By: Jennifer Murray

I’m Already Torn.

I’ve hesitated to write this post.  I feel torn about being torn, and how to describe this personal struggle. Even now there is a lump in my throat as I begin to jot down my thoughts.  However, this IS my reality, regardless of how this post is interpreted.  My heart behind blogging has been connecting with others and encouraging those in similar situations – so perhaps this will help someone someday experiencing similar circumstances by sharing my personal journey.

In an effort to not complain or draw attention to myself, there’s something I haven’t told you, or really hardly anyone.  Honestly only Brad can begin to grasp the enormity these last 3 years+ have been on my body. 

My battle happens to be a physical one.  It’s more than the exhaustion of keeping up with 4 boys, and trying to balance life’s responsibilities.  There is an incredible amount of pain that haunts my daily life. 31 weeks pregnant with quadruplets

When I delivered my boys at 32 weeks, I knew my body would never look or probably feel the same.  However, I did not anticipate a life of discouraging pain and missing out on the full potential of motherhood.  My 5’2 frame took on an incredible load, and it withstood so much more than we could have imagined.  I endured two major surgeries, my ribs were misplaced, my pelvic frame was shifted, muscles were torn, and my skin was stretched to its limit so much that it bled. 

But the gain?  So incredibly worth it. 

We took four preemie miracles home from the NICU and four years later they bring more joy to my life than I could possibly imagine. 

Would I do it all again for their lives?  In an instant!

However, I constantly deal with the side effects of what my body went through on their behalf.  Emotionally I deal with wishing I could do so many things as a mom, that my body will not allow. Because of the way my body was forced to stretch and adapt to the extremes of a quad pregnancy, my core abdominal muscles have been severely separated, thus giving very little support or strength. Without functional core muscles, my back has been forced to take on the weight and stress of life. 

It might not sound like that significant of an issue but let me walk you through a glimpse of my morning to give you an idea of the impact it has made:

  • Getting out of bed – My muscles ache and are stiff from laying. I dread moving.
  • I head straight to the shower or bathtub to get some relief with the hot water soaking my tight muscles.
  • The boys are up and I wince in pain as I dress them for the day. Tugging on a pair of pants, stretching on a sock, bending over to pick up dirty laundry – every move is noticeably painful.
  • I begin to fix them breakfast and cannot take out the trash bag that is full in fear that my back would give out for the day.
  • Breakfast clean up goes slowly as I experience constant pain in the mundane mindless tasks of wiping the table and sweeping the floor.  My back is screaming for me to sit down and it’s only 9am.
  • I fight back tears as I unload things from the washing machine to the dryer.
  • In effort to be a “fun” mom after breakfast is cleaned up, I  sit down to play a game of Chutes and Ladders on the floor. I become impatient from the pain, and I just want it to be over, rather than enjoy the moment.
  • I lay on my stomach for 20 minutes unable to do anything, because of the pain from sitting on the floor for a 1/2 hour.  I feel discouraged that this pain will most likely accompany  me the remainder of the day, just for playing a simple game on the floor.
  • It’s 10:30 am and my body feels spent, but I know I must persevere so that Brad can work and fulfill our financial responsibilities.

There are bigger things that I’m missing out on than these daily tasks; It’s the moments of motherhood that I’m missing that hurt me the most: I can’t push my boys on the swing, I can’t lift them up easily to squeeze them and tell them I love them, I cannot give them a bath, I struggle to even tuck them in at night, I can’t hold them up to show them the baby birds chirping in the nest, I have to lay on the couch and miss their squeals as they play in the sprinkler with daddy, or even miss days altogether because I cannot function (which as you can imagine effects us financially).

Blogging has become a coping strategy for the pain.  When I’m forced to rest, I’ve been at least been able to blog some of our fondest memories and post pictures we’ve treasured. 

It’s difficult, but I don’t mean to throw a pity part for myself – I have been given SO MUCH.  I have been blessed more than I could ask or imagine.  And I know that many of you deal with so much MORE. going under the knife again

After 3 years of trying to heal and cope with the pain through various treatments, physical therapy, and doctors visits I will be having surgery next Thursday. I will be having a complete abdominoplasty to reconstruct my severely separated abdominal wall, with hopes that the new support and strength will significantly lessen or rid my daily battle with pain.  In addition, this should protect my body from any long term back injuries.

It’s not an easy road ahead.  It’s one of the most intense surgeries and recoveries out there, just ask my quad mama friend, Gen, who is currently recovering from this procedure. I would love to be able to enjoy motherhood more, and close this chapter on the quad pregnancy for good.

I’m hopeful that putting my body back together will do just that. As always, your prayers and encouragement are much appreciated for the surgery and the difficult 6-8 week recovery ahead.

