that is called flatout fold it.  I love the Rosemary & Olive Oil flavor.  They can be hard to find sometime.  Great for hamburgers or chicken sandwich too.  It is made by same company as the flat out.  Each kind is 2 points but the tortilla I used is only 1pt.  I mentioned it in an earlier post.  I use it to make a wrap sandwich and also toast to crisp and cut into strips to dip in my soup or chili.  Today it worked awesome for my pizza since I was out of the flatout flat bread.  

7 point pizza
You know what I love about making my own pizza?  You can put a lot of 0 point items you like on there to make it yummy.  I used Paul Newman marinara Sauce 1 pt , turkey pepperonis (serving size) 2 pts, mozzarella chesse (serving size) 2 points and the tortilla is 1pt.  It is even better with the flatout flat bread because it's a little thicker and more filling. It also makes the pizza 8 pts vs 7 because bread is 2 pts not 1.  My extras were onions, bell pepper and banana peppers.  So tasty.  

For the first time in I don't know when I don't have any doctor or therapy appointments this coming week.  I won't know what to do with myself.  Really I'll be caring for Dallas.  He's becoming a handful right now.  

I've enjoyed watching the Olympics.  D and I've enjoyed watching together.  They're aren't many shows we watch together.   A few shows that D and I watch together will start coming on again this week so we're looking forward to that. 

Good night everyone.  Have a nice peaceful and pain free week.
Filled with H.O.P. E. (hold on pain ends)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

FDA Acetaminophen mandate

My husband picked up my refill on my pain medication for me last week.  The pharmacist wanted to make sure he made me aware that the acetaminophen level had been lowered from 500 to 325.  I had read about this so I wasn't surprised.  I could tell you all about what I read but I'll just share the link for those who are interested.

There is a need for concern.  I've heard on the news all the concerns of the effects on your liver.  I always stick to the recommended dosage.  Not to say that I don't need 500, but I trust the FDA is looking out for patients who really need to take it on a regular basis.  I've been pumping my stomach with NSAIDs for 10+ years.  Since my back surgery it's been on a scheduled daily dosage without missing.  Like a baby takes a bottle.  One reason is it helps me keep the pain medication level down which helps it continue to work.  I get an hour or two relief so I plan accordingly.  If I took it more often I believe it will help even less.  

I start out with the ibuprofen, 2 hours later the main medicine, 2 hours later more ibuprofen then depending on what I have to accomplish that day I sweat it out, stretch, lye on the heating pad and try to make it to the next pain medication dose.  If I just can't make it I take some motrin in between the two kinds.  Approximately 4 out of 7 nights I have to take a 3rd dose of pain medicine before going to bed.  If I don't let it get out of control I can skip it and just take another dose of ibuprofen if it has been long enough.  Once I'm off my feet, not sitting or standing I get about 70% relief. ( in my back )

You know the commercial that advertises why take 4-6 of this pain medicine when you could take 2 for all day?  It humors me every time.  I take 4 of the liquid ibuprofen.   Two used to work years ago.  Then I needed 3, now it's four.  When they first came out with that commercial I decided to try Aleve again.  It never worked for me in the past.  I tried it twice and then gave the full bottle to my son for his back pain.   It did nothing for me.  I've even tried Rx naproxen.  Somethings just don't work for some people.  

So remember when I said above there is a need for concern?  For me, that's why.  There have been times that I had my pain level get so high that an hour later I took another half I was so desperate for just a little relief.  That would put me at 750 of the acetaminophen.   If I were to need to do that now even two an hour apart in that type of situation would only put me at 625.  If this were to happen in the morning I could still have my second and/or third dose.  In a 24hour period you should not have more than 4000mg so I am in very safe levels.

A big concern for people who take acetaminophen everyday is reading labels.  There are so many other medications (cold and flu) that contain acetaminophen.  Another increased risk is certain individuals who drink alcohol on a regular basis and take acetaminophen.  If you have any concerns there is plenty of information on great medical web sites to answer your questions.  Of course you can always discuss with your doctor also. 

Still waiting on the call from the veterinarian office on answers from LSU.  I'm also waiting on some warm weather.  Oh, have I already mentioned that?  I'll take above 50 for a full week and be thrilled.  Oh yeah, and some sunshine regularly.  Guess I'm trying to play God now.

