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    Chiropractor Mama Dr. Dolly and professional photographer Elisa B. share about adventures in intentional and natural parenting while living in Virginia's beautiful Blue Ridge.
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Bad Landing

I had a series of firsts yesterday:

  • First time I ever passed out or went into shock.
  • First time I was ever admitted to the ER
  • First time using crutches

Meanwhile, Steve brings Calvin to me to nurse him and Steve carries him from room to room and changes his diaper while I try not to kill myself on the crutches.

How did all this happen?  I went to karate class Thursday night, which was being taught by Steve.  Steve has a reputation for running a tough workout in class.  I know that halfway through class I was looking at the clock wishing I was still at home relaxing.  Anyway, at the end of class, he asked us to run toward him, take a flying leap and do various jump kicks on the target pads he was holding.

After my second attempt at the flying side kick, I smacked that target pad with a lot of force and got some great air on my flying kick, but then there came the issue of landing . . . while carrying a lot of momentum, oh, and landing sideways.  The minute I hit the mat, I heard my knee cavitate laterally.  That is NOT a good sound.  It hurt, and I hobbled back to the end of the line, but I was still able to continue to participate in class.

After class, I took a few minutes to change in the locker room, and those brief moments of cooling down were just enough for my knee to stiffen up.  I let Steve know about it and I asked him to evaluate it with a few orthopedic tests.  He said the lateral collateral ligament felt “gummy” and “mushy” compared to my good leg.  But, it didn’t feel like anything had completely ruptured.

He told me to put ice on it as soon as I went home.  Well, that’s when the next problem began.  I put on a gel ice pack, and waited for it to get numb, but the pain was pretty intense, and it never quite numbed up for me.  So, he told me to throw on another ice pack (that was a mistake).  At this point, my skin started to feel very uncomfortable.  It was more than just red, it was red, AND white, and puffy and it felt super irritated.  I knew I was getting that adverse reaction to ice because it had been on for too long.

The next day, my skin had turned purple and blistered because it had been “burned” from the ice.

Anyway, the reason I ended up in the ER is because I had a tough time sleeping after feeding Calvin at 2:30am.  I just couldn’t get comfortable.  Every position hurt my knee so much so that I just couldn’t relax.  Finally, by 4:30AM, I needed to go to the bathroom.  So, as I proceeded to stand up and walk down the hall, I remarked at how much worse my knee felt compared to earlier in the evening.  Before, I could walk on it with some discomfort.  Now, I was basically hopping on my good leg because I couldn’t put any weight on it.

I asked Steve to stay with me in the bathroom since I knew I needed help getting back to the bedroom.  While I was sitting down, I kept telling him how the pain was pretty intense, and that it was making me nauseous.  I told him I needed to throw up.  He handed me a bucket . . . and that was the last thing I remembered.

A few minutes later, I woke up from what I thought was a nice peaceful deep sleep (finally!  i fell asleep).  Steve was screaming at me, and he kept saying “stay with me!”  He sounded like he was in a tunnel.  I knew he was screaming, but it sounded muffled, and my ears were ringing.  I desperately wanted to go back to sleep, but I could tell Steve was freaked out, which was starting to freak me out.

I asked him, “what’s wrong? why are you yelling? what’s going on? you’re starting to scare me” thinking he was going to wake up Calvin from all the racket he was making.  Meanwhile I was thinking, why am I sitting on the bathroom counter?  Then, I told Steve, “I can’t hear you” because he sounded so distant and muffled.  He asked, “you can’t hear me, but you’re talking to me and you just scared the crap out of me!”  He started to sound louder and the ringing in my ears got more intense.

He asked me how my knee was doing.  For a few brief moments, it felt a lot better.  In fact, I didn’t feel any pain, and I was able to stand on both legs and walk down the hall to the bedroom (adrenaline does crazy things to you).  He told me he’d put me on the counter because I went into shock, dropped the bucket, eyes rolled back in my head, and I was groaning.  He was about to carry me out to the living room to call the ambulance, when I came to.   He thought I just went into shock/passed out from the pain, but he wanted to make sure it wasn’t something more serious like a blood clot or a stroke (very very unlikely, but he was scared).

By this time, Steve called his parents and ask them to come over and help out with Calvin so he could take me to the ER to get checked out.  And, by this time, the pain was off the scale.  Steve had to basically carry me out to the car.  Once in the ER, I was wheeled around in a wheel chair (another first).

The rad tech from hell wanted to take x-rays of my knee and manhandle me.  Steve asked her if she needed my help getting me on the table and she said no, told him to get out.  Then she told me to get up on the table.  Yeah right, that was impossible without 2 railings.  I asked her to call my husband in to help lift me on it.  Then, she tried to straighten out my knee which had stiffened into a bent position while I was in the wheel chair.  I don’t know why she didn’t try to take the AP sunrise view instead.

Fracture was ruled out (I knew it was soft tissue).  They gave me some Tylenol which is safe while nursing, and it definitely took the edge off the pain.  They gave me a knee brace, and told me to rest.

I went to the acupuncturist immediately after we left the ER, and her treatment took the pain down several more levels.  I only took Tylenol twice since the ER, and haven’t needed it since last night.  I’ve been doing a lot of vitamins, supplements, and homeopathic things to bring down the inflammation and to promote healing.

