At the beginning of the third trimester I started having a stiffness in both hips. I brought up the concern to my doctor and she thought it was based on the baby’s position being so low and my hips had started to spread a little. She said the hormone relaxin is released right before birth which allows the ligaments to stretch just enough to give birth. There are instances where this hormone is released early in pregnancy causing a discomfort in hips and pelvis.
I started physical therapy right away to help hold things together as long as possible (strengthen the ligaments and muscles to relieve the pain). After weeks of physical therapy the issue became progressively worse rather than getting any better. The physical therapist suggested that I see an orthopedic surgeon in hopes that cortisone injections would ease the pain and allow for better movement. I had the injections on a Monday afternoon and by Wednesday I could no longer walk (or rather limp as I had been doing for the past few weeks) and started using crutches. I was placed on bed rest at this point (a little over two weeks ago).
I had an appointment with my doctor that Friday and after researching my symptoms and consulting many other doctors she believed I had AVN (Avascular Necrosis). The only way to determine whether or not this was what the issue was, I needed to have an MRI. She had taken the liberty of scheduling the MRI Saturday morning at 7am. I was a bit confused so I asked why on Saturday and why not wait until a weekday. She believed it was crucial that I had the MRI still on Friday but couldn’t get anyone to perform the test and also read the reports until the following morning.
I was also provided pain medication at this point. I struggled with taking the medication because of the potential side effects and the fact I wasn’t convinced it was 100% safe for the baby. I took one pill on Saturday and was able to sleep for more than 20 minutes. I was able to lay in bed without wincing when I would breathe. I understand why she wanted me to have it but I felt I was being selfish in taking care of my pain and not being concerned about the baby at all.
Monday morning I was called by the orthopedic surgeon and was told to come to their office immediately. Upon getting there he let me know that it was definitely AVN and that I needed fluid removed from my hips right away and needed cortisone injected directly into the hip socket. The previous cortisone injections I had were into the bursa area as a sort of padding to the front portion of the bone. The fluid needed to be removed from my hip socket first because they were both so swollen that they wouldn’t be able to inject anything else to the area.
After the injections were complete, I could feel the cortisone being expelled from the joint as I would try to move my leg in any direction. It’s definitely a bizarre feeling to feel anything moving in or out of the hip socket. I was told after a few days the pain would subside and I should have more range of movement.
By Wednesday, I was no longer able to move either leg unless I picked it up with my hands first. This makes it REALLY interesting getting in or out of bed, in or out of the shower, on or off the toilet. You get the picture…..
I saw my doctor again yesterday for a progress report on the baby and any additional information on what can be done next. The progression of my AVN was explained in stages (similar to that of Cancer stages). Stage one – the beginning stages where the bone begins to die and you are uncomfortable enough to get the issue checked. Stage four – your hips are no longer able to remain in the hip socket and there are many breaks/fractures. I am currently advanced stage two. I have some fractures but the hip socket is still able to hold the ball of the hip in place.
We are delivering the baby early because of this. The doctor doesn’t want him to be too large that I damage my hips further during delivery but yet we need him to be full term. I will be delivering at 37 weeks (March 5). After delivery I will need to have both of my hips completely replaced.
We discussed many different options of surgery ranging from a bone graft to a complete replacement and in my case, the best option is to have both hips totally replaced. The hips will last anywhere from 10-25 years depending on how I care for them.
I was reminded again at my appointment on Friday that I need to be taking the pain medication. That it is safer for the baby for me to take a medication than it is for him to be in distress based on my level of pain. Reluctantly I am taking it in hopes that the limited times I am taking the medication will be low enough that he won’t be born with any of the prescription in his system.
I am very impressed with women that can be on bed rest for long periods of time. I’ve been in bed just over two weeks and I’m going crazy. I can’t imagine months of this.
On the bright side, the baby is totally healthy and seems to be happy in the position he is currently in. His heart rate is always perfect when it’s checked. His movement is crazy, he never stops moving. He is not in distress and his growth rate is perfect from week to week. Here is what their little guy looked like at 28 weeks. I’ve thought all along that this was Gadi’s baby based on how picky he’s been but after seeing this particular image, I’m thinking he may be Ronen’s. Something about the roundness of the head/face that has me leaning towards Ronen. I guess we will know in a few short weeks.
I can’t wait to meet him…..