AJ is doing great.  She had her two week check up and is now up to 9lbs and 14ozs.  
I've skipped physical and occupational therapy for the third week.  I did see my social worker last Thursday because it was a much needed visit.  On my next post I will fill you in on my elbow, my stimulator and handling the fibromyalgia.  I have my 3 month check up with my PM doctor on Monday and I'm actually looking forward to it. 

Until then I hope your days are pain free.  Theresa

For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need.
Philippians 4:13 

Look at those fingers

This is called grab and snap!

A with AJ

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Dallas, my canine best friend

If you follow my blog you know Dallas has been having a tough year.  We nursed him through a surgery to have a mass removed from his stomach in 2012.  It was a long healing.  Due to the nature of where it was he just seemed to take so long to heal and stop bleeding.  We went back in with him on three different occasions.

This past summer he starting having some problems with wetting inside (the house) suddenly.  We had him checked out and they suspected a bladder stone.  It was confirmed with an x ray.   Our veterinarian recommended if we wanted to try antibiotics first it may dissolve on it's on.  She put him on a special diet (food and snacks) and we waited.  After he finished the antibiotic he was still having trouble controlling his bladder and we were now spotting blood in his urine. 

At this point she (our veterinarian) decided we should go ahead with the surgery.  It was definitely easier as far as recovery but at his first post op check I let her know things just weren't right still.  He was still struggling to make it outside.  Dallas has always made it all day, sometime up to 10-12 hours without going out.  He wasn't even making it for 6 hours.
We tried switching back to his other food now that the stone was gone.  The special diet food makes them very thirsty causing them to drink a lot of extra water.  She thought maybe that was causing the problem.

After discussing with the male veterinarian on another follow up visit he recommended we try an incontinent medication.  After a couple of weeks of being on it everything seemed to be back to normal and we realized Dallas was nearing 10 years old and he'd likely be on this medication for the rest of his dog years.  

Then one fall day on a evening walk we noticed some blood in his urine again.  Oh wow, not again.  It didn't just go away like we hoped and the accidents inside started again.  We took him in and they took an x ray.  No stone.  Yeah, good news.  But what?  The veterinarian put him back on the special dog food and an antibiotic and we crossed our fingers.  It seemed to get better but right towards the end of the medication it seemed to come back stronger.  We called in asking for another round but of course they wanted to see him.  They recommended he have some blood work done.  On the Friday after AJ was born while I was at her home visiting, D took Dallas in for his blood work.

She called me last Tuesday evening and said some crystals showed up in his bladder which could be a sign of a stone but could also be a tumor.  She didn't really like the way his little bladder felt and decided our next step should be an ultrasound.  She wanted me to schedule it on a day that both her and Dr. Tony was there so the could get together on his case.  She had been treating him through this latest issue but he does all the ultrasounds.  Between their schedules and ours today was the day for it to work out.  
On our way to the vet
It was pretty chilly outside and he was shaking all the way there even under his blanket.  He's so nosey.  He wanted to stay under the blanket but he had to pop out now and then and see where we were going.   I've never been worried or scared for him with either surgery he had.  For some reason today, I was exceptionally nervous for him.  Puzzled why they couldn't give us an answer of what was going on with him.  I felt very uncomfortable when I left him and it was sad, he was crying when I left.  He never does that.

where we going mom?
While I was at home waiting I had the must uncomfortable feeling in my gut.  I can't explain it, I just knew we were not going to get good news.  Something simple wouldn't be so hard to find.  I found my self missing him following me around and not having to remember to leave the gate closed.  One thing I didn't miss was getting him outside twice an hour and cleaning up blood drips here and there that he can't help.  

4:30 rolled around and I hadn't heard anything.  I called at 5 and asked why I hadn't heard anything.  They said I should get a call before 5 to come back and pick him up.  The receptionist called back at 5:15 and she said to come on to office and Dr. Gretchen would talk to me when I got here.  I asked did they get any answers with the ultra sound and she said Dr. Gretchen prefers to discuss with you in person.  I called D.  I knew it must be bad news if they wouldn't say anything over the phone.  I wanted him to meet me there on his way home in case it was.

