I Gave Birth to a Preemie & Struggled Through the First Year in Pain

I was 23 when I got pregnant with my daughter. I had landed a pretty awesome job a few months prior and was working hard to keep my weight on track. In the first three months of pregnancy I had gained nearly 30 lbs and was spiraling out of control.

I went to the doctors office and remember him saying this, "If you keep going in this direction you are going to pass along many health issues to your child." That day I found myself at the gym, signing up for a membership and working out often! My momma can attest to this, as I was also living in her basement after my apartment was found to have mold in it.

The summer months came and it was hot, I was waddling like a duck and could barely move. I ended up in the pool on my lunch breaks and after work as well. It was one of those warm Septembers and I gave birth to my beautiful baby girl on October 3, 2009 at 32 weeks she was 5.8 lbs and 19.5 inches long. Her eyes were as big as her head and her body was just skeleton. Despite this, she was a healthy little girl, or at least we thought so. She had severe reflux which caused her to projectile vomit across the room like something from the exorcist. She started seeing specialist, which meant taking days off to drive hours away and back for many years.

During this time, I really struggled... not so much with the weight, but my mood swings were a lot to deal with, my anger was difficult to handle and my lack of sleep was just the tip of the iceberg. My auto immune issues were out of control and I would come home from work sometimes in so much pain I would just go to my bedroom and lay in the fetal position and scream.

I remember the day I went to pick my daughter up and was unable to get her into my arms. I frantically called my husband at the time for help, and remembered feeling as though I was bothering him. He was so angry with me that I couldn't pick her up. Was it me? Was this made up in my head? Why can't I get her?

We worked different shifts, so he was never really home in the evening. I would get home from work and tend to everything. There were several times I would just have to call my mom and ask her to come help me.

I started seeing an acupuncturist and started to take better care of my body, but my weight was still forever YO-YOing. It wasn't until my daughter was almost two that I noticed the debilitating pain was no longer an obstacle for my success.

I learned that my body required a lot of tender care and it also needed me to talk to it... weird- right? NO!!!!

I learned the language of my body and I started to heal it myself. By this time I had already had two knee surgeries, a torn rotator cuff, several herniated disks and widespread joint and muscular pain. Right now, the only think I suffer from is back pain... that goes away when touched or massaged! I do tell it often that I am pain free and healthy!

Top Right: Gia the day she was born! You could cradle her entire head in the palm of your hand! She was alert, healthy and tiny! Weighing in at 5 lbs, 8 oz, 19.5 inches long! Think skin and bones!

Top left: Gia at 6 months old. Able to sit up, chatty like no other, smiling all the time and happy go lucky! She also weighed a whopping 10 lbs!

Bottom Right: Gia at 6 months old, still feeling like a three month old baby, but meeting her milestones!

Bottom Left: Gia at 2 years old. We took her to Disney for her second birthday. She has memories that go back to this moment in time. Weighing in at a whopping 18 lbs and the length of a three year old.

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