Monday, 12 October 2009

Pregnancy Lows - where do I start?

When Peggy over at A Mother'Secrets asked for new posts on the subject of Pregnancy Lows, I have to admit to taking a huge breath in. I mean, seriously Peggy, how many posts can I submit? If it's not morning sickness, or bleeding, or the fear of miscarriage, then it's heartburn, leg cramps, sleepless nights, exhaustion, scary diagnosis during scans. The list of things to complain about during pregnancy really does go on and on and on.

I have a feeling that if you enjoyed your pregnancy, then you're one of the lucky few.

I hated being pregnant. In my case, it was nine months (or nearer ten as both mine were almost two weeks overdue) of pain and torture. I've already written about pregnancy weight and how depressed I felt at putting on five stone, but that wasn't all. During my first pregnancy, particularly, I suffered constant daily pain in the form of Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction, or SPD, where too much of the hormone 'relaxin' is released. What happens as a result of this is that the ligaments literally 'soften' in preparation for childbirth and the front part of the pelvis comes apart.

What that meant on a practical level was that it was excrutiatingly painful for me to open my legs. And no jokes here, please. That couldn't have been further from my mind. Save from sitting down and not moving, there wasn't much I was able to do. Every activity caused me pain, from walking and climbing stairs to turning over in bed at night and getting in and out of the car and bath.

Although anyone can suffer from SPD, I always felt like I was predisposed to it. It may be a joint and ligament problem, but the root cause is hormonal. And for me, that came as no surprise. A few years earlier I had been diagnosed with a pituitary tumour (something which Liz from Living with Kids has also experienced). The pituitary gland, which is situated at the front of your brain, controls all the hormones in your body. Although benign, the tumour had begun to press on my optic nerve and following a course of drugs, had failed to shrink. So eventually it was removed by breaking through my skull and literally sucking it out through my nose.

The results, thankfully, were great - so much so that I was actually able to get pregnant in the first place. However, I couldn't help but think that, as a result, my hormone production was slightly up the spout. Could my body have produced an excess of relaxin which in turn softened my ligaments just a little too much? Who knows. What I do know, though, is that whatever the cause, I spent the whole of my first pregnancy in hideous pain.

During my second pregnancy, at only two and a half months in, before I even had a bump to show for it, I was hit with the same agonising pain. I remember leaving the house one day, walking a few steps down the road and being stopped in my tracks. The pain was so bad I couldn't continue on my walk. I turned around, hobbled home and sat on the sofa and cried. To think that I had seven months of constant pain ahead of me was almost too much to bear.

But, just a few days later, I happened upon an article in a local magazine about an osteopath who specialised in pregnancy-related problems, including SPD. I made an appointment straight away. Unbelievably, I had managed to find someone who made possible all that was impossible during my first pregnancy. Thanks to him, not only was I able to move around relatively pain-free (which is just as well since by that time I had a toddler to look after), but I only put on three stone rather than five.

It's unfortunate that I hadn't had the benefit of his expertise during my first pregnancy, but I have to be thankful that I had it all. My first pregnancy was hideous, my second bearable. But, when I look at my two little monkeys, I wouldn't change it for the world. What's nine months of pain when you have an amazing little creature at the end of it all? Having said that, I won't be going through it again in the near future, if I can help it.

Babies are gorgeous. Pregnancy sucks...


  1. We all seem to have gone through the mill a bit where this pregnancy thing is concerned, thankfully we all seem to have lovely healthy babies at the end of it.

  2. Yes, I hated pregnancy. I had hyperemesis and was ill the entire way through, both times. I found actually being a mum an absolute relief, even with the broken nights etc, as I finally didn't feel ill anymore and didn't have to take any more drugs. The kids were worth it - but never again!
    Excellent post, thank you!

  3. You know my story. Thanks for telling yours xx

  4. Ouch!!! What a nightmare for you, and anyone else who suffers like that through pregnancy. Thank god you found your osteopath. I was fortunately in the rudest of health through all my 5 pregnancies...sorry! xx

  5. That sounds like an absolute nightmare. Poor you. Thank god you found the osteo - I can't imagine that much pain and looking after a toddler.

  6. Lorraine - Yep, thankfully we do. Not quite sure why pregnancy is so hard, but there you go!

    Sarah - Hi and thanks for popping by. Yep, pregnancy is truly hideous. I remember almost crying with relief when I realised the SPD had finally gone away...and that happened literally the moment I had given birth!

    allgrownup - Yep, I do. Was thinking of you lots when I was writing this post actually - and about how horrible it must have been to have SPD and a toddler. Can't imagine how you did it. Hope you're feeling much better now xx

    Brighton Mum - I can not believe it!! No wonder you went through 5 pregnancies - you're obviously made to give birth. Me on the other hand...

