I assumed she would tell me to do more exercises to strengthen all those muscles that are struggling under the weight of a growing baby. Instead, I was given the news that I have a "Pubic Dysfunction" generally known as SPD or Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction
I was told to put my feet up for the rest of the pregnancy. Well, as you might know, that isn't really my style...
Oh well, says I, I just have to take it a bit easier then. No climbing on chairs or digging in the garden anymore, what a pest.
I was told not to climb stairs, to be careful getting in or out of the car, to be careful moving in bed, not to walk for too long, not to push a supermarket trolley, not to sit for too long, not to stand for too long, not to empty the washing machine, not to bend over, not to lift anything.
Over the next few days I slowly came to terms with what all this means to a person like me; who prefers to be up ladders plastering, or digging up veg, or painting something or other, sometimes simultaneously.
I did take it easy, I stopped doing most things that involved, y'know, moving... and I spent a lot more time on the sofa.
Then, within about 2 weeks I found that I couldn't walk along the street without being in a considerable amount of pain in all those same places, often the pain wouldn't get really bad till the next day when I was incapacitated by it.
A visit back to the physiotherapist and I acquired a shiny new pair of crutches to use when out and about. Yet again, I was told to put my feet up and rest. Hmmmmm, well, yes, this is where I started taking that all a bit more seriously...
Sadly things have slowly deteriorated since then.
It is funny to think how bummed out I was just because I couldn't dig up my potatoes. I have days now where I can barely walk to the loo. Sometimes I sit and stare at the kettle thinking of making myself a cup of tea because it involves standing while the kettle boils then walking to the fridge to get the milk out. A trip to the shops now involves a wheelchair, and there is no chance of me going for a walk along the street.
Thankfully 93% of sufferers of SPD get better within 6 weeks of the baby being born, so hopefully I'll be back to normal by the new year.
The pelvic partnership has lots of tips of how to make things easier around the house, but here are a few I haven't found elsewhere on the web...
- An adjustable office chair - One came up on freecycle and I thought that it would be more comfortable than the hard dining chairs at dinner time, or when using the sewing machine. When John went to collect it we found out it is a very fancy model with all sorts of adjustable bits and bobs and is now where I plonk my bahookie for most of the day.
- Being on a low-carb diet - My obstetrician put me on this 'diet' a few months ago, if I wasn't on it I would certainly have put on a tonne of weight in the past 2 months. I also count my calories with a iPhone app, generally not recommended during pregnancy so I am taking it easy on myself and just using the calorie counter to make sure I am eating enough of the right things and not so much of the wrong things.
- Having a 7YO - I don't know how I would cope if I had younger children but it just so happens she is an awesome kid, who is handily at home all day. She has become my little carer, she can't quite manage a cup of tea but she happily fetches and carries anything she can and helps out with most day-to-day jobs around the house.
- Asking for help - A friend and her little family came round and picked themselves all the veg they could find in the garden (which made me feel less bad about not using it myself) Family brought everything we needed to have Small's birthday get-together. We are having to ask now for help to come by and do the housework. I make myself feel better by knowing that one day I'll be better and I'll re-pay them in kind.
What's not so great? I mean, apart from the obvious 'being sore whenever I move' thing. It is mostly people's attitudes that are difficult to deal with. NB. Here's the bit where I go off on a bit of a whinge.
- While most people are sympathetic, we have some family and friends who really don't seem to have grasped how serious the condition really is. This adds some difficulty to meeting up with them, and just makes the whole ordeal too much to bear. In turn this has made our circle of friends and relations a good bit smaller than we might have hoped for.
- Hearing the tales of the women who worked up to the last week of pregnancy, they did yoga for 2 hours every day and ran a marathon 3 weeks after giving birth. I've never believed all these stories anyway but honestly, it's all I can do to put my own socks on in the morning, and my days of that are numbered. We all want a fit and healthy pregnancy, some of us plan more than others, try very hard to keep active and positive, then something comes along and smashes you in the groin with a baseball bat (and yes, that is often how it actually feels)
- Being told by midwives "it's just one of those things" When you are on crutches and pretty much house-bound from a condition like this you really need much more support from your health-care professionals than a shrug of the shoulders. Frankly for those of us who have such serious condition it isn't "just one of those things" Thankfully most women who have SPD don't suffer from it as badly as me, and maybe that is the problem for some midwives.
- It would be really nice and frankly, sensible, if you could register as temporarily disabled when you have SPD, this would make it easier to get priority parking places when out and about. Also possibly being able to claim incapacity benefit or similar to help towards the extra costs of household 'living aids', a cleaner, extra transport costs, etc. It would just be helpful to be given some recognition.
Even with all this, I'm enjoying the last few months of my pregnancy. I'm doing loads of knitting and sewing. Just trying to get through each day at a time and I know that some time soon our family will be 4 and that is very exciting.