At 24 weeks pregnant, I was about to make my 7th nightly toilet trip when I felt like I had been kicked in my groin. I’m a nurse and had been on shift that day so presumed it was the 12hours on my feet, and so didn’t think overly too much of it.
How things escalated!
The pain gradually got worse, when I saw my midwife at 28 weeks and advised I was waking up every morning feeling like I had been kicked in the tuppy (ha ha TMI but oh so accurate!) and getting up in the night was becoming increasingly difficult, that she advised I had SPD, or symphasis pubis dysfunction and gave a brief low down that the body produces a hormone called Relaxin which softens ligaments etc in the body in preparation for birth for a bit extra stretch. In SPD the hormone is over produced and things become too supple, forming gaps within the pelvis. In some cases these gaps are considerably larger and mom to be is in agony, birth can also be an issue.
I felt that this point that I could manage with basic painkillers as I was due to finish work in a month and so I would be fine. I spoke to the physios at work (who were luckily my colleagues) and they sorted me out with a support belt or tubigrip worn over my bump.
This provided light relief for about a week.
I purchased a specialist SPD support sling which went over and around my bump and my painkillers were increased by my doctor. At this point I was struggling to mobilise quickly at work, hoovering was hell and bedtime was a ritual of being propped up by a barrage of pillows around my hips.
By the time I left work at 32 weeks I was starting to feel exhausted with the effort from not being able to walk properly, the 12 hours shifts were crippling me and really looking back I was useless as a nurse because I just could not give 100% into my role. I couldn’t run to save anyone if there was a crash. I should have gone before but insisted to my manager that I was doing myself a favour struggling on and keeping as mobile as I could. I truly believed this but in hindsight I should have left a lot Earlier.
I had been off work a week when after a particularly bad night, being pushed by my husband to help me get out of bed to the toilet and hauling myself by the headboard to roll from left or right, i found myself stuck on the sofa in compete agony. I couldn’t move and was paralysed with pain.
I rang the doctors and was prescribed morphine, hubby picked it up that night and taking my first dose I was petrified.
The SPD quickly got a lot worse and I was so depressed. I barely went out because pain was so severe, I got more and more down until I went out on my crutches only to return home in excruciating pain and crying my eyes out.
There was no way out. Pain killers were only offering light relief and now I was lying in bed or on the sofa all day, having everything to hand so I didn’t have to really move. The pain had developed into what I called “the ripping pain” where I had lightning like strikes in my hips and pelvis where I simply couldn’t move and was immediately crippled. My consultant decided I was to be induced on my due date and to give birth on my side or knees and no stirrups to be used, if possible no epidural for fear of permanent damage. All I wanted was a cesarean, I was petrified.
However, literally as soon as my waters broke, I stood up and felt that I had some light relief? I kidded myself it was the euphoria of meeting my baby soon and thought no more of it.
I had a very quick and successful natural labour, giving birth half on my side and back. On my knees was too painful and I couldn’t walk around to ease things along.
Afer Freddie was born I was sent for my shower. Along with Freddie being born, I will never, ever forget the moment I walked back Into the room and climbed on my hospital bed. I was crying my eyes out, no pain. No pain after months of nothing but painkillers and feeling like a hypochondriac. It was amazing.
The worst part above all, something I will never ever forget and never forgive myself for is that when Freddie was three days old he suffered neonatal withdrawal syndrome (NWS) from the morphine I had taken. It was the hardest thing I have been through, feeling totally helpless and to blame.
If I have it again i will not take any morphine. NWS is common in hard drug users, which makes me think if Freddie suffered so much with me on such a low dose…what must those babies go through?
Luckily I had some amazing friends and family who helped me no end.
I have been told to wait 2 years before my next child to allow my pelvis to realign and I can do very minimal core excercises. Luckily my SPD went at birth and didn’t continue so I may not have it at all next time.
If anyone out there has SPD, then use the physio, the belts and minimal pain relief but try and steer away from the opioid pain killers (cocodamol and morphine) and just rest. You will feel lazy, bored, depressed and have cabin fever but it isn’t worth it, even in constant pain.