A Birthday Party, Gluten-free Pasta, and Rheumatoid Arthritis

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I survived the family birthday party for my soon-to-be seven-year-old daughter. She’s my little fashionista so everything was zebra print, including the cake. She had a great time, though twenty+ people in a small house is chaotic. I spent the better part of yesterday cooking and cleaning, only taking one or two timeouts to rest.

I actually thought I’d be doing much worse today than I was. And surprisingly, I made it through the party staying gluten-free! I tried Ronzoni gluten-free pasta, and I truly didn’t know the difference. I separated my little baked ziti from the normal one just in case it really sucked. Surprisingly, people wanted to try it and everyone liked it.

I’m not a big cake person, so passing on the cake was not a big deal for me. My step-mother made this dessert that I like that has sherbet, Jello, and Cool Whip. I was happy eating that, and I gave the evil eye to everyone that wanted some of my delicious treat. All in all it was a good day. I’m wiped out, but it was worth it for my baby.

My pregnancy with my youngest was not a pleasurable time for me. Actually, I had three hellish pregnancies after multiple miscarriages. My pregnancies involved lots of puke and IVs of fluids at home for several weeks at a time from hyperemesis. With my youngest daughter, my pregnancy started with twins and I lost a twin at about 16 weeks. In the process, my daughter was crushed by the position of the second baby and her legs and feet were mangled.

At my 20-week ultrasound we were told the baby had clubbed feet. I knew something was wrong. The nurse was super quiet and it took about 30 minutes for the doctor to come in and speak to us. I told my husband something wasn’t right, but he told me I was over-reacting. It turned out that I was correct. I zoned out as other things were mentioned that often went along with clubbed feet including neurological issues, etc.

I was scared to look at my daughter when she was born. I was so afraid to see her legs and feet, but there she was…almost five weeks early, this tiny, beautiful little baby. She was put in casts up to her hips at three days old, and the casts were changed every week for six weeks. At that time she was given special shoes with a Dr. Brown’s bar that forced her feet to turn out. This was a very difficult time for me emotionally. I felt a fierce need to protect my daughter from everything. I cried for her that she was uncomfortable with the bar, and I can’t even tell you how many times I got smashed in my head, hand, arm, etc. with the big metal bar.

Like everything else in my life, I researched every detail. Before she was born I knew what treatment method I wanted and I interviewed doctors. When my daughter’s feet corrected way sooner than clubbed feet and they didn’t show the typical rigid signs that clubbed feet have, I emailed the founder of the treatment method. He’s a 92-year-old (at the time) man who still practiced at the University of Iowa one day a week. About ten minutes after I sent the email, Dr. Ponseti called me on the phone to discuss my daughter. Basically he agreed with my that it wasn’t clubbed feet but rather a positional issue from the womb.

Try explaining to your pediatric orthopedic doctor that you know he is a great doctor, but you actually talked to the man who created the Ponseti Treatment method. That’s me. That’s who I am, and there is nothing I wouldn’t do to help my kids.

Seven years later, my daughter never stops moving, running, jumping, singing, and talking. She’ll talk all day, whether anyone is listening or not. I wasn’t planning on going in to that whole story tonight, but I think it is a huge part of my history and who I am. I found strength that I never knew I had. I am very blessed that the worst of my issues with her is ADD (and a bit of sass).

As for my fibro and RA, today was pretty good. My hands never quite warmed up, but I conveniently gripped my cup of tea most of the day to keep them from freezing. My hands are hurting right now, but it could be much worse. It’s also snowing again…go ahead and feel the joy that’s oozing out of that statement. How many more days until spring?

I hope my online autoimmune peeps are doing well tonight. Stay warm!

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