May God use this to glorify Him, and to strengthen our faith and dependence on Him!

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90 Responses to “I’m Already Torn.”

  1. Carla
    May 18, 2011 at 2:24 pm #

    Jen,

    You will be soo glad that you did this! I will be praying for you next Thursday. Please don’t hestitate to call if you have any problems or questions!!! Each day will get a little better.

    Carla

  2. Cathy Willman
    May 18, 2011 at 2:27 pm #

    Jen, I can’t help but sing Praises for you. Praises for God giving doctors a surgery that will help you. I deal with chronic back pain too, I also cherish naptime for that rest it gives me to get through the day, and like you I hate that feeling that all I do is gripe about it, because it’s so constant. On the other hand, there’s a light at the end of this tunnel. My son has chronic colon trouble, and he’s also going to have surgery next week too for a fairly permanent fix. I know the pain you’re in,and though it’s scary, but what a Blessing that after it gets a little bit worse, it’s going to get better. So Much Better. And that makes me happy for you, and I’m just praying this surgery gets you Painfree, and with every bit of improved health you can be that Mama that you want to be for your sweetboys. May God protect and watch over you in the coming weeks.

  3. Holly
    May 18, 2011 at 2:32 pm #

    Hang in there, Jen. Good for you for taking this step. It will be so worth it!

  4. Rachel.
    May 18, 2011 at 2:52 pm #

    I’ll be praying for you.

    I hope you have a speedy recovery.

  5. Elizabeth
    May 18, 2011 at 2:54 pm #

    Thank you for sharing one of the more difficult parts of your story. I’ll pray for a successful surgery and recovery for you!!

  6. Drea
    May 18, 2011 at 3:42 pm #

    awe wow… that sounds so hard!! I struggle with lots of lower back pain but not to this extreme. I didnt carry quads but just with one baby my abdominal area sounds very similar to yours… there are times that bending over to wash my face result in my feeling stuck hunched over from the pain in my lower back, its crazy.

    I have found during the times when it is more severe than others that seeking a chiropractor is helpful. I also have heard ACUPUNCTURE does wonders, although i have yet to try it.

    I hope your surgery goes well! Will be keeping up for sure.
    Praying too… as im sure with a surgery like that you will have to rest LOTS.

    • Cathy Willman
      May 18, 2011 at 5:35 pm #

      I second that using a Chiropractor can help in a lot of cases. I have a great Chiropractor, who, while can’t FIX me straight out, nothing truly can; it does keep me in line enough so I don’t have to take the hearty lumberjack drugs that render me such a blithering idiot I can’t be trusted alone with my kids. Praise the Lord for all doctors, traditional and alternative that can help us with our pain!

  7. Kaia
    May 18, 2011 at 4:26 pm #

    Praying that this will be successful and you will be able to live the rest of your days pain free!!

  8. Kate
    May 18, 2011 at 5:31 pm #

    Oh sweet Jen,

    Praying for you lots. You’re so brave, and I just pray God will bless this surgery from start to finish to bring you complete relief! Pain + caring for kids = next to impossible. This will be what’s best for EVERYONE in the long run. My goodness friend, I can’t believe how SELFLESS you are in all the sacrifices you already have made, and now this intense surgery. Your are such a great mom to a) give these boys LIFE, and b) “fix” your body to be the best mama ever.

    Love you girl!!

  9. Debbie
    May 18, 2011 at 5:38 pm #

    My prayers are with you. I know this pain will be make your life more complete. God will watch over you and take care of you. Having cronic pain can wipe you out both bodily and mentally. I know this because I have fibromyalgia. I am so happy there is something they can do to help you. Prayers and blessings.

  10. ClassyFabSarah
    May 18, 2011 at 6:10 pm #

    Wow, you are SO incredibly strong! I can’t imagine dealing with that kind of pain for years and years. Praying for your sweet family while you recover!!

  11. Sarah H
    May 18, 2011 at 6:44 pm #

    I will be praying for you for sure! I pray that you will be restored to a place of perfect health and strength. I will also pray for peace for your spirit and family as you recover.

  12. Breanne
    May 18, 2011 at 7:19 pm #

    Praying! Thank you for sharing this with us so we can pray too.

  13. Abby
    May 18, 2011 at 8:31 pm #

    You will be so happy and you are in great hands. I would send you “my before” and “after pics”……. but my before pics are too scary :) Let me know if you need anything.

  14. Liz@HoosierHomemade
    May 18, 2011 at 8:38 pm #

    Jen,
    I’m in tears, I had no idea. I will be praying for your quick healing. And for strength for the family.
    Hugs and kisses,
    ~Liz

  15. Simone
    May 18, 2011 at 8:50 pm #

    Good luck to you, Jen! I hope this brings the relief you need and the ability to enjoy these wonderful moments with your boys. Will be thinking of you and hoping for a speedy recovery.

