I have to admit that I am sort of reluctant to write this post. I really don't want to discourage anyone out there with RA from following their dream to become a mother. But, personally, on my own journey I have been desperate to find honest stories about the realities of birth and motherhood with RA. I wanted to know what to expect so that I could prepare myself. But I found very few real stories, and so it has been scary to approach this post-birth period with almost no idea what to expect. So I'm sharing my story in the hopes that it will help - and hopefully, in the end, encourage - other women with RA who want to become mothers.
Today is OZL's seven week birthday. And, unfortunately, it's official: my RA is getting worse.
My feet (toes, ankles) and hands (fingers, thumbs, wrists) hurt a little bit more every day. The pain in my hands is particularly problematic - it's getting harder (and more painful) to pick up OZL, to wash pump parts, to carry the car seat, to snap those tiny snaps that are all over everything he wears...
I have to admit that it is really frustrating to have the RA return at what is already a really stressful and exhausting time. And I'm not superwoman - sometimes I have to sit down and cry about how unfair the whole situation seems. But, for the most part, I am trying to keep my spirits up and do the best I can to stay active and enjoy my time with OZL. This morning we even took a little hike (the picture on this post!)
Even though I'm hurting, I'm not quite ready to give up on breastfeeding just yet. So I emailed my rheumatologist, and with the blessing of my pediatrician we decided that it is time to increase my dosage of prednisone. Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows how I feel about prednisone - I hate the stuff. And I am bummed to have to take it because it will make it much harder for me to lose the baby weight (and will actually probably make me gain more). But, besides handfuls of advil, it is pretty much the only option I have for medication that is safe while breastfeeding. So I really hope it helps.
For now I still plan to fight to continue breastfeeding, but I'm also trying to come to terms with the need to stop, because the end is in sight at this point. I keep repeating to myself, over and over again, a comment that one of my readers left on my last post:
To your son you are more important than your milk.
I know this is true. I really don't want to have to stop breastfeeding before either of us is emotionally ready to do so, but if the RA keeps getting worse I really won't have a choice. I will have to go back on my meds in order to be the mother that I want to be. And, as I keep telling myself, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.