We had to wait about 25 minutes.  It was such a long time.  She called us in and start saying she was sorry right away.  I read her face it said it all.  The ultrasound showed what looked like to her as a tumor.  She was pretty matter of fact about it.  She said she wanted our permission to send to LSU for a second opinion from a radiologist there.  "What else could it be we asked?" It could be a stone, an unusual one if it is because it doesn't feel like one when I check him with my hands or on the xray.  She said in her opinion it was most likely a cancerous mass.  Could it be removed?  She couldn't say.  That's what she is hoping LSU will tell her.  In his little body there is not much room in the bladder so removing it is probably out of question, but a biopsy maybe.  I took her pretty seriously.  D said I wasn't thinking positive and didn't hear her clear about having LSU confirm her suspensions.  

I heard her clear.  I don't think a veterinarian would tell you the worst unless she was trying to prepare you for it.  I asked her if it for sure is a tumor what next?  Our two options were to keep him comfortable with a steroid medication.  As the tumor grows he will be less able to control bladder and there will be more blood.  She said his need to go more often is because as it gets bigger he can't hold it because the tumor takes up some of his room.  He will start to get uncomfortable and we can give him pain medications.   By this time I'm crying.  D thinks I'm over reacting.  He kept saying, "we don't know yet".  I still asked the questions.  How long will be live if this is indeed whats wrong.  She couldn't say for sure but suspected 3-4 months.  Give or take a month.  Now I'm overwhelmed.  No way.  I knew something was wrong.  I wanted so bad to be mad at her but she was just so nice about it and kept saying she was sorry.  I could see in her eyes that she didn't feel we would find anything different.  D still wanted to know option 2.  She could send us to see an Oncologist for treatment options.  She said they would do a consultation to tell us what might or might not work.  Dr. Gretchen pointed out that this kind of treatment is very hard for some humans and definitely would be hard on Dallas and our pocket book but we could certainly make the decision when the time came.  

Then I asked when will we know?  She said sometime they are very busy and it could take up to 3 days but sometime they are slow and call back the same day.  She asked me to call her if I hadn't heard from her by Friday.  You bet I will.  I cried all the way home.  Poor Dallas just whined with me.  He is very sensitive to your feelings as most dogs are and he was very bothered by my sadness.  D stayed behind to pay the bill and when he came in after us he asked me to not take everything so seriously and to wait and see what LSU says.  I didn't hear her say, "I don't know what it is and I need their help".  I heard her say, "I want a second opinion that it is indeed a bladder tumor".  I really don't think she would have answered all my questions so truthfully if she wasn't pretty sure of what was wrong with him.

 I'm trying to remain positive but it's hard.  Being negative is what has kept me away from my blog.  I've been having quite a few pity parties by myself as soon as I can't get alone.  In the bathroom after D goes to bed.  After he leaves to workout or where ever he is going.  Sometime I can't hold it together when he is here.  I try hard not to break down to much around him because he has to hold everything together now.  I'm no help at all.  Poor man never know what he will find when he returns home at the end of the day.  Either I'm crying because I'm hurting or I'm angry.  I'm angry about my pain, but I take it out on him as some other issue that is really not important.  He knows that because he will ask me.  Are you hurting today?  I give him that "are you serious look" that means I'm hurting everyday.  Do you mean, Is it a 10 day?  God Bless him, I couldn't put up with me.  I really couldn't.  

With all this said, when I come in and I'm hurting and all I want to do is get to the heating pad Dallas is there to greet me the same way every day.  He doesn't care if I scold him, talk sweet to him or shoo him out the door for wetting the floor.  He is still so happy to see me.  Runs to the gate with his blanket still on to have a pet on the head.  That little moment makes me push a few minutes more to let him out, feed him, love him or whatever is necessary before I take care of me.  Just like a child, they come first most times.  If he will only be with us a short time longer I will love those moments even more than I do now if thats possible.

