Tonight on the Twitter and the Facebook I posted this:
Sternum caved in 2 days ago. It happens, don’t be alarmed. Popped back out when I reached for coffee on high shelf. PRAISE BE TO JAVA!
At the time I was just posting the usual minutia of my life – like I do – when I realized people didn’t know what I was talking about. I thought sure I’d posted about my kooky sternum issue before but then friends replied with, “what the what” “if you say there was a noise, I’ll dry-heave loudly” and my favorite, “what the FRIGGIDY what?” Didn’t I tell you people not to be alarmed?
So now I feel it needs an explanation. My friend Brandi will disagree. She’s already threatened to un-follow me if I talk about it anymore. A little squeamish, that one.
It all started on a rainy day in February. . . I kid. Actually, I have no clue when the first cave-in happened. All I know is that it was 10 years ago when I was pregnant with my son. Let’s just say Mama took the phrase, “eating for 2” very seriously. My Dairy Queen Blizzard consumption that year was, um, impressive. Okay, I WAS the Dairy Queen. When Jakie was born 6 weeks premature on April 3, 2001, it was no surprise I’d gained nearly 70 lbs.
This is probably where you expect me to post a picture of me pregnant, right? It’s only fair. Give you a gander at my shape? No. Enjoy this picture of the Veggie Tales character, Barbara Manatee, because that’s what I felt like.
You know how they have those helpful fruit shapes to describe body types? Well, I’m a pear. Big at the bottom, tiny at the top. Pears are awesome baby-birthers. When my shape started to change my lower half, bred from German stock said, “BRING IT. We can do this all day long.” My torso was not as confident. Oh sure, the bigger hooties were nice but my small-framed rib cage and sternum screamed, “we are bones, lady, we do not expand, expect our wrath.”
One day I sat in a snuggly reading position for too long and when I got up I felt a tightness in my chest. It was hard to breathe and I could swear I felt my sternum bone poking me in the. . . well. . . *makes swirly motions over chest* .. . general sternum-y area inside. It felt like it needed to be popped back out but how does one do that? I contorted my round little 5 foot 4 frame in every way I could think of. Nothin’. I looked like an uncoordinated extra in Cirque du Soleil.
Finally I realized if I performed a carefully choreographed maneuver of standing up, breathing out, throwing my outstretched arms as far back as they would go and leaning my head back. . . all at the right time. . . POP!! No, really, when it pops back out, there is a loud audible POP, which usually prompts Dougie to shout, “Oooh, good one, Honey,” wherever he is in the house.
I thought the caving issue would subside after I gave birth but no-ho-ho. Much like stretch marks, baby weight and loving something more than yourself, some things are here to stay.
The ole sternum still caves in every now and again and I have to go all , “Riggs from Lethal Weapon” on it. Google it, young people.
Again, don’t be alarmed. It doesn’t hurt, it’s just uncomfortable and inhibits my breathing until it pops back out. That’s normal, right?
So ladies, if you dare, tell me what bizarre long-lasting effect you have from pregnancy. Ohhh, let me preface that request by saying I do have a few male readers so any info about your downstairs lady business probably should be avoided. We’re adults, we know the carnival ride is never quite the same again, and in my case, sometimes it has to be snapped back together like a Hot Wheels track. Whadayagonnado?