So, 4 months post partum, landing from a flying side kick isn’t the best idea.  In fact, I had no idea that my body would still be this weak and fragile.  It’s frustrating that it’s that way.  So, once I can walk normally again, I’ll do some therapy in the pool to get back full range of motion.

Testing . . . I think

It’s been so awesome to be able to get back to training post pregnancy and Calvin’s birthday.  I definitely don’t work out nearly as long or as frequently as I used to, but I’ll take what opportunities that I can.  For awhile, I swam twice a week.  But, my ONLY options for working out pool or martial arts are Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Since it’s tough to do both, I have to pick.  Lately, I’ve been doing martial arts . . . and it’s been no less than 5 years since I trained regularly.  But, I’m AMAZED at how quickly muscle memory returns.

The Martial Arts Institute owner asked if I wanted to test for a colored belt this week.  Steve wants me to wait until April so I can test for a higher belt, but the school owner wants me to just git ‘er done this week.

I honestly don’t mind either way, but I do look forward to the experience of the test.  I did a test in ninjutsu when we trained with some folks in the military, but I’ve never before tested in Tang Soo Do.

My test for a green belt, 6th gup, is tentatively scheduled for Thursday.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

The Incredible Shrinking Belly

Breastfeeding rocks! The initial uterine contractions post-partum were a little uncomfortable, but catnip tea and crampbark helped to take the edge off the first couple of days. Earlier this week, I noticed the my belly button had gone from flat and level with the rest of my belly back to its normal indented state. And, even though my belly isn’t back to pre-pregnancy state (that’ll be a few more months yet), it’s seriously amazing at how quickly the uterus atrophies and allows the belly to shrink down!

However, without a baby inside to add firmness to the belly, everything still feels a little loose and jiggly. Whenever I laugh, I think about that line from “Twas the Night Before Christmas”

“He had a broad face and a little round belly,

That shook, when he laughed like a bowl full of jelly.”

Yes, that’s EXACTLY what happens when I laugh! My rectus abdominis muscles have been stretched like loose rubber bands. And, once I heal enough to be able to comfortably walk and sit, then I’ll start doing things like squats and other core strengthening to rebuild my muscles.

34 Weeks

Belly’s bustin’ out!  We’re packing up to move back to PA tomorrow morning, super early!  I’ll see Steve Sunday night, and we’ll celebrate our 7 year anniversary on Monday.

I’m so glad to finally be done with preceptorship.  I can FINALLY rest & relax for the remainder of this pregnancy.  I haven’t had a chance to do any prep for the baby yet: wash sheets & blankets, get the crib together, and purchase some basic items that would be nice to have on hand for the birth and for the baby.  But, that’ll just have to wait until we’re at least back in the same time zone as where I plan to deliver!

I’m hoping I’ll have enough energy (now that I won’t be working 50 hours a week) to do the martial arts stick fighting class twice a week until the baby’s due.  I’ll play it by ear and see how I feel.  I don’t even know if I’m going to know what to do with myself and having so much time off for the next 6 weeks!

Thoughts on Bradley Method

I like the Bradley Method birthing class. We view a video of a birth each class, and it helps me realize what birth is really like. Unfortunately, I’ve never seen a live birth. After seeing what Hollywood produces, no wonder the majority of women in America are scared about labor and birthing, and they want an epidural before even attempting to trust their own bodies for strength to get through the process.

Knowing about the risks and possible long-term side effects of the numerous medical interventions involved in a hospital birth is what gives me enough determination to avoid them.

Last week, we did an exercise to simulate a contraction and relaxing through it. Basically that consisted of Steve squeezing my arm with increasing pressure and then slowly releasing the pressure. My job was to concentrate on slow, abdominal breathing and relaxation. I thought it was a good physical and mental exercise. Throughout the week, I do various other exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor, low back, and inner thigh muscles to prepare for birthing.

I’m also reading Secrets of the Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg. I think a significant amount of material in the book won’t apply until the baby is born. For example, it’s hard to categorize a baby’s personality when you haven’t yet met him/her. But, at least I can be familiar with most of the general types of baby personalities and how to meet their various needs.

New Sport

Filipino Stick Fighting . . . for pregnant women. Well, actually, I’m the only pregnant student that my instructor has ever taught.  Besides me (the beginner), there were 2 other students, and I think they hold black belts in Tang Soo Do.  This style of fighting incorporates 2 x 3 foot bamboo or wooden sticks as the primary weapon, although daggars and hands are also incorporated.  Partners contact their weapons with high or low blows and “weave” them utilizing both hands.  When performed at full speed, it is an artistic, beautifully choreographed dance of weaponry that can also be quite deadly.

Steve and I had our first intro to this fighting style 2 years ago at Robinson’s Martial Arts Institute. Steve is currently trying to brush up on all his Tang Soo Do forms up to 3rd degree black belt. Although I’d love to participate in a Tang Soo Do class, they’re all pretty high impact with kicks, punches, etc. So, instead of not being able to do 50-80% of the stuff in class, I’ll just take a class where I can do 95% of what’s being taught.

This summer, Steve will work with me one-on-one to refresh the forms he’s taught me up to red belt or something like that. I’ve never actually tested for a belt color in Tang Soo Do, but I’ve received a lot of instruction and training from Steve (in our garage or living room). As long as I don’t really do the kicks (or do them low and in slow-mo), I can practice the forms.

Since swimming at the local high school proved almost hazardous (non-lap swimmers darting across the lane while I was in mid-stroke), I’m happy to have another avenue for physical fitness up here in the northeast.