Dallas is such a big part of D and ours relationship.  Almost like a child.  My children gave Dallas to me for Christmas as a puppy in 2004.  D and I married in 2005.  We've joked about how it's easy to keep up with our anniversary years because of Dallas.  Just one more year than his age.  He will be 10 in October.  We will celebrate 9 years of marriage in November.
Everyday that I put my feet on the floor and make myself get dressed and go it's a good day.  I can tell you I don't want to do it.  I'd rather, and it would be much easier, if I just stayed in bed.  To bad I can't make my brain work like Dallas and just be happy all the time no matter what. :-)

Full of H.O.P.E. 

***a note that I wrote this very late Tuesday night and am to sleepy to proof so the todays mean Tuesday.  Not Wednesday.  I think Dallas and I will commit to just being lazy around here on this rainy day we are supposed to have and I will just let him sit or sleep where every he wants.  It's his day, King for a day!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Meet A J

8lbs 14ozs 21in of Gods love for us


Let me start by apologizing for being away so long.  Today will not be anything about me, but about our newest bundle of joy.  My next post I'll update you on what's been going on with my "ailments".  They are a big part of what's kept me away from my blog.  Thank you to friends and followers who have emailed and messaged me to check on me and why I haven't been blogging.  

Friday January 24th was a very high anxiety day for me.  To start the weather conditions here in Baton Rouge were not normal for us.  We had freezing numbers with some precipitation and that equaled a mess for people who are not used to driving in these conditions.  

I had appointments for OT (the elbow) and PT (the back).  At the same time as my second appointment my daughter was at the doctor having a follow up ultrasound.  Baby girl wasn't moving satisfactory to doctor's liking on the Tuesday before.  She wasn't going to let B go another week without rechecking.  I was a nervous wreck while there at therapy.  The weather had my pain scale up and I was fretting the weather outside.  Everyone coming in after me said it was only getting worse and the car windows were icing over within their visit. That told me mine was for sure since I had already been there an hour and a half.  

I had plans to have my granddaughter who lives out of town to come for the week end because we all knew that my daughter would be delivering any time now.  I figured it was her last time to come for a few weeks since Nonna would be helping out with my "new" granddaughter.  Her maw maw and I had been watching the weather and texting back and forth before my appointment.  It wasn't looking good.  The interstate closed then a bridge for her and myself that had to be crossed closed.  

With all of this going on I was a nervous wreck and had both of my therapist worrying over me.  They are the greatest.  If you live here in Baton Rouge and need PT please let me give you there information.  This is my second go around there and I've been other places and there is no comparison.  The entire office including the front office is full of compassion.

I got a text from B saying AJ passed her movement test but barely.  She was not waiting to see the doctor which was not in the plans so of course we both worried briefly.  Shortly after she text me back and said they would be inducing on the Monday.  January 27th.  It hit me, we now know her birthday.  January 27th 2014.  

I got the sad face from my daughter on her text.  She wanted to go into labor on her own.  She had to be induced with P which made her labor harder and of course being your first it took so long.  She really wanted to deliver natural but it just wasn't in the cards for P.  Now with this news I'm sure that was the meaning of the sad face.   Pitocin induced contractions are different from your body's natural contractions , in strength and effect.  I'm sure that flashbacks were already in her mind of P's long hard labor ending with an epidural.  

When I was ready to leave therapy one of the aids had to walk me all the way to my car because the parking lot was iced over.  If I hadn't held on to this strong gentlemen it would have been like trying to ice skate to my car and I KNOW I wouldn't have made it.  Both my front and back windshield had iced over.  I sat for awhile with defrost on and thankfully was on my way slowly out the parking lot soon after.  

I talked to A's Maw Maw on the way home to update her on B and we discussed meeting in the morning.  Still no way to meet, due to iced bridges and closed interstate.   We did get to meet up later Saturday morning.  Although still very cold the rain cleared and the sun melted the ice.  She was one happy little girl to know that even if for a shorter time she could spend some time with Nonna and Poppa.  She was very curious about Aunt B and how she was. When was baby girl coming?  She loves her cousin P but very excited about having a girl cousin.  A has already planned what she wants to teach baby girl when she meets her.  A understood that at her next visit her new cousin would be here and Nonna promised her she would get to visit.  

