I have a love/hate relationship with my body. It is an incredible thing, an amazing gift from my Heavenly Father. But sometimes I feel angry towards it, like it isn't doing it's job for me.
I love that I can give through it, bring forth human life from it, as well as sustain that life. It is an incredible miracle. I love being a woman, feeling feminine because of it, and getting to dress it in fashionable, fun, and modest clothing and accessories and SHOES :) I love working it, straining it to the max, feeling how much my body can actually do. I love being able to taste with it, to prepare and eat delectable food because of it. I enjoy seeing with it, all of the beautiful creations around me. I love being able to try new things with it and learn to love those new things because of different experiences. I love doing the familiar things with it that it has come accustomed and used to. Like rocking a baby. Giving a hug. Wiping away a tear. Riding a bike. Snuggling up in a warm bed next to my Honey. Smiling. All of the things that bring me comfort and joy. A body is really an intense, amazing, wonderful thing. I love my body.
But then again, I feel as if it has failed me. It has disease inside it. It has slowly but surely turned against me. It has attacked itself from the inside and affected my day to day living and way of life. I hurt. All the time. I ache. I cannot get out of bed in the morning without assistance. I can hardly lift my baby from his crib without crying out in pain or having a silent tear run down my cheek. I cannot lie down comfortably for longer than 10 minutes. I was blessed with a wonderful sleeping baby who goes 10 hours at night, and yet, I cannot enjoy it. I don't sleep comfortably, or restfully. It hurts to do things that I used to do with ease. Things you would never even think twice about doing, and yet, now I do. Like lifting a child. Carrying a basket of laundry up the stairs. Taking a big, deep breath. Stretching. Reaching up for that item on the top shelf of the pantry. Simple things.
That is where I am right now. I just fed me baby. It is 5 AM and I cannot go back to sleep because the pain is so great that I don't even want to think about trying to lie back down in my bed. I feel like a stiff 2 X 4, unable to bend. I know that I do not have it bad as some, by far. I am able to function and still live life. But sometimes, I do feel sorry for myself. I really try not to, I know everyone has their lots in life. The reason I feel this way now is because there is something that can help. Diclofenac. Oh how I love that little, white pill. It takes away the majority of my pain on a day to day basis. It is a blessing.
However, before I had Magnus, my doctor told me that, although I could take the medication while I was nursing my baby, it would cause him pain. Colic, a sore tummy, and horrible gas. He told me I would have to think twice about nursing him and decide what I wanted to do.
I had greatly researched and read many articles about Ankylosing Spondolitis and pregnancy. The breakdown was this: 1/3 of woman had no change in their symptoms of the disease. 1/3 of woman's symptoms decreased. 1/3 of woman's symptom's became worse during pregnancy. Originally, I thought I fell into the category of symptoms becoming worse. Now I know that my symptoms really didn't change very much. Because after the article told about that, it said that after the birth of their child, 90% of woman with AS had a relapse (or "flare-up") within the first 6 months and their symptoms came back worse than ever before. That is just the nature of the disease, as it is with many auto-immune disorders. It comes and goes and comes and goes. Sometimes you can hardly remember you have it, other times, it's all you can think about because of the obvious and debilitating pain.
So, what I did was hold off as long as possible. I only took my medication if I absolutely HAD to, in the beginning. I thought I was doing great. My body felt so wonderful just from giving birth that I needed no pain medication. The euphoria from having a new baby and not having that additional weight on my joints was wonderful. Until about 2 weeks ago when all my my symptoms returned, tenfold. I woke up to the hungry cries of my baby in intense and agonizing pain one morning and woke Andy because I literally couldn't move. I hurt and ached all over my body. He had to help me up and I felt like a hunched over 90 year old grandmother as I hobbled to the baby's room where I tried to lift Magnus out of his crib. I was able to kind of swing him up into my arms. I could hardly breath without having pain course through my body. I couldn't sit to nurse. The only way to ease the pain is to walk around and allow my joints to become "un-stiff" from my inactivity during the night.
So then I had a dilemma. I started taking my medication on a daily basis after that. I immedietly noticed my generally happy, sweet baby turn on me. He became fussy nearly all day long. He cried and cried, even when being held. His poor little body would go stiff in my arms every so often and he would cry out in pain. After several days of this, I stopped taking my medication again. After a couple days of medication-less milk, he returned to his good-natured self. I would much rather have myself be in pain than my baby, of course. And then there is the decision that maybe I should just stop nursing. I have nursed all of my babies and I have never had any extreme enjoyment from it. I know it is the best possible thing for my child, and it's not like I hated the experience and so I endured through it for at least 6 months with each one of them, sometimes even longer. I actually started to enjoy it more with each child. But it is different this time, as I suspect I had known it would be all along. This is my last baby. This is the last time I will get to experience any of this "baby-type" stuff. I want to enjoy it and savor it and make it last as long as possible. I do not want to give up nursing already. I would rather endure the pain. So I will.
I apologize for this long, rambling post. It is nice for me to be able to organize my thoughts into something that makes sense to me. And I'm not sleeping and have nothing better to do :) If you have any interest, click here for a little more info on Akylosing Spondolitis. The video at the end gives me hope that they (I don't know who "they" are.... doctors? Scientists? Sure) are working on early prevention and maybe even a cure. Wouldn't that be amazing? I think so :)