Deciding to go through another pregnancy was a big deal for me. It was an easy decision because I wanted Pinky to have a sibling to play with, and when I thought about our little family there was another person missing. Both myself and my husband felt the same…. So essentially it was easy, but it took some psychological prep on my part. I do not blossom, I do not glow. Radiant skin and glossy hair evade me. Pregnancy simply doesn’t suit me. I was really exited second time, truly I was… I was determined to enjoy this pregnancy as much as I could. I was NOT going to hate this one too! All started off well, with Pinky I was sick from about 6 weeks until nearly 20, but this time although a little nauseous and being physically sick once it was better.
But then the pains started, by week 14…SPD. What a delight… Here we go! Again.
I already had a support belt, yes but that was it… From 14 weeks until 38+6 it was painful… All day, every day! Every fucking day!!!!! So yes, yet again I was hating pregnancy.
Now I know, as far as complications go there are worse ones, and I will take SPD over any of them because the issue was mine and not the girls. In both pregnancies the girls were happy, healthy and super comfortable in there and for that I am grateful. But my pelvis struggled with the weight of it all and the demands put on it. First pregnancy was arguably more traumatic because, although the pains started later, I had no idea what it was. After struggling through half a shift at work (I work as a nurse on a stroke ward so it’s incredibly labour intensive) I was admitted to the antenatal ward across the hospital. They thought I was in early labour and did various tests…. It was really scary. Then once discovered it was likely ‘just’ SPD I was sent on my way by the doctor with assurance that it would go away, no need to stop work, no need to do anything, carry on as normal…! Well it doesn’t bloody go away! It just gets worse and worse. It doesn’t resolve until you give birth, maybe a few weeks later! After a discussion my husband, we decided it was best I didn’t go back to work. I struggled on for another 8 weeks becoming more and more immobile with each day, finding paracetamol completely useless. Eventually a community midwife saw me at a routine appointment and knew instantly I was in a really bad place mentally. Within 4 hours I had seen a physiotherapist, been given a support belt and crutches and some stronger analgesia, with an appointment to see a consultant. I could move!! I will be forever grateful to that midwife. She was the first person to take my pain seriously and made me feel truly supported and listened to. I honestly believe without her I would have ended up clinically depressed.
So second pregnancy I made it clear from the first appointment that this was an issue. I knew my chances were high for a reoccurrence and I knew it would likely be worse. And my goodness it was worse! This time I could actually feel my pelvis move. Like really move! And grind, bone on bone! The belt didn’t help this time, not as much as before anyway. My midwifery care was much more understanding second time, they seemed to understand it. Even work was more understanding. But yes I still hated it. I had a toddler, under 2! She didn’t understand why I couldn’t pick her up all the time, why I wouldn’t sit on the floor with her for long period of time to read her books over and over. Why we couldn’t go to the park as much as before. I would spend everyday wanting to do more with her whilst longing for it to be nap time so I could get some rest! It felt so selfish.
It doesn’t feel selfish anymore. The girls already have the most amazing relationship just 8 months in. They would be lost without each other. So if my pain has provided them with that then it was worth it. But no, I will not do it again. I found it very traumatic and it really does still ‘haunt’ me. I understand why some women who get SPD decide they don’t want to go through it twice.
Along side me stood my husband. He suffered in his own way through both pregnancies, watching his loved one suffer in pain and being unable to do anything to really help. Sure he cleaned and cooked (he does that anyway as he is better than me) he helped me in and out of bed, but he couldn’t take the pain away. I know he found that very hard.
I think unless you have experienced pain like that it is difficult to appreciate how hard it is. My second pregnancy was more painful but both were equally as hard. There comes a point that the degree of pain is almost irrelevant once it has been present for a length of time. Pain that is constantly present no matter what you do to try and alleviate it is mentally and physically exhausting, and with SPD that is on top of the normal pregnancy tiredness. Give me labour any day over pregnancy! At least that lasts hours/days rather that weeks. And there is a pause between contractions. Yep I definitely preferred labour. My labours had their own challenges but I found I coped better with them.
So if you know someone who has SPD, or pelvic girdle pain as I believe it is now called, please offer some support. An ear to bend, a shoulder to cry on. Maybe if that woman already has a child or children take them to the park for her. Or pop in and make her a cup of tea, put the dinner in the oven. If nothing else, please don’t underestimate the difficulty of coping with pain. The difficulty of simply walking from the sofa to the bathroom for the wee you really can no longer hold!
If you currently have SPD.
It’s not forever.
You will be ok.
Your baby will make it all worth while.