A with her friend A2
6:30am Monday rolled around fast.  Once I got word she was settled in a room I headed to the hospital.  I'm grateful I live very close to the Womans Hospital.  During her stay I made some drives to and from hospital on icy roads.  When I arrived they were starting her Pitocin and her pains started quickly.  It was so hard as her mother to watch her go through the labor pains once they got really intense.  At one point I couldn't help cry for her.  I just laid across her bed and prayed for things to move along quickly.  Myself, her mother in law, baby girls Nannie and of course her supporting husband were with her too.

Thankfully things moved along quickly.  Well, easy for me to call quickly but compared to P it was.  By 10:30 she was at a 9.  They called the doctor in, nurses started scrambling and B was in transition.  No turning back, she did it!  A calm came over her for a short period then a few pushes, along with such pain in her face it scared me, and baby AJ was here. 

Minutes before delivery

We were all in awe over our new pretty big, blessing.  After daddy cut the cord they gave her straight to my daughter.  I can't begin to try and tell you how it felt to see my daughter hold her first girl skin to skin immediately after birth.  She was beautiful even without being cleaned up. 

This was the second time I witnessed the miracle of birth.  I can never thank my daughter enough for letting us be a part of it.  She was such a champ.  Hearing her tell the story to visitors after you could tell how worth it it was for her to deliver natural.  She had experienced both and said she would do it natural again if they were to have another.  I told her I'm a little scared how fast it may go on third child.  She didn't even look like she had a baby several hours later.  My daughter is very blessed to have a wonderful husband and a very loving and helpful mother in law.  It was just as hard for her to see B in pain.  We were just so happy for her in the end that she was able to accomplish her goal.  

Right before they unwrapped her for B

B had the normal 48 hour stay.  AJ gave us a scare in the early morning the next day. (Tuesday)  She ended up in the transition nursery, then on to NICU from there.  She definitely gave my daughter something to write about in her book.  B knew just what do, didn't panic and called for help right away.  I just regret for her that she had to experience the scare alone. 

My daughter was released Wednesday evening but AJ had to stay another night so mom stayed on the sofa in NICU with her.   In the end she was just fine.  The scare we had did reveal something with her little heart that they needed to know about.  She will have a follow up with the cardiologist next month, but they expect everything to be all clear by then.  

On Thursday they got to go home and begin life as a family of 4 now.  P loves his little sister. He's doing great with her.  Checks on her periodically and then on about his business.  He's so helpful too.  Already knows what we need before we do when changing her diaper.  :-)

P meeting little sister for the first time
P home with AJ

On Friday AJ had her first visit at the pediatrician.  She was so good.  She just let her doctor do her thing.  The only thing she didn't like was undressing and redressing.  Everyday she seems to look a little different.  It's been such a blessing to be around to help out my daughter and see the wonders of the first week of life.  Lets face it, I'm 49.  I remember a lot about my children but not so much about the first week of life.  What really amazes me is how everyone thinks she looks like someone different.  We've heard like her big brother, her momma, and 3 different people said she looks like her Nonna.  Imagine how that made Nonna smile and melt my heart.  What a blessing.  Three grandchildren all special in their own way.  A, my first.  Something very special.  P, the only boy and my daughters first child.  Then AJ, my 2nd granddaughter but my daughter having a daughter is something special in itself.  I love them all equally <3.

4 days old
6 days old

I'm home today for only 2nd time since she was born.  I decided I would do nothing else but laundry, clean up pictures on my computer and this post.  It was time.  Now that I've got this done I feel like I will be back into a routine again.  I will be so happy to see some warm weather come and have the pool open again.

In April my mom and I are taking a cruise together.  We've been saying for a good long time we wanted to take a trip together.  All to often we talk about doing things and never make them happen.  I'm glad to say we are, and there is no long car ride or plane ride involved.  Some warm weather is an excellent perk too!

A note about AJ.  That is not her name or what anyone calls her.  It is her initials of her first and second name. A beautiful name that I love more every day I see her.   As with everyone else I respect their privacy and prefer not to use full names.  

Thanks again for your understanding through some difficult times.  My pain level with my back, elbow and fibromyalgia has been off the chart through these winter months.  I'm hoping to be getting some relief soon.  There is rain coming this evening so it was a great day to just take it easy and get some blogging done.  I hope to catch up on some of my favorite blogs I follow next.

Full of H.O.P.E.