There’s no denying pregnancy is pretty magical, it’s really quite incredible when you think about the fact that you are growing a tiny human being inside your body. Nature is pretty marvellous. But, well, despite what the media likes to portray of pregnancy, being pregnant doesn’t always feel that magical. Most media images of pregnant women show glowing skin, radiant complexions and a lot of the less fun aspects of pregnancy are very much glossed over.
This post will highlight some of those less enjoyable aspects – not because I want to scare anyone or put you off being pregnant. It is magical feeling those kicks and the symptoms really are different for everyone. But I just want to get this post out there for any mummies to be who are feeling less than yummy. Know that you are not alone, and what you are going through is perfectly normal.
Because, for some of us, pregnancy isn’t exactly a bed of roses.
I am now 10 1/2 weeks pregnant (eek, I think the baby is now officially a fetus, and is about the size of a prune!) Sickness has abated very nicely and with getting a few early nights lately I am feeling a bit less tired. A quieter week than last week is definitely helping on that front too! I’m getting a bit of heartburn now though so am relying on gaviscon a lot at the moment, which does help, so we will see how that goes.
The only thing that is draining the joy out of this pregnancy now the sickness is fading, is my Pelvis and PGP/SPD issues. Regular readers will know this already, but if not, the hormone relaxin, which is essential during pregnancy to allow your body to make room for your baby, isn’t kind to some of us, and makes our pelvis relax too far, meaning it is less stable and moves around more. This in turn causes friction and irritation on the joints of the pelvis, and anything from a little, to a lot of pain. It generally comes on later in pregnancy but for some of us unlucky ones it springs up as early as the first trimester. I had it in late pregnancy last time, and this time it appeared at around 6 weeks :(.
There has been all sorts of ups and downs over the past month in regard to this but I am pleased to let you know I am in a very definite ‘up’ at the moment! After a lot of tears I managed to speak to the head women’s health Physio at the hospital last week and I saw her on Monday and she was just as lovely in person as she was over the phone!
The physio session itself was great, we talked a lot and she laid some of my fears to rest. Fear has played a big role in this pregnancy so far, as I know how painful it got last time, and how immobile I was. Information about the condition has also grown since last time. Last time I was warned that I could pull my pelvis apart because it was so unstable, and I was told not to swim, and my physio didn’t even want me climbing stairs. So I have been afraid this time and not known what to do, out of fear of doing permanent damage. The meeting with my new physio has helped set many of those fears to rest.
It is extremely rare to be able to pull your pelvis apart so the key, key thing is that if I cause myself pain, I am not actually causing myself any damage. My biggest fear was that I would damage my pelvis and that the pain would continue after the birth. It is possible that the pain will be there after birth, but it is unlikely, and I can’t pull my pelvis apart. She said that short of falling downstairs with one leg staying up, and the other going down (ouch!), it would be incredibly hard to damage your pelvis in that way. So that is a big relief! It obviously doesn’t mean that I can just carry on as normal, and pretend it’s not happening as it will get more painful. But at least I know if I do overdo it, it should only result in short term suffering.
There is also pain relief I can get! Woohoo! I mean there’s the obvious paracetamol but that just doesn’t really do anything for me, and aside from that it can be so hard to know what to take when you’re pregnant as you obviously don’t want to risk the baby. I am going to try and do without as much as possible, especially this early in the pregnancy, but it is great to know that if things get really bad, I can take some co-codamol – which I will need to get prescribed by my doctor.
She has also given me a proper support band. Basically my muscles in my bum should be strong enough to hold my pelvis in the right position, but apparently they aren’t, so wearing the support will do the job of holding my pelvis in place, meaning I can do more, while experiencing less pain. It’s quite tight (as you would expect) and not very comfortable when sitting – but it does mean I can carry on with going for walks with my neighbour every morning (which had been giving me a lot of pain) and I can take Monkey to the park without worrying about how painful it is going to be. I’ve only had it a couple of days but already it feels soo much better!
She also worked really hard on some of my muscles which were in spasm, it was incredibly painful but so so worth it. She has recommended heat packs, and I am kicking myself for not thinking about a heat pack earlier! I have a microwaveable wheat bag anyway and it is so handy for sore muscles, can’t believe I haven’t thought to use it! It will be in use a lot from now on though!
I’ve got a couple of very simple exercises to strengthen my bum muscles (sounds weird doesn’t it?) which should help without putting too much strain on my pelvis. So hopefully I can do those without too much pain, and they can help my body to support my pelvis a bit better.