  16. JeninMICH
    May 18, 2011 at 8:53 pm #

    Prayers for you. I am 7 weeks out from a a painful surgery and it is very difficult to realize that you indeed will get better. But you will, and remember that when you are in recovery.

  17. Staci Brown
    May 18, 2011 at 8:55 pm #

    Jen,
    What a servant’s heart you have! You probably suffer through the day all the while wearing a smile on your face. You are an angel. Know that you are loved!!

    Praying for a speedy healing!
    Staci

  18. Sonya
    May 18, 2011 at 9:00 pm #

    Oh dear, I had no idea you were struggling with this! I pray that the surgery is helpful and that you have a quick-recovery! I’ll be praying for you!

  19. Danielle Smith
    May 18, 2011 at 9:10 pm #

    Sending you so much love my friend – you are so brave, so strong, so beautiful – how blessed those little boys are to have such a mom – such an example of love and strength in their midst – I will be praying for you and thinking about you non-stop!

  20. ClassyMommy
    May 18, 2011 at 9:23 pm #

    Thinking of you. I’m so sorry about all the pain you have to deal with and pray this difficult surgery brings relief. Scary stuff and wishing you all kinds of positive energy and a seamless recovery. xoxo

  21. Erin R
    May 18, 2011 at 9:38 pm #

    I cannot even begin to imagine the pain you experience! And I’m not about to compare this to your experience, but I had to make a difficult decision about a surgery to repair some issues from my daughter’s birth. I found out 5 months ago I have what is called a rectocele. Basically, its rectal hernia that bulges into the vagina. It causes pain with intercourse, tampon use and bowel movements, well let’s just say, they suck! I felt like I was sitting on an egg. My back killed me all the time. But once I was told that I had this and looked it up online, it ALL made sense. I had never said a word to anyone about the issues, even my husband, because I thought that it all just had to do with getting older and having kids. Looking back, that thought process was ridiculous, but oh well. So, the doctor told me my stage was beyond non-surgical methods and I’d have to have it repaired. I didn’t want to have a major surgery after the AWFUL experience having my son (I developed a post-op (c-section) infection that nearly killed me) but I knew that by having the surgery I would regain the life I’d lost over the last 3-1/2 years. Despite my fears of trying to take care of two kids while recovering and the general fear of the surgery, I had the repair on 4/6. Tomorrow, I return to the doctor for my 3rd and final post-op check up. Recovery has been rough. Much rougher than I anticipated. BUT, I can honestly say, if the repair takes the way I think it has, it was well worth it. Not to be in constant pain or have issues that effect my daily functions? This was well worth it. I know that having a major surgery, as you are about to undergo is scary, but in the end, if it improves your quality of life and that of your family, it is worth it in the end. My two pieces of advice for you are as follows: 1) do not be martyr. Take your pain pills, even if you don’t think you need them. The pain sneaks up on you quickly! 2) Listen to your body. Post surgery, if you feel something isn’t right, even if it’s something little, call the doctor. I waited too long to seek medical attention the week after my son was born and I ended up in the hospital, away from him for 6 days, plus and additional 2 days in ICU…

  22. Angie @ Many Little Blessings
    May 18, 2011 at 10:27 pm #

    Prayers for you, Jen! I’m sorry that you’re having to do this surgery, but I hope it will bring you some of the joy that you’ve been missing out on.

  23. E. Ownby
    May 18, 2011 at 11:27 pm #

    Praying for you and your family during this time. It will be worth it in the long run…difficult at first but God will give you the strength to face each new day!! Just lean on Him!!

  24. Jael
    May 18, 2011 at 11:54 pm #

    Our prayers are with you, Jen, and with your family. Those boys are such a gift to you…and the same gracious God who blessed you with them can give you another miracle with this surgery! He gave those boys to YOU! He will give you what you need. You amaze me, and you have been able to influence so many through your experiences. Hang in there!

  25. Alice
    May 19, 2011 at 3:23 am #

    I’m happy to hear you’ll be able to do this! Before getting to the part that you are planning to do the surgery, I was already thinking if we could all help donate for u to get this done! I’ve had 3 kids, 1 at a time and wish I could do this… but know ppl like you need it much more!!

  26. Becky @TheVioletFig
    May 19, 2011 at 6:23 am #

    Oh Jen!! ((hugs))

  27. Theresa Bruno
    May 19, 2011 at 10:20 am #

    Oh, Jenn I’ll be praying for you. My mother suffered from an autoimmune disorder when I was young and I understand the guilt and pain you must feel. This surgery will be the best thing for you and your boys. good luck and God speed.

