Anything can happen: horse edition. Alternate title: Horses and Hormones.

I keep repeatedly typing and deleting the first sentence of this post, because it is difficult to know where to begin when you haven’t updated your blog in nearly five months. I have good reason. Back in July, in a rush to feed before heading to a lesson with my dressage trainer, I sustained a kick from my ginormous retired mare right in the gut. What I thought would be a quick trip to the E.R. and a possible broken rib turned quickly into a hole in my Duodenum, emergency surgery, and a week long hospital stay. Oh yea, also, I was five weeks pregnant.

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I was super proud to be redeveloping my dressage seat before the accident happened. I was prepping a post about what I was learning in my new lessons!

When I found out I was pregnant a week prior, I was worried about normal things: morning sickness, early miscarriage, whether riding would impact my pregnancy and how long I could comfortably ride. I was prepoccupied with epidural or no? Should I get Sully an exercise rider? Will hubs be able to take over with the horses when I get too large? I have not gotten seriously kicked in 20 years of riding, so I can say that this concern was at the very nearly bottom of my list of anxieties.

Frankly put, all things related to this injury traumatized me. The doctor had to blatantly tell me I was going to lose my baby as they rolled me into the OR. My first night nurse ripped the bandage off my open, gaping, unstitched surgical opening like she was waxing my legs during my first bandage change and I will never forget that unfeeling troll’s face as long as I live. The debilitating nausea and pain med withdrawal kicked in as soon as they took me off of morphine, and didn’t seem to go away for another month while it morphed into morning sickness. Between the feeding tube, the JP drain, the incision, the lack of comfortable sleeping positions, and my wacked out digestive system, I was completely sidelined. My mom came to stay for over a month while W struggled to take care of all the horses, pets, the house and the property.

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Undoubtedly still on morphine in this pic. Happily drugged and oblivious to how crappy I looked. At least I was alive and they had removed my PICC line!

 

If you’ve been down and out, unexpectedly or expectedly, you probably understand how hard it is to go from being a productive member of your family to a burden. Part of my identity was to be a super woman with my day; this is how I was when I was feeling mentally healthy. If I could collapse in bed at the end of the day with my legs shaking from exertion from all the work I had accomplished, be it farm work or horse work or house work, I was satisfied. It wasn’t until about September or October that I could even manage to do one load of laundry or cook a single meal in a day… and that was it. Massive sucktitude.

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This first US brought a lot of tears and smiles. He was swimming around like crazy like he was saying “Yea bitches! I’m still here!”

As for the pregnancy, yes, my future son is a little tough SOB and he is coming in March. Having this pregnancy not just survive but thrive in a way piled onto the already large pile of cosmic crap to make me feel even worse (not in any way as bad as I am sure I would have felt if I had miscarried, but) – not just in an ‘I’m pregnant, sick and tired way’ but in a massive pit of guilt way because I was not having a fun time being pregnant, and I felt like I should be nothing but glowing with this unending gratitude that I was blessed with this enduring miracle in the face of such adversity. I was feeling everything but, between pregnancy side effects, surgical recovery, and not having my go to antidepressants: the drug kind and the time in the saddle kind. It took a few months, and I often forget this wisdom (placenta brain, probably), but I have come to understand that not every mother loves pregnancy, and not only is this common, but it is okay as long as I continue to take care of myself and him.  I have my moments of ecstasy and those I cling to, and I know that even when I feel low, I love this little alien inside of me playing piano on my sciatic nerve.

Sometimes, however, I just have to breakdown and admit that this sucks. It sucks that I had this accident. It sucks that I am often depressed and have panic attacks for the sake of a drug free pregnancy. It suuuuucks that I can’t have a margarita. And, it sucks that I cannot ride or even comfortably be around my horses. I cannot “get back in the saddle”, prolonging and growing this newfound fear I have of my own horses. Shit, all horses. This suuucks.

About a month ago, while feeding the neighbor’s horses after dark who are normally bomb proof, their paint horse Jack swung around and kicked out at me while their palomino Aero passed behind him, kicking the feed bucket right out of my hand. It was a spitting duplicate of what happened with Emma, minus the hoof meeting gut, and I ran home sobbing and gasping and throwing myself into W’s arms in a total fit.

A few weeks ago I went as far as to list Sully for sale. I simply tried brushing him and when he got freaked out by a ladder, I found myself emotionally charged and raising my voice toward him when he spooked. I was scared, and my fear was causing irrational reactions towards my impressionable baby horse. Well, shit. I contacted his previous owner to oblige by the contractual first right of refusal, and then wrote up a little ad with tears pouring out my eyeballs. I made it a week and a half before I realized I couldn’t do it, removed all my ads, and now he is instead booked to go to my dressage trainer for the next 4-6 months.

Hormones and horses are fun, guys.

I guess if I am being a mature adult (I hear that as a parent you have to do this sometimes) and looking for the silver lining in it all, I have learned that asking for help is not a weakness. Humbling myself, admitting that I do not know what is best, and allowing others to step in is difficult but it was and continues to be needed. I want to pretend like I can handle my baby Sully, but I can’t right now and probably won’t be able to do so for some time after the baby comes. It’s better for him to be in good hands and once the crazy in me settles down, I can make a rational decision to sell him or keep him. I won’t always be like this. I will get stronger mentally and physically. But right now, I need help. I am weak in a lot of ways and that’s okay.

You know why it’s okay? Because miracles do happen and life won’t always literally kick you in the gut. But sometimes it does.

 

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4 thoughts on “Anything can happen: horse edition. Alternate title: Horses and Hormones.

  1. What an amazing post. I’m sorry this happened to you. I’m thrilled for you that your baby boy made it! I’m sad for you that you’re struggling sometimes. But you sound like a very tough cookie (baby must take after his momma) so hang in there!

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  2. Well you have been through the wars that’s for sure. But I believe you will recover, and come back and have a healthy baby. I came through surgery for colorectal cancer and was able to ride. I’ve also had both my hips replaced and have been able to ride on! I look forward to reading about the rest of your journey. Thank you for stopping by my blog.

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    1. Thank you Anne! So inspiring to hear what you have gone through and come out on the other side still riding. These hiccups can be discouraging but I am ready to bounce back with a vengence 💪🏻

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