She was so lovely too and we were chatting away throughout, and everything she said just made sense to me! So I feel much more relaxed and confident about it all now. I was reading something about PGP the other day, which said something that really struck home. It isn’t just the physical limitations of the condition that cause harm to women in pregnancy, but also the psychological effects. Pregnancy “should” be a joyful time, but when you’re in pain, it is incredibly hard to find that joy. You worry about being seen as constantly moaning, and you want to be able to just do the things you would normally do, but you can’t. It makes it incredibly difficult and because many people don’t know about the condition, it can be hard for them to understand what you are going through, and therefore very hard to explain.
Feeling more positive about the fact that I now have a physio who I believe can help me, and steps in place to improve things already, I feel like a bit of weight as lifted from my shoulders. I know that it isn’t a quick fix and I will continue to struggle with a lot of this, but a little bit of hope really goes a long way!
Ok so the cat is out of the bag, the bird has flown the coop, any other metaphors you can think of for the fact that the secret is out because I am Pregnant. Yay!! So that is my word of the week!
It’s still very early days as I am only 9 weeks pregnant, and I know that things could still go wrong, but I have really been struggling to keep this a secret as it is affecting a lot of our life at the moment! And as I blog about our life it feels very weird to be omitting something as huge as this. We are very excited of course and can’t believe how lucky we are to have fallen pregnant again so quickly. Timing wise it works out exactly as we had ever hoped as baby will be due beginning of November and Monkey will be 2 1/2 in November, so yay! Like I say, we are lucky it happened so fast, I know!
But, and there is a but, much as I am thrilled to be pregnant, and appreciative of how lucky we are and hopeful and apprehensive all at the same time, I am also really tired!! I had forgotten quite how tiring this first stage of pregnancy can be! I am struggling to keep up with the blog and have had to cut down on a few fab linkys that I love, purely because I haven’t got the energy to do the rounds and comment in the way that I think you should when you are joining up to a linky! So apologies for late replies to comments, short comments or a general easing off from commenting, I’m doing as much as I can!
Morning sickness sucks too, let’s just put that out there – but thanks to sea-sickness bands (not 100% sure they work but willing to try anything) and copious amounts of Jacob’s Crackers I am getting through. And, fingers crossed, touch wood it seems to be easing off slightly which is a vast improvement on my previous pregnancy, so hooray for that! I am spottier than I was last time which is irritating but not really worth complaining about! My neighbour thinks this means I am having another boy hehe (out come all the old wives’ tales!!)
The big downer so far, and the main reason I have decided not to keep it a secret anymore, is that my SPD/PGP/whatever you want to call it, stupid pain in my pelvis has raised it’s ugly head already. Boooo. I won’t go on about it too much here as I have a more detailed post planned but I hurt already. It’s affecting my life a lot and making me feel quite sad at times, and not being able to write about it, or even mention it in other posts has proven a bit difficult.
It’s affecting the way we live and how I keep the house clean & tidy. It’s affecting play with Monkey and getting out and about in general. I am hoping to get some help to prevent it getting worse but it’s proving a difficult process and quite simply, I need to talk about it! Blogging is now a big part of who I am and when I am struggling with something I find it very cathartic to write it all down. Having to deliberately omit something that is worrying me is taking the fun out of the blogging somewhat so that is why I have decided to spill.
Plus, I know that things could go wrong, but if they do I am pretty certain I would need to write about that too, so that in itself doesn’t feel like a strong enough reason to keep quiet about it.
This may seem like quite a negative way to announce that I am pregnant but believe me, even with all of the above moaning, I am genuinely happy and excited to be pregnant again as it means I get to have a little baby at the end of it. Another little darling to fill my world with smiles and cheekiness. I know that will make any and all of the challenges and difficulties worth it, but I also aim to be honest in my blog so I can’t pretend everything is 100% rosy when I am really not feeling it!
Phew! Do you know what? I already feel so much better for getting all of that off my chest and out in the open!
We’re having another baby! Hooray!!! Bring on the pregnancy posts!
As I mentioned in my previous blog post, we are starting to think about having another baby. This has got me thinking about pregnancy and taken me on a little trip down memory lane to what my first pregnancy was like. Before I got pregnant I have to admit that I was a bit judgemental about women who had difficult pregnancies and thought seriously how hard can it be? One of my best friends had such a smooth pregnancy and I naively thought that every pregnancy was the same and that it was a lovely happy healthy time where women bloom.
Then I got pregnant, and oh how wrong I was and how I regretted being so judgemental in the past!
