My Pregnancy Experience with Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction – (SPD)

Hi guy’s, it’s been a while I know! Having two kids to keep me busy has definitely distracted me and I’m still trying to organise my free time as best I can to blog. It isn’t easy as most of you would know. I don’t want to give up just yet so I’ll keep trying and hopefully you’ll keep reading! I had drafted this blog post in the last few weeks of my pregnancy but I never finished it.

I feel it’s a good one to share so I finished it off this week and I have decided to publish it. I must say it brought back alot of memories of my last few weeks carrying Oscar. It was a tough time but so worth it.

Aileen x

 

After a very rocky start to my pregnancy with having Hypermemsis Gravidarum, I expected to sail through the last couple of months of growing my baby, but my body had other plans. It began as little triggers of sharp shooting pain in my lower abdomen, lower back and groin area and that went on for weeks but eventually led up to the day when my pelvis sort of gave way on me. They were painful symptoms but I just went along with them not really understanding it was something more sinister until that day.

I was uncomfortable at work most days and as I walked I would get a shooting pain that would literally stop me in my tracks. Getting out of bed hurt too and I thought it was because I had a big bump. But one day I walked from my kitchen table to my fridge and it happened again but this time I couldn’t move. I stood there stiff and in pain. I took a few deep breaths and slowly walked to a chair to sit down. I was in alot of pain at this point and I figured the best thing to do was to call the hospital and speak to a midwife. I was then told to go straight down to be checked over.

Luckily Aaron had been on the early shift that day and he was at home and able to drive me to the hospital. The last thing I needed was to be faffing around the place needing a lift and someone to mind Olivia! I guess you can expect day’s like these in the latter stages of pregnancy, when you just have to drop everything and go.

When we arrived at the hospital I was pretty much diagnosed with SPD the minute the midwife opened the doors to let me in. “She knew by the way I was bent over and walking ”

Okay then.

I was anxious to know more information about my diagnosis. I was told Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction or Pelvic Girdle Pain affects 1 in 300 pregnancies. During pregnancy your body produces a hormone called relaxin which helps to soften the pelvis in time for childbirth. But when this happens too early,  it causes pelvic pain especially when walking, climbing stairs and moving around in bed.  But when I researched SPD myself I found that the softening of the pelvis doesn’t necessarily cause the pain, it’s actually my pelvis that’s unstable and isn’t adapting to the changes in the body during pregnancy.

I could see how that might be the case for me as I had already given birth vaginally and it was a pretty traumatic one for my body so it’s no suprise my pelvis was weak this time around. Now, I’m not a medical professional as you all know but that makes alot more sense to me and is pretty plausible right?!

After my examination by the doctor I was told I would be put on a list to see a physio and if it didn’t improve my condition, I could possibly be induced two weeks early. Now when I heard her say those words I got VERY excited. I know I said I would never be induced again but I really didn’t care at that moment because I was feeling so shit and I liked the idea of not being pregnant for much longer. It’s amazing what a different type of pain does to you. I was 34 weeks pregnant and was now looking at being pregnant for just another four weeks. I’m not kidding the excitement was building amongst the discomfort. But I shouldn’t have got my hopes up.

For the following two weeks I took it very easy taking baby steps rather than large steps and I sat down as often as I could too, but I couldn’t stay in either position for too long as that caused more pain. It was a vicious circle.

So when I received my appointment date to see the physio at Wexford General Hospital (and not University Hospital Waterford where I was due to have Oscar, because of where I lived) I was relieved at the prospect of learning new ways to ease my discomfort (even if it was for just two more weeks). I arrived to the class the following week and I was among other women who were all at different stages of pregnancy and experiencing different levels of pain. The physiotherapist guided us through different exercises and she also showed us how to get out of bed correctly (not just for pregnant women by the way) (Roll onto your side, use your hands to raise your body with your head being the last to lift). We then had a one on one consultation and I was fitted with a support belt. Praise the lord – the difference that made to how I walked and sat was unreal. The belt lifted my very low and very large tummy up off my pelvis and I felt alot better, albeit with the same waddle as before.

The next few weeks were still umcomfortable but the sharp pains were no more because I learned how to walk in a way that didn’t trigger the pain and I could get out of bed in a more dignified and comfortable manner.  Life was better but I was tired, so very tired.

I reached 38 weeks and at my antenatal checkup I was examined and told that my cervix wasn’t suitable for an induction and I would have to wait another week. That crushed me because I was mentally ready to have my baby. I did not know my cervix had to be ripe!

Fast forward a week and at my 39 week check up my cervix still wasn’t ripe enough but I was offered a sweep and I reluctantly accepted. But unfortunately that didn’t help matters at all and I was still pregnant and waiting impatiently at 40 weeks. I was then offered another sweep and my God did it hurt like hell, yet still my baby didn’t want to come out. I was given a date for an induction at my own request because I couldn’t take it any longer. Even though I knew I was going against nature, especially after reading Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth and (not religiously) following a gentle birth app, I was really happy and excited knowing I was giving birth on that day at 40 weeks + 6 . It just needed to happen. (I will publish my birth story another day)

So here I am exactly eight months later and I’m feeling so much stronger. The reason I’m saying that is because SPD doesn’t just disappear once your baby is born. I didn’t know that until the day I gave birth when I tried to give the support belt back to the midwife and she told me that I would probably still need it afterwards. She was right. My lower back and pelvis were very weak but I actually didn’t wear the belt again. Although there were day’s when I thoguht I would never feel strong again. I tried on the belt one day but I was far too uncomfortable and sore in other areas to have it on me, it just irritated me. I was pretty much housebound in those early weeks with Oscar anyway as I was breast feeding him and I was moving around the house like a zombie (slow and scary looking) so there was no fear of me over exerting my pelvis.

That ship had sailed in the delivery room.

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