Episode 06 Liz: Pregnancy after Ifuse
Enjoy this episode where Liz shares about her pregnancy after Ifuse & the struggle being a military wife with two young boys at home while experiencing chronic SI pain. Learning to entertain them from the couch with sock doge ball. She realizes the importance of her mental health in her healing from physical pain and taking on a “what could go wrong” attitude which leads her to law school!
Liz is an army wife and a mother of three. Before becoming a stay at home mom, I taught high school choir. Towards the end of my second pregnancy in 2008, I began suffering from pain in my back. Described best as a “flaming knife.” After years of pain, 20 different doctors, a brutal surgery, and another year of physical therapy, I finally felt well enough to carry another pregnancy! I delivered my third child, after my SI joint surgery in 2013. Now, at age 42, I have returned to school at Belmont University College of Law to earn my J.D. I am currently interning at the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals.
Her Pain story
I was in pain for 5 years with SIJD, and after recovering from my SI fusion surgery and carrying my third pregnancy, they then found a tear in my labrum ( in my hip). There was a doctor in Nashville who was able to perform PRP on my hip. Thankful it fully recovered within 3 months.
I am an extrovert so the main thing I lost was interaction with others.
I had two small children at home, and a deployed husband! Most days I was using a cane to get around. I remember when my husband came home from a tour in Iraq. In 2010, my in-laws came up to help me with the kids so we could all go to the welcome home ceremony. Sitting on bleachers for just a few minutes and I was in so much pain I could hardly walk, even with the cane. I remember my mother-in-law being so surprised as I had to stop walking to catch my breath from the pain.
Often in the grocery store, I would have to sit on my knees in the middle of an aisle. Or while waiting in the check-out line, to try to get some relief from the pain. One time a lady rushed over to check on me because I was on the floor. It was my job to assure her I would be fine, but walking for long periods, or standing in one position, was just not possible for me.
I just felt betrayed by my own body.
I was too young. Motherhood brought me fulfillment, but at the same time, when my pain was particularly bad, the kids would see a short fuse. So I loved being a mom. But I don’t feel like I was a good mom, or at least not as good a mom as I wanted.
One time when my oldest was about 4, he asked me what heaven would be like. I told him there would be no more crying or pain or sadness. He got so excited! I thought he was thinking of himself, like a normal 4-year-old. But instead, he said, you will get to play with us again!
The pain was emotional too
When my husband left for Afghanistan in 2011, I found out I was pregnant two weeks later. Unfortunately I miscarried that baby, but because I miscarried, I was able to have my surgery a month later. If I hadn’t miscarried, I don’t know how my body would have handled the pregnancy, or what my prognosis would have been afterwards. I was terribly sad and depressed when I miscarried though. In the short time I had with him I had grown to love this little one. We named him Zachary which means “Remembered by God.”
So, a month after I miscarried, while my husband was overseas, I had my surgery. It wasn’t until afterwards that I found the SIJD Facebook group. I was in a lot of surgical pain right after, and I feared for my recovery. That’s when I met YOU Amy, and you talked me off the ledge. One step forward, two steps back. The point is to keep stepping. So I did, and little by little I gained strength. I had Botox injections in my piriformis every three months to try to calm the spasms while I strengthened. After a year, I was ready to get pregnant again.
I remember one day before I found my surgeon, when yet another doctor gave me no hope, I was on my face on the floor of my bedroom, just sobbing. And I was having a pity party – WHY ME? WHY SO YOUNG?
My whole life was pain and frustration and guilt.
Doing Something Different
I remember a still small voice telling me to stop being passive. I had to be my own advocate. If I ever wanted to recover, it was up to ME, not to some miracle doctor. So I had to do the research myself and advocate for myself with my physician, with the insurance company, with the specialists. And I did.
Well, after my third child was born, I started having dreams that I was in law school. It’s something I had always considered but it never felt like the time was right. But then my husband encouraged me to take the LSAT “just to see” and a friend asked me, “what’s the worst that could happen? You hate it and you quit.” I thought, she’s right – there is literally no risk here. Turns out I love it and I’m kinda good at it. So I’m glad I took the plunge.
I still have pain in my lumbar region from time to time. It reminds me to change my posture. I did Pilates for a couple of years before law school and I really should get back to it, because it helps so much in keeping the pain at bay.
I said in an interview recently, that anytime I think something in front of me is hard, I think back to the time I had an infant and a toddler, a deployed husband, and a flaming knife in my back. My track record of making it through hard is 100%. So that’s encouraging.
Don’t give up hope. And move. Whatever you can move, do it.
Find a senior sneakers class at the local Y where they sit in chairs, or do water therapy. Most of all, advocate for yourself. No one else will care about your case like you do.
Head over to Read Liz’s blog on her pregnancy. She no longer updates, but you can find her on Facebook when she isn’t busy studying or righting wrongs!