It was difficult from the off as I had really terrible morning sickness (more like all day, every day sickness) and just crippling exhaustion that made me feel like the living dead. I was useless at work (not great when you have just been promoted) and had so much time off sick. I also had to stop driving after a while as this zombie-ness really made me feel unsafe on the roads, and after a few too-near misses I eventually stopped driving (and I love driving so I just wasn’t myself at all). This led to me feeling very depressed and in the end I was signed off work until my maternity leave began. I was already planning to leave at the very earliest point you can take maternity leave, but I finished a few weeks before that in the end as I was seriously struggling to cope.
As I started to feel a little less exhausted and sick, the slight nagging pain in my pelvis that I had ignored started to get steadily worse. I was diagnosed with SPD (Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction), which is due to the pregnancy hormone Relaxin. This is supposed to help your bones and ligaments make room for the baby, but unfortunately in some of us, this hormone causes our pelvis to relax too much, causing a lot of pain as the join at the front of your pelvis (the symphysis pubis) pulls too far apart. I saw a physio who told me to keep my knees together at all times during my pregnancy, and she even suggested I tie my knees together overnight so they didn’t come apart while I slept. Climbing stairs was a nightmare and soon just walking was agony, even at snail speed so I ended up on crutches. I wasn’t even allowed to go swimming as my pelvis was too unstable.
Monkey trying to get out the wrong way! Two days before birth
The other issue we had is that apparently I have a bicornuate uterus, which basically means I have a sort of heart shaped uterus and makes a breech birth much more likely. We didn’t know this at the time and did all sorts to try and turn Monkey (including the doctors trying to forcibly turn him, which we couldn’t possibly know would never work as he was stuck in one side of my uterus). So all plans of a nice water birth went out the window and we had a caesarean, which is how they saw that I have a bicornuate uterus.
Of course I know that in many ways we were very lucky, Monkey had no problems at all, and there was no scary risk factors in terms of either his life or mine and of course I would rather feel some discomfort than have any more serious problems. But from start to finish, it wasn’t great. I can truly say I never got the pregnancy glow that people talk about and I’m not looking forward to going through it again. Hopefully the nausea and exhaustion won’t be as bad next time. I won’t be working silly hours in a stressful job so I definitely have an advantage there. Plus that kind of thing can vary a lot from pregnancy to pregnancy so fingers crossed I won’t feel so bad second time round. Because of my strange uterus I have a 50/50 chance of another breech baby, which would definitely mean another caesarean, so we will just have to wait and see with that one and I guess what will be will be.
On crutches at a wedding – look at the size of me – approx 8 months pregnant.
But the SPD, by all accounts is likely to reappear. I have heard that not everyone gets it again, but in most cases if you have had it once you are apparently likely to get it again, with the symptoms appearing sooner and progressing faster, so I have that to look forward to! I still get the odd twinge every month before my period so I have to prepare myself for the worst I think (then I may get pleasantly surprised, who knows?), but I am doing everything I can to try and prepare for it though. I was a bit overweight before I even got pregnant last time, which can’t have helped, so I have been steadily trying to get healthy before we start trying again. I am quite a bit lighter than I was last time so hopefully that will help by putting less pressure on my pelvis.
My exercises, stuck on the wardrobe to make sure I do them!
I also know the exercises I need to do to strengthen the muscles supporting my pelvis (the transverse abdominus and pelvic floor) and my new year’s resolution is to start doing these exercises every day so that I am in the best shape possible before I even get pregnant to at least try and limit the damage! I will also know what it is next time, so unlike last time where I ignored it for a while, and then tried to push through the pain and carry on as normal (apparently completely the wrong thing to do!) I will listen to my body and take it easy when I need to. Even though I will hate to do it!
I am worried about what all this will mean for Monkey, as he is such an active child and loves going for walks or running about, and I love doing those things with him. My best Christmas present is a nice pair of winter boots to keep my feet warm as we spend so much time outdoors! How is that going to work if I end up on crutches again? How will I keep him safe if I can’t run after him should he make a dash near a road? He is pretty good but you can never be too careful. If I have to stop driving again because I don’t feel safe how will we get to baby groups and go on play-dates?
Both sets of grandparents have already offered their assistance and I know will help out as much as they can. Hubby has also said that he will work from home more if he needs to so that he can help out. But I know that no matter how much help I get, I will struggle with the fact that I am not able to be the mummy I want to be, even if only for a few short months.
But needs must, and it was worth all of the hardships last time to have such a gorgeous little man at the end of it, and I’m sure it will be worth it to have another gorgeous little baba in my arms one day. Fingers crossed that all goes as well as can be hoped for!