A couple of weeks ago, I made public that I hadn’t slept through the night in almost two years. It was something I’d begun to accept as the new normal, something that comes with growing and birthing and raising babies. Who really sleeps through the night anyway? I’d lament to my friends, laughing most of the way. I’d go to bed, and wake up right around 2:36 every morning with excruciating back pain and a mind that didn’t want to fall back asleep, a brain who wanted nothing more than to play hide and go seek with the zombies.
Then I’d drink more and more coffee in the morning, and more and more tea in the afternoon, and more and more wine in the evening. I’d head to the gym six days a week, because I kept believing, if I can just lose this baby weight, then my back won’t hurt. If I can just lose this baby weight, then I’ll sleep through the night.
But wishing and hoping weren’t getting me anywhere.
Finally, the HBH (Hot Black Husband) decided to intervene. I suppose he too had had enough of the sleepless nights, of his wife sleeping on the floor (again) and on the couch (again) and on the guest bed (again). He wanted his wife – and his own uninterrupted sleep, I might add – back, in more ways than one.
So he sent me to the doctor.
Now, first of all, there are two types of people in this world: there are people who regularly, really, really like to go to the doctor, the dentist and the candlestick maker. And then there are those of us who avoid the doctor like the plague. Maybe we’re cheap. Maybe we think we know how to google Web MD so we’re already ahead of the game. Maybe we really enjoy browsing the homeopathic aisle at Whole Foods to search out our own remedy. Maybe we’re just lazy and calling the doctor’s office to make an appointment is just one more thing we’ll have to do.
I fall into the second category, so I didn’t call my doctor.
Instead, I tried my own list of remedies, including but not limited to:
Yoga. Pilates. Lat pulls at the gym. The rowing machine at the gym. Chamomile tea. Sleepy Time tea. Relaxing Sleep herbal supplement. Calcium-magnesium fizzy drink. Magnesium spray. Heating pads. Rice pads. Ibuprofen. Tylenol PM. Pillows under my legs. Pillows between my legs. Two pillows. No pillows. The rolling pad. Tennis balls behind my back. Back massages. Stopping breastfeeding. Stopping wearing the Ergo. Changing the lumbar support of the seats in the car. Sitting on the exercise ball while I type. Standing while I type. Getting a Fit Desk while I type.
The list goes on. I felt like I’d tried it all. And then, my doctor, the new-doctor-my-husband-made-me-visit sent me to a physical therapist.
And people, physical therapists are wizards in disguise.
She spent half an hour listening to my story. She scratched her head, and she agreed that this was weird, weird indeed. And then she waved her magic wand and poof! told me what was going on in my insides.
When I started gaining weight in (my second) pregnancy, my back overcompensated, thrusting itself forward. The muscles and the joints rewrote themselves, and nightly pain ensued. As per the insomnia, she didn’t necessarily know where that came from, but she suggested I get myself a happy light to help rewire those brain waves.
So we are entering a new normal. Every night I sit on top of my exercise ball and I wiggle to the left and to the right. I do my pelvic thrusts and I strengthen my core. When I do Zumba and when I’m sitting on the couch, I take note of my core. I go to sleep, and even though I still don’t necessarily sleep all the way through the night, I haven’t had to take Ibuprofen, nor have I had to warm up the heating pad at 2:38 in the morning.
Then, when I wake up in the morning, I sit with my coffee and my Jesus books and my happy light for half an hour while it’s still dark.
And friends, the pain is starting to abate, slowly, slowly, day by day.
But I’m still not making any doctor’s appointments.
What about you? What physical ailments plague you? What kind of doctor person are you, and would you like to join me for core strength training sometime?0