De Quervain's tenosynovitis. A painful irritation of the tendons on the thumb side of the wrist. I had never heard of it. However, I quickly caught up.
Before becoming a mother, I had had some practice with my nieces. The eldest one was born when I was just 11. As a result, I was used to holding babies when the time came. I had always thought that it comes to a mother as a natural instinct. You fold your arm a bit. Then, you place the baby’s head on the elbow fold. Your hand, a bit bent as well, holds the baby’s bum and legs. So much for theory and practice.
Now, what reality is like. Two babies. The first who weighed almost three and a half kg. at birth and the second who weighed two and a half. (They’re twins, but in spite of this, they had an adequate birth weight). For some months, holding them in your arms, breastfeeding them and giving them bottles, rocking them to sleep or to calm their colic pains meant that I was constantly forcing my arm and hand.
The pain gradually appeared. I felt that some hand gestures were difficult and painful for me to make. The pain became more intense and more immobilising. And it was in my right hand. The one I use the most, my stronger hand. I went to the doctor’s and looking at my hand he pronounced the three unknown words: “De Quervain's tenosynovitis” . “It’s very common among first-time moms”.”Really?”-I wondered. “Another thing that nobody explains to you”. At first I wore a wristband. Right after, I started to have medical rehabilitation sessions. A good number of sessions and home exercises. Afterwards, it was when the doctor pronounced the words which I did not expect at all: “To fix this, you should get an operation”. “No- an operation is not in my plans, huh-I have enough work at home with the two little ones”. I decided to let time go by in order to see how my condition evolved and to -inevitably- look for opinions online . As always, there were opinions in favour of the operation and others totally against it. Thus, once again, as I did with many decisions during my pregnancy and during this upbringing period, I decided to let intuition be my guide.
The passing of time had an effect. When I didn’t carry the babies’ weight on my hands any longer, the pain went away. I could make all the gestures without any pain whatsoever. The problem is that only some things change. Goodbye, Quervain. Hello, backpain and neckpain!