  28. Melissa
    May 19, 2011 at 3:44 pm #

    I can’t imagine parenting those sweet boys with chronic pain! I will be praying for a successful surgery and speedy recovery!!

  29. Lana
    May 19, 2011 at 7:18 pm #

    I think this is a great decision. Age is my factor. I just turned 49 and have 6 & 8 year old girls to keep up with. I just keep taking vitamins and praying I will stay youthful as long as possible. Good luck! I am sure you have a great network of supportive friends and family to see you through this. We mommas do all we can for our kids, and sometimes that even means taking care of ourselves!

  30. Lauren Green
    May 20, 2011 at 3:16 pm #

    Good for you! I think you MORE than deserve this! Like you said, your body has endured so so much and it sounds like this surgery will improve your quality of life so so much. Go for it. I am behind you 100%. I will keep you in my prayers as you begin the log road to recovery.

    xoxo
    Lauren

  31. Lisa @ Crazy Adventures in Parenting
    May 20, 2011 at 4:11 pm #

    I will be undergoing this surgery soon, too. I have diastasis recti, an umbilical hernia, and back pain I never EVER considered was related to the hole in my stomach muscles. I can’t have this surgery until I’m finished breastfeeding, though.

    I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers, sweetheart.

  32. Beth @ In Good Cents
    May 23, 2011 at 10:34 am #

    Jen, I’ll be keeping you in my prayers. I understand struggling with something that makes you feel like you can’t enjoy motherhood to the fullest and when the problem is fixed, it’s such an amazing feeling. It will all be worth it. Good luck.

    Beth

  33. heather l.
    May 23, 2011 at 12:23 pm #

    Jen, I had no idea you were going through all this. I am so sorry. I struggled with chronic health problems for the first six years of motherhood and I can relate to many of the feelings you share. I will be praying for you and the surgery that God might use this to give you some relief and restore your health and allow you to do more “mothering”.

  34. Bethel Ann Randall
    May 23, 2011 at 11:25 pm #

    I made it through this complete surgery in Sept of 2010. I wish I had known about it when we met at Disney. My ventral hernia was complete from sternum to pelvis, with a 6 inch gap from carrying the triplets to 35 wks 5 days. The recovery is tough to say the least. But my back is doing great and once again feels like my front and my back work as a single unit. My surgery was 5 hours long, I was in the hospital for 5 days and I was delirious and could not do any child care with the triplets or my 8 year old for 2+ weeks. After the surgery of biologic mesh (approx 9×11?), external stitches from hip to pelvis to hip and internal stitches from rib to sternum to rib. I only wish the doctors’ had told me that I would feel poorly for the first 12 weeks then be able to begin my recovery. Now, 8 mo.post-op I am still in PT and they say the mesh should stay firm for 2-3 years. Fortunately, I have a great physical therapist who works the scar to break down the layers one time every week since Nov. I can now stand up straight, raise my arms and am now lifting light weights. Get a good therapist and stick with it for the first year. I am just now feeling better and even took the kids to the beach by myself for the first time since the triplets were born. Granted it was only a 1 1/2 hours but I felt really accomplished and very low pain! I am glad I had the surgery but what a tough surgery and recovery it is. God’s speed and recovery. If you need encouragement and or information just let me know! Love in Christ, BA

  35. sl
    May 24, 2011 at 6:34 am #

    Praying for you and your doctors. Praying for Brad and the boys. Praying the bouys understand and are gentle with Mom as you recovery.

  36. Stephanie
    May 24, 2011 at 9:08 am #

    Just wanted to let you know, although we don’t know each other, I have been praying for you and your famiy since the post regarding the surgery. I am friends with Stacie Vetor…… I also remember seeing your NICU commericial. My sweet nephew had an 8 week stay there as well. What an amazing place.

    I enjoy your blog and have used many of your wonderful ideas. We have been blessed 3 boys….adoption and biological! Gavin is 5, Mason 3, and Owen 3. We found out we were pregnant with Owen the day before Mason’s adoption hearing….simply confirming he was meant to be ours. Isn’t God good….

    I really enjoy how you share your faith!

    Many Blessing to you and your famiy!

  37. Donna
    May 25, 2011 at 12:41 pm #

    Just wanted to pop over and let you know that we’re praying for you! Especially tomorrow! Praying for a smooth surgery and quick (miraculously quick) healing!

  38. Jo-Lynne {Musings of a Housewife}
    May 25, 2011 at 4:14 pm #

    I had NO idea. My prayers are with you, and I sincerely hope this surgery brings the relief you need to carry on and be the mommy you want to be.

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