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Fertility Diaries: They Dreamed of Motherhood Together

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Lessons in Motherhood continued...

The first weeks of motherhood had been harder for Carrie than for most new moms. Payton was healthy and beautiful, but Carrie had sustained a rare and painful injury to her pelvic ligaments, called pubic symphysis separation, during delivery. After Payton was born on March 2, Carrie spent the next two weeks getting around with the help of a walker; she was able to hold her daughter but unable to pick her up and carry her around. "As soon as I could get rid of the walker, I did, and then I just hobbled," Carrie says. "I'm kind of stubborn that way." Jenny and Jody called often to offer their support, and Jody stopped by with lunch and gossip.

More than two months later, after six weeks of physical therapy, Carrie was still struggling with chronic pain.

Hearst Redbook Image of Mother and Baby

Carrie: It took about a month to get back to walking normally, but there are still problems. I'll walk the dog and he'll turn in a direction I wasn't expecting, and pain shoots up my body. Most people would say, "You're fine, you can walk." Yes, I can, but I used to be very active — I worked out a lot, and the things my husband and I like to do are very physical, like hiking off the beaten path. When I saw my niece, who takes gymnastics, she asked, "Aunt Carrie, how do I do a straddle jump?" I did gymnastics and cheerleading growing up, so I went to show her — and realized I couldn't. It's hard not to be able to do things you've always been able to do. I've decided to change doctors, to one who's more proactive in dealing with my condition and making sure it won't happen again with another birth. Things are still improving, but nobody's told me what to expect over the long term.

As Carrie continued to recover and enjoy her growing daughter, she received, as she put it, "the kind of phone call you never want to get in the middle of the night." Her father — healthy and active at 57 — had suffered a severe heart attack. Carrie and her husband, John, 33, packed Payton into her car seat and drove through the night from Cleveland to Indiana. "It was really hard — my father and I are very close. At one point, the stress really hit and I had almost no milk supply. Poor Paty had to eat every half hour to keep my milk pumping!"

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