  7. BiB - Just missed you whilst commenting on the others. Yeah, was truly hideous. Pregnancy and me just don't seem eye to eye! Feel the same about labour too. Was so relieved when babies finally came! x

  8. Sounds just horrible! I loved being pregnant. It must be such a shame to have that experience taken away from you.

  9. MT, i 110% agree with you. i was terrified the whole way through; i suffered from cholestasis; i expected with spontaneous triplets that dh would abandon me; i ended with high blood pressure; i have no recollection of the 48 hours following birth due to my unconscious body packing up and requiring blood transfusions; it took me a month to recover, set back with an ecoli infection, and the day after delivery my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

    do you remember that US TV programme in the early 1980s called 'soap' ?!

    preganancy, never again! some of us do not forget!

  10. Thanks that's a great post, I will put it up with the other one.
    I am amazed by how much I have learned with all your stories and all the other contributors!
    Just saw your previous post. I hope you are feeling better and enjoying the chocolate biscuits :) xx

  11. Oh what a nightmare... I am like Brighton Mum - born to give birth, as it were...

  12. Mwa - It's ok - I have my two little girls and they're perfect so I can sacrifice a blissful pregnancy if it means happy, healthy babies!

    Grit - OMG - and I thought I had it bad!! I do so love your comments, even though in this instance it is rather horrific. Yes, your life is a 'soap'. Am glad your husband didn't abandon you!! xx

    Peggy - Sorry it was late honey - was trying to write it in 5 minutes spells when I had a second. Is probably a bit dis-jointed as a result. But hey, you get the message - pregnancy sucks!! (For me at least)! I look forward to reading all the other posts. And yes, feeling much better thanks. Finished the chocolate biscuits though! xx

    Sparx - Hello honey - haven't seen you for a while - hope you're doing well. D'you know what - I'm actually surprised at the amount of people who are saying that they enjoyed their pregnancy - at least 3 in the comments already. You now what that means though? You'll have to have another one... ;-)) xx

  13. Ouch! I was never diagnosed with SPD but I had a lot of pain walking which got worse with each pregnancy. Still get the odd twinge and sometimes feel as though my pelvis needs to be bound together. Poor you!

  14. You should have tried it as a teenager and gave birth on the day you were due to take your biology O level like I did...

  15. Beautifully written - and I feel ya, as Stringer Bell might say!

  16. Chic Mama - It's hideous isn't it? I never realised it could be so awful. I had friends who had been pregnant and they literally brezzed through it all (labour as well). Totally shocked me I have to say.

    Maddie - Look at you!!! I never even must be younger than I thought!! Such a rebel ;-)). Love you for it. And yes, I'm sure your body finds it's easier to 'snap' back into shape when you're younger. Shame I'm an old fogey!! xx

    Liz - I feel ya too lady xxx

  17. Poor you! I didn't suffer during pregnancy but giving birth seems to have caused massive problems with my immune system, not uncommon I beleive. So yes! We do go through the mill don't we? Bloody good job they're cute when they're born!

  18. Ooh it sounds very painful.
    I guess I was lucky with both of mine. Only had a bit of sickness and awful heartburn but apart from that no problems.

  19. God that sounds bloody awful! I didn't have anything near as bad as that but just didnt like the feeling - sounds terrible when I say that! Besides feeling so unlike myself I just had the usual bit of sciatica, fat, spotty back and shoulders, pee'd for England, breathless, a bit sicky, one boob bigger than the other and thrush! All joyous things I'd never had before... so no.. .don't love it! Love my daughter but not the pregnancy! Well done for writing about it BTW.. makes me feel less of a freak! x

  20. That sounds horrendous, you had a really really rough time. But thank goodness for osteopaths. I swear by them - they work wonders

  21. Oh wow. Respect for going through it another time after having such a hard first pregnancy. I can't remember how often I went for acupuncture. 10 times? 20 times? The pregnancy plus the horrible birth really put me off having a number two.

  22. I have read another blogger who had your experience. Agonising SPD, relieved by an osteopath. It's a shame more people don't know that it can be helped.

  23. Reasons - Oh don't speak to me about labour! If my pregnancy sounds bad, labour was even worse. Hideous, just hideous. And yes, thank God they're cute. I'd have been tempted to give them away by now...

    magnumlady - Ooh lucky you!! But yes, even a 'good' pregnancy is pretty uncomfortable. You'd never think our bodies were designed for it would you?

    ThatGirl - Oh you poor thing - the list is just neverending isn't it? Like I said to magnumlady above - you'd never think that our bodies were especially designed for it would you? Mine just couldn't cope. Not surprised you didn't go for it again. Not quite sure how ours happened!!

    Elsie - I know they're just amazing aren't they? I thinK i would have been a sobbing mess without him. Really. 7 months of tortue would have done me in completely. I've recommended loads of local friends to him and they've all been and loved him too!

    Met Mum - Well, the thing is...I'm not really sure that the 2nd was planned!! Well, not for that precise moment anyway. I think I needed more like 10 more years to get my head (and body) ready for the next one, but it kind of just happened. Best way I think...otherwise I'd still be procrastinating now.

    Iota - I know - I've been reading about quite a few other people with SPD. Silly thing is - teh hospital sent me to a physiotherapist who presribed me with a pregnancy belt which didn't help at all. It was supposed to hold me together and support me when I walked. Thing is, I couldn't walk, so it was redundant. If only I'd known about the osteopath then.